Born in Carroll County, Illinois, Bailey attended the common schools, Mount Carroll High School, and the University of Illinois at Urbana. He married Ida B. Weede on June 9, 1903 and had two stepchildren.
Bailey moved to Nemaha County, Kansas, in 1879, and became a successful farmer, rancher, and banker. He and his father founded the town of Baileyville, Kansas in 1880. He served as member of the Kansas House of Representatives from 1888 to 1890. He was president of the Republican State League in 1893. He served as member of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture from 1895 to 1899.
In 1902 Bailey won the Republican gubernatorial nomination and the general election and served as Governor of Kansas from 1903 to 1905. During his tenure, construction on the state capitol was completed, railroad commissioners and the office of state printer became elective positions, and a law banning gambling devices was sanctioned.
Bailey moved to Atchison, Kansas, in 1907 and engaged in the banking business. He was elected a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1914, and then governor of the bank in 1922, and served until his death.
- "Willis J. Bailey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Willis J. Bailey". Kansas State Library. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Willis J. Bailey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- "Willis J. Bailey". Kansas State Lifrary. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- "Willis J. Bailey". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- United States Congress. "Willis J. Bailey (id: B000051)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Willis J. Bailey at Find a Grave
- National Governors Association
- Kansas State Library
- The Political Graveyard
- Publications concerning Kansas Governor Bailey's administration available via the KGI Online Library
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Jeremiah D. Botkin
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's at-large congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Kansas
Edward W. Hoch
| Governor of Kansas
Edward W. Hoch
| President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.