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Winston Lewis Prouty (September 1, 1906 – September 10, 1971) was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a United States Senator from Vermont from 1959 until his death. He was previously a member of the United States House of Representatives, serving Vermont's At-large congressional district, from 1951 to 1959.

Winston L. Prouty
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
January 3, 1959 – September 10, 1971
Preceded byRalph Flanders
Succeeded byRobert Stafford
Member of the
United States House of Representatives
from Vermont's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1959
Preceded byCharles Albert Plumley
Succeeded byWilliam H. Meyer
Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byJoseph H. Denny
Succeeded byJ. Harold Stacey
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Newport
In office
Preceded byJohn M. Bradley
Succeeded byRobert W. H. Davis
Mayor of Newport, Vermont
In office
Preceded byJohn M. Bradley
Succeeded byOna S. Searles
Personal details
Winston Lewis Prouty

(1906-09-01)September 1, 1906
Newport, Vermont, U.S.
DiedSeptember 10, 1971(1971-09-10) (aged 65)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Frances C. Hearle Backus (1939-1960, her death)
Jennette Herbert Hall (1962-1971, his death)
EducationLafayette College

Early life and educationEdit

Winston Prouty was born in Newport, Vermont, to Willard Robert and Margaret (née Lockhart) Prouty.[1] His family owned Prouty & Miller Lumber Company, a lumber and building material business.[2] His family was also involved in politics; his father and grandfather both served as state legislators, his uncle Charles A. Prouty was a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and his other uncle George H. Prouty served as Governor of Vermont (1908–1910).[3]

He received his early education at public schools in Newport, and attended the Bordentown Military Institute in New Jersey.[4] He graduated from The Hill School in 1924. He then studied at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, from which he received his bachelor of science degree in 1930.[5][6][7][8] During college, he was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.[9]

Early careerEdit

Prouty returned to Newport and joined his family's business, Prouty & Miller.[2] He also served as a director of the National Bank of Newport and Associated Industries of Vermont.[4] Though described as shy and reticent, in part because he was self-conscious about the loss of his right thumb in an accident at his family's business, Prouty decided on a career in politics.[10] A Republican, he was a member of the Newport City Council from 1933 to 1937.[11] He served as mayor of Newport from 1938 to 1941.[12] He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1940, and served from 1941 to 1949.[12] During his last two years in the legislature, he served as Speaker of the House.[4] He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont in 1948, losing to Harold J. Arthur.[4] From 1949 to 1950, he served as chairman of the state Water Conservation Board.[12]

Congressional careerEdit

House of RepresentativesEdit

In 1950, after longtime incumbent Charles Albert Plumley decided not to run again, Prouty announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives from Vermont's At-large congressional district.[2] He won the Republican nomination in a four-way race that included Governor Arthur.[4] In the general election, he defeated his Democratic opponent, Herbert B. Comings, by a margin of 73%-26%.[13] He was subsequently re-elected to three more terms, never receiving less than 61% of the vote.[14] During his tenure in the House, Prouty served as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.[11] He was an advocate for the creation of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.[15]


He was elected to the United States Senate in 1958; he reelected in 1964 and 1970 and served from January 3, 1959 until his death.[12] In the Senate, Prouty's committee assignments included District of Columbia, Rules, Labor and Public Welfare, and Commerce, in addition to the Special Committee on Aging and the Select Committee on Small Business.[16] Issues with which he was identified included federal aid for school construction, federal funding of courses for students with special needs, arts and music education, and senior citizen needs to include health care and expansion of Social Security eligibility.[17] In addition, he was a longtime advocate for returning passenger rail service to Vermont.[18] As the ranking Republican on the District of Columbia Committee, Prouty sponsored the legislation that created the district's Delegate to Congress.[19]

Death and burialEdit

Prouty died from the effects of gastric cancer at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston on September 10, 1971.[20] He was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Newport.[21]


In 1939, Prouty married Frances Currie Hearle Backus (1907-1960) of Stanstead, Quebec, who was the mother of three daughters from a previous marriage, Currie, Elizabeth, and Ann.[22][23] She died in 1960, and in 1962, Prouty married Jennette Herbert Hall (1913-2002), who had been the chief aide to Congressmen Henry J. Latham of New York and Robert E. Cook of Ohio.[24]


In 1966, Prouty received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Lafayette College.[8][25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pope, Charles Henry (1910). Prouty (Proute) Genealogy. Boston: C. H. Pope. p. 173 – via HathiTrust.
  2. ^ a b c "Hard-Bitten Republican". The New York Times. 1971-09-11.
  3. ^ Prouty (Proute) Genealogy, pp. 171-172.
  4. ^ a b c d e Current Biography. XXI. H.W. Wilson Company. 1960.
  5. ^ United States Senate (1972). Memorial Addresses: Winston L. Prouty, Late a Senator from Vermont. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. VII.
  6. ^ Garraty, John Arthur; Carnes, Mark Christopher (1999). American National Biography. 17. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 910. ISBN 978-0-1952-0635-7.
  7. ^ "Prouty is Mayor". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. Associated Press. March 2, 1938. p. 2 – via
  8. ^ a b "Lafayette Lists 5 Honorary Degrees". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. May 26, 1966. p. 41 – via
  9. ^ "Politics and Government". Delta Upsilon Michigan Tech Chapter.
  10. ^ Memorial Addresses, p. 16.
  11. ^ a b Memorial Addresses, p. 19.
  12. ^ a b c d Memorial Addresses, p. VII.
  13. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1952" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  14. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1954" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  15. ^ Memorial Addresses, pp. 6, 11.
  16. ^ Memorial Addresses, pp. 6-7.
  17. ^ Memorial Addresses, p. 6, 11, 20, 37.
  18. ^ Memorial Addresses, p. 14.
  19. ^ Memorial Addresses, pp. 32, 57.
  20. ^ "Senator Prouty Dies of Stomach Cancer". Brattleboro Reformer. Brattleboro, VT. United Press International. September 11, 1971. p. 1 – via
  21. ^ Leader, Andrew (September 16, 1971). "Friends, State, National Leaders Jam Prouty Service". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1 – via
  22. ^ "Wife of U.S. Sen Prouty, R-Vt., is Dead at 53 of Heart Attack". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. December 5, 1960. p. 1 – via
  23. ^ "Funeral Services Planned Today for Mrs. Prouty". Bennington Banner. Bennington, VT. United Press International. December 5, 1960. p. 1 – via
  24. ^ "Senator Prouty Wed to Ohioan in Washington". Bennington Banner. Bennington, VT. Associated Press. July 3, 1962. p. 1 – via
  25. ^ Gaines, Barry (May 13, 1966). "Governor Hatfield To Speak At Commnencement". The Lafayette. Easton, PA. p. 1.

External linksEdit