Quincy Adams Shaw

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Quincy Adams Shaw
Quincy Adams Shaw.jpg
Born(1825-02-08)February 8, 1825
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJune 12, 1908(1908-06-12) (aged 83)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting placeForest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
(m. 1860)
  • Robert Gould Shaw
  • Elizabeth Willard Parkman
Signature of Quincy Adams Shaw (1825–1908).png

Quincy Adams Shaw (February 8, 1825 – June 12, 1908) was a Boston Brahmin investor and business magnate who was the first president of Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.

Family and early life[edit]

Shaw came from a famous and moneyed Boston family. With a net worth of $1,000,000 in 1846, Shaw's father (Robert Gould Shaw, 1776–1853) was one of the wealthiest men in Boston.[2] His mother was Elizabeth Willard Parkman (March 31, 1785 – April 14, 1853), whose father Samuel Parkman (August 22, 1751 – June 11, 1824) was the original source of capital upon which her husband built one of the wealthiest and largest business enterprises in Boston at that time.[2] George Parkman (February 19, 1790 – November 23, 1849), a wealthy Boston physician who was murdered in 1849 in a gruesome and highly publicized case, was Elizabeth's brother.

Shaw was good friends with his cousin, American historian Francis Parkman Junior (September 16, 1823 – November 8, 1893), and the pair travelled together to the American West after graduating from Harvard University in 1845. Parkman's 1849 book, The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life, is dedicated to Shaw.[1][3]

Shaw's older brother Francis George Shaw (October 23, 1809 – November 7, 1882) was an outspoken advocate of the abolition of slavery.[4] Shaw's nephew, son of Francis George, was Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863).[4][5] The latter was a colonel in the Volunteer Army of the United States during the American Civil War, and commander of the all-black 54th Regiment. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed in action during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863.[4]

Later life[edit]

On November 30, 1860, Shaw married Pauline Agassiz (February 6, 1841 – February 10, 1917), daughter of Louis Agassiz and the step daughter of Elizabeth Cabot Cary. They had five children: Pauline, Marian, Louis Agassiz Shaw, Sr. (September 18, 1861 – July 2, 1891), Quincy Adams (July 30, 1869 – May 8, 1960), and Robert Gould II (1873–1930).[1]

Shaw's grandson, Louis Agassiz Shaw, Jr., is credited along with Philip Drinker for inventing the Drinker respirator, the first widely used iron lung.[6][7][8][9]


Shaw and his brother-in-law Henry Lee Higginson (1834–1919) became major investors in the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company,[10] and Shaw was the first president of the company. Shaw retained that position for only a few months before Alexander Emanuel Agassiz (another brother-in-law) took over.

In his Boston Daily Globe obituary, Shaw was named "the heaviest individual taxpayer in Massachusetts" and "the head of the family whose members in various ways have done much to promote the educational and commercial interests of Boston."[11]


  1. ^ a b c Boston Museum of Fine Arts (1918). "Introduction". Quincy Adams Shaw Collection (Italian Renaissance sculpture. Paintings and pastels by Jean François Millet. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts. pp. 1–4.
  2. ^ a b Hildreth, Richard (1846). Our first men: a calendar of wealth, fashion and gentility. All the booksellers. Boston. p. 41. shaw.
  3. ^ Parkman, Francis (1849). "Chapter I:The Frontier". The California and Oregon Trail: Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life. New York: George P. Putnam. pp. 9–18.
  4. ^ a b c "An old abolitionist dead: Francis George Shaw and his services in the cause of freedom." The New York Times, p. 5, November 9, 1882.
  5. ^ Shaw, Colin Gould (December 2005). "Robert Gould Shaw II". Newton, Massachusetts: Newton Conservators Inc. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  6. ^ Sherwood, RJ (1973). "Obituaries: Philip Drinker 1894 – 1972". The Annals of Occupational Hygiene. 16 (1): 93–4. doi:10.1093/annhyg/16.1.93.
  7. ^ Gorham, J (1979). "A medical triumph: the iron lung". Respiratory Therapy. 9 (1): 71–3. PMID 10297356.
  8. ^ The Harvard Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health (2010). "2010-2011 Student Handbook" (PDF). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  9. ^ P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science (2011). "Philip Drinker '17". Distinguished Alumni: Great Talents & Bright Minds. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Lehigh University. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  10. ^ Sammarco, Anthony M. (December 9, 2009). "Quincy Adams Shaw". Forest Hills Educational Trust. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  11. ^ Boston Daily Globe June 13, 1908

External links[edit]