Winsor, Justin

Winsor, Justin,

1831–97, American librarian and historian. He was superintendent (1868–77) of the Boston Public Library and afterward librarian (1877–97) of Harvard. In addition to important bibliographical work on Shakespeare, Columbus, and the American Revolution, he edited the Narrative and Critical History of America (8 vol., 1884–89) and wrote The Westward Movement (1897). A founder of the American Library Association (1876), he was its president for a number of years (1876–85; 1897).
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Winsor, Justin

(1831–97) historian, librarian; born in Boston, Mass. Stemming from his early interest in history, his first book, A History of the Town of Duxbury, was published in 1849 during his freshman year at Harvard. He left Harvard in 1852 without taking a degree and traveled in Europe. He returned to Boston in 1854 and began writing criticism, poetry, and fiction for various periodicals. He became a trustee and then director (1868–77) of the Boston Public Library. During his 20-year tenure as librarian of Harvard College (1877–97), he became the first president of the American Library Association (1876–85) and a cofounder of the American Library Journal. As a historian, he wrote such groundbreaking works as The Reader's Handbook of the American Revolution (1880), A Narrative and Critical History of America (1884–89), The Mississippi Basin (1895), and The Westward Movement (1897). His interest in and use of maps made him the leading historical cartographer of his day.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.