Lennington "Len" Small (June 16, 1862 – May 17, 1936) was an American politician. He served as the 26th Governor of Illinois, from 1921 to 1929. He also served as a member of the Illinois state senate from the 16th District from 1901 to 1903 and was Illinois state treasurer, from 1905 to 1907, and from 1917 to 1919.
Small was born in Kankakee County, Illinois, and was educated in the public schools. He attended Northern Indiana Normal School, now Valparaiso University. He taught school and invested in real estate, eventually owning a farm, a bank, and Kankakee's daily newspaper. In 1883, Small married Ida Moore, and they had three children together.
He was the Illinois State Treasurer from 1905 to 1907, and again from 1917 to 1919. He served as the assistant U.S. Treasurer in charge of the sub treasury at Chicago from 1908 to 1912, and was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois in 1908, 1912, 1932.
Small was elected Governor of Illinois in 1920, and was reelected in 1925. He was indicted, while governor, for embezzling $600,000 and running a money-laundering scheme when he was state treasurer. He was acquitted, but eight jurors later got state jobs, raising suspicions of jury tampering.
As governor, Small pardoned twenty members of the Communist Labor Party convicted under the Illinois Sedition Act. He also pardoned or paroled over 1000 convicted felons, including Harry Guzik of Posen, who was convicted of kidnapping young girls and forcing them into lives of prostitution (a practice then commonly called white slavery).
In 1923, bootlegger Edward "Spike" O'Donnell of the Southside Chicago O'Donnell was released from prison by Small. O'Donnell returned to Chicago as the leader of one of the most powerful bootlegging gangs in the city.
Small's reputation for corruption finally caught up with him at the ballot box when he was defeated in the 1928 Republican primary by a margin of 63% to 37% against Louis Emmerson, the incumbent Illinois Secretary of State. Small would make a failed run for governor in 1932.
Small died on May 17, 1936. He is buried at Mound Grove Cemetery in Kankakee, Illinois.
- "Illinois Governor Lennington Small". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- "Lennington Small". Find A Grave. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- "Small, Lennington (1862-1936)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Benzkofer, Stephanie (19-06-2011). "Len Small: Perhaps the Dirtiest Illinois Governor of Them All". Chicago Tribune (Chicago: Tribune Co.). Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Hoffman, Dennis E. (2010). Scarface Al and the Crime Crusaders: Chicago's Private War Against Capone. Carbondale, IL: SIU Press. p. 129. ISBN 0809330040.
- Keefe, Rose (2003). Guns and Roses: The Untold Story of Dean O'Banion, Chicago's Big Shot Before Al Capone. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 1581823789.
Further reading 
Kobler, John. Capone. Da Capo Press of Perseus Books Group, New York. 2003. p. 79. ISBN 0306812851 Ridings, Jim. Len Small: Governors and Gangsters. Side Show Books, Herscher IL. 2009. ISBN 0982408005
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- Find A Grave
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Frank O. Lowden
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Louis L. Emmerson