Portrait on the reading room wall of the Bancroft Library.
From the Library Report for 1910.
Milford Journal, 1916.

Who is that gentleman in the portrait at the top of this page? There’s no identification anywhere on it. After reading the Library Report for 1910, and the Milford Journal clipping from 1916, it seemed that it must be John Greenleaf Whittier. However, that assumption changed after reading the following from the minutes of the Trustees of the Bancroft Library recorded in 1968.

The Trustees, Mrs. Northrop, and Mrs. Huff met with Dr. Frederick Meek to look over some Adin Ballou material which he brought in hopes of making an exchange. After careful examination, the Trustees concluded that the material and $50.00 (as a contribution toward a proper room in which to house our priceless Adin Ballou collection) would be a fair exchange for the portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier. Dr. Frederick Meek of 645 Boylston Street became the owner of the portrait on January 4, 1968.

So the Whittier portrait once hung in the Bancroft Library, but no longer. After Dr. Meek’s death, his widow sold his Whittier collection to Whittier College. Whittier, founded by the Quakers, and was named for John Greenleaf Whittier, who was a Quaker.

The identity of the man in the portrait at the top of this page remains unknown.

  Edward L. Osgood and the Whittier Portrait 

Edward L. Osgood was the husband of Hannah Draper. Hannah was the daughter of George and Hannah Draper, and the sister of General William F. Draper,  Governor Eben S. Draper,  George Albert Draper, and Frances Draper Colburn. Osgood was a Trustee of the Hopedale Library, (when it was in the Town Hall), and starting in 1898, the Bancroft Memorial Library. He died in 1911. His widow, Hannah, replaced him as a library Trustee. The Whittier portrait was at the library until 1968, when the library Trustees traded it to Rev. Dr. Frederick Meek (Old South Church, Boston)  for some Adin Ballou items.

Edward Osgood had been a publisher in his brother’s firm, James R. Osgood & Co. and subsequently became a banker and a manufacturer in Hopedale.

Here’s more about the Osgoods and their home at 221 Beacon Street, Boston, from bosarchitecturecom   (A site that is no longer online.)

By 1900, it was the home of Edward Louis Osgood and his wife, Hannah Thwing (Draper) Osgood.  In 1899, they had lived at 377 Marlborough Street.  They also maintained a home in Hopedale.  Hannah T. Osgood is shown as the owner of 221 Beacon on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps. (The Osgood’s Hopedale home was formerly the home of Hannah’s parents, and was located at the corner of Hopedale and Draper streets, on the block where the Community House is now. At some point after Edward’s death, Hannah purchased The Larches from her nephew, George Otis Draper. Before she could move in, the mansion burned to the ground. She replaced it with the house that’s there now.)

Edward Osgood had been a publisher in his brother’s firm, James R. Osgood & Co. and subsequently became a banker and a manufacturer in Hopedale.

During the 1904-1905 winter season, the Osgood were living elsewhere and 221 Beacon was the home of Nathaniel Hugh Cotton and his wife, Harriet Emma (Clapp) Cotton.  N. Hugh Cotton was a West Indies shipping merchant.

By 1906, the Osgoods were living at 221 Beacon once again.

Edward Osgood died in June of 1911.  Hannah Osgood continued to live at 221 Beacon until about 1929 and also continued to maintain a second home in Hopedale.  Her unmarried daughter, Fanny Colburn Osgood, lived with her.  Fanny Osgood was a championship golfer and, in the 1920s, operated Le Syndicat Gowns at 230 Boylston Street.

Here’s some information on the Osgood family from an online genealogical site. Edward’s mother’s maiden name was evidently the source of their son’s name – Dana Osgood.

ABIGAIL RIPLEY DANA  (JUDAH HANNAH PUTNAM, ISRAEL, JOSEPH, THOMAS, JOHN) was born September 12, 1811. She married EDWARD L. OSGOOD May 6, 1835. He died April 9, 1864 in Fryeburg, Maine.
         i.   JAMES RIPLEY OSGOOD, b. April 22, 1836; d. May 18, 1892, London, England.
         ii.   ELIZABETH DANA OSGOOD, b. August 21, 1838; d. January 25, 1852.
         iii.   CATHERINE PUTNAM OSGOOD, b. May 25, 1841.
         iv.   EDWARD LOUIS OSGOOD, b. August 6, 1843; m. HANNAH DRAPER.
         v.    FRANCES CAROLINE OSGOOD, b. September 21, 1845.
         vi.   GEORGE PHILLIPS OSGOOD, b. May 13, 1849; d. Australia.
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Osgood, James R. (1836–1892)

Short Biography

The Boston publisher James R. Osgood started out as a clerk with Ticknor and Fields in 1855, later becoming a partner. After Fields died in 1870, the firm was reorganized as James R. Osgood and Co. In 1877 Osgood published a small book by Mark Twain, A True Story. Business setbacks drove the firm out of business, but it reorganized under the same name in 1880, publishing works by William Dean Howells, George Washington Cable, and Walt Whitman. In 1881 he published Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and, the following year, The Stolen White Elephant. Osgood traveled with SLC down the Mississippi, and in 1883 published the book that resulted from that trip, Life on the Mississippi. Its sales disappointed SLC, who never published with Osgood again. Osgood was well loved by his authors, but his career was marred by debt, mismanagement, and bankruptcy. He spent his last years in London.