John Forrester Andrew (1850-1895) was a Boston lawyer, politician, and advocate for civil service reform. He was born on November 26, 1850, in Hingham, Mass., the son of John A. Andrew, governor of Massachusetts from 1861-1865, and Eliza Jones Hersey. He attended private schools in Hingham and the Phillips Grammar and Brooks Schools in Boston. After his graduation from Harvard University in 1872, he traveled abroad with his mother and siblings for a year. Upon his return, he attended Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1875. He was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1875.
From 1875-1876, he apprenticed in the firm of Brooks, Ball and Storey in Boston and, in September 1876, started his own practice in association with Albert Boyd Otis, his father's former law partner.
In 1880, Andrew was elected as a Republican to the Massachusetts Legislature from the ninth ward of Boston, serving three successive terms in the House and one term as state senator. He was known as a non-partisan, independent political thinker and voted to abolish the poll tax as a prerequisite for voting. He participated extensively on committees, including the Judiciary Committee of both branches of the Legislature and the Committees on the Revision of the Statues (1881), Expediting Business (1882), and on Bills in the Third Reading and Election Laws. He also chaired the Committee on Street Railways. He introduced a bill to establish a Civil Service Commission in 1884, moved to abolish the custom of preaching the election sermon, and introduced a bill to repeal the law providing that an atheist's disbelief in God affects his credibility as a witness.
In 1883, he married Harriet Thayer, with whom he had two daughters, Cornelia Thayer Andrew and Elizabeth Andrew.
In 1884, he was delegate to the National Republican Convention in Chicago, where he was one of a small group that actively sought to prevent the nomination of the Republican candidate James Blaine of Maine, who they believed to be corrupt and a spoilsman. Soon after the convention, he joined the Independent Republican movement, taking up the issues of civil service, tariff, municipal, and currency reform. He was elected president of the Young Men's Independent Club of Boston and spoke in support of the Democratic presidential candidate, Grover Cleveland of New York, who ultimately won the election. The movement by Independent Republicans to oppose Blaine was also known as the Mugwump revolt, and Andrew was a key player in Boston. Andrew was nominated for the U.S. Senate in 1884 on the Independent Republican ticket and, with Democratic support, was elected by a large majority.
In 1886, Andrew was invited to be the Democratic candidate for governor. He initially refused but later accepted on the condition that the party endorse civil service and tariff reform. He did not win the gubernatorial race, but in 1888 and again in 1890, he was elected to Congress by the Democrats of the third district of Massachusetts. He ran again unsuccessfully in 1892.
From 1885-1889, and again in 1894, Andrew served as parks commissioner in Boston. At the beginning of his service, the Back Bay Fens was about half-finished, and the establishment of the City of Boston Parks System had just begun. Andrew was instrumental in developing the parks system, including the addition of Castle Island, and for extending the main park system from the Fens to Jamaica Pond. He also extended Arnold Arboretum and recommended the establishment of playgrounds and open-air gymnasiums around the city.
Andrew was weakened by a bout of malaria in the summer of 1891, and his wife died the following autumn. It is thought that he never fully recovered from the illness and the loss of his wife. He returned to Boston in the spring of 1893 at the close of the 52nd Congress in a weakened physical condition, from which he did not recover until the summer of 1894. On May 30, 1895, he died very suddenly of a stroke at home in Boston.
Andrew's funeral service was conducted at the First Church in Boston. He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=A000242, accessed 04/18/2006.
New England Historic Genealogical Society. Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Towne Memorial Fund, vol. 9. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1908. 261-263.
Wheelwright, Edmund March. Memoir of John Forrester Andrew. Cambridge, Mass.: J. Wilson and Son, 1897. Reprinted from the Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. III.
The John Forrester Andrew papers consist of four boxes, one narrow box, and one volume that span the years 1861-1897. The collection is divided into four series: correspondence, legal papers, financial papers, and printed materials.
The bulk of the collection consists of letters received by Andrew during his legal and political careers, and of retained copies of outgoing correspondence (letterpress book) sent by Andrew between 1879-1887. Correspondence to 1880 pertains primarily to his legal practice and includes letters from attorneys, clients, and others. From 1880-1894, the correspondence relates mainly to his political interests and activities, including civil service, tariff and currency reform, street railways, veterans' causes, and his work as Boston parks commissioner. Correspondents include Charles Codman, Charles F. Crisp, George William Curtis, Richard Henry Dana, Charles W. Eliot, Henry Lee Higginson, Frederick Law Olmsted, Carl Schurz, and Edmund Wheelwright, among others.
In addition to the correspondence, the collection contains papers from 1875-1886 relating to Andrew's legal practice, including cases for which Andrew served as attorney. As with the correspondence, legal papers to 1880 pertain primarily to his legal practice, and from 1880-1886 increasingly to his political interests and activities.
The collection also contains receipts received by and from Andrew for transactions related to his legal practice and for political contributions and publication subscriptions, as well as printed materials and ephemera relating to his legal and political interests, activities, education, and travel.
Gift of Mrs. Charles T. Mason, Oct. 1941.
The collection is organized into the following series:
John F. Andrew papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
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