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Walter Muir Whitehill (1905-1978) was an author, historian and the Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum from 1946 to 1973. He was also editor for publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts from 1946 to 1978. From 1951 to 1972 Whitehill was a professor at Harvard University.

Whitehill's father of the same name was an Episcopalian minister. The younger Whitehill received his AB and AM degrees from Harvard in 1926 and 1929. Shortly after this he married Jane Revere Coolidge, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. He then went to England where he received a Ph.D. from the University of London.

Mr. Whitehill was selected to deliver an important televised address about the history and development of Boston on the occasion of the Bicentennial Celebration of the United States. On July 11, 1976, he spoke at the Old State House in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II, the Mayor of Boston, the Governor of Massachusetts, and a large audience. The text of his address was printed in a publication by the Bostonian Society, which operates the Old State House on behalf of the National Park Service.

Mr. Whitehill delivered the commencement address in 1974 at the College of William and Mary.


  • Ernest J. King and Walter Muir Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record. New York City: W. W. Norton Company, 1952.
  • Boston, A Topographical History, Third Edition, Enlarged, with Lawrence W. Kennedy, 2000. Hardcover ISBN 0-674-00267-9, Paperback ISBN 0-674-00268-7. Read a review at
  • Boston Prints and Printmakers, 1670-1775, with Sinclair H. Hitchings, 1982. ISBN 0-8139-0407-2

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