ALFRED HENRY LITTLEFIELD was born in Scituate, Rhode Island. He began working at an early age, first in a mill in Warwick, and then in a dry goods house, going on to partner with his brother in the manufacture of thread. In 1854, at the age of twenty-five, he joined David Ryder and Company, which he purchased four years later under the name Littlefield Brothers, becoming President in 1889. He also incorporated Pawtucket Hair Cloth Company and served as director of the First National Bank of Pawtucket, Pawtucket Gas Company, and Pawtucket Street Railway Company. He rose to the rank of Colonel in the Rhode Island Militia. Politically he began as a Whig but joined the Republican Party after its formation. He served on the Lincoln Town Council from 1873 to 1877, in the state House of Representatives in 1876 and 1877, and in the state Senate in 1878 and 1879. In the 1880 governor’s race neither Littlefield nor any other candidate received a majority of the vote, and it was left to the state legislature to decide the election. Littlefield was chosen the winner, taking the oath of office on May 4, 1880. A three-term governor, he urged that the state’s educational system be updated to prepare residents of the state for the development of manufacturing, and he asked that a state industrial school be established for impoverished children. Also while he was governor, the boundary line between Rhode Island and Massachusetts was established. After leaving office, Littlefield returned to his business interests.
Mohr, Ralph S. Governors for Three Hundred Years (1638-1954): Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. State of Rhode Island, Graves Registration Committee, August 1954.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 9. New York: James T. White & Company.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.