Beautiful stock certificate (#41) from the Boston Library
issued in 1853. This historic document has an ornate border around it. This item has the signatures of the Company's Treasurer, Charles Browne and Librarian, J. J. Stevens and is over 165 years old.
The certificate was issued to William Thaddeus Harris.
Established in 1848 by an act of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts, the Boston Public
Library (BPL) was the first large free municipal library in the United States. In 1839, French ventriloquist M. Nicholas Marie Alexandre Vattemare became the original advocate for a public library in Boston when he proposed the idea of a book and prints exchange between American and French libraries.
William Thaddeus Harris, eldest child of Thaddeus William and Catherine (Holbrook) Harris, was born January 25th, 1826, in Milton, Massachusetts. He suffered from a congenital curvature of the spine and lifelong frailty. He entered Harvard College in 1842, excelling in Latin and philosophy and received his A.B. in 1846 and LL.B. and A.M. degrees from Harvard Law School in 1848. He became editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in 1849, and later worked as a librarian at both Harvard College and the Boston Athenæum from 1850 until 1851. An ardent student of genealogy and local history, he published Epitaphs from the Old Cambridge Burying Ground in 1845 and was subsequently engaged by the Massachusetts Historical Society to revise the manuscript of Hubbard’s History of New England for its 1848 reprinting. He later transcribed the epitaphs of the old burying ground in Watertown, to be published by his brother Edward in 1869 as Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Watertown. In 1853 William Thaddeus Harris was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar, though he never practiced law. William Thaddeus Harris succumbed to illness on October 19, 1854, at twenty-eight years of age.