Alexander Hamilton Rice
Painting: by Isaac Henry Caliga

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1876-1879

Born in Newton Lower Falls, the son of a paper manufacturer, Alexander Rice attended public school. He worked as a clerk in the dry goods company and for a paper wholesaler before attending college. Upon graduation from Union College, Rice returned to the paper business and eventually headed his own company.

Rice was a founder of the Republican Party in Massachusetts, served as a member of Boston's School Committee and in 1855 and 1857 was Mayor of Boston. He launched a successful Congressional campaign, serving there from 1859-1867. Rice was elected Governor in 1875, after defeating incumbent William Gaston. Governor Rice's administration focused on social reform, establishing several mental hospitals, as well as attempting to reorganize the Commonwealth's charities. Rice vetoed a law supported by his predecessor, which would have repealed statewide prohibition in favor of local choice.

Governor Rice was reelected twice, but he declined to run for a third term. He returned to his successful paper business and continued to serve on educational and business boards as a private citizen.