The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Chamberlain, Mellen

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CHAMBERLAIN, Mellen, American lawyer, librarian and historian: b. Pembroke, N. H., 4 June 1821; d. Chelsea, Mass., 25 June 1900. He was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1844 and at the Harvard Law School in 1848. In 1849 he was admitted to the bar, opened a law office in Boston and made his residence in Chelsea, where, during 51 years of citizenship, he served the town in many public capacities. In 1858 and 1859 he was a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives and the senate in 1863-64. He was associate justice of the Municipal Court of Boston 1866-70, and chief justice 1870-78. On 26 Aug. 1878 he was chosen librarian of the Boston Public Library, serving until ill health compelled his retirement in 1890. During his administration the new library building was begun and the corner-stone laid. Throughout his life he was a close student and investigator of American history. Besides important chapters in Winsor's ‘Memorial History of Boston’ (1881), and ‘Narrative and Critical History of America’ (1888), he wrote ‘John Adams, the Statesman of the Revolution’ (1884); The Authentication of the Declaration of Independence’ (1885); ‘John Adams, the Statesman, with Other Essays and Addresses’ (1898); ‘The Journals of Captain Henry Dearborn, 1775-83’ (1886-87); ‘The Constitutional Relations of the American Colonies to the English Government at the Commencement of the American Revolution’ (1887).