Reference Entry

Ward, Samuel

in American National Biography Online


Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697

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adventurer and lobbyist, was born in New York City, the son of Samuel Ward, a banker, and Julia Rush Cutler. He was sent to Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, and displayed an aptitude for languages and mathematics. He graduated from Columbia College in 1831. Despite misgivings, Ward’s father allowed his precocious son to study and travel in Europe. For four years he subsidized fellow students, dined exquisitely, took music lessons, attended performances, dallied with women, wrote a thesis in Latin on mathematical equations that earned him a Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen, acted as an unofficial diplomatic secretary, accumulated a library, and acquired a network of acquaintances. His serendipitous meeting with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1836 turned into a lifelong friendship.

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