Winthrop, Robert C.
1854 ALS declining to address a library association
Autograph ID: 3840
Condition: Very good, folds, 2 slight creases top
Description: “(1809-1894) Mass. lawyer, US Rep, Speaker of the House 1847-49, Senator philanthropist. Graduated Harvard 1828, studied law with Daniel Webster, admitted to the bar 1831, practiced in Boston. Mass. House of Reps 1835-40, Speaker of the House of that body 1838-40. Elected Whig US Rep to fill vacancy caused by resignation of Abbott Lawrence, served Nov. 9, 1840-May 25, 1842, resigned. Elected to Congress again to fill vacancy caused by resignation of his successor, Nathan Appletonn and served Nov. 29, 1842-July 30, 1850, Speaker of the House during the 30th Congress. After Daniel Webster resigned in 1850 to become Secretary of State, Winthrop resigned from the House and was appointed to fill remainder of Webster’s term. Winthrop’s views proved no more palatable to abolitionists than did Webster’s. He failed to win reelection by the Legislature to either of Massachusetts’ Senate seats in 1851. Later that year, he lost a race for Governor despite a plurality of the popular vote; state Constitution required majority vote, election was thrown into the Legislature and the same coalition of Democrats & Free Soilers defeated him again. His political career over at 41, Winthrop spent the rest of his life in literary, philanthropic, and historical pursuits. He was a major early patron of the Boston Public Library and president of the Massachusetts Historical Society 1855-85, during which he wrote a biography of his ancestor John Winthrop. He was permanent Chairman and President of the Peabody Education Fund Trustees from 1867 to his death. As well as steering contributions of the Peabody Trust, Winthrop gave his own money to various Southern schools, most long lasting of which was the $1500 of seed money provided to a teacher’s college renamed Winthrop University in gratitude. A noted orator, delivered 1870 eulogy for George Peabody and at 1884 ceremony that opened the Washington Monument. Winthrop is a great-great-grandfather of US Senator and 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry.
9 ¾ x 7 ¼ ALS, boston, August 31 1854, to William Dickinson, Esq., Corresponding Secretary, declining to deliver a lecture at the Taunton Young Men’s Library Associaiton, sends best wishes for the Association’s welfare.”