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Abraham Alexander Ribicoff

Gov. Abraham Alexander Ribicoff

  • January 5, 1955 - January 21, 1961
  • Democrat
  • April 9, 1910
  • February 22, 1998
  • Connecticut
  • New York University, University of Chicago
  • Married Ruth Siegel; two children
  • Resigned
  • Representative, Senator, Cabinet secretary


ABRAHAM ALEXANDER RIBICOFF, son of Jewish immigrant parents, was born in New Britain, Connecticut, on April 9, 1910. He attended New York University from 1928 to 1929, and in 1933 earned a law degree, graduating cum laude from the University of Chicago. Ribicoff entered politics as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, an office he held from 1938 to 1942. He also served on the bench of the Hartford Municipal Court from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1945 to 1947, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1953. Ribicoff won the 1954 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Connecticut’s 63rd governor. He won reelection in 1958. During his tenure, he restructured the judicial system; eradicated an outdated county government; and endorsed educational, welfare, and humane programs. On January 21, 1961, Governor Ribicoff resigned from office to take a federal appointment as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1962 he resigned from his federal appointment to run successfully for the U.S. Senate. He won reelection to the Senate in 1968, and 1974. In the Senate, he chaired the Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on Governmental Affairs. After an illustrious senate career, Ribicoff retired due to ill health, in 1981. Ribicoff died in New York City on February 22, 1998, and his interment is at Cornwall Cemetery, Cornwall, Connecticut.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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