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Index to

Henry Lee Higginson's Pages

Major Higginson,  1863

Photo of Major Higginson from 1863,
courtesy of Brian Pohanka.

Henry Lee Higginson, best known as being the founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the cousin of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, lived a life of great achievements and conversely profound disappointments, as some of his fondest hopes and aspirations failed to materialize. But through it all—from his boyhood days, to his adult years as an amateur musician, Civil War soldier, Boston banker, Harvard benefactor, and philanthropist—Higginson felt "a deep and passionate wish that we should live according to our highest ideals." His philosophy of "practical idealism" was evident in undertakings he pursued, always with an "active and unceasing thought of and work for others." Higginson was regarded by friends and associates as being "a man of the world...nevertheless wholly without sophistication.... He had known pain and sorrow, but he kept unspoiled...a zest for life, the heart of youth and the gift for friendship."

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The Biography of Henry Lee Higginson

"Practical Idealism and the Gift for Friendship": Page 1, Page 2

The Life Story of Henry Lee Higginson

Part I: A Search for Self in a World of Music
Part II: The Civil War Years:
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4
Part III: Life in the Business World and Among Friends:
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4
Acknowledgments

Civil War Days

Friends of Henry Lee Higginson
Henry Lee Higginson and the 1st MA Cavalry at the Battle of Aldie
1st MA Cavalry Remembers Comrades at the Battle of Aldie

Thoughts and Remembrances

Henry Lee Higginson's Soldiers Field Address
Higginson's Thoughts on Charles Lowell and Stephen Perkins
Henry Lee Higginson: "A Great Private Citizen" by M.A. DeWolfe Howe
Remembering Henry Lee Higginson by John T. Morse, Jr.
Brian Pohanka's Thoughts about Henry Lee Higginson

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Henry Lee Higginson: "Practical Idealism and the Gift for Friendship" - Page 1 of this abridged version of Henry Lee Higginson's story tells of his boyhood days, through his Civil War years. Page 2 describes his many contributions to humanity after the war.

The Life Story of Henry Lee Higginson - Part I: In his youth, Higginson desired to be a musician. But as with many of his aspirations, that dream failed to materialize. Part II: Henry enlisted as an infantryman, then served as a cavalryman, and as many other soldiers, experienced the glory and tragedies of war. It was through the loss of many of his cherished friends that Henry developed his philosophy of "practical idealism." Part III: Following the Civil War, Henry fulfilled his friend Charles Russell Lowell's ideal in becoming a "useful citizen."

Friends of Henry Lee Higginson - Higginson's circle of friends included: Charles Russell Lowell, James Savage, Stephen Perkins, Robert Gould Shaw, James Jackson Lowell, and Dr. Edward Dalton.

Henry Lee Higginson and the 1st MA Cavalry at the Battle of Aldie - On June 17, 1863 the Union forces of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick clashed with the Confederate forces of J.E.B. Stuart in Aldie, Virginia. This hot fight resulted in a loss of 198 of the 294 soldiers from the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. For Major Henry Lee Higginson, this would be the fiercest of all contests in which he and the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry would engage during the Civil War.

1st MA Cavalry Remembers Comrades at the Battle of Aldie - In 1891, members of the 1st MA dedicated a monument in memory of their fallen comrades at Aldie. Read Major Charles Davis's dedication address and details from the Battle of Aldie.

Henry Lee Higginson's Soldiers Field Address - On June 5, 1890, Higginson presented Harvard College a gift of 31 acres of land he purchased. In his address, Higginson requested that the land be called "The Soldier's Field," and "marked with a stone bearing the names of some dear friends,—alumni of the University, and noble gentlemen,—who gave freely and eagerly all that they had or hoped for, to their country and to their fellow men in the hour of great need—the war of 1861 to 1865 in defence of the Republic."

Higginson's Thoughts on Charles Lowell and Stephen Perkins - In 1907, Edward Waldo Emerson's Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell was published, citing in it a letter from Henry Lee Higginson to Emerson. In this letter Higginson shared his thoughts on his friends since childhood—Lowell and Stephen Perkins—who died during the war.

Henry Lee Higginson: "A Great Private Citizen" by M.A. DeWolfe Howe - In March 1920, four months after Higginson's death, an article about him by Mark DeWolfe Howe was published in the Atlantic Monthly. Excerpts from this article and accompanying comments are contributed by historian Brian Pohanka.

Remembering Henry Lee Higginson by John T. Morse, Jr. - Less than a year after Higginson's death, his friend John T. Morse, Jr. published his account: "Memoir of Henry Lee Higginson." Excerpts from this writing are featured here, with comments by Brian Pohanka.

Brian Pohanka's Thoughts about Henry Lee Higginson - Historian Brian Pohanka explains why Henry Lee Higginson "was a wonderful man, one of my favorite people."



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