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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees

Samuel Appleton Browne Abbott

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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1879-1895. President of the Board of Trustees, 1888-1895. Lawyer and businessman. Born 1846 in Lowell, MA, and died 1931 in Italy. A graduate of Harvard University, Samuel Abbott studied law with his father, Josiah Gardner Abbott, and was admitted to the Boston bar in 1868. He was later admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court in 1875. During his legal career, he was also a board of directors member of several companies in Lewiston, ME, and in Lawrence, MA. Samuel Abbott’s dedicated service on the Board of Trustees for the Library included several years as acting Librarian and, as the only trustee of the original 1887 board empowered to oversee the project, coordinating with the architects the successful completion of the 8-year construction of the Copley Square library building. The 1895 unveiling of the newly installed murals by Abbey and Sargent was enthusiastically reported by the press, however, sensationalist criticism of the attendant reception permitted by President Abbott within the library led to his decision to resign from the Board in disgust. He became the first Director of the American Academy in Rome, serving from 1897 to 1903, and lived chiefly in Italy until his death.

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

Bacon, Edwin M., Editor. Men of Progress: One Thousand Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Leaders in Business and Professional Life in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: New England Magazine, 1896 .

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.