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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees
Richard Frothingham, Jr.
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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1875-1879. Born 1812 and died 1880 in Charlestown. Historian, editor, author and Democrat. Richard Frothingham, Jr. was descended from William Frothingham of Yorkshire, England, who became an inhabitant of the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1630. He attended several schools in Charlestown and Boston, developing early on a taste for reading; with money earned writing for a brush factory, he purchased an encyclopedia to continue his studies. Mr. Frothingham worked as a merchant’s clerk for several businesses before becoming—at age 22—clerk, agent and treasurer for the Middlesex Canal Company until its cease in 1860. Ever interested in his hometown, he studied its history and worked towards its support. Mr. Frothingham served with the town’s School and Finance Committees and, after his service as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, was mayor of Charlestown between 1851 and 1853. He was an active participant in the state’s constitutional conventions and the National Democratic Conventions of 1852 and 1876. A trustee of the Charlestown Library since its establishment in 1861, he became a Boston library trustee after Charlestown’s annexation. Mr. Frothingham had a long writing career, contributing numerous articles on American history to various publications, as well as meticulously preparing histories of local note. Among his published works are The History of Charlestown (1845), The History of the Siege of Boston (1848), and Life and Times of Joseph Warren (1865). Prior to his final mayoral term, he acquired and became the managing editor of the Boston Post newspaper until 1865. For his literary achievements, he received honorary degrees from Harvard and Tufts Universities. Mr. Frothingham was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and of the Massachusetts Historical Society, for which he served as treasurer for thirty years. He was also a welcome participant at local gatherings due to his affiliations with many other charitable and literary organizations. Although he recovered from a serious bout of pneumonia in 1879, Mr. Frothingham’s health gradually declined and the Charlestown community soon mourned the passing of its foremost member.

Cutler, Rev. Samuel. “Necrology of New England Historic Genealogical Society: The Hon. Richard Frothingham, LL.D.”, New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, Volume 37, Number 148 (October 1883), pp. 414-415

Deane, Charles. “Memoir of the Hon. Richard Frothingham, LL.D.”, Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 21 (Series 2, Volume 1) (1884-1885), pp. 381-393

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.