J. Caleb Boggs
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1973
|Preceded by||J. Allen Frear Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Joe Biden|
|Chair of the National Governors Association|
June 25, 1959 – June 26, 1960
|Preceded by||LeRoy Collins|
|Succeeded by||Stephen McNichols|
|62nd Governor of Delaware|
January 20, 1953 – December 30, 1960
|Lieutenant||John W. Rollins|
David P. Buckson
|Preceded by||Elbert N. Carvel|
|Succeeded by||David P. Buckson|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Delaware's at-large district
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
|Preceded by||Philip A. Traynor|
|Succeeded by||Herbert B. Warburton|
|Associate Judge of the New Castle County Family Court|
November 9, 1942 – January 3, 1947
|Preceded by||Billy Bickson|
|Succeeded by||Johnathan Taylor|
James Caleb Boggs
May 15, 1909
Cheswold, Delaware, U.S.
|Died||March 26, 1993 (aged 83)|
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
|Education||University of Delaware (BA)|
Georgetown University (LLB)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1941–1946|
|Unit||6th Armored Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Campaign Stars (5)|
Legion of Merit
Croix de Guerre
James Caleb Boggs (May 15, 1909 – March 26, 1993) was an American lawyer and local politician from Claymont in New Castle County, Delaware. A liberal Republican, he was commonly known by his middle name, Caleb, frequently shortened to Cale.
He was a veteran of World War II, and a member of the Republican Party, who served three terms as U.S. Representative from Delaware, two terms as Governor of Delaware, and two terms as U.S. Senator from Delaware. He ran for re-election in 1972, but was defeated by 3,162 votes (or 1.4%) by then-New Castle County councilman and future president Joe Biden.
Early life and education
Boggs was born on May 15, 1909, at Cheswold, Delaware, the son of Edgar Jefferson and Lettie Vaughn Boggs. He married Elizabeth Muir and had two children, Cale, Jr. and Marilu. They were members of the Methodist Church.
Boggs joined the Delaware National Guard in 1926 and became a reserve officer that year.
During World War II, he served in the US Army with the 6th Armored Division fighting in Normandy, the Rhineland, the Ardennes, and central Europe. He earned five Campaign Stars, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Croix de Guerre with palm from France.
U.S. House of Representatives
Boggs was appointed Associate Judge of the Family Court of New Castle County in 1946. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946, defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Philip A. Traynor. He won the election a total of three times, also defeating Democrats J. Carl McGuigan in 1948, and Henry M. Winchester in 1950. Boggs served in the U.S. House from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1953.
Governor of Delaware
Boggs was elected Governor of Delaware in 1952, defeating incumbent Democratic Governor Elbert N. Carvel, and won a second term in 1956, defeating Democrat J. H. Tyler McConnell. He served as governor from January 20, 1953, to December 30, 1960, when he resigned because of his upcoming U.S. Senate term. On April 2, 1958, he signed the bill that ended capital punishment in Delaware.
Boggs was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1960, narrowly defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator J. Allen Frear Jr. by 1.4 percentage points, and becoming the only Republican to defeat an incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator that year. He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966, defeating Democrat James M. Tunnell Jr., son of the former U.S. Senator. He served two terms from January 3, 1961, to January 3, 1973. Boggs voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Boggs lost his bid for a third term in 1972 to the future 47th Vice President and 46th President, Democrat Joe Biden, then a New Castle County councilman. Boggs was a reluctant candidate that year, being persuaded to run only to help avoid a divisive primary election. Biden waged an energetic campaign, questioning Boggs's age and ability, and went on to defeat Boggs by approximately 1.4 percentage points. In his last years, Boggs lived in Wilmington, Delaware, where he continued the practice of law.
Death and legacy
Boggs died at Wilmington and is buried in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery in Dover, on the grounds of the Delaware State Museum. The J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building at 844 King Street in Wilmington, Delaware is named for him.
Among the many tributes given by his fellow senators was one from U.S. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia:
On an objective, senatorial level, Senator Boggs was a militant, but rational environmentalist. A co-sponsor of the National Air Quality Standards Act of 1970, Senator Boggs helped to win congressional approval of this bill, which was signed into law by president Richard Nixon. Further, Cale Boggs was a co-sponsor and helped to write the Water Quality Act of 1965. In 1970, Senator Boggs helped to strengthen State authority to prohibit sewage and pesticide discharge into rivers and lakes and to provide for coordinated Federal attacks on river and lake pollution in the Water Quality Act of 1970. Through these and other vital contributions in education, medicine, agriculture, transportation, and other domestic concerns, Senator Boggs left an enviable record of legislation aimed at improving the quality of life of all Americans and at widening opportunities for all of our citizens. But, above all, Cale Boggs will probably be best remembered by his friends still serving in the Senate and by the people of Delaware as a friend, a man of warm humanity, and as a gentleman who sought ever to set people at ease through his common touch and deep consideration of other people's feelings. Cale Boggs was a man whose friendship one easily sought and, once secured, was long treasured.
List of General Assembly sessions
|Delaware General Assembly |
(sessions while Governor)
|1953–1954||117th||Republican||Thomas L. Johnson||Republican||Frank A. Jones|
|1955–1956||118th||Democratic||Charles G. Moore||Democratic||James R. Quigley|
|1957–1958||119th||Democratic||Lemuel Hickman||Democratic||Harry E. Mayhew|
|1959–1960||120th||Democratic||Allen J. Cook||Democratic||Sherman W. Tribbitt|
|1946||U.S. Representative||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||63,516||56%||Philip A. Traynor||Democratic||49,105||44%|
|1948||U.S. Representative||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||71,127||51%||J. Carl McGuigan||Democratic||68,909||49%|
|1950||U.S. Representative||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||73,313||57%||Henry M. Winchester||Democratic||56,091||43%|
|1952||Governor||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||88,977||52%||Elbert N. Carvel||Democratic||81,772||48%|
|1956||Governor||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||91,965||52%||J. H. Tyler McConnell||Democratic||85,047||48%|
|1960||U.S. Senator||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||98,874||51%||J. Allen Frear, Jr.||Democratic||96,090||49%|
|1966||U.S. Senator||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||97,268||59%||James M. Tunnell, Jr.||Democratic||67,263||41%|
|1972||U.S. Senator||J. Caleb Boggs||Republican||112,844||49%||Joe Biden||Democratic||116,006||50%|
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- Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery; Portrait courtesy of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover.