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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees

Henry Ingersoll Bowditch

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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1865-1867. Born 1808 in Salem, MA; died 1892. Physician, author and abolitionist. A son of mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, Henry I. Bowditch graduated from Harvard College in 1828 and completed his medical training there in 1832, spending an additional 2 years studying with physicians in Paris, France. While in Europe he was so impressed with the anti-slavery writings of William Wilberforce that he became a militant abolitionist on his return to Boston. His medical contributions to public health service include establishing a board of health for Massachusetts and publishing Public Hygiene in America, as well as detailed studies on tuberculosis, one of the chest diseases in which he specialized. Prior to the 1858 opening of the Library’s Boylston Street building, Henry I. Bowditch and his brothers donated their late father’s collection of some 2,500 mathematic, navigation and astronomy books, with the stipulation that they be kept together and not circulate so as to provide reference to those who would have need of their contents.

“Henry Ingersoll Bowditch”, Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. [Online database] Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, 2003 at via BPL Electronic Resources web page.

Wadlin, Horace G. The Public Library of the City of Boston: A History. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1911.

Whitehill, Walter Muir. Boston Public Library: A Centennial History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956.