Tag: Business / Entrepreneurs

Steve Kass

Moderator, disc jockey, and radio and television personality Steve Kass has served the local broadcast industry for over fifty years. He began broadcasting as a disc jockey on WRIB in 1958 and immediately changed his name from Katz to Kass. “I changed my name when I became a rock and roll DJ on WRIB radio.

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Robert “Rocky” Kempenaar II

Robert “Rocky” Kempenaar II is a highly successful businessman in the field of commercial real estate and development specializing in the hospitality (hotels) segment of the industry throughout Middletown, Portsmouth, and Newport, as well as in other New England states. In addition to his proven busi-ness acumen, Mr. Kempenaar is a pillar of the Aquidneck

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James R. Winoker

James Winoker, CEO of Belvoir Properties was honored at his 70th Brown University reunion where he was given the opportunity to present the diploma to his graduating grandson. Winoker’s history of accomplishments and contributions to the city of Providence is highlighted by his efforts to redevelop the Jewelry District, a project which he began over

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Barbara Papitto

Barbara A. Papitto was born in Providence on April 4, 1951, to Emile and Flora (Dandeneau) Auger. The youngest of five siblings, she grew up in the Wanskuck neighborhood of Providence with her four brothers. Her parents worked in local mills and factories, earning only minimum wage. Yet, even on the tightest budgets, her mother,

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Catharine Littlefield Greene

Catharine Littlefield Greene (1755-1814) was the vivacious, free-spirited, and uninhibited wife of General Nathanael Greene, but by the standards of her time, she was so much more. Born on Block Island, the daughter of John Littlefield, a colonial legislator, and Phebe Ray, she moved to Warwick at age ten after her mother’s death. Here, she

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Nazzareno Meloccaro

Nazzareno Meloccaro, the son of Luigi and Giovannina Meloccaro, was born into humble beginnings in Pontecorvo, Italy on February 23, 1903. He came to Rhode Island in 1920 where he found employment as a carpenter. The young enterprising Meloccaro in his spare time soon began the study of blueprint reading and elementary architecture; within three

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Gail Cahalan-Conley

GAIL CAHALAN – CONLEY – PHILANTHROPIST, BUSINESSWOMAN, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER Gail Cahalan-Conley was born in Central Falls on August 29, 1943, at Notre Dame Hospital. On her father’s side she was Irish and French-Canadian; on her mother’s side she was a mixture of Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian Slavic ancestry. Gail was educated in the public

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James Birchfield Sr.

Legendary promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr is most often referred to as the hardest working promoter in combat sports. This native Rhode Islander and North Providence resident has the well-deserved reputation in this region as the individual most responsible for consistently providing young fighters with a platform to chase their dreams. In 1992, fueled by a

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Robert I. Burke

Perhaps growing up on Roger Williams Avenue, being walked in a stroller in Roger Williams Park or learning his great grandfather owned the spring that became the Roger Williams National Memorial caused Bob to be smitten with the history of Rhode Island. That led to the Herbert C. Pell Award for Excellence in American History

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James Hess Leach

James Leach, a resident of Providence, is a corporate executive with over forty years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, holding leadership and Board of Directors positions. Leach’s roles have spanned the globe, from operations in the Northeast, else­ where in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. He is currently

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John M. Murphy, Sr.

John M. Murphy Sr. was born on June 19, 1938, in the Fox Point section of Providence. His parents, Jeremiah, and Catherine (Healy) Murphy, emigrated from Ireland and settled in Rhode Island in 1927. He was one of two siblings. John graduated from Hope High School in 1956 and attended Bryant College. He joined the

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Alfred A. “Smokey” Cerrone

Alfred “Smokey” Cerrone was a highly successful businessman, athlete, musician, innovator, and public-minded citizen who developed one of the world’s largest automobile agencies. He was instrumental in numerous charitable fund-raising ventures including with the Lincoln-Cumberland Boys Club and St. Joseph’s Pine Harbor School for children with special needs. He has given his personal support to

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Ambassador and Mayor Joe R. Paolino Jr.

The Honorable Joseph R. Paolino, Jr. assumes a unique place in the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. He is now the only inductee whose father, developer Joseph R. Paolino, Sr. and grandfather, Judge Luigi DePasquale, for whom the noted Federal Hill Plaza is named, are also members of the Hall of Fame. His mother,

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John Howland

Without hyperbole, John Howland can well be called “the father of free public education in Rhode Island.” He was born in Newport on October 31, 1757, the fourth of eight children in the family of Joseph and Sarah (Barber) Howland. He was the namesake and fifth-generation descendant of a Mayflower passenger who had come to

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James Procaccianti

By almost any measure, James Procaccianti is an American success story. His pre-eminent position in the world of real estate reflects the strong set of values and work ethic instilled in him by his parents, combined with his own instincts for profitable real estate deals and his round-the-clock passion for excellence. Jim learned the basics

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Aram G. Garabedian

Aram G. Garabedian was born in Providence and raised by his Armenian parents. He graduated from Hope High School. After losing an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Maine, Aram decided to hitch-hike there anyway with just $35 in his possession. He convinced the University to admit him and graduated in 1957 without any

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Ronald R.S. Picerne

Born in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1929, Ronald R.S. Picerne is the son of Romeo and Rose Picerne. Ron attended Cranston public schools and graduated from Cranston East High School in 1946. As a young boy, Ron was a member of community organizations such as the YMCA and Boy Scouts and played CYO basketball and

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William F. F. Farley

William F. Farley, of Pawtucket, now of Chicago, is businessman who was was chairman and CEO of Fruit of the Loom the highly successful international manufacturer and distributor of basic family apparel for fifteen years (1985-1999). Farley acquired Fruit of the Loom in 1986. Under Farley’s leadership, sales exceeded $2 billion. He has received the

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Robert L. Crandall

ROBERT L. CRANDALL, of Dallas, Texas and formerly of Westerly, retired President Emeritus of American Airlines where he worked for eighteen years holding positions as president, chairman and CEO. During his tenure with American, he spearheaded many innovative changes in the airline business prompting experts to describe him as “the man who changed the way

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Dr. John William Keefe

State and national eminence in the medical profession came to Dr. John W. Keefe of Providence, Rhode Island, through his exceptional skill as a surgeon and his many notable and humane achievements in a career in which his service in his chosen profession was distinguished for nearly half a century. He was a founder of

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Royal Little

Quality traits such as curiosity, courage, and counter-intuition have characterized key moments of Royal Little’s life. A natural inquiring mind led him to insights others missed or thought not possible, most notably his invention of the business conglomerate, Textron, a company comprised of separate, unrelated, diversified manufacturing enterprises. Dealt a harsh blow in early life

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John E. Moran

John E. Moran, 1913-1997, served as President and Co-founder of McLaughin & Moran Distributors, which was a recognized leader in its’ field for over fifty years. An outstanding all-state athlete out of LaSalle Academy, he starred for Manhattan College in football and baseball. For the next fifty years, with time out for U.S. Naval service,

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Warren B Galkin

In 1917, Arthur Galkin I founded Natco Products Corporation as a recycler of waste materials. He had two sons, Bob and Warren. In 1949, his eldest son, Bob, graduated from Brown with a semester at Oxford and a BA in International Relations. At that time, Natco had two divisions; a division that manufactured mats, matting,

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David A. Duffy

David A. Duffy of North Kingstown, is the retired chairman of the highly successful firm of Duffy & Shanley, a Providence based advertising, marketing and public relations firm. David Duffy worked his way up from a typicla Pawtucket Irish kid working in a bar to success as a prominent businessman and civic leader. Duffy attended

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Walter Scott

The steps leading to the invention of an American cultural original, the diner eatery, began in Providence through the initiative of Walter Scott. He was born on November 28, 1841 in Cumberland, the son of lawyer Joseph A. Scott and Juliet Howland Scott. By age eleven Scott was peddling candy, fruit, and newspapers on the

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Joseph R. Paolino Sr.

A lifelong resident of Rhode Island, Joseph R. Paolino’s entire career revolved around real estate, and in this important area of Rhode Island’s economy he had no peer. Entrepreneurial, tough-minded, persistent, and unafraid of challenge, Paolino literally changed the face of Downtown Providence real estate. Joe’s father, Anthony, helped spark young Paolino’s early interest in

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George M. Bucklin

George Bucklin was a great benefactor to the Boy Scouts of Rhode Island, donating all of the land and buildings that became Camp Yawgoog in 1916. He was honored by having his name on the large administrative hub building for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation, the location of the Three Point Dining Hall. The Bucklin Marksmanship Medal for

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John Hazen White Sr.

John Hazen White, Sr. , 1914-2001,of Barrington, was a prominent businessman whose Cranston-based “TACO, Inc.” is among the country’s most successful manufacturing companies. He has defended Rhode Islanders by enlightening them to the cost of Government and the consequences of legislative decisions through his innovative “Red Alert” efforts, while bearing all costs associated with the

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Senator Philip Allen

Allen, Philip, 1785-1865 Senator Philip Allen (1785-1865) of Providence was a merchant, a textile magnate, a reform governor (1851-53), and a one-term United States Senator (1853-1859). The brother of Zachariah Allen, noted inventor and industrialist, and the uncle of Thomas Wilson Dorr, Allen was also prominent in banking and insurance. A graduate of Brown University

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Irwin Chase

Irwin Chase is the eldest son of Martin Chase, a Russian Jew who immigrated with his family from the Ukraine to Providence in 1912. The Chase family first settled in South Providence but later moved to the East Side. Born in 1926, Irwin attended Hope High School. At eighteen he joined the army and fought

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John M. Sapinsley

John M. Sapinsley’s personal traits such as curiosity, courage, critical thinking, and kindness led him on an extraordinary life journey as a successful U.S. Navy veteran, businessman, professor, mentor, philanthropist, champion gofer, and most importantly, a loving husband to Senator Lila Sapinsely (a 2004 RI Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee), a father of four accomplished

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Ralph Papitto

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose. No one exemplifies success more than Ralph Papitto. Mr. Papitto has earned and enjoyed many successes in his life. From his early years, immediately out of college, to the present, Ralph has been at the pinnacle of the Rhode Island’s business and nonprofit

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Alfred Carpionato

Alfred Carpionato started his life in humble circum- stances working for his fathers single family residential con- struction business when he was merely a teenager. As a very young man, he had traveled to Boston, Florida, and California where he gained invaluable expe- rience working with the top developers of that era. Taking everything he

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Thomas Robinson Hazard

Thomas Robinson Hazard was a South Kingstown manufacturer, agriculturalist, author and social reformer who embodied the egalitarian spirit of the pre–Civil War age of reform. Affectionately called “Shepherd Tom” because of his prize sheep herd, Hazard, born on January 3, 1797, was a seventh-generation descendant of Thomas Hazard, the progenitor of the famous Hazard clan

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Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard

Goddard, Robert H. I. (Robert Hale Ives), 1837-1916 Colonel Robert Goddard (1837-1916) was a son of Professor William G. Goddard, newspaperman and first Chancellor of Brown University, and Charlotte Rhoda Ives Goddard. Through his mother’s line of descent, Goddard was related to the Ives family, who partnered with the Brown family in shipping, manufacturing, real

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Colonel Randall A. Harrington

Harrington, Randall A. (Randall Augustus), 1854-1918 Colonel Randall Augustus Harrington (1854-1918) was born in the mill village of Phenix, then a part of the town of Warwick in 1854, the son of Randall A. Harrington and Mary Madison Harrington. The Harringtons and Madisons were descended from early Rhode Island families. In Colonel Harrington’s long career

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Diane L. Coutu

Diane Coutu, a native of West Warwick, was named a Rhode Scholar at Oxford after graduating with honors at Yale University. She was the winner of the Rotary International Fellowship, an Oxford University Graduate, and interned as Yale’s Griswold Scholar. At the age of 27, she was appointed to the Rand Corporation in California, where

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Robert Galkin

In 1917, Arthur Galkin I founded Natco Products Corporation as a recycler of waste materials. He had two sons, Bob and Warren. In 1949, his eldest son, Bob, graduated from Brown with a semester at Oxford and a BA in International Relations. At that time, Natco had two divisions; a division that manufactured mats, matting,

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Thomas Alexander Tefft

In 1856, the year that thirty-year-old Thomas Alexander Tefft embarked on an educational and architectural tour of Europe—from which he would not return alive—Massachusetts bard John Greenleaf Whittier published his famous poem “Maud Muller,” containing these memorable lines: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

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John Gorham

Gorham, John, 1820-1898 John Gorham was born in Providence on November 18, 1820. He was the eldest son of Jabez Gorham who had established himself as a leading manufacturer of silverware and jewelry in Providence in the 1830s. John began his apprenticeship in 1837 and in 1841, at the age of 21, he became a

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Zachariah Allen

Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire

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Edward M. Fay

Edward M. Fay spent his life in the entertainment industry as a violinist, conductor, vaudeville impresario, poet, and motion picture theater owner. He owned at least six different theaters between 1928 and 1977 and was called by The Providence Journal the “dean of Rhode Island entertainment.” He was born in South Providence to James T.

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Wini (Blacher) Galkin

In 1917, Arthur Galkin I founded Natco Products Corporation as a recycler of waste materials. He had two sons, Bob and Warren. In 1949, his eldest son, Bob, graduated from Brown with a semester at Oxford and a BA in International Relations. At that time, Natco had two divisions; a division that manufactured mats, matting,

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Congressman Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis was born in Dublin, Ireland, on December 18, 1806. He attended private schools in Ireland and migrated to America in 1817, settling in Providence. Becoming a pioneer in Rhode Island’s jewelry industry, he amassed sufficient wealth to enable him to finance a variety of political, civic, and reform endeavors. Little is known about

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Alan G. Hassenfeld

Alan Hassenfeld is the former chairman of the board and present chairman of the executive committee of Hasbro, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international toy company. Under his leadership, Hasbro has become a worldwide leader in children’s and family entertainment. Its brands and products are some of the most recognizable and respected throughout the world. Alan

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Warren Alpert

Pursuing Health to Benefit Society “I wanted to be rich,’ he told the Boston Globe very seriously in 1988, “so I could give my money away.” That would all happen but not nearly as quickly has he might have hoped. He had graduated from BU in 1942, and by June 1944, he was a private

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Dr. Piyush Patel

Piyush Patel has strong Rhode Island roots, dating back more than thirty years when he purchased two hotels in the Town of Narragansett–The Village Inn and Atlantic House. Investing in Rhode Island real estate is nothing new for this entrepreneur. He spent millions converting Cranston’s Park Theater into a Class A event center, rivaling any

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Burton L. “Buster” Bonoff

Burton “Buster” Bonoff of Phoenix, Arizona and West Warwick was a legendary entertainment entrepreneur who founded the famed Warwick Musical Theatre (WMT), in Warwick, R.I. in 1955. He also served as its general manager and as a promoter of major entertainment talent in Rhode Island and elsewhere for over forty years. Nationally prominent in his

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George T. Downing

In Rhode Island, slavery was placed on the road to extinction on March 1, 1784, when the General Assembly passed a gradual manumission act making any Black born to a slave mother after that date free. Those who were slaves at that time had to be manumitted by their masters. Five such slaves were listed

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George M. Sage

George M. Sage, 1931-2006, was one of the most beloved Rhode Islanders of his generation. A gifted businessman, Mr. Sage had an even more substantial impact for his philanthropic endeavors, planning and executing a legacy of giving that will benefit Rhode Islanders for years to come. George was born in Rochester, New York in 1931,

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

Alva V. Belmont was an American multi-millionaire socialite and women’s suffrage activist. She was noted for her energy, intelligence, strong opinions, and willingness to challenge convention. She was born on January 17, 1853, at 201 Government Street in Mobile, Alabama to Murray Forbes Smith, a merchant, and Phoebe Smith. Her father was the son of

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Thomas Gilbane

The Gilbane family, like the Banigans and the Hanleys, were driven from Ireland to America by the potato blight that caused Ireland’s “Great Famine.” William Gilbane, who was born in 1842, arrived in America from County Leitrim with his parents, Thomas and Bridget (O’Brien) Gilbane, in 1845, settling originally at Lime Rock in the Blackstone

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Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown (1733-1785), the son of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, was a noted businessman, scientist, professor, and architect, and one of the famous Brown brothers who dominated civic life in Providence during the second half of the eighteenth century. Although he was a successful merchant and the manager of his family’s spermaceti candle

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Arnold Buffum

Arnold Buffum, hatmaker, inventor, and abolitionist, was the second son among William Buffum’s and Lydia Arnold’s eight children. He was born on December 13, 1782, and raised in a farmhouse near Smithfield’s Union Village, now part of North Smithfield. Arnold’s childhood home, called the William Buffum House for his Quaker father, who built it, still

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Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer III

Haffenreffer, R.F. Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, III (1902-1991), the eldest son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., succeeded to his father’s positions in several family ventures. Rudolph, III graduated from Dartmouth College (where he was an active alumnus) and Harvard School of Business Administration. He served as president of Narragansett Brewery and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company which the

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Gertrude I. Johnson

The story of Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales and the founding of Johnson & Wales University is truly an American success story. Given the times in which they lived, and the difficulty women faced in any professional endeavor in the early twentieth century, their story is nothing short of remarkable. In 1914, Gertrude

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William Gilbane

The Gilbane family, like the Banigans and the Hanleys, were driven from Ireland to America by the potato blight that caused Ireland’s “Great Famine.” William Gilbane, who was born in 1842, arrived in America from County Leitrim with his parents, Thomas and Bridget (O’Brien) Gilbane, in 1845, settling originally at Lime Rock in the Blackstone

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Moses Brown

Moses Brown (1738-1836), a prominent Providence merchant, reformer, and philanthropist, was one of the five Brown brothers, a group that included John, Joseph, Nicholas, and James, the eldest, a twenty-six-year-old ship captain when he died at sea in 1751. They were the children of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Power,

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Charles I. D. Looff

Charles I.D. Looff was an American master carver and builder of hand-carved carousels and amusement rides. During his lifetime, he built over 40 carousels, amusement parks, roller coasters, and Ferris wheels. He built the first carousel at Coney Island in 1876. One of his carousels inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland and Disneyworld. Disneyland has

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Gov. George Herbert Utter

George Utter was a U.S. Representative and the 49th Governor of Rhode Island. He served as an aide-de-camp to Governor Augustus Bourn from 1883 to 1885, following which he won election as a state Representative, serving for four years as Speaker for a time. He was Secretary of State from 1891 to 1894 and won

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Mary T. Wales

The story of Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales and the founding of Johnson & Wales University is truly an American success story. Given the times in which they lived, and the difficulty women faced in any professional endeavor in the early twentieth century, their story is nothing short of remarkable. In 1914, Gertrude

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William Michael Vareika

In 1987, Bill and Alison Vareika opened a public art gallery on Newport’s Bellevue Avenue Casino Historic District block after seven years as private dealers of American art operating out of their Newport carriage house home. The Newport and New England art scene has never been the same. The gallery has grown into one of

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William Ellery

William Ellery (1727-1820), merchant, congressman, chief justice, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the son of prominent Newport merchant William Ellery and Elizabeth Almy. His well-to-do father sent him to Harvard, from which young William graduated in 1747. He then embarked upon a mercantile career, but when his father’s death in 1764 left

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Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

Knight, Benjamin B., 1813-1898 and Knight, Robert, 1825-1912 The Knight brothers were textile manufacturers and philanthropists, owning twenty-one manufacturing villages under the logo “Fruit of the Loom,” and employing nearly 7000 operatives. Benjamin was born in Cranston, R.I., 3 October 1813 to Stephen and Welthan (Brayton) Knight, farmers. He spent his early years assisting his

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Bruce R. Lang

Bruce R. Lang is an American entrepreneur and former television executive, television and radio host and analyst, co-founder of two Rhode Island good government groups, Operation Clean Government and UsPAC (1991-1993). He currently hosts State of the State (TV show) on a part-time basis. Bruce Lang, a resident of Newport, has a B.A. from the

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Judge Frank Caprio

Frank Caprio was a lawyer, politician, judge, and philanthropist born in Providence, Rhode Island, on Nov. 24, 1936. He served as chief judge of the municipal court of Providence, Rhode Island, and chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. His judicial work was televised on the program Caught in Providence and

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Richard L Bready 2017

Richard L. “Rick” Bready is an outstanding model of the successful international entrepreneur and corporate citi- zen who never really retires. Rick began his business career in 1967 as an accountant with Arthur Anderson in Boston where he was born in 1944 and grew up. He attended public and parochial schools in the Boston area;

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Colonel Christopher Greene

Christopher Greene (1737-1781) of Warwick, a direct descendant of Roger Williams and the second son of Judge Phillip and Elizabeth Wickes Greene, was one of Rhode Island’s most illustrious military figures of the American Revolution. Prior to the outbreak of war, Greene married Ann Lippitt, by whom he had nine children, and he engaged in

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George Champlin Mason Sr.

Mason, George C. (George Champlin), 1820-1894 George Champlin Mason, Sr. was a noted Newport architect, real estate developer, editor of the Newport Mercury, prolific historian of Newport, and a founder of the Newport Historical Society. Among his significant architectural designs are Chepstow, the 1860-61 Italianate villa just off Bellevue Avenue, Newpor; Eisenhower House, at 1

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Caroline Hazard

Caroline Hazard, educator, philanthropist, artist, and author was born in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, on June 10, 1856. She was the second of five children of industrialist Rowland Hazard II and Margaret A. (Rood) Hazard of Peace Dale. Caroline grew up with all the privileges her prominent family could afford – private tutors, European vacations,

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Norman Stephen Taber

Norman S. Taber is Rhode Island’s greatest home-grown track star. He was a Providence native and a dominant runner for Brown University, Class of 1913. Taber emerged as a top runner in 1910 when he finished third in the IC4A championship mile for Brown University. Missing the 1911 season, he re-emerged in 1912, finishing sixth

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Congressman Jonathan Hazard

Jonathan Hazard (1744-1825) was born to a Newport Quaker family in 1744. As a young man, he moved to rural Charlestown, became a small farmer, and worked as an itinerant tailor. He was passionately involved in the independence movement. During the Revolution, he served for a time as the paymaster of the Rhode Island regiment

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Carl W. Haffenreffer

Haffenreffer, Carl W. Carl W. Haffenreffer, son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., continued his father’s tradition of business and philanthropic activity. With brother Rudolph 3rd and the R.F. Haffenreffer Family Foundation, he donated most of the Mount Hope lands and the King Philip Museum to Brown University. He became president of Narragansett Brewery, succeeding brother Rudolf,

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Daniel Berkeley Updike

Daniel B. Updike, book designer, and printer, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on Feb. 24, 1860. He was the son of Caesar Updike, a lawyer and state representative, and Elizabeth Bigelow Adams. He was an only child born into an old, well-connected New England family. He was a descendant of Richard Smith, one of

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Robert B. Lynch

Bob “Chief” Lynch was known for his volunteer contributions to the preservation and promotion of Rhode Island’s heritage over the last four decades. Lynch graduated from Cranston High School and Brown University (Class of 1944). He was a Navy veteran of World War II. He served on the Harry F. Bauer in the Pacific, and

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Major General Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene was born in the Potowomut section of the town of Warwick on July 27, 1742 (or August 7, according to the New Style Julian calendar adopted in England and the American colonies in 1752). His father, for whom he was named, was a farmer and an iron maker whose second wife, Mary Mott,

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Major General James Mitchell Varnum

James Mitchell Varnum (1748-1789), lawyer, Revolutionary War general, and judge, was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the eldest son of affluent farmer Major Samuel Varnum and his second wife, Hannah Mitchell. He attended Harvard for a year, but his involvement in a student protest prompted him to enroll at Rhode Island College (Brown), where he earned

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John Brown Herreshoff

Herreshoff, John Brown, 1841-1915 John Brown Herreshoff was the Bristol-born elder brother and indispensable associate of Hall of Famer Nat Herreshoff. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which built seven America’s Cup defenders from 1893 through 1934, was founded in 1878 by “JB” and Nat Herreshoff. This firm operated under JB’s direction for thirty-seven years. JB lost

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Yat K. Tow

The distinction and honor of being the first Chinese-American to be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame is a recognition that Yat K. Tow (1912-1990) would accept with humility and pride. It is a tribute that has inclusive symbolic value–a shared honor that must also recognize the Tow family that preceded him

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Thomas F. Gilbane

Humble origins have been the hallmark of many American and Rhode Island success stories. Not many can match the saga of the Gilbane Brothers and the establishment of the multinational Gilbane Building Company. The Irish potato famine of the1840’s sent myriads of Hibernian refugees to North America. And so it was with Thomas and Bridget

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Samuel Slater

More than anyone, Samuel Slater pioneered the making of modern Rhode Island. This so-called Father of the Factory System was the catalyst for the economic transformation that gave Rhode Island its salient characteristic – an industrial order that dominated the state’s economy from the early nineteenth century until the dawn of the present postindustrial era.

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Nicholas Brown II

Nicholas Brown II, 1769-1841, Providence businessman and philanthropist, was the son and heir of of Nicholas Brown, one of the five famous Brown brothers of late eighteenth-century Providence. In 1796 he formed the highly successful mercantile-industrial partnership Brown & Ives, which made a fortune in the China trade. When the name of Rhode Island College

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Joseph Davol

Joseph Davol, descendant of the William Davol who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1640, was the son of Joseph Davol and Mary (Sanders) Davol. He was born in Warren in 1837, but the exact date of his birth is unknown. After early schooling in Warren, Joseph moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New

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James C. Bucklin

Records say that Providence architect James C. Bucklin was a native of Pawtucket, but in view of his family’s Rehoboth origins, the place of his birth on July 26, 1801, was probably on the east side of the Blackstone, an area not acquired by Rhode Island until 1862. His parents were James and Lorania (Pearce)

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Henry M. Leland

Henry Leland approached his boss at Brown & Sharpe with a preposterous proposal: He planned to quit his job and move west to begin a business, and he wanted to take one of his best co-workers with him. To start his new business he would need to borrow $2,000, the current equivalent of $50,000; he

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William J. Gilbane

Humble origins have been the hallmark of many American and Rhode Island success stories. Not many can match the saga of the Gilbane Brothers and the establishment of the multinational Gilbane Building Company. The Irish potato famine of the1840’s sent myriads of Hibernian refugees to North America. And so it was with Thomas and Bridget

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John Carter

John Carter (1745-1814) was born in Philadelphia in 1745, the son of Elizabeth Spriggs, and John Carter, a naval officer of Irish ancestry killed in battle two months before his son’s birth. During the late 1750s, Carter was apprenticed in the print shop of Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. In 1767, Carter moved to Providence,

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John Aldrich Saunders Jr.

John Aldrich Saunders, Jr. (1808-1882) was the central figure, chronologically and symbolically, of the noted South County family of boat builders, marine entrepreneurs, and seamen. He was born in Newport, the grandson of Stephen Saunders, a shipwright, and the son of Captain John Aldrich Saunders (1786-1832), who built one of the first three-mastered schooners and

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Edward Carrington

Edward Carrington was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 2, 1775, the son of physician Edward Carrington and the former Susan Whittlesey. His family moved to Providence after the Revolution, and here Edward embarked upon a career in maritime commerce. Carrington zealously embraced the commercial opportunity to engage in the exotic China and East

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