Today in 1910, Abraham Alexander Ribicoff was born in a New Britain tenement house to Ashkenazi Jewish parents who had immigrated to Connecticut from Poland. Over the course of his lifetime, he would spend nearly 50 years in public service. The highlight of that half century of service was when he overcame entrenched anti-Semitism to become the state’s first governor of Jewish faith.
After graduating with degrees from NYU and the University of Chicago Law School, Ribicoff set up his own legal practice in Kensington and soon began his meteoric rise through the ranks of Connecticut politics. Beginning in 1938, Ribicoff served for two terms in the Connecticut General Assembly; by the early 1950s, he had also served as a Hartford judge and was twice elected as a US Representative from Connecticut’s first Congressional district.