About Henry Bowen Anthony
Henry Bowen Anthony (April 1, 1815 – September 2, 1884) was a United States newspaperman and political figure. He served as the editor and later part owner of the Providence Journal and later was the 21st Governor of Rhode Island between 1849 and 1851, as a member of the Whig Party.
The son of William Anthony and Mary Kennicut Greene, Anthony was born in Rhode Island. He attended Brown University, graduating in 1833 at the age of 18. After his graduation, he went to work as a broker in his brother's cotton products firm, sometimes residing in Savannah, Georgia. He later invested in the firm when his father died in 1845 and made a substantial income. He become editor of the Providence Journal in 1838. In 1840, he was admitted into the partnership, the paper then being published under the name of Knowles, Vose & Anthony until the death of Vose in 1848, when it was continued under the name of Knowles & Anthony until 1 January 1863, when it became Knowles, Anthony & Danielson. He also wrote poetry.
As editor of the Journal, Anthony was a conservative, supporting law and order, property requirements for voting, and restrictions on political power of immigrants. In 1849, and again in 1850, he was elected governor of Rhode Island. As a Whig at the first election he had a majority of 1,556; at the second, fewer than 1,000 votes were cast against him. He declined a third election, and gave himself once more entirely to his editorial work.
In 1855, he traveled in Europe, sending letters with unfavorable observations back to the Journal. On returning, he joined the Know Nothing movement and used the Journal to back its American Party. In Rhode Island, the American Party merged into the Republican Party, and he was a elected to the United States Senate as an “American-Republican.”
Anthony served as a Republican Senator from Rhode Island from March 4, 1859, until his death on September 2, 1884. Initially conciliatory toward the secessionists, he was a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln's efforts to restore the union during the American Civil War. He was twice the chairman of the committee on printing, his practical knowledge of that subject enabling him to introduce many reforms in the government printing. The Government Printing Office was formed during his tenure. He was at different times a member of the committees on claims, on naval affairs, on mines and mining, and on post offices and post roads. On the trial of Andrew Johnson, he voted for impeachment. During his service in the Senate, he still contributed largely to his paper.
He served as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 1869 to 1873 and again briefly in 1875. He gave up that post when he was elected conference chairman in 1875. As chair, Anthony acted much like the later majority leaders, giving committee assignments to members of his party, calling up bills for debate, and often speaking for his party on the issues of the day. He was also the author of the "Anthony Rule," an early attempt to limit debate in the Senate in the days before cloture. Known as the Father of the Senate.
Anthony's funeral, which took place from the First Congregational Church in Providence on 6 September, was the largest funeral ever known in Rhode Island. Anthony bequeathed a portion of his library, known as the “Harris Collection of American Poetry,” to Brown University. It consists of about 6,000 volumes, mostly small books, and many of them exceedingly rare. It was begun in the first half of the 19th century by Albert G. Greene, continued by Caleb Fiske Harris, and, after his death, completed by his kinsman Senator Anthony. See J. C. Stockbridge, Anthony Memorial (1886) for an annotated catalog of the collection, with a biographical sketch of Anthony.
In 1837 he married Sarah Aborn Rhodes (daughter of Christopher Rhodes of Pawtuxet), who died in 1854. They had no children, and he never remarried.