Dorchester People

Meet the people who made Dorchester

People who have lived in Dorchester or have been associated with Dorchester are presented as individuals and in groups, such as Dorchester authors. The entries range from very brief to extensive biographies.  This section continues to grow.

We present biographies of people with a Dorchester connection here, along with many other details relating to their lives. Edward Everett, whose statue stands in Richardson Park (right), was one of the widely known sons of Dorchester. He was a Massachusetts Governor,  U.S. Representative, Senator, Envoy to Great Britain, and President of Harvard University.





Dorchester Authors

Charles Follen Adams, 1842-1918, dialect poet. His works include Yawcob s Dribulations, Dialect Ballads, Vas Marriage a Failure?, Leedle Yawcob Strauss, Der Oak und Der Vine, and Yawcob Strauss and Other Poems.

Oliver Optic (William Taylor Adams), 1822-1897, writer of hundreds of books and stories for children and pre-teen boys, lived at 1479 Dorchester Avenue.

William Lincoln Anderson, head of the department of Commercial Branches, Dorchester High School. He wrote American Phonography, published in 1905, 1908

Charles R. Baker of the Dochester Nurseries. Practical and Scientific Fruit Culture. (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1866)

Isabel C. Barrows, wife of Rev. Samuel Barrows. She was also a journalist and collaborated in editing The Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution with Alice Stone Blackwell. She wrote a biography of Samuel J. Barrows with the title A Sunny Life.

Samuel June Barrows, Minister of the First Parish Church and journalist. Elected to the U.S. Congress, Representative from Massachusetts; born in New York City May 26, 1845; after attending primary school was graduated from the Harvard Divinity School in the fall of 1871; while at Harvard University was the Boston correspondent of the New York Tribune; went with the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873, under the command of General Stanley, and with the Black Hills Expedition in 1874, commanded by General Custer; in 1873 took part in the Battles of Tongue River and the Big Horn; pastor of the first parish, Dorchester (Boston), Mass., from 1876-1881, when he resigned to become editor of the Christian Register, which position he held for 16 years; American representative to the International Prison Congress of 1895, 1900, and 1905, at which he was elected to serve as president of the 1910 congress; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1899); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1898 to the Fifty-sixth Congress; secretary of the New York Prison Association 1899-1909; died in New York City April 21, 1909; remains were cremated and the ashes placed in a private burying ground near Georgeville, Quebec, Canada. His books include The Isles and Shrines of Greece and A Baptist Meeting-house. (Source:

Bellamy, William. He wrote charades in verse.

  • A Century of Charades (1895)
  • A Second Century of Charades (1896)
  • A Third Century of Charades (1904)
  • More Charades (1909)
  • Broken Words,: A Fifth Century of Charades (1911)

Margaret Benefiel. Benefiel lived on Bailey Street.

  • The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Fulfillment and Success.
  • Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations.
  • The Soul of Supervision: Integrating Practice and Theory. Margaret Benefiel and Geraldine Holton, ecs.

Alice Stone Blackwell, activist whose teen-age journal is published as Growing Up in the Gilded Age. She edited The Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution with Isabel C. Barrows, and she wrote a biography of her mother, Lucy Stone.

Henry Nichols Blake, served in Civil War, served as a judge in Montana. Author of Three Years in the Army of the Potomac (Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1865) Written by a former captain of the Eleventh Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers and Memoirs of a Many-Sided Man: The Personal Record of a Civil War Veteran, Montana Territorial Editor, Attorney, Jurist. The memoirs of Henry N. Blake written in 1916. Edited by Vivian A. Paladin and published in Montana, the Magazine of Western History, Autumn, 1964.

Karl R. Bossi, former resident. Wrote a memoir of growing up near Upham’s Corner with title: Just Call Me Moose!

Caleb D. Bradlee, Pastor of Harrison Square Church. His pamphlets include:

  • Thirtieth Anniversary of the Foundation of the Harrison Square Church, Dorchester District, Boston, Mass., Oct. 13, 1878: A Sermon.
  • God The Eternal Support. Sermon by C.D. Bradlee, Pastor of the Church at Harrison Square, Boston, Mass., Preached Sept. 5, 1886, on the First Sunday Service after the Great Earthquake, and after the Death of Nathaniel Tucker, and Sewell E. Faunce.
  • Poems Third Series 1881.

William J. Bratton

Bratton served as Chief of Police for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Superintendent of Boston Metropolitan District Commission Police, Chief of Police of the New York City Transit Police, Superintendent in Chief of the Boston Police Department, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, and Los Angeles Chief of Police.

Turnaround: How America’s Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic. (New York, 1998). Include section on growing up in Dorchester.

Howard Bryant

Howard Bryant was born in Dorchester. He is a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine and appears regularly on ESPN programming, including SportsCenter and Outside the Lines, as well as a guest on several ESPN radio affiliates from KNBR in San Francisco to TSN 105 in Toronto. He has been the sports correspondent for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday since 2006. A two-time winner of the Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year from Spitball magazine, he is the author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron (Knopf), Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball (Viking), Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston (Routledge/Beacon), and the sports Legends series for middle-grade readers and picture book Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams for younger readers (Philomel/Penguin). He was the guest editor of the 2017 edition of The Best American Sports Writing and is the author most recently of The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism (Beacon).

Bryant’s columns at ESPN The Magazine were nominated for the National Magazine Award for commentary in both 2016 and 2018. In 2011, he was awarded the Online News Association’s Best Commentary Award. In 2015, he was awarded the New York Press Club award for Best Commentary and in 2016 was awarded the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award for Commentary. A native of Boston, he has held previous posts at the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Boston Herald and the Washington Post.

Howard Bryant is the first writer to have twice been awarded the Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year. Bryant’s last biography, The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron was chosen as “One of the Ten Best Books of the Year” by Dwight Garner at the New York Times. Bryant’s columns for ESPN were nominated for the National Magazine Award for commentary in 2016, the first time the magazine was nominated in that category, and again in 2018. Bryant was the guest editor for the 2017 edition of The Best American Sports Writing. Bryant has been the sports correspondent for NPR Weekend Edition since 2006. Bryant was a prominent voice in Ken Burns’ documentary series, “Baseball: The 10th Inning” and “Jackie Robinson,” by Sarah Burns and David McMahon.


Nahum Capen, b. 1804. Nahum Capen was a descendant of Bernard Capen who came to Dorchester in 1636. Nahum Capen was a publisher and writer whose firm Marsh, Capen & Lyon brought out books by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Judge Story, Dr. Jacob Bigelow, Edward Everett, Charles W. Upham, Mrs. Stowe and many others. He lived at the estate formerly owned by Thaddeus Mason Harris, named Mt. Ida. His own works include: The Mental Guide; History of Democracy (v. 1, 1874); and Reminscences of Dr. Spurzheim and George Combe.

Edward Channing. The historian Edward Channing (1856-1931), a specialist in American colonial and Revolutionary history, is best known for his multivolume History of the United States

Jacob Maurice Chyet wrote “From Rovno to Dorchester,” published in Lives and Voices: A Collection of 19th and 20th Century American Jewish Memoirs with Drawings of the Times, ed. by Stanley F. Chyet. Philadephia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972.

Henry Austin Clapp. Boston Theater critic for the Boston Daily Advertiser in the late 19th century.

His Civil War letters were published as Letters to the Home Circle. The North Carolina Service of Pvt. Henry A. Clapp.

John Codman, minister of Second Church and author. His published sermons include:

  • Sermon, on prayer, preached at Dorchester, December 12, and at Dedham, December 17, 1813. (1814)
  • A Sermon Delivered at the Funeral of General Stephen Badlam, Senior Deacon of the Second Church in Dorchester, August 27, 1815. (1815)
  • Idolatry Destroyed, and the Worship of the True God Established, a Sermon Delivered in the Old South Church, Boston. (1818)
  • Ministerial Courtesy, a Sermon Delivered before the Convention of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts. (1831)
  • Hidden Life of a Christian.(1835)
  • Duty of American Christians to Send the Gospel to the Heathens. (1836)
  • Faith of the Pilgrims, a Sermon delivered at Plymouth on the twenty-second of December, 1831 … (1832)
  • Narrative of a visit to England. (1836)
  • Good and Faithful Servant. (1836)
  • Signs of the times. A sermon, delivered before the Pastoral Association of Massachusetts, in Park Street Church, Boston, May 24, 1836 (1836).
  • Importance of Moderation in Civil Rulers. (1840)
  • Review of the Past, a Sermon, Delivered in Dorchester, December 7, 1845, Being the Thirty-seventh Anniversary of the Author’s Ordination. (1846)

Captain John Codman, 1814-1900. Captain John Codman was the oldest son of Rev. John Codman and became a ship captain and author. He published widely in Harper s, Century, The North American Review and the Galaxy Magazines. His books include Sailor s Life and Sailors Yarns (1847); Ten Months in Brazil (1867); The Mormon Country (1874); Free Ships (1878); The Round Trip (1879); Winter Sketches from the Saddle (1888); An American Transport in the Crimean War (1896) and others.

Maria Cummins, 1827-1866, novelist. Her works include The Lamplighter, Mabel Vaughan, El Fureidis, and Haunted Hearts.

Johnny Diaz Boston Globe journalist and novelist. His first book, published in 2007, was Boston Boys Club. His second is Miami Manhunt in 2008.

Daniel Davenport, 19th-century, author of The Sexton s monitor and Dorchester Cemetery Memorial (1826).

Nathaniel Hall, minister and author.

His published sermons include:

  • An Address Delivered in the First church, Dorchester, Thursday, April 7, 1842, at the Funeral of Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D. Formerly Pastor of That Church. By Nathaniel Hall, its Present Pastor. Boston, B.H. Greene, 1842.
  • The Christian Ministry: a Sermon Preached at the Ordination of Mr. Hiram Withington as Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Leominster, December 25, 1844 by Nathaniel Hall; with the Charge, Right Hand of Fellowship, and the Address to the Society. Boston: Wm. Crosby and H.P. Nichols, 1845.
  • Discourse delivered before the Third Religious Society, Dorchester, at the Funeral of its Late Pastor, Rev. Richard Pike, February 20, 1863. By Rev. Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Walker, Wise, and Company, 1863.
  • A Discourse Delivered in the First Church, Dorchester, on the Sunday Succeeding the Funeral of Robert Thaxter, M.D. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston, Ebenezer Clapp, Jr., 1852.
  • Discourse on the life and character of Rev. John Pierpont, preached in the First Church, Dorchester, Sunday, Sept. 2, 1866. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Walker, Fuller and Company, 1866.
  • Do justly. A sermon preached at Dorchester, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 1845. By Nathaniel Hall, Pastor of the First Church. Boston: Wm. Crosby and H.P. Nichols, 1845.
  • The iniquity: A Sermon in the First Church, Dorchester, on Sunday Dec. 11, 1859. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Printed by J. Wilson & Son, 1859.
  • The Limits of Civil Obedience. A sermon Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, January 12, 1851. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Wm. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1851.
  • The Lord Reigneth. A Sermon Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, June 1, 1856. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Crosby, Nichols and Company, 1856.
  • A Memorial of Edward Everett: a Discourse Preached in the First church, Dorchester, Sunday, Jan. 22, 1865. By Nathaniel Hall.
    Boston: Walker, Wise, and Company; E. Clapp, 1865.
  • The Moral Significance of the Contrasts Between Slavery and Freedom: a Discourse Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, May 10, 1864. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Walker, Wise, and Company; E. Clapp, 1864.
  • The Proclamation of Freedom. A sermon preached in Dorchester, January 4, 1863, by Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Crosby and Nichols; E. Clapp, 1863.
  • Religious Forms and Observances by Nathaniel Hall. Boston: James Munroe & Co., [1842]
  • Righteousness and the Pulpit: a Discourse Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, on Sunday, Sept. 30, 1855.Boston, Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1855
  • A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Henry Callander, Preached in the Church of the First Parish, Dorchester, January 18, 1874. [Cambridge, Mass., Press of J. Wilson & son] 1874.
  • A Sermon Preached at Dorchester, Sunday, Jan. 27, 1861. Boston: John Wilson, 1861.
  • A Sermon Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, on Sunday, June 12th, 1853 by Nathaniel Hall. Boston : D. Clapp, 1853. Cover-title: A Tribute to the Memory of James Pierce.
  • A Sermon Preached in the First Church, Dorchester, on the Sunday (October 8, 1866) Following upon the Decease of Maria S. Cummins. By Nathaniel Hall. Cambridge, Printed at the Riverside Press, 1866.
  • A Sermon Preached in the First church, Dorchester, Sunday, November 23, 1844. [n.p.] 1845.
  • A Sermon Preached in the Meeting-house of the First Church, Dorchester, on Sunday, June 19, 1870: Being the Two Hundred and Fortieth Anniversary of the First Assembling of the Church for Divine Service after its Landing in America by Nathaniel Hall. Boston : Ebenezer Clapp, 1870 (Boston : David Clapp & Son)
  • The True Unity of the Church: a Discourse Preached in the Church of the Second Parish, Worcester, February 10, 1869, on Occasion of the installation of Rev. Edward H. Hall as Active Pastor of said Parish / by Nathaniel Hall. Worcester: Printed by C. Hamilton, [1869?]
  • Truth Not to Be Overthrown nor Silenced: a Sermon Preached at Dorchester, Sunday, Jan. 27, 1861. Boston, Printed by J. Wilson and son, 1861.
  • The Uncorrupt and Incorruptible Statesman; a Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Charles Sumner, Preached in the Church of the First Parish, Dorchester, Sunday, March 15, 1874. [Cambridge? Mass.] 1874.
  • Want, — Individual, National: A Sermon Preached at Dorchester, April 16, 1857; Being the day of the Annual Fast. By Nathaniel Hall. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1857.

Jefferson Lee Harbour, 1857- , writer
Was on the staff of the Youth s Companion and writer of many short stories and lived at 3 Bowdoin Avenue.

Lawrence Harmon, co-author of Death of an American Jewish Community. A Tragedy of Good Intentions. New York, 1992.
Harmon was born and raised in Dorchester.

Thaddeus Mason Harris, (July 7, 1768– April 3, 1842) was a Harvard librarian, Unitarian minister and author in the early 19th Century. His most noted book was The Natural History of the Bible first published in Boston in 1793. He wrote a poem about Edward Everett with title The Little Orator.

Harris’s father was killed fighting on the colonists side in the American Revolutionary War. Harris had been born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, but after his father’s death he was sent to live on a farm in Sterling, Massachusetts. Harris went on to study at Harvard University from which he graduated in 1787. After graduation from Harvard, he spent a year as a school teacher in Worcester, Massachusetts. At the end of his teaching stint in Worcester, Harris was offered an appointment as secretary to George Washington, but contracted small-pox, and his recovery time prevented him from taking the post. He became the librarian of Harvard in 1791 and then was appointed the minister of the First Unitarian Church on Meeting House Hill in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1793. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1806 Harris was also a founding member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1812 and served as corresponding secretary from 1812-1831, and as secretary of foreign correspondence from 1831-1832 The Antiquarian Society holds original copies of a significant number of Harris’s published works, as well as some manuscript items from his personal papers.

Harris’s son Thaddeus William Harris would also serve as a librarian at Harvard and be one of the leading American naturalists in the first half of the 19th century.


Holmes, John Haynes, pastor for a short time at the Third Religious Society or First Unitarian Church at Lower Mills. He wrote I speak for myself. The autobiography of John Haynes Holmes. (1959)

Edward Payson Jackson, 1840- , lived at 41 Lyndhurst Street. He was an educator, author, and writer for magazines. His works include Character Building; A Demigod (a novel); and The Earth in Space.

Dennis Lehane, writer of detective fiction.

Dennis Lehane grew up in Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he has published twelve more novels that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; Live by Night; and World Gone By. His most recent work is a stand-alone novel, Since We Fell.

Four of his novels – Live by Night, Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island – have been adapted into films. A fifth, The Drop, was adapted by Lehane himself into a film starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini in his final role. Lehane was a staff writer on the acclaimed HBO series The Wire and also worked as a writer-producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and the Netflix series, Bloodline. Lehane currently is a writer and producer on the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.

Lehane was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. Lehane and his family live in California.


Gladys Edson Locke, writer of mystery novels set in England.

Gladys was born in Dorchester the only child of Carolyn Edson and Scott Locke. She lived at 15 Larchmont Street (1920 and 1930 census reports) and at 33 Grampian Way.

Some of her published works include:

  • Queen Elizabeth (1913)
  • That Affair at Portstead Manor (1914)
  • Ronald o’ the Moors (1919)
  • The Red Cavalier (1922)
  • The Scarlet Macaw (1923)
  • The Purple Mist (1924)
  • The House of the Downs (1925)
  • The Grey Gables (1927)
  • The Golden Lotus (1927)
  • The Redmaynes (1928)
  • The Fenwood Murders (1931)
  • The Ravensdale Mystery (1935)

Interestingly two of her books, The Golden Lotus and The House on the Downs were illustrated by Dorchester artist Frank T. Merrill. Most of her books were top selling novels such as The Purple Mist and The Red Cavalier. The Red Cavalier was pronounced by the critics in 1923 as the “best mystery novel of the year.” One critic wrote “It begins as a typical English week-end house party in a haunted castle with twin turrets in Yorkshire. Miss Locke is able to weave a weird and absorbing tale of a modern detective romance.”

Douglas MacKinnon, writer for LA Times and author of two novels: America s Last Days and The Apocalypse Directive (2008)–reviewed by Peter Stidman in Dorchester Reporter July 17, 2008.

Richard Mather, minister of First Church, who contributed to the Cambridge Platform and to the Bay Psalm Book.

James H. Means, minister and author.

  • An Historical discourse on occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the gathering of the Second Church, Dorchester. (1858)
  • Sermons preached in the Second Church, Dorchester, by James H. Means.(1865)
  • Dorchester, Past and Present: a Sermon preached in the Second Church (1870).
  • Sermon and addresses commemorative of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ordination of Rev. James H. Means as pastor of the Second Church, Dorchester. (1873)
  • Historical discourse on occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the gathering of the Second Church, Dorchester. (1878)

Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton, 1759-1846, poet.

Sarah s publications include poems contributed to literary magazines. Her first long poem was published in December, 1790, Ouabi: or The Virtues of Nature, An Indian Tale. In Four Cantos. Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer Andrews, 1790. Other works include: Beacon Hill. A Local Poem, 1797; The Virtues of Society. A Tale Founded on Fact, 1799; My Mind and Its Thoughts, in Sketches, Fragments, and Essays, 1823.

John Lothrop Motley, historian

American historian, son of Thomas Motley, born on the 15th of April 1814 at Dorchester (now a part of Boston), Massachusetts, and graduated at Harvard in 1831. He then studied at Göttingen and Berlin, becoming a friend of Otto von Bismarck at Göttingen, and after a period of European travel returned in 1834 to America, where he continued his legal studies. In 1837 he married Mary Benjamin (d. 1874), a sister of Park Benjamin, and in 1839 he published anonymously a novel entitled Morton’s Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial. In 1841 he entered the diplomatic service as secretary of legation in Russia, but resigned his post within three months. Returning to America, he soon entered definitely upon a literary career. Besides contributing various historical and critical essays to the North American Review, including a remarkable essay on the Polity of the Puritans, he published in 1849, again anonymously, a second novel, entitled Merry Mount, a Romance of the Massachusetts Colony. About 1846 the project of writing a history of Holland had begun to take shape in his mind, and he had already done a large amount of work on this subject when, finding the materials at his disposal in the United States inadequate, he went to Europe in 1851. The next five years were spent at Dresden, Brussels and the Hague in investigation of the archives, which resulted in 1856 in the publication of The Rise of the Dutch Republic, which became very popular. It speedily passed through many editions, was translated into French, and also into Dutch, German and Russian. In 1860 Motley published the first two volumes of its continuation, The United Netherlands. This work was on a larger scale, and embodied the results of a still greater amount of original research. It was brought down to the truce of 1609 by two additional volumes, published in 1867. In 1861, just after the Civil War had broken out in America, Motley wrote two letters to The Times defending the Federal position, and these letters, afterwards reprinted as a pamphlet entitled Causes of the Civil War in America, made a favorable impression on President Abraham Lincoln. Partly owing to this essay, Motley was appointed United States minister to Austria in 1861, a position which he filled with great success until his resignation in 1867. Two years later he was sent to represent his country in London, but in November 1870 he was recalled by President Ulysses S. Grant. After a short visit to Holland, he again took up his residence in England, where the Life and Death of John Barneveld appeared in two volumes in 1874. Ill health now began to interfere with his literary work, and he died at Frampton Court, near Dorchester, Dorset, on the 29th of May 1877, leaving three daughters. The merits of Motley as an historian are undeniably great. He has told the story of a stirring period in the history of the world with full attention to the character of the actors and strict fidelity to the vivid details of the action. But it may safely be said that his tale is best where most unvarnished, and probably no writer of the same rank has owed less to the mere sparkle of highly polished literary style.


O’Donnell, Lawrence Francis, Jr. American television pundit, actor, host, editor, producer.

Books include Deadly Force , made into a film, and Playing with Fire.

Christopher Payne. Christopher Payne spent his early years on Ashmont Hill. In 2002 he published: New York s Forgotten Substations: the Power behind the Subway. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002).

Josephine Preston Peabody, 1874-1922. In addition to poems and other material published in periodicals, Peabody’s separately published titles include:

  • Old Greek Folk-Stories Told Anew (1897)
  • The Wayfarers (1898)
  • Fortune and Men’s Eyes (1900)
  • Marlowe (1901)
  • Singing Leaves (1903)
  • The Book of the Little Past (1908)
  • Piper: a Play in Four Acts (1909)
  • The Singing Man (191)1
  • The Wolf of Gubbio (1913)
  • Harvest Moon (1916)
  • Chameleon: a Comedy in Three Acts (1917)
  • Wings, a Drama in One Act (1917)
  • Portrait of Mrs. W. (1922)
  • Diary and Letters (1925)
  • Collected Plays (1927)
  • Collected Poems (1927)

Frederic Beecher Perkins, 1828-1899, librarian, editor, bibliographer

Grandson of Lyman Beecher and father of Charlotte Stetson. He was a librarian, editor and bibliographer. His works include Scrope or the Lost Library, possibly the first detective novel; Devil-Puzzlers; and Charles Dickens: His Life and Works.

Eugene Richards, photographer, writer, and filmmaker, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1944. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, he studied photography with Minor White. In 1968, he joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, a government program established as an arm of the so-called” War on Poverty.” Following a year and a half in eastern Arkansas, Richards helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper,Many Voices, which reported on black political action as well as the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs he made during these four years were published in his first monograph, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

Upon returning to Dorchester, Richards began to document the changing, racially diverse neighborhood where he was born. After being invited to join Magnum Photos in 1978, he worked increasingly as a freelance magazine photographer, undertaking assignments on such diverse topics as the American family, drug addiction, emergency medicine, pediatric AIDS, aging and death in America. In 1992, he directed and shot Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, the first of seven short films he would eventually make.

Richards has published seventeen books. Exploding Into Life, which chronicles his first wife Dorothea Lynch’s struggle with breast cancer, received Nikon’s Book of the Year award. For Below The Line: Living Poor in America, his documentation of urban and rural poverty, Richards received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography.The Knife & Gun Club: Scenes from an Emergency Room received an Award of Excellence from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore drug usage, received the Kraszna-Krausz Award for Photographic Innovation in Books. That same year, Americans We was the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Best Photographic Book. In 2005, Pictures of the Year International chose The Fat Baby, an anthology of fifteen photographic essays, Best Book of the year. Richards’s most recent books include The Blue Room, a study of abandoned houses in rural America; War Is Personal, an assessment in words and pictures of the human consequences of the Iraq war; and Red Ball of a Sun Slipping Down, a remembrance of life on the Arkansas Delta.


William James Rolfe, Litt.D. (December 10, 1827 – July 7, 1910) was an American educator and Shakespearean scholar

Rolfe was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts on December 10, 1827.[1] He attended Amherst College from 1845 through 1848, but left without graduating after three years due to financial hardship. Amherst, though, nonetheless later awarded him an honorary degree. Between 1852 and 1868, he served as headmaster of high schools at Dorchester, Lawrence, Salem, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Early in his career, he edited selections from Ovid and Virgil and (in collaboration) the Cambridge Course of Physics (six volumes, 1867–68).

Rolfe’s Shakespearean work began with an American edition of George Lillie Craik‘s English of Shakespeare (3rd revised ed., 1864, LCCN 28-15228), which Crosby and Ainsworth published in 1867 (LCCN 03-26761). This led to his preparation for Harper & Brothers of a complete edition of Shakespeare – the Friendly Edition (forty volumes, 1870–83; new edition, 1903–07).

Rolfe also edited a complete edition of Tennyson (twelve volumes, 1898) and verse by many of the other great English poets. He wrote a very useful Satchel Guide to Europe, revised annually for 35 years, and at least five other books:

  • Shakespeare the Boy (1896)
  • The Elementary Study of English (1896)
  • Life of Shakespeare (1901)
  • Life of William Shakespeare (1904)
  • Shakesperean Proverbs (1908)


Francis Russell, historian.

Historian and journalist Francis Russell, who was born January 12, 1910, and lived on Wellington Hill in his early years, wrote on topics from art to juvenile history. His book Tragedy in Dedham told the story of the murder trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti during the 1920s. His book Knave of Boston & Other Ambiguous Massachusetts Characters looks at some of the occurrences in his home state.

Some of his other books are: Sacco and Vanzetti: the Case Resolved (1986); Three Studies in Twentieth-Century Obscurity: Joyce, Kafka and Gertrude Stein (1953), The World of Durer (1967) and The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times (1968), The Making of the Nation, The City in Terror, The American Heritage Book of the Pioneer (1961), Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill (1963), The Making of the Nation (1968), Forty Years Ago (1970), A City in Terror (1975), The President Makers (1976), The Secret War (1981) and The Knave of Boston (1987).

Anthony Mitchell Sammarco, 20th-century local historian, author of many books, perhaps 30 or more in the Images of America series, a few of which are about Dorchester. He has published other books such as The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History.

Charles W. Sawyer, 1868 – descendant of the Bird family and probably the last resident of the Bird homestead, author of books on firearms in American history including Our Rifles, US.S. Single Shot Martial Pistols, and Firearms in American History.

Marcia Sewall, artist, author, and illustrator of at least 45 books for children, many with historical themes.

Robert Louis Sheehan. Writer of Dorchester memoirs. His two books are: Dorchester streets. The story of the Sheehan family in Dorchester, 1921-1943, and A Dorchester Marine s WWII. A Sequel to Dorchester Streets.

Peter Strickland. Ship captain, Consul to West Africa.

His only book is: A Voice from the Deep. Boston, 1873.

Lauralee Summer, Dorchester resident and teacher in the Boston Public Schools.

Learning Joy from Dogs without Collars. Simon & Schuster, 2003. This is the author s own story of growing up in extreme poverty, on the streets and in welfare housing with her strange and often-unemployed mother. Summer eventually won a scholarship to Harvard University. She writes about her childhood, which includes a stint as the only girl on her high school wrestling team, with no self-pity and only a touch of awe that she survived and thrived.

William D. Swan. Swan was a mason turned school teacher turned publisher. He made a fortune while a teacher writing school textbooks.

Nathaniel Topliff. He wrote Poems, Moral, Descriptive, and Political. By Nathaniel Topliff, a Farmer of Dorchester. Boston, 1809.

Douglass Shand Tucci, 20th-century architectural historian. His books include: Built in Boston: City & Suburb; Gothic churches of Dorchester. 2 vols; The Second settlement: a case study in the development of Victorian Boston, Ashmont: an historical guide to Peabody Square, Carruth s Hill, and Ashmont Hill and the architecture of Edwin J. Lewis, Jr., and John A. Fox; All Saints, Ashmont: a centennial history; Gothic Churches of Dorchester; Readings in modern Boston History; Church building in Boston, 1720-1970. With an introduction to the work of Ralph Adams Cram and the Boston Gothicists, and Ralph Adams Cram, American medievalist.

Paul Whelton. Born in Dorchester, Nov. 1, 1894; d. 1953, and living near Boston in late 1940s; a rewrite man on large city newspapers.

  • Angels Are Painted Fair (Lippincott, 1947); ([Garry Dean] Foulsham, 1951).
  • Also published as: Lures of Death. Graphic, 1950, abridged; (Sydney, Australia: Star, 1956).
  • Call the Lady Indiscreet (Lippincott, 1946, hc); [Garry Dean] Aldor, 1946; (Sydney, Australia: Phantom, 1956).
  • Death and the Devil (Lippincott, 1944, hc) [Garry Dean])
  • Also published as: Flash-Hold for Murder. Graphic, 1949, abridged; Original Novels (Sydney, Australia, 1956).
  • Flash-Hold for Murder (Graphic, 1949, pb); Abridged; Original Novels (Sydney, Australia), 1956. See: Death and the Devil (Lippincott, 1944).
  • In Comes Death (Lippincott, 1951, hc); [Garry Dean] Gifford, 1952; (Sydney, Australia: Phantom, 1954).
  • Lures of Death (Graphic, 1950, pb) Abridged; Star (Sydney, Australia), 1956. See: Angels Are Painted Fair (Lippincott 1947).
  • Pardon My Blood (Lippincott, 1950, hc); [Garry Dean] Gifford, 1951; (Sydney, Australia: Phantom, 1955).
  • Uninvited Corpse (Graphic, 1950, pb) Abridged. See: Women Are Skin Deep (Lippincott 1948).
  • Women Are Skin Deep (Lippincott, 1948, hc; [Garry Dean] Foulsham, 1951). Also published as: Uninvited Corpse. Graphic, 1950, abridged

Worked for the Boston Journal and the Boston American

Errol Lincoln Uys, author of Brazil and Riding the Rails, living in Dorchester in the early 21st century.

Theodore Harold White was an American political journalist and historian, known for his reporting from China during World War II and accounts of the 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980 presidential elections. White was born May 6, 1915, in Dorchester, Boston, the son of David White, a lawyer. He was raised Jewish. In his memoir In Search of History: A Personal Adventure, White describes helping form one of the early Zionist collegiate organizations during his time in college. (Source:

  • Thunder Out of China (with Annalee Jacoby) (1946) reprinted Da Capo.
  • The Stilwell Papers (1948) by Joseph W. Stilwell, Theodore H. White (Editor), Eric Larrabee (Contributor)
  • Fire in the Ashes: Europe in Mid Century (1953)
  • The Mountain Road (1958), novel, reprinted with an Introduction by Parks Coble, Eastbridge, 2006, ISBN 978-1-59988-000-6) which was made into a movie starring James Stewart.The View From the Fortieth Floor (1960) novel, depicted his experience at Colliers.
  • The Making of the President—1960
  • The Making of the President—1968
  • The Making of the President—1964
  • Caesar at the Rubicon: A Play about Politics (1968)
  • The Making of the President—1972
  • Breach of Faith : The Fall of Richard Nixon Atheneum Publishers, 1975; Dell, 1986, ISBN 978-0-440-30780-8 A comprehensive history of the Watergate Scandal with biographical information about Richard Nixon and many of the key players of the event.
  • In Search of History: A Personal Adventure (Harper & Row, 1978)
  • America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President, 1956–1980 (Harper & Row, 1982)
  • Theodore H. White at large: the best of his magazine writing, 1939-1986, Authors Theodore Harold White, Editor Edward T. Thompson, Pantheon Books, 1992.