50 Years of Gubernatorial Portraits: Greitens forgoes official headshot, chooses family photo


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Each new governor’s photo is posted in every state office, agency, and department across the state, but self-proclaimed outsider Gov. Eric Greitens is once again doing things a little differently.

Greitens has chosen the family portrait to be used in state offices, as well as in the next Missouri Official Manual, or Blue Book. The photo was delivered to state offices today to be hung.

Shown here is the current governor’s photo with the official photos of previous governors, from left to right: Gov. Matt Blunt, Gov. Bob Holden, and Gov. Jay Nixon.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 2.26.35 PM

Previous governors have used an official state photographer to get their portraits taken.

In the past, only the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and Gov. Bob Holden used a photo featuring someone other than themselves. Carnahan always included his wife, Jean, in the photos published in the State’s Manual, while Holden is the only other governor to also feature his wife and children.

But Greitens will be the first governor to ever have his family portrait hung in the state offices. His photo will also be the first with subjects in casual dress and clearly outside of the Governor’s Mansion or Office.

When asked about the decision, Gov. Greitens’ press secretary Parker Briden said the reason was simply that “the governor’s family is very important to him, and he wanted his official portrait to reflect that.”

Here’s a look back at the gubernatorial portraits over the last half decade, in order of earliest to latest:

Governor Warren E. Hearnes (D), 1965–73

1967-1972 Warren Hearnes

Governor Christopher (Kit) S. Bond (R), 1973–77

1973-1974 Kit Bond 1975-1976 Kit Bond

Governor Joseph P. Teasdale (D), 1977–81

1979-1980 Joseph Teasdale

Governor Christopher (Kit) S. Bond (R), 1981–85

1981-1982 Kit Bond 1983-1984 Kit Bond

Governor John Ashcroft (R), 1985–93

1987-1988 Jay Ashcroft 1989-1992 Jay Ashcroft

Governor Mel Carnahan (D), 1993-2000

1993-1994 Mel and Jean Carnahan 1995-1998 Mel and Jean Carnahan

Governor Roger Wilson (D), 2000-2001

Roger B Wilson

*No gubernatorial photo was taken, as Wilson filled in as governor following the death of Gov. Mel Carnahan. Upon Carnahan’s death, Wilson opted to use his lt. governor portrait and also permitted Carnahan’s photo to continue to be hung in state offices as tribute.

Governor Bob Holden (D), 2001-2005

2001-2002 Bob Holden 2003-2004 Bob Holden

Holden did not use either of the full family portraits as his official state photo, used in state buildings and offices.

Governor Matt Blunt (R), 2005-2009

2005-2008 Matt Blunt

Governor Jeremiah Wilson (Jay) Nixon (D), 2009-2017 

 2009-2010 Jay Nixon 2011-2012 Jay Nixon 2013-2016 Jay Nixon

Governor Eric R. Greitens (R), 2017-


Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.