Richard Dana (lawyer)

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Richard Dana
Richard Dana.jpg
Portrait of Richard Dana by John Singleton Copley (ca. 1770)
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for Marblehead
In office
Personal details
BornJune 26, 1700
Cambridge, Massachusetts
DiedMay 17, 1772(1772-05-17) (aged 71)
Boston, Massachusetts
Lydia Trowbridge
(m. 1737; his death 1772)
Children7, including Francis
ParentsDaniel Dana
Naomi Croswell
Alma materHarvard College

Richard Dana (June 26, 1700 – May 17, 1772) was a prominent lawyer and politician in colonial Massachusetts, and member of the Dana family.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dana was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 26, 1700. He was the son of Daniel Dana (1664–1749) and Naomi (née Croswell) Dana (1670–1751).[2] The Dana family was prominent in colonial Massachusetts and their family’s coat of arms was three stags separated by a chevron, with a fox at the crest.[1]

He graduated from Harvard College in 1718 and then studied law and passed the bar.[3]


Dana became a prominent lawyer[4] and during the early stages of the Revolution, the city of Boston depended on his legal advice, serving as a member of the committee that investigated the Boston Massacre in 1770.[1] He was a founding member the Sons of Liberty, and led Massachusetts opposition to the Stamp Act.[5] He served one term in the Massachusetts Assembly,[6] representing Marblehead in 1738.[4]

Personal life[edit]

On May 31, 1737, Dana was married to Lydia Trowbridge (1710–1776), the sister of Edmund Trowbridge, an associate justice for the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature. Together, they were the parents of:[2]

Dana died on May 17, 1772. He is buried in Harvard Square, in "the Old Burying Ground" between the First Parish Church and Christ Church.[2]


Through his son Francis, he was the grandfather of Richard Henry Dana Sr., a lawyer, poet and literary critic,[8] and the great-grandfather of Edmund Trowbridge Dana (1818–1869) and Richard Henry Dana Jr. (1815–1882), also a noted lawyer and author who served as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and wrote the classic Two Years Before the Mast.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "John Singleton Copley | Richard Dana | The Met". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Munsey's Magazine Volume XVI | October 1896, To March 1897. New York: Frank A. Munsey & Company. 1897. pp. 140–152. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  3. ^ Warren, Charles (1908). History of the Harvard Law School and of Early Legal Conditions in America. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. p. 52. ISBN 9781584770060. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b Adams, John (1965). Legal Papers of John Adams. Harvard University Press. pp. 99–100. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b Mays, Terry M. Historical Dictionary Of Revolutionary America (Scarecrow Press, 2005). Page 77.
  6. ^ "Dana Family Papers, 1654-1950". Massachusetts Historical Society. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  7. ^ Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900
  8. ^ Eliot, Samuel Atkins (1906). Biographical History of Massachusetts: Biographies and Autobiographies of the Leading Men in the State. Massachusetts biographical society. p. 1850. Retrieved 13 November 2017.

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