Remembering Henry Lee Higginson
by John T. Morse, Jr.
Less than a year after Henry Lee Higginson's death, his friend John T. Morse, Jr. published his account: "Memoir of Henry Lee Higginson." Featured here are excerpts from this piece with comments by Brian Pohanka.
In the passage below, Morse describes Higginson's speaking style after his 1890 Soldiers Field address that explains the significance of the donated land:
habit was to speak in short, crisp, emphatic sentences, a
dangerous method unless used in perfect good faith and
with genuine earnestness behind it, for if employed
merely rhetorically the affectation is sure to be
detected. Major Higginson used it habitually and
effectively in conversation as well as on formal
occasions; it was natural to him. Therefore when he
talked in earnest he talked forcibly. But he was not
always willing to hand out his thoughts, and in such case
he defensively threw out trifling, banal remarks which
did not always produce a favorable impression. This,
however, meant only that he was not at the moment
inclined for serious talk.
he did not take rank among the conspicuous
multi-millionaires of the country, it was because he did
not make the amassing of money his chief purpose. To
spend it well interested him more.
Special thanks to Brian Pohanka for supplying the following materials: Excerpts from the "Memoir of Henry Lee Higginson" by John T. Morse, Jr., Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1920, and the image of Higginson's war-time photo from Life and Letters of Henry Lee Higginson by Bliss Perry, Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1921.