Governor Claude Kirk standing with his mother on inauguration day: Tallahassee, Florida (January 3, 1967)

Governor Claude Kirk standing with his mother on inauguration day: Tallahassee, Florida (January 3, 1967)

Image number: DC070026

Florida's 36th Governor Claude Kirk and his wife Erika Mattfeld talking at inaugural ball: Tallahassee, Florida (January 3, 1967)

Florida's 36th Governor Claude Kirk and his future wife Erika Mattfeld talking at the inaugural ball: Tallahassee, Florida (January 3, 1967)

Image number: C0650137

Portrait of Governor Claude Kirk: Tallahassee, Florida (1967)

Portrait of Governor Claude Kirk: Tallahassee, Florida (1967)

Image number: DC070049

Portrait from Governor and Mrs. Claude Kirk's marriage: Palm Beach, Florida (February 18, 1967)

Portrait from Governor and Mrs. Claude Kirk's marriage: Palm Beach, Florida (February 18, 1967)

Image number: GV14155

Governor and Mrs. Claude R. Kirk on the Mike Douglas show (1967)

Governor and Mrs. Claude R. Kirk on the Mike Douglas show (1967)

Image number: C65000-61

Governor Claude Kirk sitting with Florida delegates at the 1968 Republican National Convention: Miami Beach, Florida (August 1968)

Governor Claude Kirk sitting with Florida delegates at the 1968 Republican National Convention: Miami Beach, Florida (August 1968)

Image number: GOV0095

Governor Kirk being filmed with CBS news anchor Mike Wallace and an unidentified woman in convention hall: Miami Beach, Florida (August 2, 1968)

Governor Kirk being filmed with CBS news anchor Mike Wallace and an unidentified woman in convention hall: Miami Beach, Florida (August 2, 1968)

Image number: C800000-125

In 1949, Governor Kirk received a law degree from the University of Alabama and began selling building supplies and insurance before he co-founded the American Heritage Life Insurance Company in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1956. He continued his successful business over the next several years before running for statewide office.

In 1967, at the age of 41, he became the first Republican Governor of Florida since 1872. Having campaigned promising no new taxes, Governor Kirk pledged to run the state government like a business in order to help attract new business and industry to the state. As governor, he resisted the efforts of teachers to conduct a statewide walkout and opposed the court-ordered forced busing program. Although often at odds with the Democrat-led legislature, Governor Kirk had significant accomplishments in the area of conservation by creating the Water Pollution Control Commission, organizing a statewide wilderness system, and halting the Cross Florida Barge Canal project. During his four-year term, Governor Kirk also achieved approval of a new constitution, which replaced the archaic document in place since 1885. Governor Kirk vigorously pursued organized crime and corruption in the state, utilizing private investigators in order to circumvent corrupt officials and establishing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Portrait of Governor Claude Kirk during his informal press conference aboard a yacht: Miami, Florida (August 1968)

Portrait of Governor Claude Kirk during his informal press conference aboard a yacht: Miami, Florida (August 1968)

Image number: GOV0004

Governor Claude Kirk holding his newborn daughter Claudia: Palm Beach, Florida (August 21, 1968)

Governor Claude Kirk holding his newborn daughter Claudia: Palm Beach, Florida (August 21, 1968)

Image number: C65000-43

Scene from the christening of Governor Claude Kirk's daughter Claudia: Palm Beach, Florida (December 29, 1968)

Scene from the christening of Governor Claude Kirk's daughter Claudia: Palm Beach, Florida (December 29, 1968)

Image number: C65000-21

Jason Scott Turner receiving treats from Governor Claude Kirk during a Halloween party at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Florida (1968 or 1969)

Jason Scott Turner receiving treats from Governor Claude Kirk during a Halloween party at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Florida (1968 or 1969)

Image number: PR76395

Governor Claude Kirk throwing out the first ball for a baseball game: Fort Myers, Florida (1969)

Governor Claude Kirk throwing out the first ball for a baseball game: Fort Myers, Florida (1969)

Image number: C65000-59

Shown after a baseball luncheon with the Kansas City Royals and Montreal Expos.

Florida Governor-elect Reubin Askew listens to Florida Governor Claude Kirk (December 8, 1970)

Florida Governor-elect Reubin Askew listens to Florida Governor Claude Kirk (December 8, 1970)

Image number: PT00562

Governor Claude Kirk (left) passes on a humorous comment to governor-elect Reubin Askew during the morning cabinet meeting. Askew joined Kirk at the cabinet table to get the feel of presiding over the state board. It was Askew's first visit to the cabinet since he was elected governor.

Florida Governor Kirk and Governor-elect Askew mounting the steps of the Capitol (January 5, 1971)

Florida Governor Kirk and Governor-elect Askew mounting the steps of the Capitol (January 5, 1971)

Image number: PR76370

This was the last time top hats and tails were worn for Inauguration.

Former Governor Claude Kirk holds up a chicken to emphasize a point: Tallahassee, Florida (1977)

Former Governor Claude Kirk holds up a chicken to emphasize a point: Tallahassee, Florida (1977)

Image number: MF0091

Accompanying note "Former Governor Claude Kirk, up to his old tricks, holds a dead chicken aloft during a speech before a Tallahassee group. Kirk is protesting what he terms chicken government. Kirk says, "You can't sit around and let government run the world or we'll all wind up like plucked chickens."

While Governor, he married Erika Mattfeld, a native of Germany and a mother of one daughter, Adriana. Governor Kirk was married previously to Sarah Stokes with whom he had two daughters, Sarah and Katherine, and twin sons, William and Frank. Governor Kirk and the first lady went on to have two more children, Claudia and Erik Henry.

Governor Claude Kirk Inauguration (1967)

Item Number: CA215

This film starts with Governor Claude Kirk taking the oath of office and giving his inaugural speech. The film is at times soft and slightly out of focus.

Governor Claude Kirk Wedding Pageantry (1967)

Item Number: RW#17

Shimmering lounge music accompanies scenes from Governor Claude Kirk's wedding celebration. There is footage of Governor Kirk and his wife Erika at their pre-wedding dinner party, arriving at the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea for the ceremony, and their wedding reception at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. President Richard Nixon is among those in attendance. Produced by the Florida Development Commission.

Governor Claude Kirk introduces the film North Miami Beach: Gateway to Interama (1964)

Item Number: CA065

Governor Claude Kirk introduces this film about North Miami Beach. Viewers see the environment and life in this area, including places of worship, schools, hospitals, banks, the library and neighborhoods. There are exteriors of Studio City and Capital Film Labs. The film shows horse racing at Gulfstream Park, community swimming pools marinas, and beaches. There are scenes of the Orange Bowl, Miss USA contest, Miss Universe contest, Monkey Jungle, Parrot Jungle and Miami Seaquarium. Produced by Don Parisher; sponsored by the North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.