Adlai's Top Matches
About Adlai Ewing Stevenson, II
Gov. Aldlai E. Stevenson, II was the grandson of Vice President Aldlai Ewing Stevenson and the son of Illinois Secretary of State Lewis G. Stevenson. Adlai II was born Feb. 5, 1900 in Los Angeles, California where is father was temporarily working and he was raised in Bloomington, Illinois. He attended University High School in Normal and when America entered World War I, Adlai enlisted in the Navy as a seaman apprentice. He graduated from Princeton University in 1922 with an A.B. and attended one full year at Harvard Law School but dropped out in his second year. He returned to Bloomington to write for The Daily Pantagraph newspaper that had been founded by his maternal great grandfather James Fell. Adlai, II eventually returned to the study of law at Northwestern University School of Law and earned a Juris Doctor degree there in 1926. While practicing law in Chicago, in 1928 he married a wealthy Chicago socialite, Ellen Borden, whose family owned the Borden Milk Company. The couple had three sons over the next decade. He later managed a family farm in Libertyville. Col. Frank Knox, the former publisher of the Chicago Daily News and the Republican candidate for Vice President in 1936 was appointed Secretary of the Navy in a bipartisan move by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. Knox appointed Adlai Stevenson, II as an assistant secretary of the Navy and one of his top aides. Aldai was elected governor of Illinois in 1948 and took office in January 1949 but Ellen never moved into the Governor's Mansion and the couple divorced in September of that year. Adlai did not remarry. After one term as governor, Adlai was twice nominated by the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956 but was defeated soundly both times. President John F. Kennedy appointed Adlai as US Ambassador to the United Nations in 1961. There have been three Illinoisans in that post, more than any other state. The other two were Arthur J. Goldberg of Chicago (1965-1968) and Donald McHenry of East St. Louis (1979-1981). The most famous sound bite of Adlai's UN career was his famous confrontation with Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis debate. Zorin refused to answer Stevenson's simple question, "Do you have missiles in Cuba, yes or no?" Zorin urged Aldai to move on and Adlai said, "I am prepared to wait until Hell freezes over if that is your answer." Adlai, II died on July 14, 1965 while still serving at the UN.