Herbert W. Ladd
Herbert Warren Ladd
Official portrait in the RI State House. Note the bicycle seat visible to Ladd's left.
|40th Governor of Rhode Island|
May 28, 1889 – May 26, 1890
|Preceded by||Royal C. Taft|
|Succeeded by||John W. Davis|
|42nd Governor of Rhode Island|
May 26, 1891 – May 31, 1892
|Lieutenant||Henry A. Stearns|
|Preceded by||John W. Davis|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Russell Brown|
|Born||October 15, 1843|
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||November 29, 1913(aged 70)|
|Cause of death||cerebral hemorrhage|
|Resting place||Swan Point Cemetery|
|Parents||Warren Ladd and Lucy Washburn Kingman|
|Profession||Dry goods merchant, Politician|
Herbert Warren Ladd (October 15, 1843 – November 29, 1913) was the 40th and 42nd Governor of Rhode Island for two terms: 1889–90 and 1891–92.
Life and career
Ladd was born in New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts on October 15, 1843. He was one of five children of Warren Ladd and Lucy Washburn Kingman. The elder Ladd was involved in New Bedford city politics.
Herbert started his career after high school as a dry goods merchant. During the Civil War he became a reporter for the New Bedford Mercury newspaper, covering several Massachusetts regiments. At war's end, he returned to the dry goods business, first in Boston, then in Rhode Island. His firm was called Ladd and Davis, later renamed the H.W. Ladd Company.
When Ladd first ran for governor, in 1889, he was little-known in the state. In a three-way race, he received fewer votes than Democrat John W. Davis. The third candidate, with the fewest votes, ran under the Prohibition Party. Under the rules of the time, if no candidate received an outright majority, the result was decided by the General Assembly. The Republican-controlled Assembly chose Ladd.
In fact, Davis received more votes than Ladd three times, in 1889, 1890, and 1891, without winning a majority in any of the three races. The Assembly decided in favor of Ladd twice (1889 and 1891) and for Davis in 1890. The majority requirement was amended in November 1893 by the adoption of Amendment X to the Rhode Island Constitution, which allowed for a winner by plurality vote. In later years, several governors would win the office with a plurality, including: Lincoln Almond in 1994 with 47%; Lincoln Chafee in 2010 with 36%; and Gina Raimondo in 2014 with 41%.
State House commission
In Ladd's first address as governor, he advocated for building a new State House. Ladd was named chairman of the State House Commission. The General Assembly announced an architectural competition for designs; however, Ladd and commission advisor Richard Morris Hunt decided they wanted Charles Follen McKim for the job, and made sure that he "won" the competition. It was reported that Ladd paid a "considerable amount of money" out of his own pocket to help pay for the construction when the state was low on funds, and was never reimbursed for the monies.
Ladd, whose official State House portrait depicts him with a bicycle, was a supporter of the Good Roads Movement, a national road-building initiative led by bicyclists. In 1892, Ladd wrote an essay for a League of American Wheelmen publication Good Roads outlining his belief that expanding and paving streets was as important to Rhode Island as having good railroads.
- During the summer of 1889, Ladd hosted president Harrison and ex-president Cleveland in Newport.
- In fall of 1889, Ladd invited business leaders to Providence to discuss the location of the upcoming World's Fair.
- Ladd authorized new uniforms for the Rhode Island state militia.
After serving two nonconsecutive terms, Ladd never ran again for public office. He involved himself with several organizations. He founded and served as president for three years of the Commercial Club. He was also president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He was a member of the YMCA, the Rhode Island Choral Association, the Board of Trade, the Providence Press Club, and the Hope Club.
Honors and legacy
In 1889, at the 121st Commencement of Brown University, Ladd announced that he would donate an astronomical observatory to the school. The expected cost was US$25,000, but the building reportedly cost over US$40,000, equivalent to $1,100,000 in 2019. The Ladd Observatory, completed in 1891, is named in his honor.
- The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1896 (reprinted 1998 ed.). Heritage Books. 1896. p. 98. ISBN 9780788408656. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Rhode Island Governor Herbert Warren Ladd". National Governors Association. National Governors Association. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- Bayles, Richard Mather (1891). History of Providence County, Rhode Island. Providence, Rhode Island: W. W. Preston. pp. 728–731.
- "Death Notices: Herbert W. Ladd". Brown Alumni Monthly. 14 (6): 165. January 1914. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "The Political Graveyard: Freemasons, politicians, Rhode Island".
- "Herbert W. Ladd, Ex-Governor, Dead". Providence, Rhode Island: The Providence Sunday Journal. 30 November 1913. p. 1.
- Conley, Patrick T. (2011). The Rhode Island State Constitution. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780199877768. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Windham, Ryder (2006). You Know You're in Rhode Island When... Globe Pequot. p. 84. ISBN 9780762739400. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Ladd, Herbert (July 1892). "A Typical Case". Good Roads: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Improvement of Public Roads and Streets. Roads Improvement Bureau of the League of American Wheelmen. 2 (1): 1–3. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
I am a strong believer in good roads
- "Governor Herbert W. Ladd (1843 - 1913), Papers of, 1872-1912". State of Rhode Island. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
- University of Rhode Island - URI History and Timeline Archived 2013-01-30 at the Wayback Machine at www.uri.edu
- Mitchell, Martha (1993). "Ladd Observatory". Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Providence, RI: Brown University Library.
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