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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees
Daniel Sargent Curtis
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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1873-1875. Born 1825 in Boston and died 1908 in Venice, Italy. Lawyer and banker. A relation of artist John Singer Sargent and father of artist Ralph Wormeley Curtis, Daniel S. Curtis was a graduate of Harvard University in 1846 and of Harvard Law School in 1848. He was admitted to the Suffolk county bar in 1849. Mr. Curtis served on the board of directors of the Old Boston National Bank and later became an agent for the merchant banking firm of Brown, Shipley and Company of Liverpool and London. He generously donated volumes to the library’s collections during his trusteeship. Following his tenure as trustee, an unfortunate incident with a Boston judge led Mr. Curtis to move his family to Europe where he eventually acquired the Palazzo Barbaro on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Here, the Curtises received many American expatriate guests and visitors, including Sargent, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry James, and Robert Browning. The palazzo inspired a number of artistic and literary works, and the Curtis family itself was the subject of Sargent’s An Interior in Venice (1898) here. Mr. Curtis died in Venice at the age of 83

Honour, Hugh and John Fleming. Venetian Hours of Henry James, Whistler, and Sargent. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Professional and Industrial History of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Boston: Boston History Company, 1894.

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

Wallace, Natasha. "Portrait of Ralph Wormeley Curtis…", an electronic article at the John Singer Sargent (JSS) Virtual Gallery website, found at <>.

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