Claiborne Pell

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Claiborne Pell
Claiborne Pell.jpg
Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
In office
January 3, 1987 January 3, 1995
Preceded by Richard Lugar
Succeeded by Jesse Helms
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
In office
January 3, 1978 January 3, 1981
Preceded by Howard Cannon
Succeeded by Charles Mathias
United States senator
from Rhode Island
In office
January 3, 1961 January 3, 1997
Preceded by Theodore Green
Succeeded by Jack Reed
Personal details
Born
Claiborne de Borda Pell

(1918-11-22)November 22, 1918
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 1, 2009(2009-01-01) (aged 90)
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Nuala O'Donnell
Children4
Father Herbert Pell
Relatives John Pell (ancestor)
William C. C. Claiborne (great-great-great-granduncle)
Clay Pell (grandson)
Education Princeton University (AB)
Columbia University (MA)
Signature Claiborne Pell Signature.svg
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Coast Guard.svg  United States Coast Guard
Years of service1941–1945 (Active)
1945–1978 (Reserve)
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant (Active)
US-O6 insignia.svg Captain (Reserve)
Unit United States Coast Guard Reserve
Battles/wars World War II

Claiborne de Borda Pell GCC GCM (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.

Contents

Early life and education

Claiborne Pell was born on November 22, 1918, in New York City, [1] the son of Matilda Bigelow and diplomat and congressman Herbert Pell. [2]

Pell's family members included John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne, George Mifflin Dallas, and Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne. [3] He was a direct descendant of mathematician John Pell and a descendant of Senator William C. C. Claiborne. [4]

In 1927 Pell's parents divorced and his mother remarried Hugo W. Koehler of St. Louis, a commander in the United States Navy. [5] 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. [6] 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. [5] :208–210 Pell was close to his stepfather, who died when Pell was 22. [6] In later years, he made a concerted effort to determine the veracity of the rumors surrounding Koehler's past, but was only partly successful. [7] [8]

Pell attended St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island, [9] and graduated with an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1940. [10] Pell's senior thesis was titled "Macaulay and the Slavery Issue." [11] While at Princeton, he was a member of Colonial Club and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, and played on the rugby team. [12]

Post-college life

After graduating from Princeton, Pell worked as an oil field roustabout in Oklahoma. [5] :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. [13]

Uniformed service

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. [14] 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. [15]

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. [16]

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. [17]

Personal life and family

In December 1944, Pell married Nuala O'Donnell, daughter of Charles Oliver O'Donnell and Josephine Hartford. [18] [19] [20] They had four children: Herbert Claiborne Pell III, Christopher Thomas Hartford Pell, Nuala Dallas Pell, and Julia Lorillard Wampage Pell. [21] [22] Herbert (September 11, 1945 – September 24, 1999) [23] and Julia (May 9, 1953 – April 13, 2006) predeceased their parents. [24] His grandson Clay Pell (son of Herbert) was an unsuccessful contender in the 2014 Democratic primary for Governor of Rhode Island. [25]

Diplomatic work, further education

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. [26]

In 1945, Pell was a participant in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco that drafted the United Nations Charter. [27]

In 1946 he completed graduate studies in International Relations at Columbia University and received a Master of Arts degree. [28]

Post-diplomatic career

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. [29] He was also a director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation, Fort Ticonderoga Association, and General Rochambeau Commission of Rhode Island. [30] He also served as a fundraiser and consultant for the Democratic National Committee. [31] 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. [32]

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. [33]

Political career

Pell watches as Raisa Gorbachev listens to Marilyn Quayle at a display of books and other items at the Library of Congress Mrs. Gorbachev looking at books.jpg
Pell watches as Raisa Gorbachev listens to Marilyn Quayle at a display of books and other items at the Library of Congress

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, [34] and former Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Raoul Archambault in the general election. [35]

Despite being called "the least electable man in America" by John F. Kennedy because of his many odd habits and beliefs, [36] 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. [13] 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. [13] 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. [37]

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. [38]

Personality and beliefs

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. [39] 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. [40]

Arrest allegation

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. [41] Pell denied the allegation and there were no police records, witness statements or other sources to corroborate Winter-Berger. [42] [43] [44] Despite legal advice to sue for defamation, Pell declined, deciding that it would draw undue publicity to the allegations. [42] [43] [44]

Pell education grants

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. [45]

He was the main sponsor of the bill that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, [46] 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. [47]

Later Senate career

Pell served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1995. [48] 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. [49]

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. [50] He was succeeded by Jack Reed. [51]

Retirement and death

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. [52] Towards the end of his life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. [53]

Claiborne Pell died on January 1, 2009. His funeral was held at Trinity Church in Newport. [54] 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. [55] 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. [56]

Soon after his death, the newspaper The New York Times termed Pell "the most formidable politician in Rhode Island history." [57]

Authorship, recognition, organizations

Published works

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). [52]

Awards and honors

Senator Pell received more than 50 honorary college degrees, including recognition from Johnson & Wales University, the University of Vermont and the University of Massachusetts. [52] [58]

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. [59]

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. [60]

On October 14, 1994, President Bill Clinton presented Pell with the Presidential Citizens Medal. [61]

Rhode Island's Newport Bridge was renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridge [62] and the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy was established at Salve Regina University. [63] In addition, Newport's Claiborne Pell Elementary School, which opened in 2013, was named in his honor. [64]

Pell was a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. [65] He also received the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy. [66]

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. [67]

Memberships

Pell was a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati. [68] 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. [69]

Honors

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References

  1. William H. Honan, New York Times, Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90, January 1, 2009
  2. United States Congress (1995). Official Congressional Directory. 104. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 239.
  3. Capace, Nancy (2001). Encyclopedia of Rhode Island. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers. pp. 337–338. ISBN   978-0-4030-9610-7.
  4. G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal, 'A Remarkable Life' - Nuala and Claiborne Pell Reflect on Six Extraordinary Decades Together, April 10, 2005
  5. 1 2 3 G. Wayne Miller, An Uncommon Man: The Life & Times of Senator Claiborne Pell, 2011, pages 41-42
  6. 1 2 "Hugo W. Koehler, Ex-Navy Officer, Dies in New York". Quad-City Times . Davenport, IA. June 18, 1941. p. 11 via Newspapers.com.
  7. Our Man in the Crimea: Commander Hugo Koehler and the Russian Civil War. P.J. Capelotti. University of South Carolina Press. (1991) pg. 9-10
  8. A Man Apart: The Life and Times of Senator Claiborne Pell. G. Wayne Miller. UPNE. 2011. pg. 208.
  9. J. Y. Smith, Washington Post, Former R.I. Senator Claiborne Pell, 90; Sponsored Grant Program, January 2, 2009
  10. United Federation of Postal Clerks, Union Postal Clerk and the Postal Transport Journal, Volumes 60-62, 1964, page 23
  11. Pell, Claiborne deBorda (1940). "MaCaulay and the Slavery Issue".Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. Princeton Alumni Association, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 74, (March 19, 1974), page 44
  13. 1 2 3 Mulligan, John E. "Claiborne Pell dies". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011.
  14. New York Times, New Face in Politics; Claiborne deBorda Pell, September 30, 1960
  15. Ken Franckling, United Press International, Sen. Caliborne Pell -- You Let the Other Man Have Your Way, Albany (Georgia) Herald, July 22, 1981
  16. G. Wayne Miller, An Uncommon Man, page 80
  17. Celeste Katz, Providence Journal, Coast Guard Presence in Newport Grows, July 19, 1996
  18. Scott MacKay (April 13, 2014). "Nuala Pell, Spouse and Political Partner of Sen. Claiborne Pell, Dies" . Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  19. Eric Pace, "Josephine Hartford Bryce, 88, Philanthropist and Sportswoman", The New York Times, June 10, 1992.
  20. "Nuala Pell dies at 89; she left 'an indelible mark'". Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  21. Faye Zuckerman, "Pell Family Wedding a Mix of Two Cultures", The Providence Journal, September 2, 2003.
  22. Jody McPhillips and Elizabeth Abbott, Pell Kicks Off Senate Campaign, The Providence Journal, June 25, 1990.
  23. "Memorial: Herbert Claiborne Pell III '67". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Alumni Association. September 27, 1999.
  24. "Death Notice, Julia Lorillard Wampage Pell". The New York Times. New York, NY. April 15, 2006.
  25. Alman, Ashley (September 9, 2014). "Gina Raimondo Wins Democratic Primary For Rhode Island Governor". Huffington Post. New York, NY.
  26. Providence Journal, Pell to Return to Czechoslovakia, Was There for Communist Takeover, November 29, 1989
  27. Warren Christopher, In the Stream of History: Shaping Foreign Policy for a New Era, 1998, page 15
  28. M. Charles Bakst, Providence Journal, Claiborne Pell: A Unique Legacy, December 8, 1996
  29. Princeton Alumni Association, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 55, April 15, 1955, page 24.
  30. Newport Daily News, Pell Named Director, May 15, 1954
  31. Joseph M. Siracusa, The Kennedy Years, 2004, page 376
  32. University of Rhode Island, Register to the Senatorial Papers of Claiborne Pell: Biography, uri.edu; accessed May 21, 2019.
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  35. Hendersonville (North Carolina), Times-News, Democrats' Clutch on Congress Holds, November 4, 1960
  36. Scott MacKay, Rhode Island Public Radio, The Life and Times of an Uncommon Man: Sen. Claiborne Pell, October 20, 2011
  37. Honan, William H. (January 1, 2009). "Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90". New York Times. New York, NY.
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  39. Scott McKay, Providence Journal, Pell Seeks Sixth Term; Cites Jobs, Peace Issues, June 26, 1990
  40. Mark Patinkin, Providence Journal, For Claiborne Pell, The Doing Was Enough, October 8, 1996
  41. Winter-Berger, Robert N. (1972). The Washington pay-off; an insider's view of corruption in government. Lyle Stuart Inc. pp. 86–89.
  42. 1 2 Lofton Jr, John D. (October 29, 1973). "May Call Winter-Berger in Ford Hearing". Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine) . p. 4. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  43. 1 2 Arnold A. Hutschnecker, The Drive for Power, 1974, page 25
  44. 1 2 Robert Trowbridge Hartmann, Palace Politics: An Inside Account of the Ford Years, 1980, page 57
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  46. Frank Baker, Associated Press, Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island's Quirky Senator, to Retire, Meriden Record-Journal, September 6, 1995
  47. Providence Journal, Law of the Sea, August 30, 1994
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  51. Bryant University, RI Senator Jack Reed Addresses Class of 2010, May 2010
  52. 1 2 3 Pell, Claiborne (Autumn 1998). "Set and Drift: The Law of the Sea Convention is Critical to National Interests". Naval War College Review . Newport, RI: Naval War College. p. 114 via Google Books.
  53. Associated Press, Sen. Claiborne Pell Says He Has Parkinson's Disease, April 10, 1995
  54. C-Span Video Library, Funeral Service for Claiborne Pell, January 5, 2009
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  58. Providence Journal, Universities in New England Set Honorary Degrees for Pell, DiPrete, May 24, 1988
  59. Providence Journal, Pell to Receive Award at Coastal Conference, October 9, 1987
  60. "The James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  61. New York Times, 17 Are Honored In Arts Fields, October 14, 1994
  62. Brian C. Jones, Providence Journal, A Rhode Island Original: His Name May be on Bridge, But Pell Still Pays Toll, July 23, 1995
  63. Jerry O'Brien, Providence Journal, Salve to Buy Mansion for New Pell Center, December 5, 1996
  64. Borg, Linda (September 3, 2013). "Newport, R.I., school named after late U.S. Senator Pell honors his educational legacy". Providence Journal. providence, RI.
  65. United States Coast Guard, Coast Guard History, Frequently Asked Questions: Claiborne Pell, accessed September 5, 2013
  66. Bill Wells, Coast Guard Warriors - Part of The Mix: Coast Guard Medal Awardees of World War II Archived June 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine , 1998
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  68. Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress (1974). Official Congressional Directory. Washington, DC: US Government printing Office. p. 162.
  69. Providence Journal, Claiborne Pell Remembered as "the right kind of aristocrat", January 6, 2009
  70. 1 2 "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Theodore Green
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Rhode Island
(Class 2)

1960, 1966, 1972, 1978, 1984, 1990
Succeeded by
Jack Reed
Preceded by
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
1984
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
Succeeded by
Bill Clinton
Bob Graham
Tip O'Neill
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Theodore Green
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Rhode Island
1961–1997
Served alongside: John O. Pastore, John Chafee
Succeeded by
Jack Reed
Preceded by
Howard Cannon
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
1978–1981
Succeeded by
Charles Mathias
Preceded by
Richard Lugar
Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
1987–1995
Succeeded by
Jesse Helms