Lee Higginson's Pages
Major Higginson from 1863,
courtesy of Brian Pohanka.
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 allfrom his boyhood days, to his adult years as an
amateur musician, Civil War soldier, Boston banker, Harvard benefactor,
and philanthropistHigginson 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."
Biography of Henry Lee Higginson
Idealism and the Gift for Friendship": Page 1, Page 2
Life Story of Henry Lee Higginson
I: A Search for Self in a World of
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
Friends of Henry Lee
Henry Lee Higginson and the 1st MA
Cavalry at the Battle of Aldie
1st MA Cavalry Remembers
Comrades at the Battle of Aldie
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
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
needthe war of 1861 to 1865 in defence of the
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 childhoodLowell and Stephen
Perkinswho 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
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