Phineas Ritchie (1900 - 1969)



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Phineas Ritchie Biography & Family History

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Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida

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1900 - In the year that Phineas Ritchie was born, artist Henri Matisse, born in 1869 in France, began the fauvist movement. Only lasting a few years in popularity (ending around 1904), fauvism was in many ways the beginning of modern art. Matisse was fond of bright, vibrant colors and used them in his paintings - contrary to the muted use of color previously. While the fauvist movement declined in popularity, Matisse did not and he went on to create many more works of art and even a museum for his work, 2 years before his death in 1954. (In French, les Fauves means "the wild beasts". Matisse and those who followed his example were called "beasts" because of the bold colors that they used in their artwork.)

1909 - Phineas was just 9 years old when the NAACP was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois. The organization focused on legal strategies designed to confront the critical civil rights issues of the day - which included lynching and segregation in schools. The goal was to secure for all people the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution.

1930 - Phineas was 30 years old when on August 6th, N.Y. Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater went through papers in his office, destroyed some of them, withdrew all his money from the bank - $5,150, sold his stock, met friends at a restaurant for dinner and disappeared after getting into a taxi (or walking down the street - his friends' testimony later changed). His disappearance was reported to the police on September 3rd - almost a month later. His wife didn't know what happened, his fellow Justices had no idea, and his mistresses (he had several) said that they didn't know. While his disappearance was front page news, his fate was never discovered and after 40 years the case was closed, still without knowing if Crater was dead or alive.

1950 - When he was 50 years old, in February, Joe McCarthy gave a speech alleging that he had a list of "members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring" who worked in the State Department. He went on to chair a committee that investigated not only the State Department but also the administration of President Harry S. Truman, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Army for communist spies - until he was condemned by the U.S. Senate in 1954.

1969 - In the year of Phineas Ritchie's passing, on January 20th, Richard M. Nixon became the 37th President of the United States. Previously the Vice President to President Eisenhower, Nixon was the only President to resign in office - in his second term.

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Phineas Ritchie passed away in December 1969 at age 69. No cause of death has been entered for Phineas. He was born on August 25, 1900. We have no information about Phineas's family or relationships. We know that Phineas Ritchie had been residing in Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida.


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