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About Alvan Tufts Fuller
Alvan Tufts Fuller (February 27, 1878 – April 30, 1958) was a United States Representative from Massachusetts. He became one of the wealthiest men in America, with an automobile dealership which in 1920 was recognized as "the world's most successful auto dealership." He was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1916. He was then elected as Governor of Massachusetts, serving from 1925-1929.
He was born in Boston on February 27, 1878. He attended the public schools and first worked in the bicycle business. He founded and grew wealthy from his ownership of Boston's Packard dealership. He served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1916. He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-fifth Congress and reelected to the Sixty-sixth Congress, serving from March 4, 1917, to January 5, 1921. Fuller served as the 48th Lieutenant Governor from 1921 to 1925, and he was elected 50th Governor in 1924. He was reelected to a second two-year term. He did not accept compensation for services while in public office.
As governor, Fuller faced a significant budget deficit that required initiatives to reduce expenditures and downsize government operations. His term as governor also coincided with the Sacco and Vanzetti affair, a series of trials for murder and robbery followed by legal appeals that culminated in calls for the governor to commute the death sentences of the two Italian immigrants. Governor Fuller appointed a three-member panel of Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, MIT President Dr. Samuel W. Stratton, and retired Probate Judge Robert Grant to conduct a complete review of the case and determine if the trials were fair. The committee reported that no new trial was called for and based on that assessment Governor Fuller refused to delay their executions or grant clemency. On May 10, 1927, while Fuller was considering requests for clemency, a package bomb addressed to him was intercepted in the Boston post office. A few months after the executions, he endorsed proposals to reform the state's judicial procedures to require a more thorough review of capital cases.
In 1928, he was an early supporter of Herbert Hoover's presidential campaign, after considering his own run for the presidency, and was rumored to be a candidate for a federal government if Hoover won, possibly as ambassador to France.
After leaving office, he became chairman of the board of Cadillac-Oldsmobile Co. of Boston and continued to develop his reputation as a patron of arts and music. He died in Boston on April 30, 1958.
He was a superb collector of art and among those painters represented in his collection were Renoir, Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsborough, Sargent, Monet, Van Dyck, Romney, Boccaccino, Boucher and Reynolds. His paintings were donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Donations include: Monet's "The Water Lily Pond," Renoir's "Boating Couple," and van Dyck's "Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I."
His philanthropy was wide ranging and included art, hospitals, education, religion, municipalities and social services. He established The Fuller Foundation, Inc., during his lifetime and it was, and continues to be, the instrument through which many charitable agencies have benefited in the Greater Boston and Seacoast area of New Hampshire.
He was interred in East Cemetery in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, where he had a summer home.
His wife, Viola Theresa Davenport Fuller, died in 1959. She had a brief career as an opera singer, performing in Paris and then debuting in Boston in 1910. She and the governor had four children, two boys and two girls.