Elliot Richardson

American lawyer and politician (1920-1999)

Elliot Lee Richardson (July 20, 1920 – December 31, 1999) was an American lawyer and politician. He was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S. Attorney General, he was a known figure in the Watergate Scandal, and resigned rather than obey President Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Elliot Richardson
24th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
February 2, 1976 – January 20, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byRogers Morton
Succeeded byJuanita M. Kreps
22nd United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
February 20, 1975 – February 2, 1976
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byWalter H. Annenberg
Succeeded byAnne Armstrong
69th United States Attorney General
In office
May 25, 1973 – October 20, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byRichard Kleindienst
Succeeded byWilliam B. Saxbe
Robert Bork (acting)
11th United States Secretary of Defense
In office
January 30, 1973 – May 24, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
DeputyBill Clements
Preceded byMelvin Laird
Succeeded byJames R. Schlesinger
9th United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
In office
June 24, 1970 – January 29, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byRobert Finch
Succeeded byCaspar Weinberger
25th Under Secretary of State
In office
January 23, 1969 – June 23, 1970
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byNicholas Katzenbach
Succeeded byJohn N. Irwin II
52nd Massachusetts Attorney General
In office
January 18, 1967 – January 23, 1969
GovernorJohn A. Volpe
Preceded byEdward T. Martin
Succeeded byRobert H. Quinn
62nd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 7, 1965 – January 2, 1967
GovernorJohn A. Volpe
Preceded byFrancis X. Bellotti
Succeeded byFrancis W. Sargent
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
In office
Preceded byAnthony Julian
Succeeded byWendell Arthur Garrity Jr.
Personal details
Elliot Lee Richardson

(1920-07-20)July 20, 1920
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
DiedDecember 31, 1999(1999-12-31) (aged 79)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Anne Francis Hazard Richardson (1929–1999)[1]
ChildrenHenry S. Richardson (son)

Nancy H. Carlson (daughter)

Michael E. Richardson (son)
Alma materHarvard University (A.B., J.D.)
AwardsPurple Heart
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1942–1945
RankFirst Lieutenant
Unit4th Infantry Division (Medical Corps)
Battles/warsWorld War II

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. That makes him one of only two individuals to have held four Cabinet positions within the United States government (the other such individual being George Shultz).

On December 31, 1999, Richardson died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 79.[2]


  1. "Anne Richardson Obituary". New York Times July 29, 1999. July 29, 1999. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  2. "Elliot Richardson dies". nytimes.com. January 1, 2000. Retrieved August 5, 2015.

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