Born: December 14, 1864 in Washtenaw, Michigan
Died: September 6, 1943 in Berkeley, California
Married: Augusta F. Felder on July 23, 1891
Political Party: Republican
Friend Richardson was born William Richardson in Michigan in 1864. In the Quaker traditional form of greeting, he was called Friend William Richardson. Eventually, he legally changed his first name to Friend. When Richardson was quite young, his family moved from Washtenaw to San Bernardino. He graduated from Sturges Academy and attended San Bernardino College. Richardson studied law for two years. From 1891 through 1896, he worked as the County Clerk and law librarian. In 1896, he began his career in journalism. Richardson went to work as a reporter for the San Bernardino Times-Index. The following year, Richardson, together with C.E. Dunscomb, bought the newspaper and continued to publish it until 1901.
In 1901, Richardson moved to Berkeley and purchased the Berkeley Gazette,which he published until 1915.
1901 was also the year Richardson entered public service. He was appointed the Superintendent of the State Printing Office, and later elected State Treasurer. Their Quaker beliefs would not allow the Richardsons to have servants at the Governor's Mansion. Richardson ran a "no-frills" administration under the capitol dome, frequently vetoing measures that would increase spending. He even felt that education had become too costly and tried (but failed) to close two colleges. His efforts left a $20 million surplus in the state treasury. Richardson often said, "Politics [are] my meat and bread." His personal philosophy was one of "making good on the job."
Father: William Richardson
Mother: Rhoda Dye
Wife:Augusta F. Felder
Children: Ruth, Paul and John
Richardson was well-known for his bluntness.
After leaving office, Governor Richardson and his wife toured the world.
Books and Articles
Melendy and Gilbert. The Governors of California: From Peter H. Burnett to Edmund G. Brown, Talisman Press, 1965.
Schaechtele. The Governors of California and their Portraits, California State Capitol Museum Volunteer Association, 1995.