James R. Beverley

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James R. Beverley
Governor of Puerto Rico
In office
January 1932 – July 3, 1933
PresidentHerbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byTheodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Succeeded byRobert Hayes Gore
In office
August 1929 – September 9, 1929
PresidentHerbert Hoover
Preceded byHorace Mann Towner
Succeeded byTheodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Personal details
James Rumsey Beverley

(1894-06-15)June 15, 1894
Amarillo, Texas
DiedJune 17, 1967(1967-06-17) (aged 73)
Austin, Texas
Political partyRepublican
SpouseMary Jarmon
Alma materUniversity of Texas
ProfessionLawyer, politician

James Rumsey Beverley (June 15, 1894 – June 17, 1967) was a United States lawyer and politician, appointed as attorney general of Puerto Rico, serving 1927 to 1932. During this period, he was appointed as acting governor of Puerto Rico in 1929 and in January 1932, he was appointed governor by President Herbert Hoover and served through 1933. He was the only non-Puerto Rican appointee of 15 from 1900 to 1952 who could speak Spanish before going there.[1]

Early and personal life[edit]

Beverley was born in Amarillo, Texas to William and Clara (Hendricks) Beverley.[2] He attended local schools and went to college at the University of Texas in Austin. He served in the United States Army during World War I as an artillery officer, serving in France. After completing law school at the University of Texas and starting work as a lawyer, he married Mary Smith Jarmon in 1925.[2]

Attorney and political career[edit]

Beverley was active in Republican Party politics in Texas. Beverley was appointed as Assistant Attorney General of Puerto Rico in 1925, serving until 1927.[1]

Beverley spoke Spanish as a second language. In 1927, he was appointed as Attorney General of Puerto Rico, serving until 1932.[1] When appointed as governor of Puerto Rico for periods in 1929 and 1932-1933, he was the only one of fifteen non-Puerto Ricans to serve in that position between 1900 and 1952 who already spoke Spanish. He became close friends with Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who followed him in 1930 as governor, serving until 1932. The two men had a close relationship for the rest of their lives.

In Beverley's tenures as governor, he had to deal with a major hurricane in which several people died and there was extensive damage. He also managed through the end of Prohibition on the island.

In 1932, during his second period of governor, he provoked controversy by recommending the use of birth control.[1] American Catholics were much more disturbed by this and raised many objections than did Puerto Ricans, who mostly ignored his comments.[3] Soon after taking office, he had to deal with agitation resulting from charges made by Pedro Albizu Campos, president of the Nationalist Party, that Cornelius Rhoads, an American medical researcher with the Rockefeller Foundation, had been working on a United States plot to exterminate Puerto Ricans, based on Rhoads' own letter that became public.[4] He ordered an investigation by the Attorney General José Ramón Quiñones, who found no evidence of wrongdoing by Rhoads of the American health project.[3][4]

On August 11, 1931, Beverley was one of seven people, including five officials, on board a chartered Pan American Airways Sikorsky seaplane flight tour of Puerto Rico, including the wife of then-Governor Teddy Roosevelt. The plane sank on landing, but no one suffered any injuries. The people were all taken off by boats.[5]

Following his service as governor, Beverley continued to live and work in Puerto Rico as the head of a large firm. He practiced law and served on numerous commissions and was active in the US Coast Guard reserve, helping lead efforts to protect Puerto Rican waters during World War II.[1]

In the 1960s Beverley returned to Austin, Texas. He lived there until his death in 1967, two days after turning 73.[1]

Legacy and honors[edit]

  • His papers are held by the University of Texas.


  1. ^ a b c d e f A Guide to the James R. Beverley Papers, 1904-1967, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, Retrieved 20 December 2012
  2. ^ a b "Index to Politicians: Beucher to Biddison". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
  3. ^ a b Truman R. Clark. 1975. Puerto Rico and the United States, 1917-1933, University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 151-154
  4. ^ a b Starr, Douglas. "Revisiting a 1930s Scandal: AACR to Rename a Prize", Science, 25 April 2003. Vol. 300. No. 5619. p. 574-5.
  5. ^ "PORTO RICAN PARTY SAFE AS PLANE SINKS", The New York Times: 3, August 12, 1931
Preceded by Governor of Puerto Rico
August 1929 - September 9, 1929
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Puerto Rico
January 1932 – July 3, 1933
Succeeded by
Preceded by Attorney General of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by