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About Curtis Guild, Jr.
Curtis Guild, Jr. (February 2, 1860 - April 6, 1915) was the 43rd Governor of Massachusetts in the United States, serving from 1906 to 1909. Prior to his election as governor, Guild served in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, seeing active duty in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt, with whom he attended Harvard University.
Early life and education
Curtis Guild, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 2, 1860 to a prominent family involved in the journalism business. The Guild family was descended from John Guild and Elizabeth Crooke, early immigrants to the Boston area. His father, Curtis Guild, Sr. published the Commercial Bulletin, was a supporter of the arts, and served as president of the Bostonian Society.
Guild was educated at Chauncy Hall, a private day school in Boston, and then attended Harvard University. At both schools he was involved in military organizations, rising to become a lieutenant in Harvard's rifle corps in 1879. He was also a good fencer, twice winning the university fencing championship, and worked as a writer on both The Harvard Crimson and The Harvard Lampoon. He graduated from Harvard in 1881 with high honors, and was the orator of his class. During his years at Harvard he became friends with Theodore Roosevelt.
After graduation from college, Guild worked for his father's newspaper, a business he would take over in 1902. He also became politically active, serving as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1881. He became a member of the state Republican Party Committee in 1894 and became nationally prominent when he served as vice-president of the 1896 Republican National Convention. In 1900 he worked on Roosevelt's vice presidential campaign, and toured with Roosevelt after President William McKinley's assassination elevated Roosevelt to the presidency.
Guild also continued the military activities he had begun during his school years. In 1891, Guild joined the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, earning the rank of Brigadier General by 1898. During these years of service he researched the latest techniques in the use and handling of rifles, and was appointed the militia's Inspector General of Rifle Practice by Governor Roger Wolcott. Following the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898, Guild immediately volunteered for service in the Spanish-American War that followed. He was sent to Cuba as a first lieutenant in the Massachusetts militia that formed part of VII Corps. While in Cuba he served as Inspector General of Havana during the American occupation. He officially retired from the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in 1909 with the rank of major general.
Election to governorship
In 1903, Guild was elected to serve as the 39th Lieutenant Governor, in the administrations of John L. Bates and William L. Douglas. He was elected governor for three terms, beginning in 1905 and served in that capacity from 1906 until 1909. Guild was pro-labor, signing laws reforming labor practices, including one restricting the use of child labor.
In 1907, an escaped aslyum patient entered the Massachusetts State House with a handgun. Upon seeing a group of men entering the State House, the patient fired, aiming at a man named Edward Cohen, a union leader from Lynn, mistakenly believing him to be the governor.
After his tenure in the Massachusetts State House was concluded, Guild unsuccessfully ran for Republican nomination for Vice-President. In 1910 President William Howard Taft appointed Guild as a special ambassador to the Mexican independence centennial. Taft then appointed him to be a Special Ambassador to Russia, a position he held from 1911 until 1913.
Guild died on April 6, 1915. He is interred at Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain (Boston), Massachusetts.
After Guild's death, a memorial tablet, paid for by private subscription, was installed in the Massachusetts State House in 1916. The Curtis Guild Elementary School in East Boston is named for the former governor. Also the Massachusetts National Guard Base Camp Curtis Guild is named in Guild's memory. The Camp Curtis Guild Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol Massachusetts Wing also bears his name.