Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lieutenant Governors of the 1950s

One in an occasional series of profiles of historical figures you've probably never heard of

Edward N. "Ned" Allen (R) of Hartford

Lt. Governor from 1951-1955

Edward N. Allen (1891-1972) was a respected Lt. Governor under Gov. John Davis Lodge, but may be best known for being President of the Sage-Allen company, a department store chain in the Hartford area (for those who don't remember). He joined the company, a family business, in 1915 and became president in 1936. He was president of the company until 1963.

Allen, a World War I veteran, had served in the State Senate from 1926-28, and later as mayor of Hartford from 1946-48. Allen was the last "strong mayor" of the city before the council-manager form of government was instituted. Hartford wouldn't have a strong mayor again until Eddie Perez. Allen was also a strong proponent of civil rights, and served as chair of the State Interracial Committee. "Some of the things that happen regarding minority groups just make me damn sore," he once remarked. "There is no reason for discrimination and bigotry in a country like ours." (Schonrock)

Allen was promoted for Lt. Governor in 1950 as being well-liked not only by Republicans, but by independents and Democrats. Allen's popularity in Hartford was seen by Republicans as a chance to reverse their declining fortunes there (they had lost the city by 24,000 votes in 1948). He was selected as running mate for U.S. Rep. John Davis Lodge (grandson of famous Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of MA) of Westport in 1950. Lodge handily defeated incumbent Gov. Chester Bowles, but Allen won by only a small margin. Allen was the first Lt. Governor to serve a four-year term. He continued to serve as president of Sage-Allen while Lt. Governor, and also served as a member of the Yale University Corporation. Allen tended to split his day between Sage-Allen in Hartford and the Capitol, and spent his weekends in a "hide-away" in Enfield along the Connecticut River.

Allen decided against running for re-election in 1954, citing the need to manage his business full-time. Republican leaders tried to get him to change his mind, to no effect. State Sen. Charles Jewett was chosen to run in his place. Interestingly, Allen's wife Mildred decided to run for Secretary of the State in 1954, and won nomination at the GOP convention despite significant opposition. She was elected that November and served one term. Charles Jewett won election as Lt. Governor despite Lodge losing to Democrat Abraham Ribicoff.

Allen was concerned with the relationship of Hartford to its suburbs: “Hartford and West Hartford are tied together whether you like it or not. What’s good for West Hartford is good for Hartford, and vice-versa. Neither can survive without the other in the future prosperity of the area.” (M.E.)

Allen died in 1972. Sage-Allen, where I can remember shopping as a boy, survived until the early 1990s.

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Sources
“M. E. Rulnick Is Installed By Chamber; Allen Says Hartford, West Hartford Need Each Other To Survive.” The Hartford Courant Nov 12, 1954.

"Brochure Booming Allen's Candidacy Issued By Friends." The Hartford Courant May 28, 1950.

Schonrock, Keith. "He's the State's Genial Second In Command; Lieut. Gov. Edward N. Allen Also Finds Time To Engage In Business, Civic Duties, Hobbies" The Hartford Courant Mar 23, 1952.

"Edward N. Allen Dies; Executive, Ex-Lieutenant Governor, Mayor." The Hartford Courant Nov 15, 1972.

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Charles W. Jewett (R) of Lyme
Lt. Governor from 1955-1959

Charles Jewett (1913-2000), a lawyer from Lyme, was Lt. Governor from 1955-1959, and was the last Lt. Governor before Kevin Sullivan to be of the opposite party from the governor. Jewett had been unemployment compensation commissioner for the 2nd Congressional District (a post he had to fight for--Gov. Raymond Baldwin appointed him just before his resignation, and another man was appointed by Baldwin's brief successor, Wilbert Snow), and was a state representative, a state senator and majority leader of the Senate from 1953-55, where he made an enemy of Democratic state party chairman John Bailey. He declined to run for the state senate again in 1954, but was nominated to replace retiring Lt. Governor Edward N. Allen on the ticket with Governor John Davis Lodge. Lodge was defeated by Abraham Ribicoff, but Jewett won his race for Lt. Governor (at the time, the two positions were elected separately--they were linked during Jewett's term).

Perhaps Jewett's greatest contribution to Connecticut politics during his tenure as Lt. Governor was his push to have the legislature convene every year, instead of every other year. "The state of Connecticut has grown too big," he said in 1955, "and can't be run on biennial sessions," (Jewett) .He otherwise had little influence, and complained that the governor ignored him (Schonrock). Kevin Sullivan, take heart.

Jewett declined to run for re-election in 1958. A rival of Jewett's, Fred Zeller, was nominated for governor in 1958, but was heavily defeated by Ribicoff. Zeller and Jewett belonged to two warring factions in the GOP that split the party for many years, making it difficult for them to regain their former prominence. Jewett was succeeded in office by Democrat John Dempsey, who became governor following the 1961 resignation of Gov. Abraham Ribicoff to join Kennedy's cabinet.

Jewett remained on the Republican state central committee until 1966. He died in 2000.

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Sources
"Court Finds Jewett Holds Job Legally; Satti Loses Contest To Unseat Lyme Man Named by Baldwin." The Hartford Courant Jun 28, 1947.

"Jewett Asks For Yearly Legislature" The Hartford Courant Jun 11, 1955.

Schonrock, Keith. "Lt. Gov. Jewett Says Ribicoff Ignores Him." The Hartford Courant May 9, 1956.

Zaiman, Jack. "Jewett Not A Candidate Again For Lieut. Gov." The Hartford Courant Apr 7, 1957.

7 comments:

Matt said...

You're such a nice guy, Genghis, trying to rehabilitate the Republicans like this. Good luck to you.

Mr. X - yeah, I'd love it if the Republicans argued that the wealthy suburbs were inextricably tied to the urban core, but we haven't seen that for a while now. Though Jewett set the trend that Democrats in the state can ignore the top Republican executive

Genghis Conn said...

Don't know where Mr. X's comment went-- maybe he took it down?

Matt-- Allen lived in Hartford, but pioneered the expansion of his department store to the suburbs. I think he understood very well how inextricably linked city and suburbs were. I would like to see this attitude in any of our leaders today--Republican or Democrat.

Mr X said...

No Mr X didnt take it down Apparently Someone on The Censorship Committee is at it again.

These Liberals hate the truth.

ken krayeske said...

Liberal? Mr. X - your nom de plume invokes an allusion to the anonymous marijuana tinged writings of one Mr. X

http://www.marijuana-uses.com/essays/002.html

otherwise, Genghis, great feature - I love this kind of writing and plumbing of CT history for advice on today. Thanks for the effort.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this piece too. I remember shopping at Sage Allen's at Christmas as a little girl in the 60s. My parents were Republicans of course... It was a different time!

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

In the Fall of 2007, my book, Joe Fauliso: The Good Lieutenant, will be completed and self-published.

Genghis Conn said...

FGMS,

Ooo, I'll buy one! :)