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James A. Hervey.

James A. Hervey, son of George and Sally (Waitt) Hervey, was born in Andover, Mass., March 29, 1827; graduated from Harvard College in 1847; and died in Medford, September 9, 1905. [p. 47]

If Mr. Hervey had been asked what should be said of him, there is no doubt that these dates of his history would be all he would have approved. He held his own attainments and worth so modestly that he could never appreciate the estimate which others had of him. What Stevenson has given as the epitaph of which a man need not be ashamed would have had a warm response from him: ‘Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, failed much.’ But the friends of Mr. Hervey need to say more, because they feel more to be true.

He was a man of wide culture, conversant with many fields of knowledge, especially of literature and history. A retentive memory made his resources serviceable, and both his writing, of which he did too little, and his conversation were illumined by quotations and incidents rich in suggestion. His literary ideal was so exacting that he put little value on his own writing, though it had exceeding grace and charm. Withal, he was a kindly, democratic man, entering into the life of the humblest with unaffected interest, and by his largeness of heart, delighting in nothing so much as to sympathize in their trials and sorrows, and to give them a helping hand.

Deep and earnest public spirit belonged to him. He gave much service to Medford, where most of his life was passed. As our first Supervisor of Schools, he was instrumental in improving our system of education. As a member of the Library Board for more than thirty-five years, his influence was of marked value. As a member of the Legislature he was an efficient force. The Historical Society has much reason to remember him, for Medford was dear to him, its story familiar, and his contributions to it of permanent worth. But best of all, was the delightful friend who was friendly, whose clear intelligence, genial humor, moral appreciation of whatever was good, and hearty scorn of whatever was mean, make his memory one that cannot be effaced.—


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