Biography of Henry Manchester Boss, Jr.

Henry Manchester Boss Jr
Henry Manchester Boss Jr

Henry Manchester Boss, Jr., United States District Attorney for the district of Rhode Island and a member of the law firm of Boss, Shepard & McMahon, leading attorneys of Providence, has made an enviable reputation in his profession since he was admitted to practice before the Rhode Island bar in 1900. He has served efficiently in the public office to which he was appointed April 24, 1929, prosecuting offenders against the law of the State with fearlessness and forcefulness, but the public has watched his work with complacency rather than surprise, for it was already assured of his exceptional abilities. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Boss has business interests in various mercantile concerns. He takes an active part in organization affairs of his fellow-barristers and is also a well-known figure in the best club circles of the State capital.

Mr. Boss was born September 13, 1875, in Providence, the son of Henry Manchester Boss, also a native of the city and for many years prominently identified with the insurance interests of Providence. His mother was, before her marriage, Emma J. Wilbur. Following his graduation from the Providence High School, Mr. Boss entered Brown University where he studied for two years before going to Yale University to take up the study of law. He was accorded his degree, Bachelor of Laws, with the class of 1899, and the following year was admitted to the Rhode Island bar. When he first began his law practice Mr. Boss was associated with Walter B. Vincent, and in 1904 entered the firm which thereafter was known as Vincent, Boss and Barnefield, with offices in Providence. Mr. Vincent was made an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1912 with the result that his affiliation with his former co-workers was severed and the firm of Boss and Barnefield carried on in its place. Again, in 1918, there was a change and Mr. Boss allied himself with the firm of Lee, Boss and McCanna, which continued its operations until the year 1922, when he helped to form the firm of Curtis, Matteson, Boss and Letts. This latter was not dissolved until, in 1927, Ira Lloyd Letts was named to occupy a seat on the Federal bench. Thereupon the firm which has since continued to work together was organized, Boss, Shepard and McMahan, with offices in the Hospital Trust Building. Mr. Boss was appointed to his office as United States District Attorney on April 24, 1929, a signal recognition of his abilities, and in this position he has since served ably.

As a director and secretary of the board of directors, Mr. Boss is interested in the Rhode Island Lace Works, Incorporated, and he is also secretary and director of the Saddleback Lumber Company of Maine. He is a member of both the American Bar Association and the Rhode Island Bar Association, and of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr. Boss is president of the Rhode Island Medico-Legal Society, and the clubs which carry his name on their rosters include: the Agawam Hunt Club, the Duxbury Yacht Club, and Zeta Psi Fraternity. With his family he worships at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

Mr. Boss married, on October 20, 1906, Louise Gifford, daughter of William H. and Norah B. (Gardner) Gifford. To this union two children have been born:

  1. Betsey Boss, who was educated in the Mary C. Wheeler School of Providence and St. Agnes School of Albany, New York. She was married, on November 30, 1929, to Herbert Carpenter Brownell, of Providence, a graduate of Colgate in 1928.
  2. Mary Louise Boss.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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