|Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee|
January 3, 1987 –January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Richard Lugar|
|Succeeded by||Jesse Helms|
|Chair of the Senate Rules Committee|
January 3, 1978 –January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Howard Cannon|
|Succeeded by||Charles Mathias|
| United States senator |
from Rhode Island
January 3, 1961 –January 3, 1997
|Preceded by||Theodore Green|
|Succeeded by||Jack Reed|
Claiborne de Borda Pell
November 22, 1918
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 1, 2009 90) (aged|
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Relatives|| John Pell (ancestor)|
William C. C. Claiborne (great-great-great-granduncle)
Clay Pell (grandson)
|Education|| Princeton University (AB)|
Columbia University (MA)
|Years of service||1941–1945 (Active)|
|Unit||United States Coast Guard Reserve|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Claiborne de Borda Pell(November 22, 1918 – January 1, 2009) was an American politician and writer who served as a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island for six terms from 1961 to 1997. He was the sponsor of the 1972 bill that reformed the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, which provides financial aid funding to American college students; the grant was later given Pell's name in honor of his work in education legislation. A member of the Democratic Party, Pell is the longest serving U.S. Senator from Rhode Island.
Claiborne Pell was born on November 22, 1918, in New York City,the son of Matilda Bigelow and diplomat and congressman Herbert Pell.
Pell's family members included John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne, George Mifflin Dallas, and Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne.He was a direct descendant of mathematician John Pell and a descendant of Senator William C. C. Claiborne.
In 1927 Pell's parents divorced and his mother remarried Hugo W. Koehler of St. Louis, a commander in the United States Navy. 208–210 Pell was close to his stepfather, who died when Pell was 22. In later years, he made a concerted effort to determine the veracity of the rumors surrounding Koehler's past, but was only partly successful.Following World War I, Koehler served as an Office of Naval Intelligence and State Department operative in Russia during its civil war, and later as naval attaché to Poland. Said to be the "richest officer in the Navy" during the 1920s, Koehler was rumored to be the illegitimate son of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and to have assisted the Romanovs to flee the Russian Empire following the Russian Revolution of 1917. :
Pell attended St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island,and graduated with an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1940. Pell's senior thesis was titled "Macaulay and the Slavery Issue." While at Princeton, he was a member of Colonial Club and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, and played on the rugby team.
After graduating from Princeton, Pell worked as an oil field roustabout in Oklahoma. 66 He then served as private secretary for his father, who was United States Ambassador to Portugal. At the start of World War II he was with his father, who was then United States Ambassador to Hungary. Claiborne Pell drove trucks carrying emergency supplies to prisoners of war in Germany, and was detained several times by the Nazi government.:
Pell enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard as a seaman second class on August 12, 1941, four months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Pell served as a ship's cook, was promoted to seaman first class on October 31, and then was commissioned as an ensign on December 17, 1941.During the war, Pell's ships served as North Atlantic convoy escorts, and also in amphibious warfare during the allied invasion of Sicily and the allied invasion of the Italian mainland.
Pell was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on October 1, 1942, and then to lieutenant in May, 1943. Due to his fluency in Italian, Pell was assigned as a civil affairs officer in Sicily, where he became ill from drinking unpasteurized milk. He was sent home for recuperation during the summer of 1944, but returned to active service later in the war. Pell was discharged from active duty on September 5, 1945.
After the end of World War II, he remained in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He attained the rank of captain and retired in 1978.
In December 1944, Pell married Nuala O'Donnell, daughter of Charles Oliver O'Donnell and Josephine Hartford.They had four children: Herbert Claiborne Pell III, Christopher Thomas Hartford Pell, Nuala Dallas Pell, and Julia Lorillard Wampage Pell. Herbert (September 11, 1945 – September 24, 1999) and Julia (May 9, 1953 – April 13, 2006) predeceased their parents. His grandson Clay Pell (son of Herbert) was an unsuccessful contender in the 2014 Democratic primary for Governor of Rhode Island.
From 1945 to 1952, he served in the United States Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Washington, D.C. He was fluent in French, Italian, and Portuguese.
In 1945, Pell was a participant in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco that drafted the United Nations Charter.
In 1946 he completed graduate studies in International Relations at Columbia University and received a Master of Arts degree.
In 1954 Pell was appointed vice president and member of the board of directors of the International Fiscal Corporation. He also served as a vice president and director of the North American Newspaper Alliance.He was also a director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation, Fort Ticonderoga Association, and General Rochambeau Commission of Rhode Island. He also served as a fundraiser and consultant for the Democratic National Committee. He served as Vice President of the International Rescue Committee. Stationed in Austria, he was responsible for assisting refugees from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 to leave the country and resettle.
During Pell's diplomatic career and other international activities in the 1940s and 1950s, he was arrested and jailed at least six times, including detentions by both fascist and communist governments.
In 1960, Pell won the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Theodore Francis Green, defeating former Governor Dennis J. Roberts and former Governor and U.S. Senator J. Howard McGrath in the Democratic primary,and former Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Raoul Archambault in the general election.
Despite being called "the least electable man in America" by John F. Kennedy because of his many odd habits and beliefs,Pell proved a durable politician. He won reelection five times, including victories over Ruth M. Briggs (1966), John Chafee (1972), James G. Reynolds (1978), Barbara Leonard (1984), and Claudine Schneider (1990).
Often considered by his opponents to be too easygoing, Pell demonstrated his effectiveness as a campaigner.During his first campaign, when he was accused of carpetbagging, Pell published newspaper advertisements featuring a photograph of his grand-uncle Duncan Pell, who had served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island during the 1860s, thus demonstrating Pell's association with the state. When Briggs called him a "creampuff" during their 1966 campaign, Pell turned that to his advantage and mocked Briggs by obtaining an endorsement from a local baker's union.
During his first campaign, Pell also used his foreign experience to great advantage, impressing some largely immigrant audiences in person and on the radio by campaigning in their native languages.
Pell was known for unusual beliefs and behaviors, including wearing threadbare suits, using public transportation and purchasing cheap used automobiles despite his wealth, and an interest in the paranormal.He also wore his father's belt as a memento, despite the fact that Herbert Pell was stouter than the rail-thin Claiborne Pell, requiring Claiborne Pell to wrap the belt around his waist twice to make it fit.
In 1972's The Washington Pay-Off, author and former lobbyist Robert N. Winter-Berger wrote about Pell's alleged arrest during a raid on a Greenwich Village homosexual bar in 1964.Pell denied the allegation and there were no police records, witness statements or other sources to corroborate Winter-Berger. Despite legal advice to sue for defamation, Pell declined, deciding that it would draw undue publicity to the allegations.
Pell was largely responsible for the creation of "Basic Educational Opportunity Grants" in 1973, renamed Pell Grants in 1980, to provide financial aid funds to U.S. college students. Pell Grants initially provided for grants for prisoners but Congress later eliminated that provision. For some years there was more money available than was applied for.
He was the main sponsor of the bill that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,and was active as an advocate for mass transportation initiatives and domestic legislation facilitating and conforming to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Pell served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1995.In 1990 he was re-elected to his sixth and last term of the Senate.
In 1996, his last year in the Senate, Pell voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex marriage.
Pell declined to seek re-election in 1996 and retired on January 3, 1997. Pell served in the Senate for thirty-six continuous years, making him the longest serving U.S. Senator in the history of Rhode Island.He was succeeded by Jack Reed.
After retirement, Pell lived in Newport and was a communicant of St. Columba's Church in Middletown. He occasionally attended public functions of organizations with which he was affiliated. He was also a distinguished visiting professor at Salve Regina University.Towards the end of his life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Claiborne Pell died on January 1, 2009. His funeral was held at Trinity Church in Newport.In addition to members of his family, Pell was eulogized by former President Bill Clinton, Senator Edward Kennedy and then Vice-President elect Joe Biden. He was buried at St. Columba's Episcopal Church (Berkeley Memorial Cemetery) in Middletown, Rhode Island, near the graves of his son Herbert and his daughter Julia, who had predeceased him.
Soon after his death, the newspaper The New York Times termed Pell "the most formidable politician in Rhode Island history."
Senator Pell authored three books, Megalopolis Unbound: The Supercity and the Transportation of Tomorrow (1966), A Challenge of the Seven Seas (1966), (co-author), and "Power and Policy: America's Role in World Affairs" (1972).
Senator Pell received more than 50 honorary college degrees, including recognition from Johnson & Wales University, the University of Vermont and the University of Massachusetts.
In 1987 Pell was among those selected for the United Nations Environment Programme's Global 500 Roll of Honour, during the first year that award was established.
In 1988, Pell received the Foreign Language Advocacy Award from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in recognition of his work in establishing the NEA, the NEH, and the Pell Grant Program.
On October 14, 1994, President Bill Clinton presented Pell with the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Rhode Island's Newport Bridge was renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridgeand the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy was established at Salve Regina University. In addition, Newport's Claiborne Pell Elementary School, which opened in 2013, was named in his honor.
Pell was a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor.He also received the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy.
His awards for service in the Coast Guard during the Second World War included the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War Two Victory Medal.
Pell was a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati.Pell was also an honorary life member of the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars as well as a member of Spouting Rock Beach Association (Bailey's Beach) and the Newport Reading Room.
Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island. It is located in Narragansett Bay approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 74 miles (119 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.
Lincoln Davenport Chafee is an American politician. He was mayor of Warwick from 1993 to 1999, a United States Senator from 1999 to 2007, and the 74th Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015. He was a member of the Democratic Party from 2013–2019; in June 2019, The Boston Globe reported that he had become a registered Libertarian, having previously been a Republican until 2007 and an independent and then a Democrat in the interim.
Conanicut Island is the second-largest island in Narragansett Bay in the state of Rhode Island. It is connected on the east to Newport on Aquidneck Island via the Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, and on the west to North Kingstown on the mainland via the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge. The town of Jamestown comprises the entire island. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a land area of 24.46 km2 (9.44 sq mi) and a population of 5,622 in 2000.
Herbert Claiborne Pell Jr. was a United States Representative from New York, U.S. Minister to Portugal, U.S. Minister to Hungary, and a creator and member of the United Nations War Crimes Commission.
James Howard McGrath was an American politician and attorney from the U.S. state of Rhode Island. McGrath, a Democrat, served as U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island before becoming Governor, U.S. Solicitor General, U.S. Senator, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Attorney General of the United States.
John Lester Hubbard Chafee was an American politician. He served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, as the 66th Governor of Rhode Island, as the Secretary of the Navy, and as a United States Senator.
William Henry Vanderbilt III was Governor of Rhode Island and a member of the wealthy and socially prominent Vanderbilt family.
The Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, is a suspension bridge operated by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority that spans the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The bridge, part of RI 138, connects the City of Newport on Aquidneck Island and the Town of Jamestown on Conanicut Island, and is named for longtime Rhode Island U.S. senator Claiborne Pell who lived in Newport. The Pell Bridge is in turn connected to the mainland by the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge.
G. Wayne Miller is an American writer and filmmaker, and podcaster. He is a staff writer at The Providence (R.I.) Journal and Visiting Fellow at Salve Regina University's Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, in Newport, R.I., where he is co-founder and director of the Story in the Public Square program and co-host and coproducer of the national PBS/SiriusXM Radio show Story in the Public Square.
Myrth York is a Democratic politician, former Rhode Island State Senator and candidate for Governor of Rhode Island.
The Herbert Claiborne Pell Cup, established in 1958, is presented by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, of Newport, Rhode Island, to the winning Challenger for the America's Cup. The Cup is named for Herbert Claiborne Pell, Jr.. The America's Cup was held in Newport through 1983. Since 1983 and the advent of monetary sponsorships, the Cup has been accompanied by the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Raymond Nels Nelson was bureau chief of The Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin and later a member of the staff of Senator Claiborne Pell. He was found murdered in his Washington, D.C. apartment on June 1, 1981. The murder is still unsolved.
Since the Great Depression, Rhode Island politics have been dominated by the Rhode Island Democratic Party. However, the Rhode Island Republican Party, although virtually non-existent in the Rhode Island General Assembly, occasionally puts forward statewide reform candidates. Former Governor Donald Carcieri of East Greenwich, and former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence ran successfully as Republican reform candidates.
The 2014 United States Senate election in Rhode Island was held on November 4, 2014 to elect a member of the United States Senate from the State of Rhode Island, concurrently with the election of the Governor of Rhode Island, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.
Harry Kizirian was an Armenian American member of the United States Marine Corps who served during World War II. Kizirian's service lasted from February 1944 to February 1946, during which he spent seventeen months overseas. Kizirian took part in the Battle of Okinawa, where he landed during the first assault wave while heading a Marine fire team.
Guillaume Henry de Ramel is a Rhode Island investor, philanthropist, and politician. He has run for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State of Rhode Island twice, receiving 47% of the vote in 2006, losing to then North Providence Mayor, A. Ralph Mollis, and 49% of the vote in 2014, losing to executive director of HousingWorks RI Nellie Gorbea.
Herbert Claiborne Pell IV is an American lawyer, military officer, and politician. He is a lieutenant commander and judge advocate in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education in the United States Department of Education. He is the grandson of the late Senator Claiborne Pell. Pell ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 2014 Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Rhode Island, which he lost to Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University is a research center devoted to the exploration and study of politics, international relations, public policies and ideas. Dedicated to the legacy of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, a Newport, Rhode Island resident during his 36 years in the U.S. Senate, the center promotes American engagement in the world, effective government at home, and civic participation by all Americans.
Newport Public Schools (NPS) is the public school system of Newport, Rhode Island.
James Powell Kernochan was an American businessman and clubman who was prominent in New York society during the Gilded Age.
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Rhode Island |
1960, 1966, 1972, 1978, 1984, 1990
Les AuCoin, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Bill Hefner, Barbara B. Kennelly, George Miller, Tip O'Neill, Paul Tsongas, Tim Wirth
| Response to the State of the Union address |
Served alongside: Max Baucus, Joe Biden, David Boren, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Dante Fascell, Bill Gray, Tom Harkin, Dee Huddleston, Carl Levin, Tip O'Neill
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Rhode Island |
Served alongside: John O. Pastore, John Chafee
| Chair of the Senate Rules Committee |
| Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee |