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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees
George Putnam, D. D.
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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1868-1877. Born 1807 in Sterling, MA; died 1878 in Roxbury. Clergyman. A graduate of Harvard University in 1826, George Putnam was invited to become an associate pastor to the Rev. Dr. Eliphalet Porter of the First Church of Roxbury while still attending Harvard Divinity School. At Dr. Porter’s passing, he became the Pastor of one of the oldest religious congregations in Massachusetts. A widely read student, he was considered a thoughtful, interesting and eloquent preacher with an ability to find the “master key” of a subject to reveal and examine its parts. Interested in public affairs, Dr. Putnam was a member of the 1853 constitutional convention and was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature, serving 2 years. He had a deeper interest in educational affairs and, besides his Library trusteeship, served on the school committee of Roxbury, as well as President of Trustees of Roxbury Latin School, of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union and of the Fellowes Athenaeum. Following a long vacation in Europe, Dr. Putnam became ill after attending a winter meeting of the Corporation of Harvard College. Much beloved, his resignation from his pastoral office due to ill health was declined by an appreciative and supporting congregation that immediately elected an associate pastor to take on some of his duties. After a time Dr. Putnam stopped preaching, although he continued to participate in Sunday services. He died in his Roxbury home. Admirers made gifts to the Library in his memory: a painting of Dr. Putnam by Edgar Parker was commissioned by the Trustees of the Fellowes Athenaeum and a bust by R. L. Green.

Sources:
Thwing, Walter Eliot. History of the First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1630-1904. Boston: W. A. Butterfield, 1908.

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.