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William Arthur James Govan was born in Biggar, Lanarkshire in 13th January 1895, one of 3 children of Annie Rose Govan (née Newton) and James F Govan, a retired manufacturer. Govan attended The Glasgow School of Art from 1911 to 1912 as a full-time student of drawing and painting. During the First World War, Govan served in the Motor Machine Gun regiment, in which he received 2nd lieutenant commission. After the war he worked as a theatre manager. He immigrated to New York in 1920. Govan became a U.S. citizen in 1944. He died in 30th September 1959, and is buried in Biggar cemetery. Govan is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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Sources: the Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture by Peter J M McEwan; the Dictionary of Scottish Architects: http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk; Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.