Quincy, Josiah, 1772-1864Alternative names
Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts; United States and Massaschusetts legislator; and, President of Harvard University.
From the description of Josiah Quincy letter, portrait and autograph, 1839-1889. (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 63118297
President of Harvard.
From the description of Autograph note signed : [Cambridge, Mass.], addressed to the Rev. John Pierpont, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270616000
From the description of Autograph note in the third person : [n.p.], addressed to the President of the United States, 1805 Dec. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270615990
From the description of Autograph letters signed (3) and letter signed : Boston and Cambridge, to the Rev. John Pierpont, 1828 Jan. 2- Aug. 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270615997
From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to Noah Webster, 1802 Jan. 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270616003
Josiah Quincy was a Massachusetts politician and educator. Born into a wealthy and aristocratic family, he graduated from Harvard, apprenticed with a lawyer, and practiced law for a time. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, but had a greater impact in Massachusetts local politics, where he served in the state senate, state house, and, most importantly, as Mayor of Boston, where his reforms and forward-looking policies helped transform the city. He had similar success as President of Harvard, 1828-1845.
From the description of Josiah Quincy letters and engraved portrait, 1833-1858. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 57759748
Congressman, judge of the Massachusetts municipal court, state representative, mayor of Boston, president of Harvard College.
From the description of Josiah Quincy letter : Boston, to Hon. John G . King, Salem, 1824 Aug. 28. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 76864915
Josiah Quincy (1772-1864), AB, 1790, Harvard College, was a Congressman, a Massachusetts municipal court judge, and mayor of the city of Boston, Mass. from 1823 to 1829. Quincy also served as President of Harvard College from 1828 to 1845.
From the description of Letter, 1815. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 78375891
Epithet: statesman, President of Harvard College, USA
British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000566.0x0001e3
U.S. representative and mayor of Massachusetts, reformer, college president, jurist, and author.
From the description of Papers of Josiah Quincy, 1772-1862. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449579
Reuben Totman Robinson (Harvard AB 1847) benefited financial assistance a number of times during his undergraduate years; he later served as an Overseer from 1864 to 1870.
From the description of Mr. Steward, Robinson Freshman had allowed him by vote of the Corporation ... $40 ..., 10 July 1844. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77067922
Josiah Quincy (1772-1864), President of Harvard University from 1829 to 1845, was a member of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. In 1805 the Society, along with a group of prominent Massachusetts citizens, established an endowment for the Massachusetts Professorship of Natural History and a botanic garden to promote commerce, agriculture, medicine and the arts through the study of zoology, botany, and mineralogy. Funds for the professorship were administered by the treasurer of Harvard College.
From the description of United States Loan Office Debt Certificate transferred to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Massachusetts Professorship of Natural History by Josiah Quincy, 1806 October 14. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 755230402
Josiah Quincy (1772-1864) was President of Harvard University from January 29, 1829 to August 27, 1845. He was also a Federalist congressman, Boston mayor, municipal court judge, Massachusetts state representative and state senator.
From the description of Papers of Josiah Quincy, 1811-1874. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77072379
American politician and university president from Massachusetts.
From the description of Letter, 1832. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122536942
Josiah Quincy (1772-1864) was President of Harvard University from January 29, 1829 to August 27, 1845. He was also a politician, serving as a Federalist congressman, Boston mayor, Massachusetts municipal court judge, and Massachusetts state representative and state senator.
Josiah Quincy was born to Josiah Quincy Jr. and Abigail (Phillips) Quincy on February 4, 1772 in Boston, Massachusetts. Quincy was born into a wealthy family whose members were judges, elected representatives, and militia officers. Quincy's father was a lawyer and revolutionary war pamphleteer. When Quincy's father died in 1775, he was raised by his mother and grandfather, Colonel Josiah Quincy. At the age of six, Quincy was sent to study at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts under the tutelage of his uncle, the Reverend Samuel Phillips. Quincy followed in the footsteps of many family members when he chose to pursue his college studies at Harvard University. After graduating (A.B. 1790, A.M. 1793) Quincy entered upon a legal apprenticeship and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Nevertheless, Quincy decided to pursue a political career and never seriously practiced law.
Quincy was elected to the Boston Town Committee in 1795. An ardent Federalist, he ran for the United States Congress in 1800 but was defeated. In 1804 he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and ran for Congress again in the Ninth Congressional district. Winning election to Congress, Quincy spent the next eight years in Washington, D.C. Known as a "ranting Federal spouter," Quincy's congressional career was disappointing. The Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were in the ascendancy and the Federalist Party was in decline. During his career in Congress, Quincy was constantly challenging the Republican administration but without much effect. He left Congress in 1813 after voting against war with Great Britain.
Returning to political life in Massachusetts, Quincy was elected to the State Senate in 1813, serving until 1820. He continued his opposition to the War of 1812, opposed slavery, and spoke out against the domination of the government by the "slave power." He was a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1820, became a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1821, and served as a judge on the Municipal Court of Boston.
Quincy's greatest impact as a public servant was as mayor of Boston from 1823 to 1828. During his administration, Quincy strengthened and centralized the authority of the mayor's office and professionalized and modernized employment practices in the newly incorporated city. His accomplishments included the regularization of garbage removal, the creation of a professional fire department, the introduction of municipal water and sewer systems, the opening of the House of Industry, Correction, and Juvenile Reform to replace out-of-door relief, and the establishment of a Department for the Correction and Reformation for Juvenile Offenders which instructed troublesome youth in appropriate manners. Quincy attacked the breeding places of crime by revoking liquor licenses and by enforcing the laws against gambling and prostitution. At times he led volunteers on raids of the city's criminal areas. Finally, Quincy initiated one of the first urban renewal projects in the country. He tore down a nest of tenements on the water front, constructed six wide streets, and filled in the tidal flats. This area later became know as Faneuil Hall Market, later renamed Quincy Market.
Quincy left Boston the cleanest, most orderly, and best governed city in the United States. He became known as "The Great Mayor." Quincy's various projects, however, came with a large price tag and he left the city the most indebted in the United States. This was the primary reason that he was denied reelection in 1828.
Josiah Quincy became the first layman since John Leverett to assume the presidency of Harvard University. His administration began after the resignation of John T. Kirkland on June 15, 1829. Known to be an administrator rather than an educator, Quincy met the Harvard Corporation's desire for someone with practical administrative experience.
One of Quincy's major challenges as president was the taming of perenial student rebellions . Immediately after his election as president, Quincy informed the student body that the campus would no longer be a haven for lawbreakers. He challenged the students to improve their behavior and in doing so became most unpopular. Students continued to riot and burned Quincy in effigy in the College Yard. In 1834, after an open rebellion among college freshmen spread to other classes, Quincy suspended the entire sophomore class. Later on, with only the support of Corporation Fellows Nathaniel Bowditch and ex-President John Quincy Adams, Quincy faced down a threatened boycott of commencement exercises by the senior class. When the appointed day arrived, most seniors took their degrees. Further trouble erupted in 1841 when Quincy declared that public authorities would be brought onto the campus to deal with troublemakers. Rebellion broke loose on campus and an explosion occurred in the college chapel. When the smoke cleared, a note was visible on the wall, "A bone for old Quin to pick." Despite his best efforts, Quincy was never able to deal effectively with the student unrest.
Quincy also spent a great deal of effort reforming the college curriculum. Under his administration, course instruction was expanded to make room for classes in science, history, and English literature. He allowed for a greater choice by students in the selection of subjects and instituted a mathematical grading system to standardize grades.
During Quincy's administration, the Law School became an academically oriented professional school. Gore Hall (1841) was opened, housing what was then the largest and most valuable collection of books and maps in the United States. Finally, Quincy launched a public subscription to provide for the first research unit at the University, the Astronomical Observatory.
Quincy retired from Harvard University on August 27, 1845 at the age of 73.
After his retirement, Quincy lived another two decades. Influenced by the activities of his sons, Josiah Jr. and Edmund, Quincy became interested in politics again. Josiah Jr. followed in his father's footsteps and became the mayor of Boston. Edmund's abolitionist politics drew Quincy into the antislavery movement. At the age of 82, Quincy began writing political pamphlets denouncing the "slave power" and the Fugitive Slave Law. He became a firm supporter of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and a Unionist after the beginning of the Civil War.
Writing history had always been of interest to Quincy. Prior to his retirement he had completed the History of Harvard University (1836). During the research for this book, Quincy had discovered in the college records the first rough sketch of the college coat of arms, VERITAS, drawn on three books. The announcement of this fact was made at the school's bicentennial celebration and in 1843 the design was adopted by the Harvard Corporation as its official seal. In retirement Quincy continued to write, concentrating on Boston and Massachusetts history. He wrote the Journals of Mayor Samuel Shaw (1847), A History of the Boston Athenaeum (1851), A Municipal History of Boston (1852), and Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams (1858).
Quincy kept an active interest in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. He was also a trustee for the Massachusetts General Hospital and Provident Institution of Savings.
Quincy married Eliza Susan Morton, a daughter of a New York merchant, on June 6, 1797. They remained married for 53 years and had seven children, Eliza Susan (1798), Josiah Jr. (1802), Abigail (1803), Maria Sophia (1805), Margaret (1806), Edmund (1808), Anna (1812). A cultured Boston aristocrat, Quincy was able to support his family at his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts and at his mansion on Pearl Street in Boston.
A public servant, Josiah Quincy played an important role as a city reformer and school administrator. Quincy died on July 1, 1864 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Howe, De Wolfe, M.A., ed. The Articulate Sisters, Passages from Journals and Letters of the Daughters of President Josiah Quincy of Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1946.
- McCaughey, Robert A. Josiah Quincy, 1772-1864, The Last Federalist.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot.Josiah Quincy. In Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. XV, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1943.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot. Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936.
- Quincy, Edmund. Life of Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts.Boston: Ticknor and Fields,1867.
- Walker, James.Memoir of Josiah Quincy.Cambridge, Massachusetts: John Wilson and Son, 1867.
From the guide to the Papers of Josiah Quincy, 1811-1874., (Harvard University Archives)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Boston Harbor (Mass.)|
|Natural History--Study and teaching (Higher)--19th century|
|Zoology--Study and teaching (Higher)--19th century|
|Entomology--Study and teaching (Higher)--19th century|
|Mineralogy--Study and teaching (Higher)--19th century|
|Botany--Study and teaching (Higher)--19th century|
|Representatives U.S. Congress--Massachusetts|