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Board of Trustees - Former Trustees
Francis Amasa Walker
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Trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1896. Born 1840 and died 1897 in Boston. Soldier, teacher, administrator, statistician and author. Francis Amasa Walker graduated from Amherst College and entered the law firm of Devens & Hoar, but enlisted with the 15th Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers upon reaching his majority. He rose to the rank of Adjutant General of the 2nd Corps, fighting in a number of Civil War battles. His capture and confinement in Libby prison broke his health and forced his retirement from service with the brevet title of Brigadier General. Following his military service, Mr. Walker taught for a time at Williston Seminary and was the assistant editor at the Springfield (MA) Republican newspaper. In time, he would write several books about the military company and leaders he served with. During his first year in office, President Grant appointed Mr. Walker to head the U.S. Bureau of Statistics in Washington, DC, where Mr. Walker’s administrative abilities later led to appointments as Superintendent of the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses and as Indian Commissioner. He was an economics professor at Yale University and later taught at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities. His presidency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology steered the school to distinction among contemporary learning institutions. He wrote numerous articles and books on American economics, and pioneered the use of statistical numbers to illustrate economic theories. Within this field, Mr. Walker served as the president of the American Statistics Association and later as the first president of the American Economic Association. His death from apoplexy ended his Library trusteeship after only one year of service.

“Gen. Francis Amasa Walker, 1840-1897”, History of Economic Thought Website hosted by the Economics New School, at

Hayward, Rev. Silvanus. “Gen. Francis A. Walker, LL.D.”, The Register of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, vol. 52, January 1898, pp. 69-72.

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.