32 Facts About Elliot Richardson


Elliot Lee Richardson was an American lawyer and public servant who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.


Elliot Richardson served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1970 to 1973, Secretary of Defense from January to May 1973, Attorney General from May to October 1973, and Secretary of Commerce from 1976 to 1977.


Elliot Richardson was a Boston Brahmin, descended from the earliest Puritan settlers in New England.


Elliot Richardson attended the Park School in Brookline and Milton Academy in Milton, both in Massachusetts.


In 1942, following America's entry into World War II, Elliot Richardson became a combat medic in the US 4th Infantry Division.


Elliot Richardson participated in the June 6,1944, Normandy Invasion as a platoon leader, where he crossed a minefield to rescue a fellow officer whose foot was blown off.


Elliot Richardson was among the first troops to come up Causeway No 2 from Utah Beach, which had been under fire from German artillery at Brecourt Manor.

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Elliot Richardson was among the many who noticed the guns ceasing their firing after paratroopers of the 101st under Lieutenant Richard Winters had knocked them out.


Elliot Richardson continued on in the war in Europe with the 4th Infantry Division and received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster.


Elliot Richardson was discharged in 1945 with the rank of first lieutenant.


Elliot Richardson left the firm to serve as US Attorney for Massachusetts from 1959 to 1961.


Elliot Richardson was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1958.


Elliot Richardson was an active Freemason as a member of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a 33rd Degree Freemason in the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.


Elliot Richardson is one of two persons to hold four separate cabinet positions.


Elliot Richardson served three relatively uneventful years as the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare for a popular sitting president.


In September 1970, Elliot Richardson was present at the funeral of Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt as part of America's delegation.


Elliot Richardson secretly met with Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor to discuss a possible peace process with the United States.


In 1972, as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Elliot Richardson established The National High Blood Pressure Education Program, at the urging of Mary Lasker who came armed with copies of the Veterans Administration Cooperative Study Group on Antihypertensive Agents, directed by Edward Freis.


Elliot Richardson was appointed United States Secretary of Defense on January 30,1973.


Elliot Richardson would serve as Secretary of Defense for 4 months before becoming Nixon's Attorney General, a move that would put him in the Watergate spotlight.


In October 1973, after Elliot Richardson had served 5 months as Attorney General, President Nixon ordered him to fire the top lawyer investigating the Watergate scandal, Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.


Elliot Richardson had promised Congress he would not interfere with the Special Prosecutor, and, rather than breaking his promise, he resigned.


Elliot Richardson too had promised not to interfere, and tendered his resignation.


The third in command, Solicitor General Robert Bork, planned to resign after firing Cox, but Elliot Richardson persuaded him not to in order to ensure proper leadership at the Department of Justice during the crisis.


Just before the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew, Elliot Richardson was portrayed as a cartoon figure with Agnew and Nixon on the October 8,1973, cover of Time magazine.

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Elliot Richardson denied both then and later taking any extraordinary steps in the investigation of Agnew, instead leaving the task up to the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland.


In 1974, Elliot Richardson received the John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.


In 1974 Elliot Richardson gave the commencement address at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and received an honorary Doctors of Law.


In 1980, Elliot Richardson received an honorary degree from Bates College.


In 1983, Elliot Richardson was admitted as an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.


On New Year's Eve, 1999, Elliot Richardson died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Boston at the age of 79.


An image of Elliot Richardson taken by photographer Garry Winogrand is featured on the cover art of rock band Interpol's 2018 album Marauder.