HENRY DAVENPORT (1811-1898)
John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book of numismatic biographies for this week's installment of his series.
Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Boston collector Henry Davenport. -Editor
Henry Davenport (1811-1898), was born on November 18, 1811, at Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, son of Elijah Davenport (1773-1844), a prominent merchant, and Susan Ward
Davenport (1781-1851). He was a direct descendant of Thomas Davenport of Dorchester who lived there in 1640. The Isaac Davenport House, Green Street, Dorchester is a historical
Davenport was one of the best-known mercantile men and mill owners in New England.
At the outbreak of the War of 1812, the Davenport family removed to Hallowell, Maine. Beginning in 1817 after his family returned to Boston he received his education at Hawkins
Street School, Adams School, and Fort Hill School. In 1821, he attended the Boston Latin School. He graduated High School in 1827 receiving the Franklin Medal. In 1833, he worked
for Dinsmore & Kyle, Commission Merchants, Baltimore, Maryland. In 1839, he worked at York Manufacturing Company, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1854, he became connected with the
Pacific Mills, wool and cotton goods manufacturer, as an agent, and remained with them till his retirement from business on January 1, 1891.
He most probably began collecting coins and tokens no later than the 1830's. He is also most probably the same person described by Lyman H. Low as Captain Davenport as
Lindesmith suggested in 1967, who, in 1837, acquired the 1785 Copper Confederatio (PCGS AU53 BN). That coin was subsequently acquired by J. N. T. Levick in 1864.
He was a buyer at the Henry Bogert sale at Bangs, Merwin & Co., New York, held on February 28, 1859.
On February 11, 1860, Dr. Winslow Lewis, Jeremiah Colburn, Judge John Phelps Putnam, and William Sumner Appleton incorporated the Boston Numismatic Society. In 1865, Davenport
served as Treasurer, and later on Curator, and was also elected Vice-President. He was known to have owned one of the finest coin collections in New England.
In 1862, he was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln, as a member of the Committee of Examination of Coinage at the U. S. Mint, Philadelphia.
He was elected a member of the Genealogical Society of Boston in 1850. He was also a Life Member of the Horticultural Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Archaeological Society, Roxbury Common Council, Primary School Committee of Boston, and Clerk of the Old South Society at Boston.
Davenport and J. N. T. Levick are known for having token restrikes made by the Scovil Manufacturing Company, of Waterbury, Connecticut, and Hard Times tokens engraved by Edward
In 1871, at a monthly meeting of the Boston Numismatic Society he exhibited his 1787 Massachusetts Cent.
He died suddenly of heart disease at the home of his son-in-law, Dr. Clement Cleveland on January 24, 1898, at New York. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery and Crematory,
Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
To read the complete article, see:
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