Tag: Government & Politics

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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Ojetta R. Thompson

Ojetta R. Thompson was born in Anderson, South Carolina on August 8, 1951. Her mother was a teacher, and her father was a school principal. Her hometown was Greenville, a municipality named for Rhode Island Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene who is regarded as a liberator of the South from British rule. From kindergarten through

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Gene Valicenti

This year, Gene Valicenti crosses over the 30-year mark at WJAR, starting as a freelance reporter in the summer of 1992. As co-anchor of the top-rated NBC 10 News at 6, host of the “10 News Conference” political program, and morning man for WPRO radio, Gene has deservedly come to be known as “Rhode Island’s

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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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Solomon Southwick

Except for those Revolutionary War patriots who actually faced the bayonet charges or the merciless cannon fire of the British and their mercenaries, there probably were few other Rhode Islanders who put themselves and their families at more risk than “Patriot Printer” Solomon Southwick of Newport. Editor of the weekly newspaper Newport Mercury, Southwick was

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Chief Miantonomi

Canonicus and his nephew Miantonomi were the chief sachems of the powerful Narragansett tribe at the time when Roger Williams and other English colonists settled Rhode Island. The heart of the Narragansett’s strength during their “golden age” under Canonicus and Miantonomi was the tribe’s close association with such smaller bands as the Pawtuxet, the Shawomet,

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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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Speaker John Harwood

John Harwood is a man of great ability and versatility He has generated impressive careers in sports, politics, law, and humanitarian service. In every endeavor he has assumed the mantel of leadership. John was born in Providence on January 14, 1952, the son of Pawtucket residents Bernard and Helen Harwood. Harwood’s career in sports came

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Ambassador William P. Mccormick

William McCormick was born in Providence. He attended Roger Williams Jr. College and Boston University while serving honorably in the Army Reserve until 1963. Mr. McCormick moved to San Francisco and worked for Connecticut General Life Insurance Company until 1965. At this time, he became a partner in the Refectory Steak House Restaurant chain. By

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Sara MacCormack Algeo

Sara M. Algeo was President of the Rhode Island College Equal Suffrage League; Founder and Chair of the Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Party; Member of Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Association; Rhode Island Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee of the New England Woman Suffrage Association; Chair of the Rhode Island Woman’s Americanization Committee;

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Sophia R. Little

Sophia Little was born in Newport in 1799, the daughter of Asher Robbins. Her father was a prominent Rhode Island politician who served as U.S. Attorney General for Rhode Island and then in the state legislature before serving as U.S. Senator from 1825 to 1839. Not much is known about Sophia’s early education other than

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Lila M. Sapinsley

Lila Sapinsley, a trailblazer for women in Rhode Island politics and beloved wife of John Sapinsley. She was a state Senator for Rhode Island and rose to Senate minority leader. In 1972, Lila Sapinsley was elected to the state Senate and became Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to hold a leadership post in the

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Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy

Governor J. Joseph Garrahy, 1930-2012, was a native of Narragansett, who served four terms as Governor of the state following a distinguished career in public service which began in 1962. One of Rhode Island’s most popular leaders, Governor Garrahy returned to the private sector in 1985, serving as a highly successful business executive and well

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Eleanor Slater

Eleanor Slater, 1909-2006, served as both a State Representative and a State Senator. She lead the way to the passage of Rhode Island’s Fair Housing Bill. She was appointed director of the Division of Aging, now the State Department of Elderly Affairs. She served as vice-chairman of the Democratic Committee and was a National Committeewoman.

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U.S. Senator and Governor J. Howard McGrath

Governor, Senator, U.S. Solicitor General, and Attorney General, J. Howard McGrath had compiled an impressive resume by the time he reached his fiftieth year. Born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on November 28, 1903, he was the second son of Irish mill worker James J. and his wife Ida (May) McGrath. Leaving the Blackstone Valley area

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Congressman Aime Joseph Forand

Aime Joseph Forand was born on May 23, 1895 in Fall River, Massachusetts to Francois Xavier and MeliLuce Ruest Forand. Forand studied at public and Catholic schools in the state, and also attended the Magnus Commercial School in Providence, and Columbia University in New York. At the age of twenty- three, he enlisted in the

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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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Gov. Bruce G. Sundlun

Two-term governor of Rhode Island, Bruce Sundlun was a complex, forthright servant of the people. Federal prosecutor, B-17 bomber pilot, CEO of the Outlet Company, to name just a few of his many accomplishments, Governor Sundlun was the quintessential Renaissance man. Bruce Sundlun was born on January 19, 1920, the first child of Jan Zelda

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Brigadier General Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes, eldest son of ship captain Elisha Hunt Rhodes and Eliza Ann (Chace) Rhodes, was born in Pawtuxet Village on March 21, 1842. This lineal descendant of Roger Williams attended schools in Cranston and Providence including Potter & Hammond’s Commercial College. His father’s death at sea when Elisha was only sixteen left him

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Governors Elisha & Elisha Jr. Dyer

Dyer, Elisha, 1811-1890 Governor Elisha Dyer (1811-1890) and Governor Elisher Dyer, Jr. (1839-1909) traced their illustrious ancestry to William and Mary Dyer of Boston who settled Portsmouth in 1638 as exiled disciples of Anne Hutchinson. They eventually embraced Quakerism, and Mary repeatedly returned to Boston to preach the new doctrine in defiance of the Puritan

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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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Major General Morphis Albert Jamiel

Major General Morphis Albert Jamiel, 1922-2013, truly exemplified the very best of America. Born into the well-known Jamiel family of Warren in 1922, his parents were the late Albert and Mary Jamiel. He had twelve brothers and sisters. From this humble origin in the small town of Warren, he eventually carved out a notable career

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Frank J. Williams

Frank J. Williams is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, a notable Abraham Lincoln scholar and author, and a Justice on the Military Commission Review Panel. He has written and edited fourteen books; contributed chapters to several others; and lectured on Abraham Lincoln throughout the country. He has amassed an

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Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy

Patrick Joseph Kennedy II was born in Brighton, Massachusetts on July 14, 1967, the son of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy. After graduation from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1986, he began a quarter-century of residence in Rhode Island bringing with him both the benefits and the burdens of the Kennedy

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Walter Stone

The late Walter Stone was superintendent of Rhode Island State Police. Serving as Chief in Providence, he was one of two men to serve as head of Rhode Island’s two largest police forces. He also played football for the Providence Steamrollers, and was a boxer on the police team.

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George R. Ramsbottom

George Ramsbottom, 1888-1979, was a Pawtucket industrialist who was President-Treasurer of the Seekonk Lace Company. An angel to the Pawtucket Boys Club, he gave them Camp Ramsbottom for summer recreation. He was also active in Red Cross and Community Chest drives. Ramsbottom is also credited with helping to write the Pawtucket City Charter.

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Raymond F. Farrell

A native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Raymond Farrell was born on February 6, 1903 to James and Jennie (Moran) Farrell. After he graduated from Pawtucket High School he entered Georgetown University and later its La School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated in 1931. He subsequently served as a federal investigator in a variety of

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Mayor and Captain Thomas Willett

Captain Thomas Willett (1611-1674) was the principal early settler of Wannamoisett (present-day Riverside and northern Barrington) and the first English mayor of New York City. Willett was born in England and embraced Calvinist theology as a young man. Like many of the Pilgrim fathers, he left England for Holland, where Calvinism flourished, and like many

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Tristam Burges

Tristam Burges, 1770-1853, was chief justice, leading member of the bar, U.S. Congressman (1825-1835), leader of the Whig Party and professor of oratory at Brown University. After a distinguished career in law, politics, and education, Burges retired to his estate “Watchemoket Farm,” then in Seekonk, Massachusetts, but since 1862 within the bounds of East Providence.

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Samuel Greene Arnold

Samuel Greene Arnold (1821-1880) is one of the two foremost historians of colonial Rhode Island. He was born into a prominent merchant family and was descended from Thomas Arnold, one of Providence’s earliest settlers. Arnold was educated by private tutors, attended private schools, graduated from Brown University in 1841, and earned a law degree from

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Mayor Edwin D. McGuinness

McGuinness, Edwin Daniel, 1856-1901 Mayor Edwin D. McGuinness (1856-1901), a native of Providence, was the son of Irish immigrants who settled in Rhode Island after fleeing the Potato Famine in the 1840s. His father, Bernard McGuinness, was a successful real estate agent who encouraged his son’s educational pursuits. Edwin attended local public schools and graduated

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Gov. Christopher Del Sesto

Christopher Del Sesto was a loyal and dedicated public servant throughout his adult life. Born in Providence on March 10, 1907 to Eraclio and Rosa (Geremia) Del Sesto, he graduated with honors from Providence’s Commercial High School and with cum laude honors from both Boston University and Georgetown University Law School. For many years he

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Colonel Everitte St. John Chaffee

Everitte St. John Chaffee is credited with developing standards of excellence for the Rhode Island State Police when he was appointed as its founding Superintendent on April 2, 1925. The appointment of Colonel Chafee as first Superintendent was not popular, but Gov. Aram J. Pothier, who selected Chaffee, and the General Assembly resisted any efforts

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Zechariah Chafee Jr.

Zecharian Chafee was born in Providence to a political family descended from Roger Williams. Chafee attended Brown, where he was a fellow. After graduating fron Brown in 1907, he went on to study law at Harvard University. While attending Harvard, he became influenced by the theories of sociological Jurisprudence presented by Roscoe Pound and others

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Congressman Ronald K. Machtley

Congressman Ronald Machtley , president of Bryant University, is not a native Rhode Islander, but he has enriched his adopted state through his leadership for nearly four decades. Ron was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on July 13, 1948, but like Hall of Fame inductees, Admirals Stephen Luce, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and William S. Sims, the

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Albert Tavani

Albert Tavani was a Director of Division of Airports of the State Department of Transportation. He retired in 1977, after serving as a fighter pilot in World War II and as state aeronautics chief for thirty-one years. He was instrumental in the upgrading of Greene airport into a prime regional terminal and the establishment of

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John Nicholas Brown

John Nicholas Brown, 1900-1979, was a former assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, senior fellow at Brown University and a director of the Smithsonian Institution. He directed the search and recovery of the works of art stolen by the Nazis for which he was decorated by the French and Belgian governments.

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Gov. Dennis J. Roberts

Dennis J. Roberts, 1903-1994, served as Rhode Island’s Governor for four terms from 1951 to 1959. This following a long stint as Mayor of the City of Providence for ten years, from 1941 to 1951. He also served an additional four years as a Rhode Island State Senator.

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Governor Samuel Cranston

Samuel Cranston (1659-1727) was governor of Rhode Island for almost twenty-nine years, from 1698 to 1727, a tenure not only longer than any other Rhode Island governor but also exceeding the tenure of any other chief executive of an American colony or state. Cranston was the son of John Cranston, who was also a Rhode

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James Burrill Jr.

James Burrill, Jr., 1772-1820, was chief justice, attorney general (1797-1813), speaker of the house (1814-1816), U.S. Senator (1817-1820), leader of the Federalist Party, brilliant lawyer and orator. The town of Burillville (established 1806) was named for him.

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Amos Chafee Barstow

Mayor Amos Chafee Barstow (1813-1892) was one of the most accomplished and versatile men in the history of Rhode Island. A Providence native, Barstow made his fortune by the manufacture of stoves. His firm, the Barstow Stove Company, located at Point and Richmond Streets covered two and one-half acres and employed 200 workers. Barstow won

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Lester Frank Ward

Lester F. Ward was a botanist, paleontologist, sociologist, and legendary Brown University professor who promoted the introduction of sociology courses into American higher education. He had such a powerful intellect and such wide-ranging knowledge that some contemporaries referred to him as “the American Aristotle.” Ward emphasized universal and comprehensive public schooling to provide the public

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Edward J. “Rip” Higgins

Higgins, Edward J., 1894-1979 Edward “Rip” Higgins was born November 16, 1894 to Irish immigrant parents in Warren. During WW I, Rip served in the U.S. Navy as a pharmacist’s mate. Immediately after the war, he worked at Smith’s Drug Store, a Warren Democratic bastion, even into the 1980s, and there got his entree into

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Governor William S. Flynn

Gov. William S. Flynn, (1885-1966) was a member of the Rhode Island State Senate from 1912 – 1914 and again from 1917 – 1922. He was Governor of Rhode Island from 1923 to 1925, and brother of Chief Justice Edmund Flynn and Coach John A. “Jack” Flynn. Flynn, a native of South Providence and the

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Victoria S. Lederberg

Lederberg, Victoria, — 1937- Lederberg was a psychology professor and state legislator before becoming a state Supreme Court judge in 1993. Lederberg earned her bachelors and masters at doctoral degrees Brown University. She served as Providence Municipal Court judge and was professor of psychology at Rhode Island College. She served as state representative from 1975-1983

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Edward V. Healey Jr.

Edward V. Healey, Jr., 1923-2011, of Cranston was a Senior Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Family Court and an internationally recognized authority on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. He served on several advisory commissions for Presidents of the United States, and is a prominent jurist, professor, and consultant to various nations and states.

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Alfred Hahn Joslin

Alfred Hahn Joslin, 1914-1977, was Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association for Rhode Island. He became Trustee, Vice Chancellor, and fellow of the Brown Corporation. He wrote more than 600 opinions and served as the chair of Capital Center Commission (1980-1991).

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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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T. Dawson Brown

T. Dawson Brown was former President and Chairman of the Board at the Industrial National Bank. One of the states most active leaders in promoting brotherhood, the betterment of youth, and civic renewal. He served for many years as President of the Narragansett Council of Boy Scouts. He was also one of the pioneers in

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Silas Downer

Silas Downer, a patriot and lawyer, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, to a farm family that subsequently moved to Sunderland, Massachusetts, near Deerfield, where Downer got his early schooling. He entered Harvard College at age fourteen and earned an undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts degree by age twenty-one. After graduation in 1750, Downer

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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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Mayor Thomas A. Doyle

Doyle, Thomas Arthur, 1827-1886 Mayor Thomas A. Doyle, an independent-minded Republican of Irish Protestant stock, is regarded by historians as Providence’s greatest mayor. He was born in Providence as one of seven children, including a sister, Sarah, who became a noted educator and advocate for women’s rights. After attending public school, Doyle gained employment as

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Mary Emma Woolley

Mary Emma Woolley, noted educator, women’s suffrage supporter, college president, feminist, and peace activist, was the first graduate of the Women’s College at Brown University (later called Pembroke) in 1894. E. Benjamin Andrews, innovative president of Brown University, had persuaded Woolley to become the first woman student at Brown. She earned her degree under the

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Gov. Philip W. Noel

Phil Noel worked his way through Georgetown University Law School, first running an elevator, then in the U.S. Senate mailroom and eventually taking charge of the Senate’s committee notice system, all under the patronage of Senator John O. Pastore. When he graduated, the young lawyer asked the senator how he could repay him. “Get involved

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Chief Justice Edmund W. Flynn

Chief Justice Edmund W. Flynn, 1890-1957, Rhode Island’s longest-serving chief justice, graduate of Georgetown Law School, state representative from South Providence, legal scholar, architect of the “Bloodless Revolution,” and a draftsman of the two most recent digests of Rhode Island’s general laws (1938 and 1956). After graduation from Holy Cross College and Georgetown Law School,

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Dr. John J. McLaughlin

The marvelous story of Rhode Island’s own John Joseph McLaughlin leads one through more twists and turns than a Rocky Point roller coaster. Born on March 29, 1927 to Augustus and Eva (Turcotte) McLaughlin, he grew up in the neighborhoods of Edgewood and Mount Pleasant. His earliest run at greatness included stints as a pharmacy

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Justice Jeremiah Edward O’Connell

Jeremiah O’Connell was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts on July 8, 1883 to Irish immigrant parents and financed his own education at Boston University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1906, a law degree cum laude in 1908, and an LL.M in 1908. Thereafter he moved to Providence where he served on the common council from 1913

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Senator Claiborne Pell

Senator Claiborne Pell, 1918-2009, became a Senior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island. He served in the Diplomatic Service for eight years after duty in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Senator Pell created a college grant program and wrote the legislation that established the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment

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Charles C. Tillinghast Jr.

Legal mind, industrialist, and investment banker, Charles C. Tillinghast served as the chairman of Trans World Airlines (T.W.A.). Born in 1911 in Saxtons River, Vermont, he was the son of Charles C. and Adelaide (Shaw) Tillinghast. He graduated from the Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York in 1928, and then

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Congressman John Edward Fogarty

My long-time friend, attorney Tom McAndrew of the large and influential McAndrew clan of Westerly, is also the son-in-law of the congressman. He married Mary Fogarty, John’s only child. Together, they have preserved the memory of Congressman Fogarty and continue supporting his good works through the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health

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Dr Jay S Goodman

Dr. Jay Goodman was a brilliant scholar, an inspiring teacher, a meticulous attorney, and the intellectual power behind the throne for two generations of Rhode Island Democratic political leaders. Jay was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 16, 1940, the son of attorneys Harold and Minnie Goodman. Jay earned his bachelors degree in 1961

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Theodore Foster

Theodore Foster (1752-1828) was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1752, the son of Judge Jedediah Foster and Dorothy Dwight of Dedham, a descendant of William Pynchon, an original incorporator of the Massachusetts Bay Company and a founder of Springfield, Massachusetts. As a young man, Foster came to Providence to study at Rhode Island College (now

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George Washington Greene

Greene, George Washington, 1811-1883 George Washington Greene, prominent educator and author, was born in East Greenwich and was the grandson of Nathanael Greene, the great Revolutionary War general. As a young man, Greene traveled extensively in Europe gaining proficiency in the Italian and French languages. His first wife was Italian and he served as U.S.

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Ira Magaziner

Ira Magaziner grew up in New York and first came to Rhode Island as a student at Brown University. He graduated in 1969 as valedictorian of his class. As an undergraduate student activist, Ira was instrumental in changing the curriculum at the Ivy League school. He subsequently attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes

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Thomas Williams Bicknell

Bicknell, Thomas Williams, 1834-1925 Thomas W. Bicknell (1834-1925) of Barrington was one of the two outstanding historians of Rhode Island during the first half of the 20th century (Dr. Charles Carroll was the other). In 1920 he published a three-volume narrative history of the state, supplemented by three biographical volumes. This work is still of

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Mayor Joseph Henry Gainer

Joseph H. Gainer was born in Providence on January 18, 1878, the son of John and Margaret (Keogh) Gainer. His parents, Irish immigrants, settled in the city’s North End and operated a grocery store on the corner of Branch and Charles Streets. Personal tragedy dogged the family in the early years. Gainer lost his father

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Thomas G. Corcoran

Thomas Gardiner Corcoran, formerly of Pawtucket, was a brilliant attorney nicknamed “Tommy the Cork”, and a close companion to Oliver Wendell Holmes. He born in Pawtucket and educated at Brown (where he was class valedictorian). He later became one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most trusted advisors, and a high level official for the powerful

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Dr. Norman J. Oliver

Dr. Norman J. Oliver, formerly of Woonsocket, RI, was a brilliant research scientist who, as a world-famous physicist was one of the foremost experts on Antarctica and the Auroras. Born in Fall River, he lived the greater part of his life in Rhode Island, and was an adviser to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. He was

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Anna M. Tucker

Anna M. Tucker was Director of the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs. She was a recipient of the URI Distinguished Alumni Award, and a member of the URI Athletic Hall of Fame. She became Director of the National Association of State Units on Aging.

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George William Curtis

George W. Curtis, 1824-1892, was an essayist and lecturer who became editor of Harper’s magazine. A co-founder of the Republican Party, he led the movement for civic service reform.

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Governor William Sprague

Governor William Sprague, 1830-1915, was a member of the Sprague family of industrial and political prominence. William became the “Boy Governor” of Rhode Island at age 30 on a Unionist-Republican-Fusion ticket and shortly thereafter led the first Rhode Island Regiment into combat at the First Battle of Bull Run. He became a U.S. Senator in

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Governor and Chief Justice Samuel Ward

Samuel Ward (1725-1776) was born in Newport, one of fourteen children of Governor Richard Ward and Mary (Tillinghast) Ward. He was twice descended (in both paternal and maternal lines) from Roger Williams. His father, a prosperous merchant, served as governor of Rhode Island from 1740 to 1743. Young Sam was destined by his father to

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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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Congressman Thomas Allen Jenckes

Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875 Congressman Thomas Allen Jenckes (1818-1875) is regarded nationally as “the father of civil service reform.” He was born in Cumberland, was educated in the public schools of that town, and graduated from Brown University in 1838 where he distinguished himself in mathematics and the physical sciences. Jenckes studied law

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Sen. John Francis “Jack” Reed

U.S. Senator Jack Reed was born in 1949 and raised in Cranston. His father, Joe, was a Cranston school janitor who worked his way up through the ranks to become the custodial supervisor of the city’s school system. Jack credits his parents, Joe and Mary Reed, for his values and for the work-ethic that helped

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Governor James H. Higgins

Higgins, James H. (James Henry), 1876-1927 James H. Higgins was the first Irish-Catholic governor of Rhode Island, serving from 1907 to 1909. Although orphaned at a young age, Higgins pursued a high school degree in Pawtucket and was accepted at Brown University in 1894 at a time when few Irish-Catholics matriculated at the Ivy League

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Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill

Isabelle A. O’Neill was a stage and screen actor of the silent film era, a suffragist, and the first woman elected to the Rhode Island Legislature. She also served in the state Senate and, under President Franklin Roosevelt, in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. She was born on June 8, 1880, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, the youngest of thirteen children of

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Frank Licht

Mr. Licht, formerly of Providence, was Governor of the State of Rhode Island from 1969 to 1973, and served as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court from 1956 to 1968. He was also a member of the State Senate for seven years, and was the only Rhode Island Governor to serve in all three

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Francis J. McCabe

Judge Francis McCabe was the First Chief Judge of Rhode Island Family Court. Born in Providence, he attended Hope High School and Providence College. He later became Providence City Solicitor, a probate judge, and Chief Judge of the former Juvenile Court. He was an acknowledged expert on the rehabilitation and understanding of the juvenile offender

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Frederick C. Williamson Sr.

Frederick C. Williamson, Sr.,1915-2010, was State Director of the RI Department of Community Affairs and Rhode Island’s Historic Preservation Officer. He was instrumental in many of the state’s historic buildings and sites accepted for the National Historic Register. At the time of his death, in 2010, Frederick Williamson was the longest serving state historic preservation

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Thomas W. Dorr

Thomas Wilson Dorr, 1806-1854, was known as Rhode Island’s greatest political and constitional reformer, and the principle draftsman of the People’s Constitution in 1841. He became Governor of Rhode Island in 1842 on the People’s Party ticket, and was the leader of the famous Dorr Rebellion.

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Governor Robert Emmet Quinn

Robert E. Quinn was born on April. 2, 1894, in Phoenix, Rhode Island, son of Charles Quinn and Mary Ann (McCabe) Quinn. Named for the noble Irish patriot, Robert Quinn led the political transformation of Rhode Island from Republican to Democratic during the turbulent 1920s and 1930s. As a young boy, Quinn went to St.

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Mayor Thomas P. McCoy

The late Thomas P. McCoy,1883-1945, formerly of Pawtucket was a lifelong Mayor of that city whose colorful political career dominated the area’s political scene for many years. Undisputed leader of the city’s Democratic Party, he compiled a distinguished ten-year record in the Rhode Island House of Representatives during the 1920s. Dubbed “the Prince of Pawtucket,”

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Leona McElroy Kelly

Former Rhode Island Representative from South Kingstown. Leona A. Kelley was born in Providence on August 15, 1919. She attended Classical High School and the University of Rhode Island graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1941. Her political career began in the 1950s as a social worker. After taking time off to raise

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Frances Harriet (Whipple) Green McDougall

“A Rhode Island Original” is a description used by Sarah O’Dowd to title her biography of Frances Whipple. It aptly describes one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth-century writers and reformers. Frances was born in Smithfield in September 1805, but the exact date is unknown. She was the eldest of the four children of George

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Jabez Gorham

After an apprenticeship to Nehemiah Dodge, Jabez Gorham became the foremost Rhode Island producer of jewelry and silverware. While in his twenties, Gorham established a shop at North Main and Steeple Streets, the first of several buildings that formed his original factory complex. By the end of the century, the company he founded was a

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William Henry Luther

Luther, William H. (William Henry),1844-1914 William Henry Luther was born in Dover, New Hampshire on April 24, 1844. The Luther family moved to Providence four years later where young Henry attended public school with some additional instruction at a local private school. Luther and his brother became interested in the lapidary trade, and after learning

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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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Arlene Violet

Ms. Violet of Barrington was the first woman in the United Stated to be elected to State Attorney General, as well as a popular radio talk-show host. She was a practicing attorney and former Roman Catholic nun. She was RI’s Attorney General in the mid 1980’s, and is widely recognized for her community service and

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Henry & Henry Fredrick Lippitt

Henry Lippitt was a native Rhode Islander who died in 1891, after becoming one of the state’s industrial and financial leaders of his time, serving two terms as governor. Henry F. Lippitt, Henry’s son, died in 1933, after following in his father’s footsteps as an industrialist, a statesman, and a United States Senator. A renowned

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Bradford P. Boss

Bradford P. Boss, whose career at A.T. Cross was primarily in sales and marketing, served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Inc (Formerly Known As A.T. Cross Company) from 1960 until April 1993. He continued to serve as Chairman of the Board until November 14,1999, then becoming Chairman Emeritus. He

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Governor, Chief Justice and Signer Stephen Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins (1707–85), statesman, pamphleteer, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born on March 7, 1707, in Providence easterly of a former Indian village called Mashapaug. This site was set off from Providence in 1754, becoming part of the new town of Cranston. It was reannexed in 1868 and is located today in

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Eddie Dowling

Eddie Dowling, 1889-1976, was born in Woonsocket as Joseph Nelson Goucher. As the fourteenth of seventeen children, he used his Irish mother Bridgette’s maiden name of Dowling during a brilliant Broadway career as actor, composer, producer and Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright. Dowling’s work helped to bring the American stage to a new level of aesthetic maturity

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Richard J Walton

Richard J. Walton was a versatile man with a variety of activities and achievements. Among his many roles were journalist, radio talk show host, historian of American foreign policy, professor of political science, union leader, social activist, and one-time third party candidate for vice president. Richard was born on May 28, 1928 in Saratoga Springs,

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Attorney General Julius C. Michaelson

A champion for human, civil and labor rights, Julius C. Michaelson spent a decades-long long career of public service, fighting for social justice. He was best known for the “Michaelson Act,” requiring school districts to bargain in good faith with teachers, ending the long-standing practice of ignoring teachers to put force them to givie up

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Dr. Edwin M. Snow

Dr. Edwin M. Snow (1820-1888) was Providence’s first superintendent of health and chief statistician from 1856 to 1884. Dr. Snow was born in Pomfret, Vermont where he received his early education. He came to Rhode Island to study at Brown University and remained here after his graduation in 1845, except for his medical studies in

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Judge Henry Marchant

Henry Marchant (1741-1796), of Newport and South Kingstown, was a well-educated intellectual and a protégé of Ezra Stiles. Marchant was born on Martha’s Vineyard, the son of Hexford Marchant, a sea captain. His mother, whose maiden name was Butler, died when he was four, shortly after the family moved to Newport. His father’s second bride

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U.S. Rep. George F. O’Shaunessy

O’Shaunessy, George Francis, 1868- George Francis O’Shaunessy was born in Galway, Ireland on May 1, 1868. His parents came to America when he was a child and settled in New Jersey. George was educated in New York City parochial schools and received a law degree from Columbia University in 1889. Thereafter he acquired a reputation

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Charles C. Baldelli

Charles Celeste Baldelli was born on August 4, 1933 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He and his brother, Dan, were the sons of Alesandro and Marina Baldelli. True to his native city, Charlie lives in the same house in which he was born. After attending public schools in Woonsocket, Charlie served in the army during the

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Robert J. Black

Robert J. Black of Providence was widely recognized as the State of Rhode Island’s greatest distance runner of all-time. He was a two-time National (NCAA) cross-country champion, and was named All-American in several categories as a runner for the then Rhode Island State College, now URI. He is the only person ever to win four

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James P. Riley

James P. Riley was born in New Britain, Connecticut in 1950. He began his long career in the labor movement as a butcher for Stop & Shop in the 1970s. In 1984, Jim left his meat cutting career for a position as an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). This

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Sec. of the Treasury G. William Miller

G. William Miller, 1925-2006, served as United States Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and President of Textron. President Carter nominated him as Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board prior to his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury. Everett Raymond Kinstler, Sec. G. William Miller, 1981. Oil on canvas,

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Samuel Gorton

Samuel Gorton was born in or around 1592 in the small village of Gorton, just outside of Manchester, England, a location that suggests that his family had some local prominence. Though Samuel (he spelled it with a double l) disclaimed a formal education, he was both literate and a linguist who could read the Bible

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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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Aram J. Pothier

The late Aram J. Pothier, 1854-1928, formerly of Woonsocket, who died in 1928 while serving his seventh term as governor. Among his many accomplishments were establishing the Department of the State Police and the Public Utilities Commission and starting commercial development of Narragansett Bay. A prominent banker, he was also a Mayor of Woonsocket and

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Robert Owens “Bob” Tiernan

Robert O. Tiernan was an attorney, member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, member of the United States House of Representatives and a high-ranking federal government official during his career of public service. Born in Providence on February 24, 1929 to Joseph and Mary (nee McConnell), Tiernan attended LaSalle Academy where he achieved All State

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Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr.

The late Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci of Providence was a popular six-term mayor of Providence brought the capital city nationwide recognition as a Renaissance City. An outspoken champion of the all-encompassing revitalization of downton Providence, he received widespread credit for his support of the arts, urban revitalization, public safety, educational, employment and housing needs.

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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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Susan L. Farmer

Susan L. Farmer joins her forebears, Bishop Alexander Griswold and Anne Hutchinson as an inductee into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Like Hutchinson, a pioneer in many areas, including the advancement of women, Susan was a “first” as well. When elected Secretary of State in 1982, she became the first woman elected in

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Judge Luigi DePasquale

Judge Luigi DePasquale 1892-1958, exemplifies the rapid political, social, and economic rise of Rhode Island’s first generation Italian-Americans. Born on December 13, 1892 in Providence to Italian immigrant parents, Antonio and Maria (Vitale) DePasquale, Luigi was raised in Milford, Massachusetts, where his father became an undertaker. He graduated from Boston University Law School in 1913

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Rev. Dr. Robert C. Newbold

The late Reverend Robert C. Newbold, 1920-2008, of Providence was a former Professor, Dean, Vice-Rector and Rector of Our Lady of Providence Preparatory Seminary and was former Executive Secretary of the Committee on Athletics for the Rhode Island Secondary School’s Principals association, retiring after 26 years in the profession. He guided the State’s Interscholastic League

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Edwin C. Brown

Edwin Brown, 1910-2010, was one of the foremost proponents of organized labor in the State. He was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the RI AFL, and later was a key negotiator in the merger of the AFL with CIO. He served on the State Board of Education and later the Board of Regents for twenty-eight years, being

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Florence Kerins Murray

Florence Kerins Murray, 1916-2004,was a high-ranking officer in the Women’s Army Corps, Rhode Island’s first female state senator (and was reelected four times), female judge and member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

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Chief Sachem Canonicus

Canonicus and his nephew Miantonomi were the chief sachems of the powerful Narragansett tribe at the time when Roger Williams and other English colonists settled Rhode Island. The heart of the Narragansett’s strength during their “golden age” under Canonicus and Miantonomi was the tribe’s close association with such smaller bands as the Pawtuxet, the Shawomet,

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Colonel William Barton

William Barton (1748-1831), of Warren and Providence, was a Revolutionary army colonel whose most notable exploit was leading a daring raid in July 1777 to seize General Richard Prescott, the commander of the British forces occupying Aquidneck Island. Born in the town of Warren, the son of Benjamin and Lydia Barton, William Barton received a

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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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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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LeBaron Bradford Colt

LeBaron Bradford Colt was born in Dedham, Massachusetts to Christopher and Theodora (DeWolf) Colt. He and his equally famous brother, Samuel, had very influential forebears. On their maternal side, they were the grandsons of General George DeWolf of Bristol and the grandnephews of U.S. Senator James DeWolf, a wealthy merchant and notorious slave trader. Other

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Kathleen S. Connell

Kathleen Sullivan Connell was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the only daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Sullivan. She attended St. Mary’s School and St. Catherine Academy, graduated magna cum laude from Salve Regina University with a BS in Nursing, and then earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Salve. Kathleen has been connected with

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U.S. Rep. Ambrose Kennedy

Ambrose Kennedy was a rarity in early twentieth century Rhode Island politics—a devout Irish Catholic Republican politician of high standing. Kennedy was not only a five-term Republican congressman, but he was also a lawyer, an educator, an accomplished orator, speaker of the Rhode Island House, and a biographer. He became one of the most prominent

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James J. Taracanti

James J. Taricani of North Kingstown, is the WJAR-TV (Channel 10), WPRI-TV (Channel 12), and local radio multi-award winning investigative reporter who became Director of Communications for RI Governor Lincoln Almond. He earned four coveted, regional Emmy Awards, television’s highest honor, and ten Emmy nominations, in addition to several other prestigious journalism awards for outstanding

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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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Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger

Chief Justice Joseph Weisberger, 1920-2012, spent 56 years in the Rhode Island Judiciary and at the time of his retirement, was Supreme Court Justice of Rhode Island. He previously served the state as a Presiding Justice of the Superior Court and as a Senator and Minority Leader. Chief Justice Weisberger was instrumental in establishing am

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Margaret F. Ackroyd

Margaret Ackroyd was a native Rhode Islander who served in the State Labor Department for thirty years before her retirement. She served as Chief in the Division of Women and Children and Commissioner of Minimum Wage. She became known as the “architect of non-discriminatory employment standards for women”. Born in Providence, she was a daughter

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Dr. John Clarke

Dr. John Clarke (1609-1676) was the son of Thomas and Rose (Kerrich) Clarke. He was born in Westhorpe, Suffolk, in 1609, the fifth of seven children (according to a listing in the family’s Geneva Bible) and the third of five sons, four of whom ultimately settled in Newport. Before he left England, he was probably

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Bradford Gorham

Some individuals ” very few in number ” stand out from all others because of their outstanding talents and abilities. In this respect one thinks of athletes or entertainers. It is more rare, however, that a person stands above the crowd because of such qualities as integrity, earnestness, and demeanor. Brad Gorham was such a

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Chief Justice Samuel Ames

Ames, Samuel, 1806-1865 Chief Justice Samuel Ames (1806-1865) of Providence served in many public capacities including state legislator, speaker of the house, and quartermaster general of the state militia. His most significant service was as chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court (1856-1865). Ames studied at Phillips-Andover Academy and graduated from Brown University in

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Seth Luther

Of all the Rhode Island leaders profiled herein, no person’s personal life was more erratic, peripatetic or tragic than that of Seth Luther. No one traveled through America as extensively or delivered more public addresses. No one lived in a more impoverished condition or fought as hard for the working class. Luther was born in

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Maud Howe Elliott

Maud Howe Elliott was an American writer, artist, political activist, patron of the arts, and philanthropist. She and her sister, Laura E. Richards, shared a Pulitzer Prize for the biography of their mother, The Life of Julia Ward Howe. Other prominent works by Maud Howe Elliott included A Newport Aquarelle (1882); Phillida (1891); Mammon (1893);

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Johnathan Russell

U.S. Minister and Congressman Jonathan Russell (February 27, 1771 – February 17, 1832) was born in Providence and graduated in 1791 from Brown University. After several years in the mercantile business, he was appointed by President James Madison as American diplomatic chargé d’affairs in Paris in 1811 and then the chargé in London, a position

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Alexander Meiklejohn

Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872-1964, Alexander Meiklejohn was a most unusual man, a dissenter in the mode of Roger Williams! He came to Rhode Island in 1880, when he was eight years old, the youngest son of a Scottish working class family. After a brief stay in Warwick, Alexander moved with his family to Pawtucket where he

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Chief Judge Edward P. Gallogly

Edward Peter Gallogly enjoyed a career that saw him occupy many seats onthe public stage. He is one of the few Rhode Island citizens who served inall three branches of state government as well as an arm of the Federalgovernment. Gallogly was born in Providence on August 28, 1919 one of nine children ofLawrence and

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William H. Matthews

William H. Matthews was the former First Deputy City Clerk of Providence, and considered by many as the finest athlete the state has produced. “Dixie”, as he was known to all, was considered by leaders of the city’s African-American community as their “first but unofficial” City Councilman. Born in Providence, he retired after thirty-eight years

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Roger Wheeler

The late Roger Wheeler was State Recreational Supervisor and Director of Water Safety for more than 20 years. During World War II he designed a life jacket that became standard Air Force equipment and received an Army Commendation for invaluable developments of air-sea rescue procedures.

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U.S. Senator John O. Pastore

John Orlando Pastore was born in the Federal Hill section of Providence on March 17, 1907 to Michele and Erminia (Asprinio) Pastore. He married Elena Caito in 1941, and the couple had three children, Dr. John O., Jr., Frances Elizabeth, and Louise Marie. John attended Providence public schools and received his Bachelor of Law degree

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U.S. Senator Jesse H. Metcalf

Jesse Metcalf and his wife Louisa Sharpe Metcalf were the dynamic duo of Rhode Island philanthropy in the early 20th century. Jesse was the son and namesake of the founder of Providence’s Wanskuck Mills, one of America’s largest woolen manufacturers, and his mother, Helen, a Hall of Fame inductee, co-founded the Rhode Island School 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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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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Senator William Sprague Jr.

Senator William Sprague, Jr. (1799-1856) was one of the most prominent members of a family that ranked as one of Rhode Island’s richest and most powerful during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century. He was the son and namesake of William Sprague, founder of the great textile empire, the younger brother of Amasa, whose

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Mayor John J. Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, John J., 1871-1926 John J. Fitzgerald was born in Pawtucket where he attended local public schools. A brilliant student, he was one of the state’s first Irish-Catholics to graduate from Brown University (Class of 1893). Fitzgerald earned a law degree at Georgetown University, established a hometown law practice, and in 1899 ran successfully for

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Eileen Gillespie Slocum

Eileen Gillespie Slocum was born in Manhattan on December 21 1915, and during her ninety-two years of life left an indelible mark on Newport society and the world of Republican politics. Educated at Miss Hewitt’s Classes now the Hewitt School in New York City, Eileen became precise in vocabulary and diction. She made her debut

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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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Major John T. Godfrey

Major John T. Godfrey, USAF, a Candian native raised in Woonsocket, was a highly decorated and widely recognized World War II flying ace credited with shooting down or destroying on the ground, 36 German planes. He later became prominent in public affairs as a State Senator. He also operated a successful Lace manufacturing business in

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Mayor Walter H. Reynolds

Mayor Walter Reynolds, 1901-1987, known as “Barney”, served seven consecutive terms as Mayor of Providence, totaling fourteen years of service.He was the City’s Chief Executive during times of great accomplishment and growth. A public servant for more than thirty-five years, beginning in 1935, he received numerous national, regional, and local awards for excellence in various

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Alexander DiMartino

Alexander Dimartino, 1907-2001, served as Chairman of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board and President of the Narragansett Preservation and Improvement Association. He was responsible for the construction of many bridges over Route 95 and for the Washington Bridge. He actively engaged in Brown University alumni activities for many years, and was a native of

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Senator Nelson W. Aldrich

U.S. Senator Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich became the acknowledged leader of the conservative, business-oriented wing of the national Republican Party during the administrations of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft. Aldrich was born in rural Foster on November 6, 1841, the son of Anan E. Aldrich, a mill hand and farmer, and Abby (Burgess)

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William Coddington

William Coddington (1601-1678), principal founder of Portsmouth and Newport and governor of Rhode Island, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. By his thirtieth year, he had achieved substance and position. In 1630, at about the same time as John Winthrop’s arrival, he came to America as an assistant (director) in the Massachusetts Bay Company in

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Reverend James Manning

Reverend James Manning (1738-1791), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), was born in Elizabeth Township, New Jersey, to parents who were probably of Irish origin. He attended Hopewell Academy, a Baptist grammar school, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), a school that operated under Presbyterian auspices. In

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Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter Jr.

Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. (1811-1882) of South Kingstown was the son and namesake of a U.S. congressman, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. (1764-1835) and Mary (Mawney) Potter. The remarkably varied career of this Harvard graduate included such occupations and positions as attorney, historian, adjutant general, state legislator, congressman, state commissioner of public schools (succeeding Henry

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John Whipple

John Whipple (1784-1866) of Providence was a leader of the early 19th century Rhode Island Bar, the state’s foremost trial attorney, and Rhode Island’s most prominent constitutional lawyer. Daniel Webster,Whipple’s co-counsel in the landmark Rhode Island case of Luther v. Borden (1849) regarded Whipple and Jeremiah Mason of New Hampshire as the two most formidable

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Governor Lucius F. C. Garvin M.D.

Early in 1922, Rep. Lucius Garvin took the floor in the Rhode Island Senate to move for action on a bill to reduce the work week for children under sixteen from fifty-four to forty-four hours a week. His motion was defeated by a vote of four ayes to thirty nays. As had been the case

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Joseph W. Walsh Esq.

Joe Walsh is a leader, a public servant, and a humanitarian with a thoughtful manner and a big heart. His passion for people, desire to serve his community, and popularity in his days in government led The Providence Sunday Journal Magazine to ask: “Doesn’t Anyone Out There Hate this Man”? (Sept. 9, 1979). The newspaper

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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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Dr. Robert J. McKenna

Dr. Robert J. McKenna, 1931-2012, a native of Providence, was Mayor of the City of Newport, as well as having been a Professor of Politics and Assistant to the President of Salve Regina University. He engaged in more than three decades of public service as both a State Senator and Representative, aide to the late

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Henry J. Tasca

Henry J. Tasca, 1912-1979, was U.S. Ambassador to Greece and Morocco, and several other European countries as a career diplomat and key foreign service official. A native of Providence who spent most of his childhood in Philadelphia, he studied at both Temple and Pennsylvania Universities. A specialist in economic and financial affairs, he retired and

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Frances G. Knight

Frances Knight was the director of the U.S. Passport Office from 1955-1977. Known for her stern attitude and conservative policies, she transformed the Passport Office into an efficient infrastructure. Born in Newport, Rhode Island on July 22, 1905, but raised in New York City, Frances Gladys Knight was destined for a bright future. Frances was

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Admiral William S. Sims

Admiral William Sowden Sims, 1858-1936, was two-time President of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport (1917, 1919-1922) who served as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe during World War I. He was instrumental in bringing about drastic changes in gunnery training, and the handling of military personnel and military education.

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Reverend Gregory Dexter

Gregory Dexter (1610-1700), born in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, was admitted to the highly competitive and highly prized company of stationers in London in 1639. Information on his early life is scanty, but his level of literacy and his professional success indicate that he received a sound education. Dexter became a printer for the famous English

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Colonel Stephen Olney

Stephen Olney (1756-1832), of North Providence, was one of Rhode Island’s most distinguished and longest-serving officers during the War for Independence. He was a fifth-generation descendant of Thomas Olney, a joint proprietor with Roger Williams in the settlement of Providence. In 1774, at the age of eighteen, Stephen Olney became a private in a newly

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Chief Justice William Read Staples

Chief Justice William Read Staples of Providence was a prominent lawyer, jurist, and civil servant. With the possible exception of Samuel Greene Arnold, who eulogized him, Staples was also the premier Rhode Island historian of the nineteenth century. In the 1820s, Staples became a leader of the Rhode Island bar and then a prosecutor for

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Governor Augustus Osborn Bourn

Governor Augustus O. Bourn (1834-1925) was born in Providence in 1834 to a distinguished old-line Rhode Island family whose earliest ancestor Jared Bourn served as a Portsmouth representative to the colonial assembly in 1654-55. After graduation from Brown University in 1855, Bourn joined his father in the business of manufacturing India-rubber goods. In 1864, Bourn

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John Milton Hay

Hay, John, 1838-1905 John Milton Hay was an Illinois native with deep Rhode Island roots that prompted him to select Brown as his college. Providence was the early home of his mother, Helen Leonard, whose father, Rev. David Leonard was in the Brown Class of 1792. At Brown, Hay was described as having “a retentive

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James V. Healey

Jim Healey was a two-sport all-state athlete in high school and the sparkplug of a South Providence sandlot baseball team that won five age-graded championships from 1953 to 1957. He was a member of the IBAA baseball team and the 1957 state CYO champion St. Michael’s team, both of which were captained by Patrick T.

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Dr. Mary C. Mulvey

Dr. Mary C. Mulvey, a nationally recognized expert in the problems of the elderly and concerns of gerontology who now makes Rhode Island her home, has been a pioneer advocate for older adults and successful in enacting legislation to establish a State Agency on Aging. She served as its’ administrator until returning to the Providence

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Lionel Benjamin

Lionel Benjamin was second in command of the RI State Police as Major and Executive Officer. Enlisted in 1958, he moved to the detective division in 1965 and four years later, transferred to intelligence, where he was a member of N.E. State Police Crime Intelligence System as a senior officer. Promoted from Corporal to Captain

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Ambassador William H. Sullivan

William Healy Sullivan was an American foreign service career officer who held ambassadorships to Laos, the Philippines, and Iran as well as serving in numerous important advisory posts dealing with major foreign policy issues throughout his lengthy career. Born in Cranston, Rhode Island to Joseph and Sabina (nee Foley) Sullivan on October 12, 1922, Sullivan

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John H. Chafee

Born in Providence, John Hubbard Chafee became one of the most successful governors of Rhode Island. Promoted to the rank of second marine lieutenant during the Second World War, he fought bravely in the battles of Guadalcanal and Okinawa. Following the war, he received his B.A. from Yale University and was awarded a law degree

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James Henry Kiernan

On a crisp January morning in 1915, a thirty-year-old freshman representative from the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Providence strode into the Rhode Island state capitol. This novice legislator was James Henry Kiernan. For nearly fifty-one years thereafter Jim Kiernan would serve with distinction in the Rhode Island House, and for thirty-five years, until the opening

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Captain Silas Talbot

Silas Talbot (1751-1813) was born in Dighton, Massachusetts, into a poor farm family, the son of Benjamin Talbot and Rebecca Allen. His mother died when he was four. In his early teens, Silas worked on a coasting vessel and then learned the stonemason’s craft. In 1769 or 1770, he moved to Providence to ply his

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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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Reverend Mahlon Van Horne

Reverend Mahlon Van Horne (1840-1910) had a career that ranged from minister of the Gospel at the black Union Congregational Church at Newport to minister of diplomacy as United States Consul to St. Thomas in the West Indies. He was at heart always a teacher. Bom in Princeton New Jersey in 1840, Van Horne was

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Mayor Patrick J. McCarthy

McCarthy, Patrick Joseph, 1848-1921 Mayor Patrick J. McCarthy was the only immigrant ever to serve as mayor of Providence. Born in County Sligo, Ireland in 1848, his family fled the Potato Famine in 1850 only to be quarantined on Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Both his parents died there. “PJ”, as he liked to be

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Colonel Patrick Henry Quinn

Patrick Henry Quinn was born on December 16, 1869, in the Warwick mill village of Phenix, son of Peter and Margaret (Callahan) Quinn. His parents displayed their patriotism for America and its traditions by naming their son after the fiery Virginia Revolutionary War patriot famous for his defiant statement, “Give me liberty or give me

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Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen Sr. USN

Harold Gardiner Bowen Sr. was a United States Navy Vice admiral, former head of the Office of Naval Research, and a mechanical engineer. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, and he was the namesake of the USS Bowen. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 6, 1883, to Amos Miller Bowen

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Allen Chatterton

The late Allen Chatterton was a former president of the R.I. Golf Association. He founded the R.I. Senior Golf Association and John P. Burk Memorial Fund, the second caddy scholarship in the country. He also served as President of the New England Golf Association and as Director of Pawtucket Boys Club for more than thirty

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Justice William E. Powers

William E. Powers was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island on December 18, 1907. He attended St. Patrick Parochial School, Perkins Institute for the Blind, and Boston University Law School. His blindness, the result of an accident at his home in 1927, did not deter him from active service to his state as Cumberland probate judge,

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Governor & Senator Theodore Francis Green

Long-time senator, Theodore Francis Green bequeathed a lasting legacy of reform and economic growth to the state. Born in 1867 in Providence to an old Brahmin family, which counted among its lineage Rhode Island’s first governor under the Royal Charter of 1663, Benedict Arnold, and Revolutionary War general Nathanial Greene, Theodore Francis Green attended schools

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Chief Sachem Metacomet

Metacomet, or Metacom (ca. 1638-1676), chief sachem of the Wampanoag Indian confederation from 1662 until 1676, ruled over a shrinking Native American empire on what is now Rhode Island’s East Bay and southeastern Massachusetts. His English name and title, King Philip, were allegedly derived from Philip of Macedonia–a prophetic anointment before his involvement in the

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Abraham Whipple

Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) was a successful privateer and naval officer who was born in Providence, the son of Noah and Mary Whipple. Of humble origins, Whipple went to sea at an early age and became associated with the wealthy and influential Brown family of merchant entrepreneurs. During the French and Indian War, he served as

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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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Lloyd T. Griffin Jr.

Lloyd Griffin died on November 24, 1999, at the age of fifty nine. His memorial Mass on December 1 at Holy Rosary Church in his native Fox Point was well attended for an ordinary man; but Lloyd was not an ordinary man, and the church was far from over flowing. A few black community leaders

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Chief Justice John Henry Stiness

John H. Stiness was born in Providence, Rhode Island on August 8, 1840, the son of Philip Bessom Stiness and Mary (Marsh) Stiness. He was descended from English ancestors who came to this country and settled in Marblehead, Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. His father was one of the founders of the New England Screw

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Benjamin Ide Wheeler

Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854-1927), joins James Burrill Angell as a significant contribution from the Ocean State to the world of university administration. Angell, born in Foster, Rhode Island, was the editor of the Providence Journal before becoming president of the University of Vermont and serving thirty-eight years as the president of the University of Michigan

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Kevin Coleman

Kevin K. Coleman was born in Woonsocket to Louis and Mary (McDonnell) Coleman. Mr. Coleman devoted his career to serving the needs of Rhode Islanders. He had a long political career and was best known for being elected as Mayor of the City of Woonsocket for six terms between January 1953 and April 1963. Coleman’s

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