Robert Livingston Beeckman

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Robert Livingston Beeckman
52nd Governor of Rhode Island
In office
January 5, 1915 – January 4, 1921
Lieutenant GovernorEmery J. San Souci
Preceded byAram J. Pothier
Succeeded byEmery J. San Souci
Member of the Rhode Island Senate
In office
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1866-04-15)April 15, 1866
New York City, New York
DiedJanuary 21, 1935(1935-01-21) (aged 68)
Santa Barbara, California
Resting placeSleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Eleanor Thomas
Edna Marston Burke
ResidenceNewport, Rhode Island

Robert Livingston Beeckman (April 15, 1866 – January 21, 1935) was an American politician and the 52nd Governor of Rhode Island.

Early life[edit]

Beeckman was born on April 15, 1866 in New York City, New York. He was the son of Gilbert Livingston Beeckman (1823–1874) and Margaret Atherton (née Foster) Beeckman (1832–1904). His sister, Katherine Livingston Beeckman (1855–1941), was married to Louis Lasher Lorillard (1849–1910), the son of Pierre Lorillard III.[1] His family ancestry can be traced back to Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam dating to 1654. His ancestors include Robert Livingston the Elder, Declaration signer Philip Livingston and "The Chancellor" Robert Livingston.[2]

His family owned the financial firm Lapsley Beeckman & Co. When Beeckman was young, his family moved to Newport, Rhode Island.[3] He left school at the age of sixteen to become a stockbroker.


At the age of 16 Beeckman began his career at a stock brokerage firm in New York.[2] At age 21, Beeckman became one of the youngest ever members of the New York Stock Exchange[2][3] (from 1887–1906).[4] By 1916, he retired from the brokerage business.[2] After this time, he was a member of the board of directors of several corporations, including the Industrial Trust Company, the Newport Trust Company, the International Silver Company,[4] and the Newport Casino.[2]

Tennis player[edit]

Beeckman played in the finals of the 1886 United States National Tennis Championships in Newport. He lost to defending champion Richard Sears.[5] The score was 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.


Beeckman's first political office was a Rhode Island state Representative in the General Assembly from Newport, from 1902 to 1912.[2] He was a state Senator from 1912 to 1914. He was elected the governor of Rhode Island in 1914. He held the governor's office from January 5, 1915 to January 4, 1921.

During his administration, Beeckman pushed for reforms in State institutions including hospitals, prisons, and insane asylums, established an inheritance tax, and established a state Parole Board.[3] He was the governor during the First World War. He visited Rhode Island troops on the battlefield in France and pushed for state appropriations to provide for dependent families of servicemen.[2]

Beeckman advocated for removing the property qualification for Rhode Island voters.[2]

Beeckman stepped down from the governorship after three terms, then ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1922,[3] losing to Peter G. Gerry.

Personal life[edit]

The gravesite of Robert Livingston Beeckman

Beeckman was married first to Eleanor Thomas of Zanesville, Ohio in 1902. After her death he married Edna Marston Burke in 1920. He had no children.[2] He was an active member of the Freemasons.[6]

He died on January 21, 1935 at his winter home in Santa Barbara, California, of a heart attack.[2] He was interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.


  1. ^ "MRS. LORILLARD, 86, OF NEWPORT, DEAD; Sister of Ex-Gov. Beeckman of Rhode Island Had Suffered a Stroke Thursday". The New York Times. 21 July 1941. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "R.L. Beeckman dies at Santa Barbara Home". Newport, Rhode Island: Newport Mercury and Weekly News. 25 January 1935. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Capace, Nancy (2001). The Encyclopedia of Rhode Island. USA: Somerset Publishers, Inc. p. 205. ISBN 0-403-09610-3. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b A Thousand American Men of Mark of To-Day. Chicago, ILL: American Men of Mark. 1917. p. 334. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  5. ^ Baltzell, E. Digby (2013). Sporting Gentlemen: Men’s Tennis from the Age of Honor to the Cult of the Superstar. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-4128-5180-0. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Freemasons, politicians, Rhode Island at


  • Sobel, Robert and John Raimo. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Greenwood Press, 1988. ISBN 0-313-28093-2

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Aram J. Pothier
Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Emery J. San Souci