John F. Collins (mayor of Providence)

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John Francis Collins
John F. Collins mayor of Providence.jpg
28th Mayor of Providence
In office
January 1939 – January 1941
Preceded by James E. Dunne
Succeeded by Dennis J. Roberts
Personal details
Born (1872-02-17)February 17, 1872
Providence, Rhode Island
Died October 6, 1962(1962-10-06) (aged 90)
North Providence, Rhode Island
Resting place St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Juliana Grace Murray
Education La Salle Academy
Alma mater St. Charles College, Boston University School of Law
Occupation Lawyer, politician

John Francis Collins (February 17, 1872 – October 6, 1962) was an American lawyer and 28th mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. He served one term, from 1939 to 1941.

Personal life[edit]

John Francis Collins was born February 17, 1872, in Providence, Rhode Island to Michael R. Collins and Catherine Dwyer Collins. He attended public schools and graduated La Salle Academy.[1] After attending St. Charles College, Collins returned to Providence to work at James Hanley's Brewing Company and the old Providence Brewing Company.[1]

Collins was a Roman Catholic, and member of St. Paul's Church in Edgewood.[1]

Collins married Juliana Grace Murray, daughter of Providence police chief John Andrew Murray.[1]

Law Career[edit]

Collins graduated Boston University School of Law in 1908 and was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1909.[1] He opened his own law office two years later.[1]

During World War I, Collins served as legal advisor to the Rhode Island Draft board.[2]

From 1921–1923, Collins served as special assistant to the United States Attorney for Rhode Island to prosecute Prohibition cases.[1] He was elected to the City Council in 1925 and 1927.[1]

Mayor of Providence[edit]

After losing races as the Republican candidate for mayor of Providence in 1934 and 1936, Collins defeated incumbent James E. Dunne in 1938 by 4,591 votes.[1] At his first meeting of the Board of Aldermen in 1939 Collins caused some controversy by appointing himself as chairman of the Bureau of Police and Fire.[1] He resigned from that post in 1940.[1]

During his single term as mayor, Collins also:

  • Pushed to build city sidewalks with labor from the Works Progress Administration[1]
  • Fought against installation of parking meters, feeling they were unconstitutional[1][2]
  • Proposed to cover the open canal in Market Square and rent the space for parking[1]
  • Fought with members of his own party, as well as with Democrats[1]
  • Refused perks such as a post-election victory dinner and official City Hall Portrait. He later relented on the portrait.[1][2]

Collins was nominated for re-election in 1940, but was defeated by former state senator Dennis J. Roberts.[1]

Later life, death and burial[edit]

After his electoral defeat, Collins returned to his law practice and was involved in several church and civic organizations.[1]

Collins died Saturday, October 6, 1962 at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, aged 90.[1] He had suffered a monthlong illness,[1] the nature of which was not disclosed in obituaries. He was buried at St. Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Ex-Mayor Collins, 90, Dies, Served in 30s". The Providence Journal. 6 October 1962. pp. 1, 42. 
  2. ^ a b c "John F. Collins". Mayors of the City of Providence. City of Providence. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James E. Dunne
Mayor of Providence
Succeeded by
Dennis J. Roberts