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Leverett Saltonstall
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Leverett Saltonstall

Leverett Saltonstall (September 1, 1892June 17, 1979) was an American politician who served as Governor of Massachusetts (1939 - 1945) and as a United States Senator (1945 - 1967).

Saltonstall was born in Newton, Massachusetts. Part of the Boston Brahmin Saltonstall family, he was able to trace his ancestral roots to the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Saltonstall was a 10-generation Harvard graduate and the great-grandson of a U.S. Congressman of the same name.

A graduate of the prestigious Noble & Greenough Preparatory School in Dedham, Massachusetts, he graduated from Harvard College in 1914 and Harvard Law School in 1917. Prior to being admitted to the bar, he served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army during World War I from 1917 to 1919.

Saltonstall, a Republican, entered politics as an alderman in Newton, Massachusetts from 1920 to 1922, while simultaneously serving as an assistant district attorney of Middlesex County from 1921 to 1922. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives that same year, where he rose to the position of Speaker of the House from 1929 to 1937. In 1936, he was defeated for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, but made a political comeback two years later when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts, a position he held for three terms from 1939 to 1945. During that period, Governor Saltonstall mediated a teamsters strike, reduced taxes, and retired 90 percent of the state's debt. He served as President of the National Governor's Association from 1943 to 1944.

In 1944, he was elected to the United States Senate in a special election to fill the unexpired term created by the resignation of U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr He was re-elected three times to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1945 to 1967. During his tenure in the Senate, he served as the Senate Republican Whip and on five influential Senate committees. He also served as the chair of the Senate Republican Conference, 1957-1966.

The legendary James Michael Curley once described Saltonstall as having a "Harvard accent with a South Boston face." Though the remark was intended as a political jab, it resonated with truth, as Saltonstall had an uncanny ability to blend his aristocratic lineage with a personable charm which greatly appealed to the average worker and the common man.

Leverett Saltonstall is buried in Harmony Grove Cemetary in Salem, Massachusetts.

Preceded by:
Charles F. Hurley
Governor of Massachusetts Succeeded by:
Maurice J. Tobin