Curtis, George Ticknor, 1812-1894

Alternative names
Birth 1812-11-28
Death 1894-03-28

Biographical notes:

Curtis was a graduate of Harvard Law School (1834) and brother of Benjamin Robbins Curtis.

From the description of Letter regarding Dred Scott case, 19 December 1856. (Harvard Law School Library). WorldCat record id: 236049551

George Ticknor Curtis was an American lawyer and historian. Born in Watertown, Massachusetts, he was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1836. He practiced law and served a term in the Massachusetts House, and represented Dred Scott when his case went before the Supreme Court. He moved to New York in 1862 and became active in the Democratic Party, as well as establishing a lucrative patent law practice. He wrote numerous legal treatises, some fiction, and biographies of Daniel Webster and James Buchanan, but his most notable work was probably Constitutional History of the United States.

From the description of George Ticknor Curtis letter to My dear Colonel, 1884 May 3. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 123906088

Massachusetts lawyer and author.

From the description of Letters received, 1850. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 14707246


From the description of George Ticknor Curtis correspondence, 1840-1856. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79450079

American lawyer and author.

From the description of Autograph letters signed (17) : Philadelphia, Boston, etc., to Harper & Brothers, 1854 Dec. 3-1892 Oct. 31. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270532560

George Ticknor Curtis (1812-1894) was an American lawyer, and author, best rememberd for his Constitutional history of the United States and a biography of James Buchanan.

Curtis was born in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1812. His brother was Benjamin R. Curtis who would go on to become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. George Ticknor Curtis attended Harvard Law School from 1833-1834 before serving as a United States Commissioner in Boston. While in this office, Curtis was faced with making a decision in a fugitive slave case under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; instead, the defendant, Shadrach, was freed by a mob of abolitionist sympathizers that raided the courthouse. A Boston attorney and Whig, Curtis served as co-counsel, along with Montgomery Blair, for Dred Scott during the Dred Scott Case, 1846-1857 (Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)).

Curtis is also known for his literary works concerning various topics of United States history. Many of these works were written under the pseudonym Peter Boylston. Some of his writings include: 1870Life of Daniel Webster1883Life of James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the United States1887The Life, Character, and Service of General G. B. M'Clellan1889A Constitutional History of the United States, from the Declaration of Independence to the Close of their Civil War1889John Charaxes; a Tale of the Civil War in America1889Plea for Religious Liberty and the Rights of Conscience

From the guide to the George Ticknor Curtis Letters, 1881-1891, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


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  • Slavery--Law and legislation
  • Historians
  • Lawyers--Correspondence
  • Draft
  • Homestead Strike, Homestead, Pa., 1892


  • Lawyers


  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)