Writings

Sophia R. Little (1799 – 1893) Sophia Little was born in Newport in 1799, the daughter of Asher Robbins. Her father was a prominent Rhode Island politician…
Sara M. Algeo (1876 – 1953) Sara Louise Algeo was born on June 13, 1876 in Cohasset MA, the fifth child to John and Sarah (Clemens)…
Roberta J. Dunbar (1868 – 1956) Roberta Dunbar was born in Narragansett, Rhode Island on July 10, 1868 to John and Louisa Cartwright Dunbar. By 1870…
Mary Francis “Fanny” Purdy Palmer (1839 – 1923) Fanny was an author, poet, and social activist. She was born in New York City on July 11, 1839 to…
Maria Kindberg (1860 – 1921) and Ingeborg Kindstedt (1865 – 1950) The names of Maria Kindberg and Ingeborg Kindstedt are irrevocably intertwined in the woman’s suffrage movement not only in Rhode…
Florence P. Simister (1913 – 1981) Florence Parker Simister was an author, historian, and radio personality. Born on December 13, 1913 in Providence to George L.…
Florence Markoff (1917 – 2017) Florence Markoff was born on August 24, 1917 in Attleboro, MA to David and Molly Shapiro. She lived her entire…
Elizabeth “Lillie” Buffum Chace Wyman Born: December 10, 1847 Died: January 10, 1929 Suffragist, social activist and author. Lillie Wyman was the eight child born…
Bertha G. Higgins (1872 – 1944) Bertha was born in Danville, VA on November 18, 1872 to Horace and Barbara Dillard. She was married twice, first…
Anna W. Spencer  (1799 – 1884) Anna’s life is somewhat of a mystery, but her accomplishments are significant in the history of social reform, especially that…
Anita Tyng (1838 – 1913) Anita E. Tyng, the daughter of Charles A. and Anna A. (McAlpine) Tyng, was a medical doctor and surgeon.  She…
Alva Vanderbilt Belmont Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a Newport socialite, was born on January 17, 1853 in Mobile, Alabama, one of six children to…
Ada Sawyer (1892 – 1985) Ada Sawyer was Rhode Island’s first female lawyer. She went to Providence English High School, where she graduated with honors…
Last Man Executed Last-Man-ExecutedDownload
Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales: Two Trailblazers in Rhode Island Education Frank L. Grzyb and Russell J. DeSimone The story of Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales and the founding…
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: The Politics of Race in Antebellum Rhode Island 12.19.09 “Making the right of citizenship identical with color, brings a stain upon the State, unmans the heart of an…
Rhode Island: A State For Sale by Lincoln Steffens The most infamous article ever written about Rhode Island is almost certainly the article by the legendary…
The Political Transformation of Rhode Island, 1920–1940 By Dr. Patrick T. Conley In 1972, Providence College archivist and historian Matthew J. Smith conducted a dozen lengthy interviews…
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – THREE STRIKES FOR STATE HISTORY AND HERITAGE The following essay, published in the Providence Journal in 2017, was yet another futile attempt to gain state support for…
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – TAKING DOWN THE INDEPENDENT MAN In 2016 and 2017, a temporary craze swept the nation that advocated the destruction of statutes, monuments, and memorials that…
CHAPTER FOURTEEN – SQUANDERING RHODE ISLAND’S MARITIME HERITAGE Like the preceding essay, this January, 2018 Providence Journal commentary has a similar theme. It is a lament for the…
SAVE OUR MILLS It is more than tragic that less than four years after I published the following essay as a Providence Journal…
Rhode Island’s Lost Ships This essay appeared as a Providence Journal commentary on August 9, 2008, in the midst of another summer season during…
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE – THE RHODE ISLAND HERITAGE HALL OF FAME: ITS ORIGINS, COMPOSITION, AND PURPOSE I composed this essay on the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2018 to include in its annual programs…
RHODE ISLAND’S IRISH FAMINE MEMORIAL: A TRIBUTE TO THE SURVIVORS In the autumn of 1995 Anne Burns arranged for a memorial Mass to be celebrated at the Cathedral of SS.…
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN – GEORGE WASHINGTON, AMERICAN CATHOLICS AND RHODE ISLAND JEWS This essay appeared in both the Providence Journal and The Newport Daily News in March, 2017 after it was ignored…
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR – HERITAGE HARBOR: PAST and FUTURE PLANS My long-time friend and historical colleague Albert T. Klyberg and I collaborated in writing the following synopsis of our 40-year…
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – LABORATORY FOR THE LIVELY EXPERIMENT The year 2013 marked the 350th anniversary of Rhode Island’s Royal Charter of 1663. Governor Lincoln Chafee took the initiative…
CHAPTER TWELVE – CONSTITUTION DAY 2013: THE CULMINATION OF THE RATIFICATION PROCESS These introductory remarks were made before the Rhode Island Supreme Court for the 2013 observance of Constitution Day. Locally, I…
CHAPTER THREE – JULY 19, THE REAL RHODE ISLAND INDEPENDENCE DAY From 1974 to mid-1977 when I served as volunteer chairman of the Rhode Island commission to celebrate American independence (ri76),…
CHAPTER EIGHT – BRISTOL, BROWNELL, AND THE GASPEE In June 2019 I made a presidential discretionary grant of $2,000 from the Heritage Harbor Foundation to the Bristol Fourth…
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE – AL KLYBERG: PRINCIPAL PROMOTER OF RHODE ISLAND HISTORY Al Klyberg’s sudden death in January, 2017 brought to an end a friendship and historical collaboration I had shared with…
STATEHOOD: BRISTOL LED THE WAY!             The highest civic honor that can be conferred upon a resident of Bristol is the position of chief marshal…
POKANOKET Dear Editor:     In 2007 my husband and I bought the so-called King Philip House on Bristol’s Mount Hope, the…
RI Women’s Long Role in the Suffrage Fight Click here to download: RI Women's long role in the suffrage fight
THE IRISH IN RHODE ISLAND: THE PROTESTANT PIONEERS      The Irish presence in Rhode Island dates from the late 1630s. Most early Irish Rhode Islanders were Protestants-mainly…
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