Elbert N. Carvel
|Elbert N. Carvel|
Carvel in 1961
|61st and 64th Governor of Delaware|
January 17, 1961 – January 19, 1965
|Preceded by||David Buckson|
|Succeeded by||Charles Terry|
January 18, 1949 – January 20, 1953
|Lieutenant||Alexis du Pont Bayard|
|Preceded by||Walter Bacon|
|Succeeded by||Caleb Boggs|
|12th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware|
January 16, 1945 – January 18, 1949
|Preceded by||Isaac MacCollum|
|Succeeded by||Alexis du Pont Bayard|
|Born||Elbert Nostrand Carvel
February 9, 1910
Shelter Island, New York
|Died||February 6, 2005
|Spouse(s)||Ann Hall Valliant|
Elbert Nostrand "Bert" Carvel (February 9, 1910 – February 6, 2005) was an American businessman and politician from Laurel, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as the 12th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and two non-consecutive terms as the Governor of Delaware.
Early life and family
Carvel was born at Shelter Island, Long Island, New York, son of Arnold W. and Elizabeth Nostrand Carvel. Kent Island, Maryland was his childhood home. He married Ann Hall Valliant in 1932 and they had four children, Edwin, Elizabeth, Ann Hall and Barbara. They were members of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Laurel, Delaware.
Professional and political career
After moving to Laurel in 1936, he began his management of the Valliant Fertilizer Company, that would continue throughout his political career. In his first attempt at public office, Carvel was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1944, defeating Republican Clayton Bunting, Sr. He served one term from January 16, 1945 to January 18, 1949.
Governor of Delaware
Carvel was first elected Governor of Delaware in 1948, defeating Republican Hyland F. George and served one term from January 18, 1949 to January 20, 1953. He lost a bid for a second term in 1952 to U.S. Representative J. Caleb Boggs. Subsequently, he lost an election for U.S. Senate in 1958 to incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John J. Williams. However, he was elected to a second term as Governor of Delaware in 1960, defeating Republican John W. Rollins, a former Lieutenant Governor. Soon after this, on November 13, 1960, he appeared as a contestant on the TV game show What's My Line?. His line was that he manufactured fertilizer. This time he served from January 17, 1961 until January 19, 1965. Carvel lost a final bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 1964, again to incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John J. Williams.
As only the second Democrat elected governor in 48 years, he was also the first Democrat ever to win two terms. He was opposed to capital punishment and was an early and persistent leader for civil rights legislation in a still politically conservative Delaware. As Governor he led the successful effort to create a Delaware Supreme Court, the lack of which threatened Delaware’s ability to handle corporate litigation, and thereby ended Delaware’s status as the only state without such a court.
Among his other accomplishments during his tenures in office were the building of the first span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, developing numerous other roads and highways, establishing the Delaware Public Service Commission and initiating the Delaware State Development Department.
Death and legacy
Carvel died in Laurel, Delaware 3 days before what would have been his 95th birthday and is buried at the Carvel Family Cemetery, Kent Island, Maryland.
Known as “Big Bert,” Carvel stood 6’ 6” and had what Celia Cohen in Delaware Grapevine has described as a “sparkling” style with a husky voice and a "mischievous punch line." He was known as a liberal Democrat from conservative “lower Delaware,” and never hesitated to promote causes of importance to him regardless of their impact on his political career or his fertilizer business. The state office building at 820 North French Street, Wilmington is named for him, as is the University of Delaware Research and Education Center in Georgetown, Delaware. The cafeteria in North Laurel Elementary School is named the "Carvel Room", after him.
Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor take office the third Tuesday of January and have four-year terms.
|Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
|1949-1950||115th||Democratic||Vera G. Davis||Republican||Harvey H. Lawson|
|1951-1952||116th||Democratic||Roy A. Cannon||Republican||Harvey H. Lawson|
|1961-1962||121st||Democratic||John B. Reilly||Democratic||Sherman W. Tribbitt|
|1963-1964||122nd||Democratic||Curtis W. Steen||Democratic||Sherman W. Tribbitt|
|Office||Type||Location||Began office||Ended office||notes|
|Lt. Governor||Executive||Dover||January 16, 1945||January 18, 1949|
|Governor||Executive||Dover||January 18, 1949||January 20, 1953|
|Governor||Executive||Dover||January 17, 1961||January 19, 1965|
|1944||Lt. Governor||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||44,524||51%||Clayton A. Bunting||Republican||42,595||49%|
|1948||Governor||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||75,339||54%||Hyland P. George||Republican||64,996||46%|
|1952||Governor||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||81,772||48%||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||88,977||52%|
|1958||U.S. Senator||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||72,152||47%||John J. Williams||Republican||82,280||53%|
|1960||Governor||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||100,792||52%||John W. Rollins||Republican||94,043||48%|
|1964||U.S. Senator||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||96,850||48%||John J. Williams||Republican||103,782||52%|
- Cohen, Celia (2002). Only in Delaware, Politics and Politicians in the First State. Newark, Delaware: Grapevine Publishing.
- Davis, Ned (2000). Charles L. Terry. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Heritage Press. LCCN 00133337. ISBN 0-924177-15-X.
- Hoffecker, Carol E. (2000). Honest John Williams. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press.
- 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.
- Martin, Roger (1997). Elbert N. Carvel. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-08-7.
- 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.
- Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery; Portrait courtesy of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover.
- Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Elbert N. Carvel (January 7, 1952)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Delaware’s Governors
- The Political Graveyard
- Gov. Elbert N. Carvel, 1910-2005
- Carvel Memorial
- University of Delaware Obituary
|Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
Alexis du Pont Bayard
|Governor of Delaware
|Governor of Delaware
|Earliest serving US governor still living