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Governor Dennis Joseph Roberts

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Office Dates:  Jan 02, 1951 - Jan 06, 1959

Born:  Apr 08, 1903

Passed:  Jun 30, 1994

Birth State:  Rhode Island

School(s):  Fordham University, Boston University Law School

Military Service:  Navy

DENNIS JOSEPH ROBERTS was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a graduate of Fordham University in 1927 and Boston University Law School in 1930, following which he practiced law in Providence. He served as a state Senator from 1935 to 1939 and was State Democratic Chairman in 1938. He won election as Mayor of Providence in 1940 and held office until 1951, taking a leave of absence to serve as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Roberts won four terms as governor before being defeated by Christopher Del Sesto. While governor, he established a Department of Administration as a housekeeping agency for finance and other problems, as well as a Development Council to promote economic development in Rhode Island. He also reorganized the Department of Social Welfare to improve its administration. In 1960 he sought the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat but was defeated. He went on to chair the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention, where he proved controversial for recommending a unicameral state legislature.


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. H. New York: James T. White & Company.

The Political Graveyard

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.