On Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 2:00 PM the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame will conduct its 25th historical induction convocation in its Lecture Hall (Unit 101 – 1445 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence). The public is invited to attend.
In past years these convocations have followed a chronological pattern by posthumously inducting those eminent Rhode Islanders beginning in the early 17th century and extending down to the mid-20th century. However, there have been several theme inductions such as those held for Rhode Island Olympic medalists in 2004 and major Rhode Island artists in 2011.
This year’s induction is also theme-oriented. It will feature eight prominent and prolific historians who have written, lectured, or broadcast extensively on various aspects of Rhode Island history, thereby enriching our knowledge of the state’s culture and heritage.
Participants, or those receiving on behalf of the new inductees, will include descendants, and such agencies affiliated with the honorees as WPRI Channel 12 TV, the City of Providence via its Archives, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, the Newport Historical Society, the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, Brown University, and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The eight inductees (listed alphabetically) are as follows:
Dr. Carl Bridenbaugh (1903 – 1992)
A Brown University professor who was a leading authority on Colonial America. He wrote illuminating accounts of early Newport and Aquidneck Island and served as president of the American Historical Association.
Inducted by Dr. Gordon Wood, Professor Emeritus, Brown University; recipient Ruth Taylor, Executive Director, Newport Historical Society
John Hutchins Cady (1881 – 1967)
Rhode Island’s leading architectural historian, city planner, historical preservationist, and co-founder of the Providence City Plan Commission and the Providence Housing Authority. His major work is The Civic and Architectural Development of Providence, 1636-1950.
Inducted by Caleb Horton, Director; recipient Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission.
Edward Field (1858 – 1928)
A major Rhode Island antiquarian and historian who compiled a valuable three-volume history of Rhode Island in 1902. He was one of several co-editors of the 21-volume series Early Records of the Town of Providence, and wrote several books on Rhode Island during the Revolutionary Era.
Inducted by Caleb Horton, Director; recipient Providence City Archives.
John Williams Haley, Sr. (1897 – 1963)
The most popular and well-known Rhode Island historian of the early 20th century. He was best known for his weekly radio program “The Rhode Island Historian” which ran from 1927 through 1953. His stories were published in four volumes as The Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island (1929-1944). Haley also wrote the standard book on the history of the Blackstone Valley.
Inducted by Patrick T. Conley; recipients John Williams Haley, III
Glenn Laxton (1942 – 2016)
Author and long-time newsman for Channel 12 TV who wrote and broadcast hundreds of historical vignettes about Rhode Islanders – famous and obscure – in his series “Not to be Forgotten.” He also authored several popular books on Rhode Island subjects and was a director emeritus of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.
Inducted by Dr. Scott Molloy; recipients Linda Laxton (wife), and Mike Montecalvo of WPRI.
Florence Markoff (1917 – 2017)
A notable and popular radio broadcaster known for her innovative programs, especially “Rhode Island Portraits in Sound” detailing the lives of notable Rhode Islanders. She also played a leading role in the culture of the local Jewish community.
Inducted by Dr. Debra Mulligan, Director; recipients are the children, Ronald Markoff, Esq., Gary Markoff, and Joseph Markoff.
Florence Simister (1913 – 1981)
Author, bibliophile, and playwright best known for her radio broadcasts and books about “Streets of the City” – Providence, Newport, and North Kingstown – and her popular history of Rhode Island during the Revolutionary Era titled The Fire’s Center.
Inducted by Russell DeSimone, Heritage Harbor Foundation Treasurer.
Richard Simpson (1936 – 2017)
An artist, muralist, graphic artist, antiquarian, and prolific historian of Bristol and Rhode Island’s East Bay. On those areas Simpson wrote two-dozen pictorial books of high quality to become the greatest historian of Bristol ever.
Inducted by Dr. Patrick T. Conley, President, RI Heritage Hall of Fame; recipient, Carol Gafford, Bristol Historical & Preservation Society.