Inductees from 1997

  1. Miantonomi and Canonicus (Satchems)

    Miantonomi and Canonicus (Satchems)

    Categories: Government & Politics, Native Americans

    Canonicus and Miantonomi were Sachems of the Narragansett tribe who obtained their dominance through persuasion rather than violence. They allowed Roger Williams to establish Providence on their tribal lands. Read more >

  2. Dr. Stanley M. Aronson

    Dr. Stanley M. Aronson

    Categories: Education & Universities, Medicine & Health Care

    Dr. Aronson, of Rehoboth, MA, is an internationally acclaimed medical educator and researcher, founding Dean of the Brown University Medical School, co-founder of Hospice Care of Rhode Island and the Interfaith Health Care Ministries, prolific author and editor of the Rhode Island Medical Journal, and a person key to the establishment of diagnostic laboratory test for Tay Sachs Disease and Muscular Dystrophy.


    . Read more >
  3. Dr. John Clarke

    Dr. John Clarke (1609-1676)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Government & Politics, Medicine & Health Care, Religion & Churches

    Dr. John Clarke, 1609-1676, was a physician, Baptist clergyman, and Statesman. As the Colony's agent in England he secured a liberal charter for Rhode Island in 1663 from King Charles II. He became one of Rhode Island's foremost advocates in the separation of Church and State. Read more >

  4. William Coddington

    William Coddington (1601-1678)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Government & Politics

    William Coddington, 1601-1678 was the founder of Portsmouth and Newport, and three-time Governor of Rhode Island. He was a shrewd politician and merchant, and had a large Newport Estate on which he bred livestock. Read more >

  5. Thomas G. Corcoran

    Thomas G. Corcoran (1900-1981)

    Categories: Government & Politics

    Thomas Gardiner Corcoran,  formerly of Pawtucket, was a brilliant attorney nicknamed "Tommy the Cork", and a close companion to Oliver Wendell Holmes. He born in Pawtucket and educated at Brown (where he was class valedictorian). He later became one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most trusted advisors, and a high level official for the powerful Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Read more >

  6. Giovanni DaVerrazzano

    Giovanni DaVerrazzano (1485-1528)

    Categories: Explorers & Adventurers

    Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1485-1528, was an Italian explorer and navigator who sailed in service of France. In 1524 he crossed the Atlantic and explored Narragansett Bay. He gave our state its name. Read more >

  7. Gregory Dexter

    Gregory Dexter (1610-1700)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Government & Politics, Literature / Writers / Newspapers

    Gregory Dexter, 1610-1700, was one of London's finest printers who became the printer for Roger Williams. He served Rhode Island during several crises and was elected President of the colony. He established a lime quarry in Lincoln that is one of the oldest continuous businesses in America. Read more >

  8. Mary Dyer

    Mary Dyer (1611-1660)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Religion & Churches, Women

    Mary Dyer, 1611-1660, was a Quaker missionary and martyr. She moved to Rhode Island in 1638 and become one of the founders of Portsmouth. She ultimately returned to Boston where she was hanged for supporting the Quakers.

    Conn, J. Read more >

  9. Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff

    Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff (1840-1927)

    Categories: Civic Leaders, Industry - General, Philanthropists


    Goff, Darius L. (Darius Lee) and Goff, Lyman Bullock

    The Goff Brothers, formerly of Pawtucket, were the sons of the Honorable Darius Goff, and members of one of the most prominent industrialist families in New England. They were partners in D. Goff & Sons, which occupied a foremost position among regional industrial concerns. Read more >

  10. William Harris (1610-1681)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island

    William Harris, 1610-1687, was one of a handful of adherents who gathered with Roger Williams in exile and settled in Pawtuxet. He was an individual rights champion who added greatly to that early ferment that characterized Rhode Island. Read more >

  11. Sylvia K. Hassenfeld

    Sylvia K. Hassenfeld (1920-2014)

    Categories: Civic Leaders, Famous RI Families, Industry - General, Philanthropists

    Mrs. Hassenfeld, formerly of Providence, lived in both New York City and Palm Beach, FL.  She was been widely recognized as an outstanding civic, cultural, and philanthropic leader of international communal services for more than 40 years. 

  12. Joseph P. Hassett

    Joseph P. Hassett

    Categories: Banking / Finance, Education & Universities, Sports - Basketball

    Mr. Hassett, of East Greenwich, was one of Rhode Island's all-time basketball greats, two-time all-stater, schoolboy All-American, and most valuable player for LaSalle Academy. He later starred for Providence College, becoming the third highest scorer in Friars history. He was twice-named All-New England and as an All-American, played for the NBA's World Champion Seattle Supersonics. Read more >

  13. Anne M. Hutchinson

    Anne M. Hutchinson (1591-1643)

    Categories: Religion & Churches, Women


    Hutchinson, Anne, 1591-1643

    Ms. Hutchinson, formerly of Pocasset which is now Portsmouth, was born in England and immigrated to the Mass Bay Colony in 1634. Her early liberal upbringing and Puritan leanings inspired her to take a strong part in the religious life of the community, which led to her banishment from the Colony. She later took up residence with her family in Rhode Island and became one of the most influential religious activists of her time. Read more >

  14. Margaret Langdon-Kelly

    Margaret Langdon-Kelly

    Categories: Civic Leaders, Education & Universities, Medicine & Health Care, Women

    Mrs. Langdon-Kelly, of Little Compton, was affectionately known to all as “Poggy”.  She, along with Dr. Eric Denhoff, founded Rhode Island’s famed Meeting Street School, a world renowned institution providing early education as well as medical intervention for special needs children. Read more >

  15. Metacomet Massasoit

    Metacomet Massasoit (1639-1676)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Government & Politics, Native Americans

    Massasoit Metacomet, 1639-1676, was also known as King Phillip. He was the Sachem of all Sachems from the Royal House of the Pokanokets of the Wampanoags. A native patriot who tried to preserve his own civilization and his people's autonomy in the face of overwhelming odds. He died during the King Phillip War on the 12th of August, 1676. Read more >

  16. Rev. Samuel Newman

    Rev. Samuel Newman (1600-1663)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Religion & Churches

    Reverend Samuel Newman, 1600?-1663 was a learned clergyman and the first prominent settler of present-day East Providence. He was acclaimed for his studies of the King James Bible, and established the Newman Congregational Church in what is now the Rumford section of East Providence. He has not received as much acclaim as other Rhode Island founders because his village at Rumford was beyond the boundaries of Rhode Island until the state annexed East Providence in 1862. Read more >

  17. Major General John J. Salesses

    Major General John J. Salesses

    Categories: Education & Universities, Literature / Writers / Newspapers, Military

    Major General Salesses, of Newport, was a retired U.S. Marine Corp Officer and accomplished Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rhode Island College.

    The first reservist to command a marine division, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs, and later on the Secretary of Defense's Reserve Forces Policy Board. Read more >

  18. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith (1596-1666)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island

    Richard Smith, 1596-1666, was an entrepreneur and by far the most important early settler of South County, RI. >He constructed Smith's Castle, or Cocumscussoc in Wickford. Read more >

  19. Maria Spacagna

    Maria Spacagna

    Categories: Music (Singers, Composers), Women

    Maria Spacagna, formerly of Providence and now living in East Greenwich, distinguished soprano and a regular guest of leading opera companies throughout the world whose many prominent recordings have earned critical acclaim. A noted performer of the role of Madame Butterfly, she is the first American-born artist to interpret the role at the famed La Scala, has starred at the Metropolitan Opera and many other prominent venues, earning international recognition. Read more >

  20. Thomas Willett

    Thomas Willett (1605-1674)

    Categories: Founders of Rhode Island, Government & Politics

    Captain Thomas Willett,1605-1674, was the principal early settler of Wannamoisett (present-day Riverside and northern Barrington). As a trusted friend of the natives he bought large tracts of land from them. He later became the first Mayor of New York City after helping to wrest it from the Dutch. Read more >



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