The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame was founded in March 1965 to honor the contributions of those whose efforts, in any line of endeavor, have added significantly to the heritage of the State of Rhode Island. Eligible membership may include those who are native born, those whose reputations have been made while residents of the state, and those who have adopted Rhode Island as their permanent home.
The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame is a partner organization of the Heritage Harbor Museum. Upon the Museum's opening in 2013, inductees' portraits will become part of a permanent Hall of Fame exhibit honoring their accomplishments.
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James Burrill, Jr., a brilliant leader of the early nineteenth-century bar, a noted orator, and a pioneering constitutional reformer, was born in Providence and graduated from Brown University. After legal clerkships, first in the office of Senator Theodore Foster and then under the tutelage of Congressman David Howell, he became state attorney general in 1797 at the age of twenty-five and served in that elective post until 1813, when he was chosen a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Within a year he was elevated to the position of Speaker (1814-1816), after which he was made chief justice for a year at a time when such appointments were made by the General Assembly on an annual basis. more >
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