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William Henry Whitmore.

by Geo. A. Gordon, Secretary N. E. Historic Genealogical Society.
the recent death of William H. Whitmore, city registrar of Boston, recalls the history of a family1 resident in Medford during the provincial period, whence they departed to the valley of the Kennebec, returning to Boston, as merchants, during the now expiring century.

Mr. Whitmore was born at Dorchester, Sept. 6, 1836, and died at Boston June 14, 1900. He was a son of Charles O. and Lovice (Ayres) Whitmore, and was educated in the public schools and was graduated at the Boston Latin School in the class of 1851. In 1867 Harvard and Williams Colleges conferred the degree of A. M. upon Mr. Whitmore.

Mr. Whitmore entered upon a business life in Boston and was connected with successful firms. He early showed a masterful interest in antiquarianism, particularly [p. 154] in the departments of history and genealogy. He was painstaking, industrious, and accurate as a collector, and, more than ordinary, distinguished as a writer and author. His contributions to American and English magazines were numerous, and attracted the attention of minds cultivated and informed on such subjects. He was one of the founders in 1857 of the ‘Historical Magazine,’ in 1858 of the Prince Society, in 1863 of the ‘Heraldic Journal,’ and in 1879 of the Antiquarian Society, the predecessor of the present Bostonian Society.

Mr. Whitmore became, in 1854, a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and served on its various committees and boards of directors and as an editor of the ‘Register,’ to which he contributed a large number of valuable and important articles and genealogies, many of which have been reprinted. He contributed, in 1855, the genealogical portion of Brooks' ‘History of Medford.’ In literary lines, wholly or in part, he edited in 1860 the works of William Mackworth Praed; in 1865 the Hutchinson Papers; in 1867 the Dunton Letters; in 1868 the American Genealogist; in 1869-74 the Andros Tracts; in 1870 the Massachusetts Civil List; in 1878 Copp's Hill Epitaphs; in 1882 the ‘History of the Old State House.’ These are esteemed standards and do not include all of Mr. Whitmore's publications.

Mr. Whitmore exercised a large and influential interest in the municipal affairs of Boston. For eight or ten years he was a member of the City Council, and in 1879 was its president. He was instrumental in establishing in 1875 the Boston Record Commission, of which he continued a member till death. In 1892 he was elected city registrar of births, deaths, and marriages, where he remained until his decease. He organized the department on an efficient basis and conducted it with signal success.

Mr. Whitmore was a member of the Massachusetts [p. 155] lections, Sewall's Diary.

Mr. Whitmore passed much of his boyhood in Medford, with his grandfather, John Ayres, of the Continental Sugar Refinery, and though never a resident, was widely known and esteemed in our city. He compiled and wrote the paper on Medford in Drake's ‘History of Middlesex County,’ 1880.

This is not the time or the occasion for a complete and exhaustive retrospect of Mr. Whitmore's career. Suffice it to say that a learned, scholarly, and gifted man has passed away, on whom his fellow-citizens conferred tokens of confidence, esteem, and respect during life, whom his associates in historical research regarded highly for his able, careful, exact, and discriminating labors through many years, and whose example remains to encourage not only the societies to which in generous measure he devoted time and talent, but also this and all other associations, whose object is the promotion of researches for the establishment of historic truths.

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