Robert P. Robinson

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This article is about a banker and politician from early twentieth century Delaware, for others see Robert Robinson
The Honorable
Robert P. Robinson
57th Governor of Delaware
In office
January 20, 1925 – January 15, 1929
Lieutenant James H. Anderson
Preceded by William D. Denney
Succeeded by C. Douglass Buck
Personal details
Born (1869-03-28)March 28, 1869
Wilmington, Delaware
Died March 4, 1939(1939-03-04) (aged 69)
Wilmington, Delaware
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margaret Fouraker
Residence Wilmington, Delaware
Occupation banker
Religion Presbyterian

Robert Pyle Robinson (March 28, 1869 – March 4, 1939) was an American banker and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Republican Party who served as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Robinson was born at “Robinhurst,” now Alban Park, in Wilmington, Delaware, son of Robert L. and Frances Delaplaine Robinson. He married Margaret Fouraker in 1905 and they had three children, Mary Frances, Robert Jr. and Frances Robinson Parsons. They were members of the Hanover Presbyterian Church in Wilmington.

Professional and politics career[edit]

Robinson began his career with the Central National Bank, becoming the president of the bank in 1916. He first was exposed to politics when he worked as personal secretary to Delaware U.S. Representative L. Heisler Ball from 1902 until 1903. In 1914 he lost the close contest for Delaware's Insurance Commissioner by only 98 votes. Ten years later, in 1924, he was a compromise choice to be the Republican candidate for Governor of Delaware and was elected, defeating Joseph Bancroft, the Democratic Party candidate.

Governor of Delaware[edit]

During his tenure, the major issues facing state government were related to secondary education and highway construction. With the passage of the controversial School Codes of 1919 and 1921 Delaware was committed to an aggressive program of school construction. Pierre S. du Pont had agreed to get the process started and provided the massive financial support from his own funds. However, that could not continue forever and yet the General Assembly refused to levy additional taxes. Fortunately the new income tax and corporate franchise tax were capable of producing the revenue needed, but it was suspected everyone was not filing as they should have been. To remedy the situation Robinson appointed du Pont himself to be the State Tax Commissioner. Du Pont quickly modernized the office, increased the revenue from the income tax and assured the continuation of the school building program.

Robinson was also a proponent of the organization of the State Board of Charities and he supported a modernized pension system for needy mothers. It was increasingly clear that reform was needed in what is now known as the social services and legislation was introduced to replace the county “almshouses” with a state welfare home. The bill failed to pass, but Florence M. Hanby, who was the first woman elected to the General Assembly, introduced the “Hope Farm Bill” into this session, and it provided funding for the Anti-Tuberculosis Hospital at Hope Farm. Robinson also appointed the first female state Secretary of State in the United States, Fannie Harrington.


Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority President
pro tempore
House Majority Speaker
1925-1926 103rd Democratic William C. Truitt Republican Henry C. Downward
1927-1928 104th Democratic William F. Allen Republican William Wintrup

Death and legacy[edit]

Following his term as Governor, Robinson returned to the presidency of the Central National bank in Wilmington. He died at Wilmington and is buried there in the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery.

Although never a farmer, in 1922 he became Grand Master of the State Grange. The 3-F’s were the way he described his favorite activities: family, farming, and fishing. He was known to disappear from his desk in favor of a local pond. “Competent and diligent, he displayed a certain boyishness and shyness all his life.” [1]

Almanac[edit]

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and has a four-year term.


Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Governor Executive Dover January 20, 1925 January 15, 1929
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1924 Governor Robert P. Robinson Republican 53,046 60% Joseph Bancroft Democratic 34,830 39%

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Roger A. (1984). History of Delaware Through its Governors. 

References[edit]

  • Carter, Richard B. (2001). Clearing New Ground, The Life of John G. Townsend, Jr. Wilmington, Delaware: The Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-20-6. 
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Wilmington, Delaware: Cedar Tree Books. ISBN 1-892142-23-6. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press. 
  • Sobel, Robert; J. Racino (1988). Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States 1789-1978. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-930466-00-4. 

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