Abraham Alexander Ribicoff (April 9, 1910 – February 22, 1998) was an American Democratic Party politician. He served in the United States Congress, as the 80th Governor of Connecticut and as President John F. Kennedy's Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He was Connecticut's first and to date only Jewish governor.
Born in New Britain, Connecticut to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Poland, Abraham A. Ribicoff, a factory worker, and Rose Sable Ribicoff, he attended local public schools. His relatively poor parents valued education and insisted that all his earnings from part-time boyhood jobs go toward his future schooling. After high school, he worked for a year at a nearby factory of the G. E. Prentice Company in order to earn additional funds for college. He enrolled at New York University in 1928, then transferred to the University of Chicago after the Prentice Company made him the Chicago office manager. While in Chicago, Ribicoff coped with school and work schedules and was permitted to enter the university's law school before finishing his undergraduate degree. Still a student, he married Ruth Siegel on 28 June 1931; they would have two children. Ribicoff served as editor of the University of Chicago Law Review in his third year and received an J.D. cum laude in 1933, being admitted to the Connecticut bar the same year. After practicing law in the office of a Hartford lawyer, he set up his own practice, first in Kensington and later in Hartford...
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