27 Facts About Emory Washburn


Emory Washburn was a United States lawyer, politician, and historian.

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Emory Washburn was Governor of Massachusetts for one term, and served for many years on the faculty of Harvard Law School.

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Emory Washburn joined the faculty of Harvard Law in 1856, where he was a popular and influential figure until his retirement in 1876.

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Emory Washburn's father died when he was seven years old, and the local pastor, Zephaniah Swift Moore, became a major influence in his early years.

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Emory Washburn first attended Leicester Academy, and then entered Dartmouth College, where Moore taught languages, at the age of thirteen.

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Emory Washburn accompanied Moore when the latter moved to Williams College in 1815, graduating two years later in a class of seven; he was influential in establishing an alumni association at Williams, serving as its first president.

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Emory Washburn then embarked on the study of law, first with Charles Dewey, a Williamstown judge and lawyer, and then at Harvard Law School under Asahel Stearns.

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Emory Washburn was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1826, serving two terms; his only notable activity was in committee work preparing a feasibility study for a railroad from Boston to the Connecticut River.

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Emory Washburn was a regular supporter of the Western Railroad in its efforts to develop the railroad westward from Boston.

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In 1853 Emory Washburn traveled to England to research English constitutional law.

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Emory Washburn was the last governor elected in this fashion ; he would be the last Whig governor.

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One major event that took place during Emory Washburn's tenure was Anthony Burns' arrest and trial under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

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Emory Washburn refused to intercede in the matter, bringing criticism, and Burns remained in custody at the time Emory Washburn left office.

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Emory Washburn stood for reelection, but the Whig party apparatus was generally unaware of Know Nothing strength and dismissive of its candidates.

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Emory Washburn produced a significant number of legal treatises and books during his Harvard tenure; his Treatise on the American Law of Real Property formed the basis for Harvard's courses and later textbooks on the subject for the next century.

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In 1860 Emory Washburn joined in public calls for the repeal of the state's personal liberty laws.

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Emory Washburn served, despite his relatively advanced age, in a home guard militia unit, and supported the war effort by writing, giving speeches, and donating money.

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Emory Washburn regularly assisted recent graduates as they made their way into the profession.

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Emory Washburn finally resigned his professorship in 1876, and opened a law practice in Cambridge.

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Emory Washburn was encouraged to run for United States Congress, but refused.

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Emory Washburn was instead convinced to stand for the Massachusetts House, to which he was elected.

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Emory Washburn had a long and abiding interest in local and state history.

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Emory Washburn was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1827, beginning a lifelong association with that organization.

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Emory Washburn served as the society's secretary for foreign correspondence from 1866 to 1867, and then secretary of domestic correspondence from 1867 to 1877.

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Emory Washburn later became a contributing member to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society and was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Emory Washburn considered himself to be more of an antiquarian than a historian: he believed it important to conserve artifacts and historical information, leaving the interpretation of those to others.

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Emory Washburn wrote of the importance, for example, of the need for the state to preserve its own historical documents .

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