Eleven prominent Rhode Islanders from the first half of the 20th century will be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame on Sunday, November 18, at 2 p.m. at the Historic Bristol Statehouse and Courthouse, 240 High Street, Bristol.
Dr. Patrick T. Conley, president of the Hall of Fame and chairman of its Historians’ Committee, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The public is cordially invited.
Recipients on behalf of the historical inductees will include descendants, scholars conversant with an inductee’s career, and representatives of institutions or organizations with which the inductees were associated, including the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the Champlin Foundations, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing, the Rhode Island General Assembly, St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center in Woonsocket, and the Cumberland American Legion Post.
Guests will be served with a complimentary collation prepared by Bristol’s DeWolf Tavern and they will also receive, with the compliments of the Rhode Island Publications Society, a copy of Dr. Conley’s color-illustrated book, The State Houses of Rhode Island, a work that contains an historical profile of the 1816 Bristol State House and Court House, the building in which the event will take place.
The new inductees are as follows:
Monsignor Peter E. Blessing
was Vicar General (i.e., principal deputy) to four bishops of the Diocese of Providence, editor of the Providence Visitor, the diocesan newspaper, state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus for a half-century, and long-time pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in South Providence, the largest Catholic parish in New England.
George Stanton Champlin and Florence (Champlin) Hamilton
, founders, with their industrialist father, George Byron Champlin, of a multimillion dollar charitable foundation that generously funds capital projects for an array of educational, historical, cultural, and medical facilities.
Chief Justice and Congressman Francis B. Condon
, the only Rhode Islander since the adoption of a written constitution in 1842 to hold both the positions of Congressman and Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Condon was one of the principal architects of the famous governmental reorganization of 1935 known as “the Bloodless Revolution.”
Rev. Charles C. Curran
, the priest of the Diocese of Providence who led that church’s charitable efforts, beginning in 1926, as first director of the Catholic Charities Bureau. He was the founding president of the Rhode Island Conference of Social Work. Father Curran was also pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Bristol from 1946 until his death in 1953.
Speaker Harry F. Curvin
, a powerful and very influential Pawtucket politician, who was the longest-serving Speaker of the House of Representatives presiding from 1941 to 1964--
a span of 24 years. He was the principal ally of famed Mayor Thomas P. McCoy and Pawtucket’s Director of Public Safety from 1937 to 1946.
Winifred L. Fitzpatrick, R.N.
, a public health pioneer and director of the Providence District Nursing Association. She was also a member of the first state Board of Nurse Examiners and a trustee of the state tuberculosis sanatorium at Wallum Lake. During World War II she was chief of the Division of Nurses in the State Council of Defense.
, noted international artist, sculptor, and interior designer, resided for the last three decades of his life in Rhode Island where he did stunning murals at St. Ann’s Church in Woonsocket (now St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center) and in 12 other local churches. He also painted 10 large murals for the Roger Williams Park Museum. He has been called “the Michelangelo of North America.”
Bishop James De Wolf Perry, III
, was a member of the famed Bristol families of De Wolf and Perry (Oliver Hazard and Matthew Calbraith were his great grand-uncles). He was a leader in the American Episcopal Church, serving as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island from 1911 to 1946, and as the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America from 1930 to 1937.
Lt. Robert Turner Waugh
, a Cumberland native and graduate of Cumberland High School who joined the army to fight in World War II. In May 1944, as the American forces moved northward in Italy, Waugh was personally responsible for the death of 30 of the enemy and the capture of 25 others before he was killed in action. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism and valor.
Louisa White, R.N.
, Rhode Island Director of Nursing Education, was the founder of the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island and directed it from 1947 until her retirement in 1957. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by URI in 1970 and the College of Nursing Building, completed in 1977, is named in her honor.