December 9, 2009

Quincy Adams Shaw

Quincy Adams Shaw (1825-1908) was a major investor in the Calumet & Hecla Copper Mines with his brother-in-law Henry L. Higginson. The copper mining property had been prospected by Louis Agassiz, and his son Alexander Agassiz, who was developing it and which proved to be an immensely important prospect. Quincy Adams Shaw was a major art collector and donated numerous impressionistic paintings by Jean-Francois Millet, Corot’s Dante and Virgil, as well as Donatello’s the Madonna of the Clouds to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He and his wife Pauline Agassiz Shaw lived in a large mansion on Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain, fronting onto Jamaica Pond and summered in Prides Crossing on Boston's North Shore. He was the son of Robert Gould and Elizabeth Willard Parkman Shaw and was named after John Quincy Adams. He was graduated from Harvard in the class of 1845, and over the next few years he and Henry Lee Higginson, his brother in law, shared the tremendous efforts that were made before the Calumet & Hecla mine became a dividend payer; it is said that Mr. Shaw put in nearly all the money he had before this happened. He picked up all he could afford to buy, even when it was selling at $1 a share. However, it was a lucrative if speculative business and when he died the June 13, 1908 edition of the Boston Daily Globe said that "Quincy A. Shaw [was] the heaviest individual taxpayer in Massachusetts, the largest individual owner of Calumet & Hecla stock in the state, and the head of the family whose members in various ways have done much to promote the educational and commercial interests of Boston" and had the cumbersome title as the "Heaviest Individual Taxpayer in the State." In fact he was said to be the wealthiest man in New England upon his death. Shaw was buired in a large lot on Nesutan Avenue on Eliot Hill.

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