Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Green, Theodore Francis

Theodore Francis Green (1867-1966), was born in Providence on October 2, 1867, the son of Arnold Green 1858. He entered Brown at fifteen and graduated in 1887. After that he studied at Harvard Law School and the Universities of Berlin and Bonn. He joined his father’s law firm, and after 1906 headed the law firm of Green, Hinckley and Allen until 1923, and after that the firm of Green, Curran and Hart. He was an instructor in Roman law at Brown from 1894 to 1897. In 1932, at the age of 65, instead of retiring, Green was elected Governor of Rhode Island on the Democratic ticket. His political career up to that point had not been promising. In 1907 he had been elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, but his bids for higher office were unsuccessful. He was defeated for election as Governor in 1912, as Congressman in 1918, and as Governor again in 1930. He finally came into office along with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Democratic sweep in 1932. After that it was easy. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1936 and remained there until 1961. He served on the Foreign Relations Committee from 1937 to 1947 and from 1949 to 1959, and in 1957 at age 89 achieved his fondest wish of becoming chairman of the committee. He voluntarily resigned the chairmanship in 1959. The very last years of his life he suffered two falls and a critical illness, during which he was accustomed to following the local news bulletins on his condition on television, which he explained was “the only way I can find out how I feel.” He had been very frail as a child as a result of early illness, but compensated for this by being very athletic, especially in tennis and swimming, into his 80s.

Green’s loyalty to Brown was legendary. He had lived nearby and attended Brown Commencements from his early childhood until his old age, being absent only while he was a student in Germany. In 1957, after he had worn his academic gown for more than fifty years, he was presented with a new one. He was on the building committee for Rockefeller Hall and was chairman of the Brown Union from 1903 to 1907. He introduced the bear as the mascot of the University and composed the verse of the Class of 1887 Gate. He served 66 years on the Corporation, as a trustee from 1900 to 1929 and as a fellow from that time until his death on May 19, 1966 in Providence.