Inductees from 2011

  1. Charles DeWolf Brownell

    Charles DeWolf Brownell (1822-1909)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

     Charles DeWolf Brownell was born in Providence in 1822 to parents from old-line Rhode Island families. When Brownell was two-years-old, the family moved to East Hartford where Charles was raised and grew to manhood. In 1843, he became an attorney and lived in a house directly opposite Connecticut’s famed Charter Oak.   He later rendered a well-known painting of that historical

    After a decade of practice, Brownell abandoned his career as a lawyer, having become enamored of landscape painting as a result of his sketching trips through the Connecticut River Valley with artist Henry Bryant. Read more >

  2. Sydney Richmond Burleigh (1853-1931)

    Categories: Artists & Painters, Civic Leaders, Education & Universities


    Burleigh, Sydney Richmond, 1853-1931

    Sydney Richmond Burleigh, a man with roots in Little Compton, Rhode Island, studied art with Jean-Paul Laurens in Paris for two years from 1878 to 1880.   Upon his return, he became one of the founders and one of the first exhibitors at the newly-formed Providence Art Club. He taught at the Rhode island School of Design and was one of the founders of the Providence Watercolor Club.   He became a champion of the emerging Arts and Crafts Movement. Read more >

  3. Gov. Christopher Del Sesto (1907-1973)

    Categories: Government & Politics, Law / Legal Pioneers


    Christopher Del Sesto was a loyal and dedicated public servant throughout his adult life.  Born in Providence on March 10, 1907 to Eraclio and Rosa (Geremia) Del Sesto, he graduated with honors from Providence’s Commercial High School and with cum laude honors from both Boston University and Georgetown University Law School. For many years he was the only lawyer who was also a certified public accountant.
    He began his public service as chief accountant to the Rhode Island General Treasurer in the early 1930s, and by 1935 he had helped to design a plan that reorganized state government in a transformation that has been called “The Bloodless Revolution. Read more >
  4. Vin Di Bona

    Categories: TV & Radio


    Vin Di Bona is the chief executive officer of Vin Di Bona Productions and chairman of his new enterprise, FishBowl Worldwide Media.
    A four-time Emmy award-winning producer and eight-time Emmy nominee, Di Bona is the recipient of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for his work in documentary programming. However, it is as a pioneer in comedic reality television for which Di Bona is recognized worldwide. As the creator of America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV), Di Bona has the distinction of executive producing the longest-running primetime entertainment show on ABC. Read more >
  5. Robert E. "Bobby" Doyle (1949-2007)

    Categories: Sports - Other


    When the running boom of the late 1970s was at its peak, Bobby Doyle emerged as a world-class marathoner, and a source of great pride for the Ocean State. Bobby truly defined long distance running in Rhode Island, according to Don Allison, race director of the Amica Insurance Breakers Marathon in Newport. In 1976 he won the first of his seven Ocean State Marathon titles and went on to win that race in 1977, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1990, when he was 41 years of age. Bobby finished 12th (1978), 7th (1979) and 5th (1985) at the prestigious Boston Marathon with a personal best of 2:14:03 in 1979. Read more >
  6. Hezekiah Anthony Dyer

    Hezekiah Anthony Dyer (1872-1943)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    Hezekiah Anthony Dyer was a prolific and accomplished artist who ventured into the equally demanding realms of military affairs, public service, and politics.

    Dyer was born in Providence into a storied political family. His grandfather, Elisha Dyer, Sr., was governor of the state from 1857 to 1859 and served as an officer and the adjutant general in the “Dorr War” and the Civil War. Read more >
  7. Barnaby M. Evans

    Categories: Architects & Designers, Artists & Painters

    Barnaby Evans is the creator, founder, and executive artistic director of WaterFire Providence. He is an artist who works in a multitude of mediums including site-specific sculpture installations, photograph, film, garden design, architectural projects, writing and conceptual works. His original training was in the sciences, but he has been working exclusively as an artist for more than twenty-five years.

    Evans, a resident of Providence, is best known for WaterFire, a sculpture which he installed on the three rivers of Downtown Providence that draws over one million visitors to the city each year. Read more >
  8. Martin Johnson Heade

    Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904)

    Categories: Artists & Painters


    Heade, Martin Johnson, 1819-1904

    Martin Johnson Heade was an accomplished landscape, portrait, and still life painter, a poet, and a naturalist. Heade is one of the most important American Romantic painters of the 19th Century and one of the major figures in the development of Luminism. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1819, he received his first art training around 1838 from local folk artists Edward and Thomas Hicks.
    In 1858 Heade took a studio in the Tenth Street Studio building in New York City. Read more >
  9. John Frederick Kensett

    John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872)

    Categories: Artists & Painters


    Kensett, John Frederick, 1816-1872

    John Frederick Kensett was one of the most influential members of the second generation of the Hudson River School of landscape painters. By age twelve, he was working in his family’s engraving and printing business in New Haven. When he was thirteen, Kensett went to New York to work for Peter Maverick, then America’s leading engraver. In Maverick’s shop he met John W. Read more >

  10. Dr. Maury Klein (1939-)

    Categories: Education & Universities, Historians/Historical Accounts, Preservation, Literature / Writers / Newspapers


    Professor Maury Klein, a resident of Saunderstown, has published sixteen major books in a legendary forty-four year career at the University of Rhode Island. His works, almost all national in scope, examined the industrialization of America and the Captains of Industry who spearheaded that technological revolution. Among his output are several publications that dissect the growth and influence of the railroad, especially the iconic Union Pacific that connected the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific in 1869. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize three times and became a finalist in 1986 for his fascinating biographical effort entitled The Life and Legend of Jay Gould. Read more >
  11. John La Farge

    John La Farge (1835-1910)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

     La Farge, John, 1835-1910

    John La Farge was born in New York City in March 1835 to parents of French ancestry. His interest in art began during his training at Mount St. Mary’s College and St. John’s College (now Fordham University). Read more >

  12. Bruce R. Lang

    Categories: Business / Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders, TV & Radio


    Bruce R. Lang is an American entrepreneur and former television executive, television and radio host and analyst, co-founder of two Rhode Island good government groups, Operation Clean Government and UsPAC (1991–1993). He currently hosts State of the State (TV show) on a part-time basis.
    Bruce Lang, a resident of Newport, has a B. Read more >
  13. Edmund Darch Lewis

    Edmund Darch Lewis (1835-1910)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    Lewis, Edmund Darch, 1835-1910

    Edmund Darch Lewis was one of the most popular of the Philadelphia landscape painters and one of the best artists of Narragansett Bay, particularly in capturing the Victorian heyday of the Towers and grand casino of Narragansett Pier. A student of Paul Weber from 1850 to 1855, Lewis exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, the National Academy of Design, and the Boston Art Club. In the second half of the Nineteenth century he was one of America’s premier watercolorists.

    Employed briefly in Narragansett, Rhode Island by a photographer to touch up photos, he also painted original watercolor works prolifically, sometimes three a day. Read more >
  14. George H. Nee

    Categories: Labor / Unions


    George Nee has been a leader of the Rhode Island labor movement for 35 years and currently serves as president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
    Nee’s dedication to organized labor and civil rights began in earnest when he was inspired to leave Boston College in 1969 to help organize the grape boycott for the United Farm Workers of America in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After the successful conclusion of the grape boycott, which resulted in union contracts and improved working conditions for farm workers, Nee continued to work with the organization both in California and New England. In 1971, the farm workers’ union sent him to Rhode Island to coordinate a lettuce boycott. Read more >
  15. Gov. Philip W. Noel

    Gov. Philip W. Noel (1931-)

    Categories: Government & Politics
    Phil Noel worked his way through Georgetown University Law School, first running an elevator, then in the U.S. Senate mailroom and eventually taking charge of the Senate's committee notice system, all under the patronage of Senator John O. Pastore. Read more >
  16. William Trost Richards

    William Trost Richards (1833-1905)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    William Trost Richards was born in Philadelphia, the son of Quaker parents. His formal academic education ended in 1847 following his father's death when he worked as designer and illustrator of ornamental metalwork to help support his family. Richards married writer Anna Matlack in 1856 and settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he lived until 1881. He studied drawing with the German-born artist Paul Weber and traveled and sketched with William Stanley Haseltine. Read more >

  17. John Paul Selinger

    John Paul Selinger (1850-1909)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    Jean Paul Selinger was born in 1850 in Boston. He studied art at the Lowell Institute, Boston and next trained abroad at the Art Academy in Stuttgart, and then under Wilhelm Lieble at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Selinger was a colleague of William Merritt Chase and became a skilled portraitist, genre painter, and landscape artist.

    In the 1880s, Selinger opened an art studio in Providence and married Rhode Island-educated floral artist Emily Harris McGary (a distinguished silver medalist in Providence and Boston Art club competitions). Read more >

  18. Charles Walter Stetson (1858-1911)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    Charles Walter Stetson was born at Tiverton Four Corners on March 25, 1858, to an ailing mother and an impoverished father, a Baptist preacher who dabbled in herbs. He was raised from age eleven in Providence, in an unhappy household of economic worries; he died in Rome at age fifty-three having gained recognition as a distinguished painter and an incomparable colorist. The year after his death, critics at his large memorial exhibition said, “few paintings convey such majesty and sublimity of feeling.”
    Self-taught, Stetson was painting by the age of 14 and was quickly admired for his colors and his landscapes, patterned after his favorite--the British art critic, essayist, and watercolorist John Ruskin. Read more >
  19. Jane Stuart (1812-1888)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    Jane Stuart was Newport’s first woman portraitist, following in the illustrious footsteps of her famous father Gilbert Stuart. Jane was the youngest of his twelve children and his tenth daughter. She appears to be the great artist’s favorite offspring, and worked with him in his declining years until his death in 1828, often completing the portraits he had begun.
    When her father died penniless, Stuart, at the age of sixteen became the sole support of the family. Read more >
  20. George William Whitaker

    George William Whitaker (1840-1916)

    Categories: Artists & Painters

    George William Whitaker (1840-1916), a Fall River native, was one of the four founders of the Providence Art Club in 1880, along with Edward M. Bannister, Charles Walter Stetson, and Sydney Burleigh. Having studied in Paris with Laszlo De Paal, his work was influenced by the Barbizon School of landscape painters, where natural scenes became the subjects of paintings rather than being mere backdrops. He is best known for his Tonalist landscapes, which he developed in his years at Barbizon and Fontainebleau. Read more >



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