James R. Beverley

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James R. Beverly
Governor of Puerto Rico
Interim
In office
1932–1933
Preceded by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Succeeded by Robert Hayes Gore
In office
1929–1929
Preceded by Horace Mann Towner
Succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Personal details
Born James Rumsey Beverly
(1894-06-15)June 15, 1894
Amarillo, Texas
Died June 17, 1967(1967-06-17) (aged 73)
Amarillo, Texas
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater University of Texas
Profession Lawyer, politician

James Rumsey Beverley (June 15, 1894 – June 17, 1967, San Juan, Puerto Rico) was a United States lawyer and politician, appointed as Attorney General of Puerto Rico, serving 1927-1933. During this period, he was twice appointed as acting governor of Puerto Rico in 1929 and 1932-1933. He was the only non-Puerto Rican appointee of 15 from 1900 to 1952 who could speak Spanish before going there.[1]

Early and personal life[edit]

Beverley was born in Amarillo, Texas to William and Clara (Hendricks) Beverley.[2] He attended local schools and went to college. He served in the United States Army during World War I. After completing law school at the University of Texas and starting work as a lawyer, he married Mary Smith Jarmon in 1925.[2]

Attorney and political career[edit]

Beverley was active in Democratic Party politics in Texas. Beverley was appointed as Assistant Attorney General of Puerto Rico in 1925, serving until 1927.[1]

Beverley spoke Spanish as a second language. In 1927, he was appointed as Attorney General of Puerto Rico, serving until 1933.[1] When appointed as acting governor of Puerto Rico for periods in 1929 and 1932-1933, he was the only one of fifteen non-Puerto Ricans to serve in that position between 1900 and 1952 who already spoke Spanish. He became friends with Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who followed him in 1930 as governor, serving until 1932. The two men had a close relationship for the rest of their lives.

In Beverley's tenures as acting governor, he had to deal with a major hurricane in which several people died and there was extensive damage. He also managed through the end of Prohibition on the island.

In 1932, during his second period of acting, he provoked controversy by recommending the use of birth control.[1] American Catholics were much more disturbed by this and raised many objections than did Puerto Ricans, who mostly ignored his comments.[3] Soon after taking office, he had to deal with agitation resulting from charges made by Pedro Albizu Campos, president of the Nationalist Party, that Cornelius Rhoads, an American medical researcher with the Rockefeller Foundation, had been working on a United States plot to exterminate Puerto Ricans, based on Rhoads' own letter that became public.[4] He ordered an investigation by the Attorney General Ramon Quinones, who found no evidence of wrongdoing by Rhoads of the American health project.[3][4]

On August 11, 1931, Beverley was one of seven people, including five officials, on board a chartered Pan American Airways Sikorsky seaplane flight tour of Puerto Rico, including the wife of then-Governor Teddy Roosevelt. The plane sank on landing, but no one suffered any injuries. The people were all taken off by boats.[5]

Following his service as governor, Beverley continued to live and work in Puerto Rico. He practiced law and served on numerous commissions.[1]

In the 1960s Beverley returned to Austin, Texas. He lived there until his death in 1967.[1]

Legacy and honors[edit]

  • His papers are held by the University of Texas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f A Guide to the James R. Beverley Papers, 1904-1967, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, Retrieved 20 December 2012
  2. ^ a b "Index to Politicians: Beucher to Biddison". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2006-03-04. 
  3. ^ a b Truman R. Clark. 1975. Puerto Rico and the United States, 1917-1933, University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 151-154
  4. ^ a b Starr, Douglas. "Revisiting a 1930s Scandal: AACR to Rename a Prize", Science, 25 April 2003. Vol. 300. No. 5619. p. 574-5.
  5. ^ "PORTO RICAN PARTY SAFE AS PLANE SINKS", The New York Times, August 12, 1931: 3 
Preceded by
Horace Mann Towner
Governor of Puerto Rico
1929
(Acting)
Succeeded by
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Preceded by
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Governor of Puerto Rico
1932–1933
(Acting)
Succeeded by
Robert Hayes Gore