Dr. Justin Winsor, Librarian at Harvard for twenty years, and one of the best known men ever connected with the University, both with scholars and the public at large, died at his home in Cambridge early yesterday morning, of strangulated hernia, a complication resulting from a heavy cold. He had been ill for some time and early in the week his condition was considered critical. On Tuesday an operation seemed to improve his condition somewhat, but Thursday evening fever set in and he died at 8.30 yesterday morning..
Justin Winsor was born in Boston, January 2, 1831. He entered Harvard with the class of '53, but left in his junior year and went abroad to study at Heidelberg and Paris. He was later, in '68, given the Harvard degree. In 1887 he was awarded the degree of LL. D., by the University of Michigan, and in 1893 a like honor was conferred on him by Williams College. Dr. Winsor was vice-president of the Mass. Historical Society; member of the American Philosophical Society; fellow of the American Academy; honorable member of the Royal Society of Canada; member of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec; and honorable member of the Royal George Society of London.
Dr. Winsor was an industrious and prolific writer. His first literary work of importance was a history of Duxbury, the original home of his family, which he completed in his eighteenth year, shortly after entering college. His other early efforts were contributions to periodical literature, most of which appeared in the Knickerbocker Magazine and the Christian Examiner. His subsequent writings, many of which are of great value and importance, were upon bibliography, history, and other subjects of research. Among his more important works are "The Bibliography of Original Quartos and Folios of Shakespeare," Readers' Handbook of the American Revolution," "Christopher Columbus," "From Cartier to Frontenac," and "The Struggle in America between the English and French from 1697 to 1763." In addition to these he edited a "Memorial History of Boston," and his greatest work the "Narrative and Critical History of America," an exhaustive historical series of eight volumes, a work of special importance which he prepared with the co-operation of a committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Beside his literary activities Doctor Winsor has been engaged since 1868 in the library work to which his contributions are numerous and valuable. In 1868 he was made superintendent of the Boston Public Library, and he held the position until 1877 when he was appointed librarian of Harvard College. Since that year, under his administration, the Library has grown apace until it is now second to no college library in usefulness and convenience. Dr. Winsor was one of the founders, and first president of the American Library Association and was at one time president of the American Historical Society. His knowledge of cartography was exceptional and his reputation such that he was called to Washington to report before the recent Venezuelan Commission, the final decision being greatly influenced by his report. It is no doubt on this account that Dr. Winsor's reputation was yet greater in Europe than in this country.
It would be an unpardonable omission not to speak before closing of Dr. Winsor's work in this University. Dr. Winsor realized that the needs of the Library were constantly increasing with the number of students, and during his term of service the number of books in the Library has not only been doubled, but the conveniences for their attainment much more than doubled. To his foresight was due the introduction and perfection of the present card catalogue system.
The funeral services will be held Monday at 2 o'clock in Appleton Chapel.