Biography of James E. Brothers

An important figure in Catholic fraternal circles of Rhode Island is James E. Brothers, successful attorney and member of the law firm of Brothers & Cannon with offices at 822 Hospital Trust Building, for not only is he a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a Past Grand Knight of Hope Council, but for five years he has filled the position of State Advocate for the order. He is affiliated with several other fraternal orders and has a wide acquaintance among men of his profession, who hold him in high esteem. Mr. Brothers interests himself extensively in civic affairs and his aid can always be counted upon to further causes looking toward the betterment of conditions in Providence. He is also outstandingly active in the work of charity organizations.

Mr. Brothers was born July 1, 1883, in Providence. His father was James F. Brothers, native of Massachusetts, who engaged in the textile trade and insurance business in Providence until his death. His mother was, before her marriage, Jane Feeney, and had come to America from Ireland, her birthplace. Educated in the public schools during his boyhood, and influenced by his mother’s wonderful foresight, the subject of this sketch early commenced to earn his own living but he continued his endeavors to obtain an education by attending night courses at the English High School. Work at the Magnus Business School he also completed at night and in 1908 entered the office of Judge J. Jerome Hahn as a stenographer. His mastery of stenography was only a means to an end, for in the office of Judge Hahn he read law under the tutelage of that worthy barrister until 1911. That year he enrolled in the University of Michigan where he studied assiduously for two winter and two summer terms, then enrolled in the Georgetown University Law School at Washington, District of Columbia. Here he received his degree, Bachelor of Laws, with the class of 1914, and that same year passed his examinations for admission to the bar of Rhode Island. In Judge Hahn’s office, where he had one time taken dictation, he now returned as a practicing attorney, but in 1918 left the connection to associate himself with Peter C. Cannon in the law firm of Brothers and Cannon.

Mr. Brothers participates in the activities of the Rhode Island State Bar Association and the Providence Law Club. During the World War he gave his services to the Government in the capacity of a member of the legal advisory board and served as a “four-minute” speaker for the various loan campaigns. Mr. Brothers is politically Democratic and gives a great deal of his time to the work of the Knights of Columbus. He has served Hope Council, of which he is a member, as grand knight, and is holder of the fourth degree. He is also a member of Providence Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and Willow Camp, Modern Woodmen of America. He belongs to the parish of St. Pius Holy Name Roman Catholic Church and is an active worker for the Irish Catholic Benefit Society. Essentially an outdoor man, Mr. Brothers spends his leisure hours taking long walks through woods and fields, in swimming, or automobiling, and he is an ardent dog fancier.

In 1921, Mr. Brothers married Molly O’Connor, of Providence, who is prominent in charitable activities of the Catholic Church, serving as secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Society.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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