Yates, Richard,1815–73, American political leader, b. Warsaw, Ky. He studied law and became a lawyer and Whig politician in Jacksonville, Ill. A state legislator (1842–46, 1848–50) and U.S. Congressman (1851–55), he failed to win reelection because of his adherence to the new Republican party. As governor of Illinois (1861–65), Yates was active in raising troops (he gave Ulysses S. Grant his first Civil War commission) and managed to hold in check the powerful pro-Southern group in Illinois. In the U.S. Senate from 1865 to 1871, he supported the radical Republican program.
Yates, Richard,1926–92, American fiction writer, b. Yonkers, N.Y. A subtle and painstaking literary craftsman who has often been considered a "writers' writer," Yates frequently chronicles the dissatisfactions, deceptions, and disappointments of mid-20th-century American life. He was unable, however, to support himself with his fiction, which failed to win wide public acclaim, and worked as a publicity writer, journalist, ghost writer, speechwriter, screenwriter, and creative-writing teacher. Yates is best known for his first novel, Revolutionary Road (1961), the tale of a suburban Connecticut couple going to pieces in the 1950s. Altogether, he wrote seven novels, including A Special Providence (1969), Disturbing the Peace (1975), The Easter Parade (1976), and Cold Spring Harbor (1986) and published two short-story collections, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (1962) and Liars in Love (1981). His Collected Stories was published in 2001.
See biography by B. Bailey (2003); study by D. Castronovo and S. Goldleaf (1996).