Class valedictory poem: Valedictory poem written at the request of the senior class of Harvard University, and delivered in the College Chapel, June 21, 1797: delivered at the request of the senior class of Harvard University on leaving college, 1797 June 21
About this Item
- Richardson, James , 1771-1858
- 10 p.|.01 cubic feet (1 volume)
- Harvard University Archives
The folder contains two copies of the valedictory poem composed by graduate James Richardson for the 1797 Harvard Commencement. The poem begins, "When the soft breezes from the infant year..." The documents consist of a negative photostat copy of a manuscript version of the poem inscribed "Wm W. Shaw" (likely in the hand of William Smith Shaw, Harvard Class of 1798), and a handwritten undated and unattributed 19th century copy of the same poem on blue unlined paper, bound with a pink ribbon. The two copies have a small number of word discrepancies. The copy on blue paper ends with the note, "our classmate Willington accidently drowned in Fresh Pond," referring to Isaac Willington who drowned on November 12, 1796.
James Richardson (1771-1858), a lawyer in Dedham, Mass., was born on October 6, 1771 in Medford, Mass. He received an AB from Harvard in 1797 and an AM in 1800. Richardson was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1800 and began a law practice with Fisher Ames (Harvard AB 1774) in Dedham. In 1803, Richardson was appointed an attorney of the Supreme Judicial Court, and was elected a state senator in 1813. He later served as president of the Norfolk Mutual Fire Insurance Company from 1833 to 1857. Richardson died on June 7, 1858.