|Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee|
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Richard Lugar|
|Succeeded by||Jesse Helms|
|Chair of the Senate Rules Committee|
January 3, 1978 – January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Howard Cannon|
|Succeeded by||Charles Mathias|
|United States Senator|
from Rhode Island
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1997
|Preceded by||Theodore Green|
|Succeeded by||Jack Reed|
Claiborne de Borda Pell
November 22, 1918
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 1, 2009 (aged 90)|
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Relatives||John Pell (ancestor)|
William C. C. Claiborne (great-great-great-granduncle)
Clay Pell (grandson)
|Education||Princeton University (AB)|
Columbia University (MA)
|Branch/service||United States Coast Guard|
|Years of service||1941–1945 (active)|
|Rank|| Lieutenant (active)|
|Unit||United States Coast Guard Reserve|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Claiborne de Borda Pell U.S. Senator from Rhode Island for six terms from 1961 to 1997. He was the sponsor of the 1972 bill that reformed the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, which provides financial aid funding to American college students; the grant was given Pell's name in 1980 in honor of his work in education legislation.(November 22, 1918 – January 1, 2009) was an American politician and writer who served as a
A member of the Democratic Party, Pell is the longest serving U.S. Senator from Rhode Island.
Early life and education
Pell's family members included John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne, George Mifflin Dallas, and Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne. He was a direct descendant of mathematician John Pell and a descendant of Senator William C. C. Claiborne. The Congressional Record also reports that he was a direct descendant of Wampage I, a Siwanoy chieftain.
In 1927 Pell's parents divorced and his mother remarried Hugo W. Koehler of St. Louis, a commander in the United States Navy. Following World War I, Koehler served as an Office of Naval Intelligence and State Department operative in Russia during its civil war, and later as naval attaché to Poland. Said to be the "richest officer in the Navy" during the 1920s, Koehler was rumored to be the illegitimate son of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and to have assisted the Romanovs to flee the Russian Empire following the Russian Revolution of 1917.: 208–210 Pell was close to his stepfather, who died when Pell was 22. In later years, he made a concerted effort to determine the veracity of the rumors surrounding Koehler's past, but was only partly successful.
Pell attended St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island, and graduated with an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1940. Pell's senior thesis was titled "Macaulay and the Slavery Issue." While at Princeton, he was a member of Colonial Club and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, and played on the rugby team.
After graduating from Princeton, Pell worked as an oil field roustabout in Oklahoma.: 66 He then served as private secretary for his father, who was United States Ambassador to Portugal. At the start of World War II he was with his father, who was then United States Ambassador to Hungary. Claiborne Pell drove trucks carrying emergency supplies to prisoners of war in Germany, and was detained several times by the Nazi government.
Pell enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard as a seaman second class on August 12, 1941, four months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Pell served as a ship's cook, was promoted to seaman first class on October 31, and then was commissioned as an ensign on December 17, 1941. During the war, Pell's ships served as North Atlantic convoy escorts, and also in amphibious warfare during the allied invasion of Sicily and the allied invasion of the Italian mainland.
Pell was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on October 1, 1942, and then to lieutenant in May 1943. Due to his fluency in Italian, Pell was assigned as a civil affairs officer in Sicily, where he became ill from drinking unpasteurized milk. He was sent home for recuperation during the summer of 1944, but returned to active service later in the war. Pell was discharged from active duty on September 5, 1945.
Personal life and family
In December 1944, Pell married Nuala O'Donnell, daughter of Charles Oliver O'Donnell and Josephine Hartford. They had four children: Herbert Claiborne Pell III, Christopher Thomas Hartford Pell, Nuala Dallas Pell, and Julia Lorillard Wampage Pell. Herbert (September 11, 1945 – September 24, 1999) and Julia (May 9, 1953 – April 13, 2006) predeceased their parents. His grandson Clay Pell (son of Herbert) was an unsuccessful contender in the 2014 Democratic primary for Governor of Rhode Island.
Diplomatic work, further education
In 1945, Pell was a participant in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco that drafted the United Nations Charter.
In 1954 Pell was appointed vice president and member of the board of directors of the International Fiscal Corporation. He also served as a vice president and director of the North American Newspaper Alliance. He was also a director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation, Fort Ticonderoga Association, and General Rochambeau Commission of Rhode Island. He also served as a fundraiser and consultant for the Democratic National Committee. He served as Vice President of the International Rescue Committee. Stationed in Austria, he was responsible for assisting refugees from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 to leave the country and resettle.
During Pell's diplomatic career and other international activities in the 1940s and 1950s, he was arrested and jailed at least six times, including detentions by both fascist and communist governments.
In 1960, Pell won the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Theodore Francis Green, defeating former Governor Dennis J. Roberts and former Governor and U.S. Senator J. Howard McGrath in the Democratic primary, and former Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Raoul Archambault in the general election.
Despite being called "the least electable man in America" by John F. Kennedy because of his many odd habits and beliefs, Pell proved a durable politician. He won reelection five times, including victories over Ruth M. Briggs (1966), John Chafee (1972), James G. Reynolds (1978), Barbara Leonard (1984), and Claudine Schneider (1990).
Often considered by his opponents to be too easygoing, Pell demonstrated his effectiveness as a campaigner. During his first campaign, when he was accused of carpetbagging, Pell published newspaper advertisements featuring a photograph of his grand-uncle Duncan Pell, who had served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island during the 1860s, thus demonstrating Pell's association with the state. When Briggs called him a "creampuff" during their 1966 campaign, Pell turned that to his advantage and mocked Briggs by obtaining an endorsement from a local baker's union.
During his first campaign, Pell also used his foreign experience to great advantage, impressing some largely immigrant audiences in person and on the radio by campaigning in their native languages.
Personality and beliefs
Pell was known for unusual beliefs and behaviors, including wearing threadbare suits, using public transportation and purchasing cheap used automobiles despite his wealth, and an interest in the paranormal. His interest in the paranormal is critiqued by Martin Gardner: "In my opinion, however, no one in Washington has rivaled Senator Pell in combining of science with extreme gullibility toward the performances of psychics." He also wore his father's belt as a memento, despite the fact that Herbert Pell was stouter than the rail-thin Claiborne Pell, requiring Claiborne Pell to wrap the belt around his waist twice to make it fit.
In 1972's The Washington Pay-Off, author and former lobbyist Robert N. Winter-Berger wrote about Pell's alleged arrest during a raid on a Greenwich Village homosexual bar in 1964. Pell denied the allegation and there were no police records, witness statements or other sources to corroborate Winter-Berger. Despite legal advice to sue for defamation, Pell declined, deciding that it would draw undue publicity to the allegations.
Pell education grants
Pell was largely responsible for the creation of "Basic Educational Opportunity Grants" in 1973, renamed Pell Grants in 1980, to provide financial aid funds to U.S. college students. Pell Grants initially provided for grants for prisoners, but Congress later eliminated that provision. For some years there was more money available than was applied for.
He was the main sponsor of the bill that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was active as an advocate for mass transportation initiatives and domestic legislation facilitating and conforming to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Later Senate career
Pell declined to seek re-election in 1996 and retired on January 3, 1997. Pell served in the Senate for thirty-six continuous years, making him the longest-serving U.S. Senator in the history of Rhode Island. He was succeeded by Jack Reed.
Retirement and death
After retirement, Pell lived in Newport and was a communicant of St. Columba's Church in Middletown. He occasionally attended public functions of organizations with which he was affiliated. He was also a distinguished visiting professor at Salve Regina University. Towards the end of his life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Claiborne Pell died on January 1, 2009. His funeral was held at Trinity Church in Newport. In addition to members of his family, Pell was eulogized by former President Bill Clinton, Senator Edward Kennedy and then Vice-President elect Joe Biden. He was buried at St. Columba's Episcopal Church (Berkeley Memorial Cemetery) in Middletown, Rhode Island, near the graves of his son Herbert and his daughter Julia, who had predeceased him.
Soon after his death, the newspaper The New York Times termed Pell "the most formidable politician in Rhode Island history."
Authorship, recognition, organizations
Senator Pell authored three books, Megalopolis Unbound: The Supercity and the Transportation of Tomorrow (1966), A Challenge of the Seven Seas (1966), (co-author), and "Power and Policy: America's Role in World Affairs" (1972).
Awards and honors
In 1988, Pell received the Foreign Language Advocacy Award from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in recognition of his work in establishing the NEA, the NEH, and the Pell Grant Program.
Rhode Island's Newport Bridge was renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridge and the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy was established at Salve Regina University. In addition, Newport's Claiborne Pell Elementary School, which opened in 2013, was named in his honor.
His awards for service in the Coast Guard during the Second World War included the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War Two Victory Medal.
Pell was a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati. Pell was also an honorary life member of the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars as well as a member of Spouting Rock Beach Association (Bailey's Beach) and the Newport Reading Room.
- Presidential Citizens Medal (1994)
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Grand Cross of the Order of Christ, Portugal (May 31, 1979)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Portugal (October 7, 1994)
- Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Crown of Italy
- Chevalier, Legion of Honor (France)
- Nietzel, Michael T. "Democrats Reintroduce Bill To Double The Pell Grant". Forbes. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Ford, William D. (October 3, 1980). "H.R.5192 - 96th Congress (1979-1980): Education Amendments of 1980". www.congress.gov. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- William H. Honan, New York Times, Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90, January 1, 2009.
- United States Congress (1995). Official Congressional Directory. 104. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 239.
- Capace, Nancy (2001). Encyclopedia of Rhode Island. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers. pp. 337–338. ISBN 978-0-4030-9610-7.
- G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal, 'A Remarkable Life' - Nuala and Claiborne Pell Reflect on Six Extraordinary Decades Together, April 10, 2005.
- 1966 Congressional Record, Vol. 112, Page S606 (1966-01-19).
- G. Wayne Miller, An Uncommon Man: The Life & Times of Senator Claiborne Pell, 2011, pp. 41–42.
- "Hugo W. Koehler, Ex-Navy Officer, Dies in New York". Quad-City Times. Davenport, IA. June 18, 1941. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Our Man in the Crimea: Commander Hugo Koehler and the Russian Civil War. P. J. Capelotti. University of South Carolina Press. (1991) pp. 9–10.
- A Man Apart: The Life and Times of Senator Claiborne Pell. G. Wayne Miller. UPNE. 2011. p. 208.
- J. Y. Smith, Washington Post, Former R.I. Senator Claiborne Pell, 90; Sponsored Grant Program, January 2, 2009.
- United Federation of Postal Clerks, Union Postal Clerk and the Postal Transport Journal, Volumes 60-62, 1964, p. 23.
- Pell, Claiborne deBorda (1940). "MaCaulay and the Slavery Issue". Cite journal requires
- Princeton Alumni Association, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 74, (March 19, 1974), p. 44.
- Mulligan, John E. "Claiborne Pell dies". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011.
- New York Times, New Face in Politics; Claiborne deBorda Pell, September 30, 1960.
- Ken Franckling, United Press International, Sen. Caliborne Pell -- You Let the Other Man Have Your Way, Albany (Georgia) Herald, July 22, 1981.
- G. Wayne Miller, An Uncommon Man, p. 80.
- Celeste Katz, Providence Journal, Coast Guard Presence in Newport Grows, July 19, 1996.
- Scott MacKay (April 13, 2014). "Nuala Pell, Spouse and Political Partner of Sen. Claiborne Pell, Dies". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- Eric Pace, "Josephine Hartford Bryce, 88, Philanthropist and Sportswoman", The New York Times, June 10, 1992.
- "Nuala Pell dies at 89; she left 'an indelible mark'". Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- Faye Zuckerman, "Pell Family Wedding a Mix of Two Cultures", The Providence Journal, September 2, 2003.
- Jody McPhillips and Elizabeth Abbott, Pell Kicks Off Senate Campaign, The Providence Journal, June 25, 1990.
- "Memorial: Herbert Claiborne Pell III '67". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Alumni Association. September 27, 1999.
- "Death Notice, Julia Lorillard Wampage Pell". The New York Times. New York, NY. April 15, 2006.
- Alman, Ashley (September 9, 2014). "Gina Raimondo Wins Democratic Primary For Rhode Island Governor". Huffington Post. New York, NY.
- Providence Journal, Pell to Return to Czechoslovakia, Was There for Communist Takeover, November 29, 1989.
- Warren Christopher, In the Stream of History: Shaping Foreign Policy for a New Era, 1998, p. 15.
- M. Charles Bakst, Providence Journal, Claiborne Pell: A Unique Legacy, December 8, 1996.
- Princeton Alumni Association, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 55, April 15, 1955, p. 24.
- Newport Daily News, Pell Named Director, May 15, 1954.
- Joseph M. Siracusa, The Kennedy Years, 2004, p. 376.
- University of Rhode Island, Register to the Senatorial Papers of Claiborne Pell: Biography, uri.edu; accessed May 21, 2019.
- University of Rhode Island, Senator Claiborne deBorda Pell (1918-2009), uri.edu; accessed May 21, 2019.
- New York Times, Newcomer Wins Senate Primary; Pell Defeats Two Former Rhode Island Governors Seeking Green's Seat, September 28, 1960.
- Hendersonville (North Carolina), Times-News, Democrats' Clutch on Congress Holds, November 4, 1960.
- Scott MacKay, Rhode Island Public Radio, The Life and Times of an Uncommon Man: Sen. Claiborne Pell, October 20, 2011.
- Honan, William H. (January 1, 2009). "Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90". New York Times. New York, NY.
- Richard F. Fenno Jr., Senators on the Campaign Trail: The Politics of Representation, 1998, p. 243.
- Scott McKay, Providence Journal, Pell Seeks Sixth Term; Cites Jobs, Peace Issues, June 26, 1990.
- Gardner, Martin (2000). Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co. p. 176.
- Mark Patinkin, Providence Journal, For Claiborne Pell, The Doing Was Enough, October 8, 1996.
- Winter-Berger, Robert N. (1972). The Washington pay-off; an insider's view of corruption in government. Lyle Stuart Inc. pp. 86–89.
- Lofton Jr, John D. (October 29, 1973). "May Call Winter-Berger in Ford Hearing". Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine). p. 4. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Arnold A. Hutschnecker, The Drive for Power, 1974, p. 25.
- Robert Trowbridge Hartmann, Palace Politics: An Inside Account of the Ford Years, 1980, p. 57.
- Maura J. Casey, New York Times, Senator Claiborne Pell’s Vision, January 5, 2009.
- Frank Baker, Associated Press, Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island's Quirky Senator, to Retire, Meriden Record-Journal, September 6, 1995.
- Providence Journal, Law of the Sea, August 30, 1994.
- CNN, Ex-Sen. Claiborne Pell, proponent of student grants, dies, January 1, 2009.
- "H.R. 3396 (104th): Defense of Marriage Act". Govtrack.us. Washington, DC: Civic Impulse, LLC. September 10, 1996. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- WCVB-TV, Edward M. Kennedy's Tribute to Former Sen. Claiborne Pell, January 5, 2009.
- Bryant University, RI Senator Jack Reed Addresses Class of 2010, May 2010.
- Pell, Claiborne (Autumn 1998). "Set and Drift: The Law of the Sea Convention is Critical to National Interests". Naval War College Review. Newport, RI: Naval War College. p. 114 – via Google Books.
- Associated Press, Sen. Claiborne Pell Says He Has Parkinson's Disease, April 10, 1995.
- C-Span Video Library, Funeral Service for Claiborne Pell, January 5, 2009.
- Foon Rhee, Boston Globe, Clinton, Kennedy Honor Claiborne Pell, January 5, 2009.
- Bob Breidenbach, Providence Journal, Photo, Video: Scenes From Services for Claiborne Pell Archived February 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, January 5, 2009.
- Honan, William (January 1, 2009). "Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- Providence Journal, Universities in New England Set Honorary Degrees for Pell, DiPrete, May 24, 1988.
- Providence Journal, Pell to Receive Award at Coastal Conference, October 9, 1987.
- "The James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- New York Times, 17 Are Honored In Arts Fields, October 14, 1994.
- Brian C. Jones, Providence Journal, A Rhode Island Original: His Name May be on Bridge, But Pell Still Pays Toll, July 23, 1995.
- Jerry O'Brien, Providence Journal, Salve to Buy Mansion for New Pell Center, December 5, 1996.
- Borg, Linda (September 3, 2013). "Newport, R.I., school named after late U.S. Senator Pell honors his educational legacy". Providence Journal. providence, RI.
- United States Coast Guard, Coast Guard History, Frequently Asked Questions: Claiborne Pell, accessed September 5, 2013.
- Bill Wells, Coast Guard Warriors - Part of The Mix: Coast Guard Medal Awardees of World War II Archived June 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, 1998.
- United States Coast Guard, Coast Guard History, Frequently Asked Questions: Claiborne Pell. Review of awards displayed on uniform, September 5, 2013.
- Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress (1974). Official Congressional Directory. Washington, DC: US Government printing Office. p. 162.
- Providence Journal, Claiborne Pell Remembered as "the right kind of aristocrat", January 6, 2009.
- "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Claiborne Pell at Congressional Biographical Directory
- Claiborne Pell at Find A Grave
- New England Cable News, Video, Bill Clinton Eulogy, Something 'magical' about Claiborne Pell, January 5, 2009
- WPRI-TV, Video, Joe Biden Eulogy, VP-Elect Joe Biden Eulogizes Sen. Pell, January 5, 2009
- WPRI-TV, Video, Ted Kennedy Eulogy, Sen. Kennedy eulogizes former Sen. Pell, January 5, 2009
- WPRI-TV, Video, Jack Reed Eulogy, Sen. Reed: Pell Was Ideal Public Servant, January 5, 2009
- on YouTube, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, January 5, 2009.
- Appearances on C-SPAN