1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 Felix A. Toupin Papers

 Politician, lawyer and realtor of Lincoln, R.I.

 Papers, 1919-1926

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1104

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, August 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Felix A. Toupin (1886-1965) was born in the village of Manville, in the town of Lincoln, R.I. He was the son of French-Canadian immigrants Dieudonne and Mary (Proulx) Toupin. He graduated from La Salle Academy in Providence, Joilette Seminary in Quebec, and in 1913 from Boston University Law School. He served asa private during World War One, then practiced law in Manville and Woonsocket, and also acquired extensive real estate across northern Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts towns. In 1921 he was elected to the Rhode Island legislature, and then served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 1923 to 1925 as part of a group of young Democrats that took control of the state's party at that time. As Lieutenant Governor, he presided on June 17 1924 over one of the most dramatic filibusters in the state's history, when the Democratic minority attempted to force through a 48-hour law and an end to a property requirement for voting. This struggle featured a 51-hour Senate session, fisticuffs on the Senate floor, a Republican stink bomb that was intended to drive Toupin from the podium, and the flight of Republican senate leaders from the state to avoid arrest.

            In 1930, Toupin established a residence in Woonsocket and was elected mayor of that city, serving from 1930 to 1936 and 1939 to 1940. His tenure as mayor was remembered for extreme fiscal economy, and newsworthy controversy that perhaps topped even his term as Lieutenant Governor. His first wife, Delia A. Chapon, died in 1962, and he remarried to Blanche B. Lavimodiere (1902-1982) in 1963. He died on October 7 1965, and is buried in St. James Cemetery in Lincoln. He left no children.


Cumberland and Lincoln directory, 1925

Fortin, Marcel P., ed. Woonsocket, Rhode Island: A Centennial History, 1888-2000, 98. Woonsocket Centennial Committee, 2000.

Obituary, Woonsocket Call, October 8 1965, page 1

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

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Scope and content:

            This collection is comprised of Toupin's business correspondence file from 1919 to 1926. Some letters are in French, but the great majority are in English. Interfiled with the letters are some receipts and memoranda. The letters from 1919 to 1922 mostly relate to Toupin's land dealings and, to a lesser extent, to his legal practice. The files from 1923 to 1925 contain some official correspondence in his role as Lieutenant Governor, mostly invitations. Among the more substantial official letters are a letter of invitation to Catholic Bishop William A. Hickey dated 12/26/1923; an invitation to speak at the Cumberland American Legion post dated 11/19/1923; John J. Richards' applicant for the post of Adjutant General, with attached resume, 1/7/1924; a letter from U.S. Rep. Jeremiah E. O'Connell dated 3/7/1925 concerning tickets for the inauguration of Rodolphe Gauvin; and an undated memorandum debating the proposed site of a tunnel connecting Elmwood Avenue to the West Elmwood neighborhood. The collection contains little personal material, and nothing regarding his involvement in the dramatic events of June 1924.

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            These papers were purchased from James Elmi of Newburyport, MA in 2002.

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Box 1, folder 1. 1919 (October - December)

Box 1, folder 2. 1920

Box 1, folder 3. 1921

Box 1, folder 4. 1922

Box 1, folder 5. 1923

Box 1, folder 6. 1924

Box 1, folder 7. 1925

Box 1, folder 8. 1926 (January - July)

Box 1, folder 9. Undated

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American Legion. Rhode Island. Cumberland Post No. 14.

Elmwood Avenue (Providence, R.I.)

French Canadians - United States - Rhode Island - Lincoln

Hickey, William A., 1869-

Lawyers - Rhode Island - Lincoln

Lieutenant governors - Rhode Island

Lincoln, R.I. - Social life and customs

O'Connell, Jeremiah E., 1883-1964

Real estate agents - Rhode Island - Lincoln

Richards, John J., 1874-1935

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