Thayer, Nathaniel

Thayer, Nathaniel

(1808–83) financier, philanthropist; born in Lancaster, Mass. He came from a family that included many distinguished ministers. He became a partner in a Boston commerce house, trading with the West Indies (1829). He joined his brother in banking at John E. Thayer & Brother (1840). He became the principal director (1857), and through railroad financing, became one of the wealthiest men in New England. An overseer of Harvard College (after 1866), he contributed generously to that institution.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.