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Robert M. Washburn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert M. Washburn
Member of the Massachusetts Senate for the 1st Worcester District
In office
Preceded byFred W. Cross
Succeeded byJames L. Harrop
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the 22nd Worcester District
In office
Preceded byElmer C. Potter
Succeeded byDaniel Waldo Lincoln II
Personal details
BornJanuary 4, 1868
Worcester, Massachusetts
DiedFebruary 26, 1946 (aged 78)
Resting placeRural Cemetery
Worcester, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Alma materHarvard College

Robert Morris Washburn (1868–1946) was an American politician and writer who served in the Massachusetts General Court and wrote a newspaper column and a number of biographies on Massachusetts politicians, including Calvin Coolidge.

Early life

Washburn was born on January 4, 1868 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Charles F. and Mary E. (Whiton) Washburn. He was the one of seven children.[1] His older brother, Charles G. Washburn, was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Another brother, Reginald, was chairman of the Worcester Liquor Commission.[2] He graduated from Harvard College in 1890 and attended Harvard Law School. He studied law in Worcester offices and was admitted to the bar in 1892.[1] Washburn owned the Princeton Bantam Yards, a poultry farm in Princeton, Massachusetts, where he bred prize-winning Red Pyle Game Bantam hens.[3]

Political career

State legislature

In 1907, Washburn was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was described as an "insurgent" and had no problem opposing the state Republican machine. He served as chairman of the committee on railroad and was a vocal opponent of the proposed merger of the Boston & Maine and New York, New Haven, & Hartford railroads.[2] In 1912 he was a candidate for Speaker of the House, but lost to Grafton D. Cushing.[4][5] In 1915, Washburn was elected to the state senate. He resigned early into his only term in the Senate due to ill health.[6] Following his departure from the legislature, Washburn went to Baltimore to recover. While there he met Martha Ross Clark and the two married in 1916.[7]

Presidential campaigns

Washburn supported Theodore Roosevelt for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912 and 1916. In 1922 Washburn helped establish the Roosevelt Club of Massachusetts and served as its president for many years. Following Roosevelt's death, Washburn supported William Borah.[8]

Statewide campaigns

In 1920, Washburn ran as an independent candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. He finished in third place with 14% of the vote to Republican Alvan T. Fuller's 54% and Democrat Marcus A. Coolidge's 29%.[9]

In 1928, Washburn was a candidate for the United States Senate seat held by David I. Walsh. However he dropped out of the race on July 25 so that he could "take the stump" for fellow candidate Butler Ames.[10] Ames lost the Republican nomination to Benjamin Loring Young.[11] With no other Republicans challenging Walsh in 1934, Washburn entered the race.[12] Walsh defeated Washburn 59% to 37%.[13]


For many years, Washburn penned "Washburn's Weekly", a column in the Boston Transcript. He also wrote a number of biographies on political figures, including William M. Butler.[1] In 1923 he published "Calvin Coolidge: His First Biography", a 150 page character sketch of President Calvin Coolidge.[14]


Washburn died on February 26, 1946 at his home in Boston. He was buried in Worcester's Rural Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Robert M. Washburn: State Political Leader to Be Buried Tomorrow". The Boston Daily Globe. February 27, 1946.
  2. ^ a b "Much In The Public Eye". The Boston Daily Globe. April 24, 1910.
  3. ^ "Politics And Hens His Hobbies". The Boston Daily Globe. June 20, 1915.
  4. ^ "Washburn is Candidate". The Boston Daily Globe. January 21, 1911.
  5. ^ "Cavanagh and Wolcott Out". The Boston Daily Globe. November 29, 1911.
  6. ^ "Senator Washburn is Out Of Politics". The Boston Daily Globe. June 15, 1916.
  7. ^ "Senator Washburn To Wed Miss Clark". The Boston Daily Globe. August 10, 1916.
  8. ^ "Robert Washburn, Figure In Politics". The New York Times. February 27, 1946.
  9. ^ Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth (1920). Election Statistics, 1920. Boston, MA.
  10. ^ "Washburn Quits Senate Race". The Boston Daily Globe. July 26, 1928.
  11. ^ Office of the Secretary of Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1928). Number of assessed polls, registered voters and persons who voted in each voting precinct in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the state, city and town elections. p. 123.
  12. ^ "Will Not Let Walsh Win By Default". The Boston Daily Globe. January 16, 1934.
  13. ^ "Curley Wins, 106,000". The Boston Daily Globe. November 7, 1934.
  14. ^ "Calvin Coolidge As His Biographer Sees Him". The Boston Daily Globe. October 14, 1923.
This page was last edited on 6 July 2019, at 20:19
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