SALTONSTALL, Leverett

(b. Newton, 1892 – d. Dover, 1979)
House of Representatives 1923–1937, Speaker 1929–1937
Governor 1939–1945
U. S. Senator 1945–1967

Photograph, 12 ½ x 11 ½ in.

Leverett Saltonstall, descendant of Sir Richard Saltonstall (who accompanied John Winthrop on the Arbella), graduated from Harvard in 1914 (LL.B in 1917), and served in the U. S. Army during WWI. He began his long and distinguished political career as an alderman in Newton, and served for a short time as Middlesex District Attorney before being elected to the House in 1922. "Salty," as he was popularly known, was chosen Speaker in 1929, serving eight years during the Great Depression.

In 1938 he defeated James Michael Curley for governor, who described him as having a "Harvard accent with a South Boston face." During his three terms, Saltonstall led the Commonwealth through World War II, tightening fiscal policy in support of the war effort while retiring over 90 percent of the state's debt.

Upon the resignation of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in 1944, he was elected by a wide margin to the U. S. Senate, representing Massachusetts along with John F. Kennedy until the latter was elected president. Seen as a moderate by both parties, he was the ranking minority leader on five influential committees, and served as Republican whip. His political legacy remains in the thousands of pieces of legislation that he worked on to the benefit of the public he loved to represent.

portrait of SALTONSTALL, Leverett