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Full text of "A glance at the editors of the New England historical and genealogical register, 1847-1879"

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THE 



NEW ENGLAND 
HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, 

1847—1879. 

To-, , 



On the silver anniversary of my connection with the management 
of the Register, I pause in my hi'oors to acUress personally a few 
words to its readers. 

This autumn completes twenty-five years of continuous service 
as a member of the publishing committee, during nearly eight of 
which I have been either editor or joint editor of this periodical. 
All my associates when I commenced serving on this committee, 
except one, are dead, and the editor at that time has also passed 
away. 

Samuel G. Drake, A.M., then the editor and publisher, had no 
superior In this country as an antiquary. He had edited four and 
a half of the eight volumes issued, and " had published seven. He 
afterwards ecTited five more volumes, and published six more, mak- 
ing nine and a half years of labor as editor and thirteen as publisher. 
I have already, in the preface to the volume for 1863, in which I 
gave a history of the Register for the first seventeen years of its 
existence, referred to his valuable services to this periodical. He 
did more than any one else to fix the character of its contents. 
^JI^egf(5e>"l)e8to\ving much unreqiuted labor upon it, he assumed the 
whole pecuniary rtcponsibility in its early days, when it was an 
experiment, and, {.hough never remunerative, twice resumed it when 
others gave it up. To him and to Mr. Joel Munsell, of Albany, 
the Register is much iiidebted in this respect. 

The chairman of the cxinmittee to which I was then elected, was 
the Rev. William Jenks^tD.D., LL.D., author of the "Comprehen- 
sive Commentary on the Bible," and one of the founders of the 
American Oriental Society. He was a gentleman of great erudition 
and particularly versed in biblical lore. He also possessed a taste for 
genealogy and American history, in both of which he was pro- 
ficient. He was scrupulously attentive to his duties on the commit- 
tee. Courtesy and candor were marked characteristics of this ven- 
erated man. 

Mr. Lemuel Shattuck, another of my associates, was one of the 

founders of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society, as 

wr^ f]]so Mr. Drik?, the editor, already noticed. E[is " History of 

rd " and his system of family registration show Mr. Shat- 

■.|■]^ iu* r(\<t in local history and genealogy. Few had so 

ci iiC jiossibilities of genealogy as a science, or did 



'•Ill III! "I 



SO much to ensure the preservation of facts, which ilhistrate vital 
statistics, or which show the causes of the rise and fall of families. 

Mr. William Reed Deane, another member, author of genealo- 
gies of the Leonard and Watson families, wielded a ready and 
graceful pen, and had a peculiar tact in making antiquarian subjects 
attractive to the general reader. For a series of years he was the 
Boston correspondent of the New York Christian Inquirer. Pas- 
sages from his letters were seized upon by editors and copied and 
re-copied into newspapers in every state of the Union. 

Mr. David Hamblen, another member, had a genuine love for 
genealogical pursuits, and collected much matter concerning his own 
family and the genealogy of the towns on Cape Cod. He also ren- 
dered much service to the society by his business talents. 

Mr. Frederic Kidder, author of the " History of New Ipswich," 
the sole survivor of my first associates on the committee, developed 
early a taste for historical subjects. He has been a keen observer 
of men and events. Much has been done by him to advance the 
prosperity of the Register and of the society, and to rescue from 
oblivion the fast perishing records of early New England life. 

My subsequent associates have been the Rev. Alonzo H. Quint, 
D.D., Mr. James Spear Loring, the Hon. Francis Brinley, jNIr. 
Charles H. Morse, William H. Whitmore, A.M., the Hon. Timo- 
thy Farrar, LL.D., Mr. William B. Trask, the Hon. Charles Hud- 
son, the Rev. Elias Nason, Mr. George W. Chase, William S, 
Appleton, A.M., the Rev. Henry M. Dexter, D.D., WiUiam B. 
Towne, A.M., Albert H. Hoyt, A.M., Charles W. Tuttle, A.M., 
Rear Adm. George Henry Preble, U.S.N. , the Rev. Lucius R. 
Paige, D.D., Mr. Henry H. Edes, Jeremiah Col burn ,'.,A,;M. 
Henry F. Waters, A.B., and the Rev. Edmund F. Slafter, A.M 
All of these have been contributors to the Register, and some have 
edited it. The mere recital of these names is sufficient to show what 
learning and talent have aided in conducting the Register. 

Having paid a tribute to my associates of ^the publishing commit- 
tee, I will now speak briefly of the several editors of the Register. 
In the course of the thirty-three years during which this work has 
been published there have been twelve editors, namely, Messrs. 
Cogswell, Drake, Harris, ShurtleiF, Felt, Farrar, Trask, Whit- 
more, Nason, Hudson, Hoyt, and the present writer. Just one 
half of these, the first six in order of service, are dead, while the last 
six survive. 

The Rev. William Cogswell, D.D., the first editor, had charge of 
the Register one year. He had edited the " American Quarterly 
Register " and the " New Hampshire Repository," periodicals large- 
ly devoted to antiquarian matters. He was an industrious and pains- 
taking writer, and Avas versed in the history and antiquities of >He\y 
England, being pai-ticularly familiar with the biography of its 
ministers. 



Samuel Gardner Drake, A.INL, author of the " History of Boston " 
and the " Book of the Indians," who succeeded Dr. Cogswell, has 
already been noticed. 

The next editor was William Thaddeus Harris, A.M., LL.B., 
editor of Hubbard's " History of New England." He inherited from 
his father and grandfather a love for New England history, of which 
he acquired an accm-ate and extensive knowledge. He was carefully 
exact to the minutest detail. His early death was a loss to hit^torical 
literature. 

The Hon. Nathaniel B. ShurtlefF, M.D., author of a "Topo- 
graphical and Historical Description of Boston," was one of the first 
to be consulted in matters relating to the topography of Boston ; 
and also in regard to the Mayflower Pilgrims and their descendants, 
and other old colony families. 

The Kev. Joseph B. Felt, LL.D., author of the "Ecclesiastical 
History of New England" and of histories of Salem and Ipswich, 
had a profound reverence for the character of the New England Pu- 
ritans and an intimate knowledge of their history. He labored 
assiduously to collect the scattered memorials of their lives and em- 
balm them in the pages of his books. 

The Hon. Timothy FaiTar, LL.D., author of the "Manual of 
the Constitution," to a legal training and knowledge added an 
intimate acquaintance with New England biograi)hy and local his- 
torv, particularly of New Hampshire, his native state. 

This closes the list of editors to July, lb52. None of them 
survive. 

Mr.yi iUiam Blake Trask has the precedence in order of time among 
tliejlvino editors of the Register, having edited the number for 
October, iS')2. He is one of our most thorough and careful anti- 
quaries, familiar with tlie history of the settlers of New England, 
and an authority in decyphering the peculiar chirography of their 
times. Every volume of this periodical, except the first, has, I 
think, contributioiu fi,-om his pen. The work is greatly indebted 
to him. He has bi<'n editor or joint editor of four volumes. 

William Henry Whitmore, A.M., author of "Elements of Her- 
aldry" and the "American Genealogist," has published much on 
the subject to which the RePxISTER is devoted. I know of no one 
in this country who is so liiorough a student of Heraldry, or better 
informed in regajid to English and American ftunily history. He 
has contributed Juimerous articles to this work. 

The Rev. Eiias Nason, A.M., whose biographies of Sumner, 
Wilson, Mrs. Kowson, and other celebrities, have charmed and in- 
structed many readers, and whose eloquence on the platform and 
in the pulpit has often been heard, edited the work for more than 
two years. His scholarship and varied talents, joined to great eu- 
,' thusiasm, have left their impress on the pages of the Register. 
Mr. Naeor has studied the history of the people of New England, 



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their manners and customs, and the lives of their representative men. 
Of tlie early history of sacred and popular music here, he has made 
a special study. 

The Hon. Charles Hudson, A.M., after a faithful ministry in 
early manhood and a successful political career in maturer years, 
has spent the evening of his life in antiquarian pursuits. As the 
historian of Lexington and Marlborough he will long be remem- 
bered. 

My immediate predecessor, Col. Albert H. Hoyt, edited the Reg- 
ister for eight years, the longest continuous term of any editor. 
Though this periodical consists largely of records and documents 
which have attractions chiefly for the antiquary or the genealogist, his 
fine literary taste and classical attainments gave to his biographical 
and historical articles and his notices of books graces that won the 
attention of the literary reader. His taste also led him to pay par- 
ticular attention to the dress and typographical appearance of 'the 
Register. I had opportunities for knowing the labor which he be- 
stowed upon the several numbers as they passed through the press, 
and the conscientious manner in which he performed all his editorial 
work. He suffered no doubtful statement to appear without the 
closest scrutiny. None of his predecessors had less assistance from 
others in the discharge of his duties ; and the eiglit volumes which 
he edited will certainly rank as high as any equal number of vol- 
umes of the work. They are a monument to his industry, learning 
and skill. 

These are the men who have edited the Register. Their labor 
and that of a host of able contributors have made its thirt^^-thzee 
volumes a storehouse of original authorities in history, fliiiig^J^. 
pages with important materials not elsewhere to be found, so that 
the work is a necessity in every historical library, and sets are sold 
at a large advance upon the cost to subscribers. I know of no 
otlier periodical of which a single volume has br(j>ught so high a 
price. 

I think I am warranted in assuming that the work is now on a 
sure foundation. A quarter of a century ago, however, when I be- 
came a member of the publishing committee, we could not have 
spoken so confidently. Though eight years of trial had then passed, 
the difficulties whicii the Register had encountered were so many 
that, among its friends, none but the most sanguine had perfect 
faith in its success. 

The prospect before us is encouraging. Much giatuitovis labor 
must be performed in the future, as it has been in the past, to ensure 
a continuance of success. But that persons will be fouud to perform 
that labor when those who now give their time to it arc taken 
away, I have full faith. 

John Ward Dean. 

[Reprint of the Preface to volume 33 of the Register.] 



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