Biography of Sidney Clifford

In the final analysis, a man’s life and its truest worth are measured on the yardstick of service to mankind. Ideals must be adhered to, and worked for consistently. Self must be put second to the work undertaken. And the complete record, possible to write only when life has been completed, will remain with posterity as judge.

Sidney Clifford is well launched upon a career of service to those around him. Skilled trial counsel, attorney of prominence in the city of Providence, he is a valued and respected member of the profession of law. His career, through its constructive works, covering diversified fields of endeavor aside from the law, is contributing substantially to the advancement of the greater community in which he lives.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1891, he is a son of Alfred and Ann (Wilkinson) Clifford, and of the second generation of his line in America. His parents, both natives of England, came to this country when young, married in Philadelphia, and made their residence in the Quaker City until 1897, when they came to New England and settled in Providence.

Sidney Clifford was six when he came here with his father and mother. He attended Classical High School, from which he was graduated with marks indicative of scholastic excellence; matriculated in Brown University, of Providence; took therefrom the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 191S. and entered Harvard University School of Law. From the latter university he took the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1920, being admitted to the bar of Rhode Island in that year.

Meanwhile, while at Harvard, Mr. Clifford served his country in the World War. As first lieutenant, 49th Infantry, he had a year of active service in this country and another year in France. Later, upon his discharge, he became a captain, in the 385th Infantry, Reserve Corps, United States Army. He has continued his interest in military affairs down to the present time, and has recently qualified as a major of infantry.

In 1920, with commencement of his proper career, he practiced law in the offices of Pirce and Sherwood, in the Turks Head Building, Providence. After three years of this association came a reorganization of the firm, the name and style of which became Sherwood, Heltzen and Clifford. This firm has continued actively engaged with a growing clientele down to the present, with offices in the Turks Head Building. It conducts a general practice. Mr. Clifford, particularly adapted by nature and training for strong work before a jury, acts as the firm’s chief trial lawyer. He also invariably represents the firm in the Supreme Court on appeals to that tribunal. His duties are numerous and responsible, as the firm has important corporation and probate practice, representing a number of liability and fire insurance companies and other corporations as trial counsel. Realty law, notably as applied to downtown Providence also engaged much of the firm’s activity. The reorganization of corporations is another field of activity. Mr. Clifford is recognized as a leader by colleagues.

Variously occupied with general affairs, he represented Providence in the Rhode Island Senate for two years, 1925-27. While in the Upper House he had a part in adopting many measures calculated to be of benefit to the city and State as a whole. His public spirit there evidenced has been shown in many ways in municipal matters, notably in support of movements for the public good. Mr. Clifford is a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of Delta Phi Fraternity; the Rhode Island State Bar Association; American Bar Association; University, Wannamoisett, Turks Head and Harvard clubs (the last of New York City), and Central Baptist Church.

Popular in all circles of his contact, Mr. Clifford is a genial, companionable man whose friends are many. He has been of considerable assistance to younger men in their quests of career. Some of this work has been through his office as a director of the Providence Young Men’s Christian Association, as member of the executive committee of the Providence Council of Boy Scouts, and chairman of the executive committee, and vice-president of the Brown Club of Providence. He makes recreations of golf and travel.

Mr. Clifford is rapidly becoming a foremost member of the Rhode Island bar. His standing now is of the highest, and in all fields of his enterprise his endeavors have been exemplary and of help to the greater community of which he is a member.

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

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