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Charles Fox Hovey

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Charles Fox Hovey

Charles Fox Hovey (1807–1859) was a businessman in Boston, Massachusetts who established C.F. Hovey and Co., a department store on Summer Street. Through the years Hovey's business partners included Washington Williams, James H. Bryden, Richard C. Greenleaf and John Chandler. The Johnson family (Fidelity Investments Edward C. Johnson II) got their start at C.F. Hovey and Co. with Samuel Johnson Jr. [1] In 1947 Jordan Marsh absorbed Hovey's.[2][3][4]

Hovey was also an abolitionist and a supporter of other social reform movements. He was one of a group of Boston businessmen who provided most of the funding for the American Anti-Slavery Society.[5] He also signed the call to the first National Woman's Rights Convention in 1850. Hovey left a bequest of $50,000 to support abolitionism and other types of social reform, including "women's rights, non-resistance, free trade and temperance."[6] The bequest was used to create the Hovey Fund, which provided significant support to social reform movements of that time. It was headed by abolitionist Wendell Phillips.

In a point of interest, the store C.F. Hovey and Co. on Summer Street was once the property of Robert Hull received a "great allotment" in 1636 and passed the property to his son John Hull of the "Hull Mint" fame.[7] By 1680, the mint master John Hull greatly expanded his ownership on Summer Street.


  1. ^ C.F. Hovey & Co (1919). The History of the house of Hovey [microform] : containing some interesting reminiscences of almost three quarters of a century. Columbia University Libraries. Boston : C.F. Hovey Co.
  2. ^ Harvard Business School Archived June 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. C.F. Hovey Company, Business Records, 1837-1920.
  3. ^ The Hovey Book. 1914; p. 266.
  4. ^ Boston Directory. 1849.
  5. ^ Abbott (1991) p. 20
  6. ^ Dudden (2011), p. 23
  7. ^ Robert Hull, the father of John, arrived in Boston Nov. 7, 1635. He was admitted a freeman March 9, 1637. He had a house - lot and "great allotment” as early as December, 1636. Ile was one of the Antinomians who were disarmed Nov. 20, 163 . His house - lot is de scribed in the Book of Possessions ”as“ one house and garden bounded with John Hurd South, the High Street West, Job Judkin North and Gamaliel Waite East." This lot lay on the easterly side of Washing ton Street, formerly Newbury Street, between Summer and Bedford Streets. The lots, by the “Book of Possessions, "were six in number between these two streets. Beginning at the north, the first lot was Elizabeth Purton's, afterwards Robert Noone's ; second lot, Job Julkin's ; third, Robert Ilull's ; furth, Jolin Hurd' s ; fifth, William Plantayne's, or Blanton's ; sixth, Thomas Wheeler's . The lots were proximately four rods wide and sixteen rods deep.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tribute to the Memory of Charles F. Hovey, Boston, 1859.
  • History of the House of Hovey, containing reminiscences of almost three quarters of a century. Boston: 1920.