It is not often given to a man as he walks the streets of a large city to speak to almost every person he meets and to cause many to turn and watch his retreating steps. But for many years Mr. Tillinghast was a familiar figure to Bostonians. His stout form, slightly bent, his very full face framed in long curly hair and crowned by a felt hat with broad brim, suggested a Quaker of an earlier generation to which sect his ancestors belonged; although his wonderful capacity to judge men and to aid them kept him allied to the present.

    Mr. Tillinghast was born at West Greenwich, Rhode Island, April 3, 1843, the son of Pardon Tillinghast, who had chosen his wife Eunice from the same stock and family name. In his childhood the family moved to Windham County, Connecticut, where the son worked on a farm when he was not attending the rural school. He walked five miles on Saturdays to get books from an association library to supplement the meagre instruction of the school-room. While living at Killingly he became in early manhood a school visitor, and held other minor offices, both civic and in connection with the Good Templars. Here he married Ardelia Martin Wood, August 10, 1862, and here also their son Linwood Morton Tillinghast was born July 4, 1865.

    In the spring of 1870 Mr. Tillinghast came to Boston, obtaining a position as reporter on the Boston Journal. He soon rose to be city editor, bringing into service his wide and accurate knowledge of political history, and his keen insight into the motives which govern men. This ability never deserted him through forty years. During this time he had abandoned journalism to become assistant librarian and librarian of the State Library of Massachusetts, serving from 1879 to 1909. He may be best remembered as the creator and efficient executive of a large state library, rich in statutes, local history, and documents. But to those who knew him most intimately he was more than an astute buyer, or even user, of books. It was his influence upon men that endeared him to those about him. He was as gentle as a child in his daily intercourse with those whom he came to trust. He was sensitive to criticism, and he was equally careful of the feelings of others; but to the aggressive or assuming visitor he could be as cold as civility would permit. He openly hated pretension and sham, so that a certain class in the community was wont to marvel at the magnitude of his influence at the State House. Governors, senators, and the more humble Boston representatives of foreign parentage turned to him with equal faith in his wisdom. It became a byword in the corridors there to “see Tillinghast.”

    His first official appointment as acting librarian had come through John W. Dickinson, then secretary of the State Board of Education and State Librarian. In 1893, under Governor Russell, he became “State Librarian,” and this title he held through his life.704 For thirty years he served as clerk and treasurer of the State Board of Education, guiding the rapid development of education by thorough familiarity and sympathy with the work being done and the ideals being sought for. These ideals demanded closer cooperation between schools and the public library, and Mr. Tillinghast saw into the future. Governor Brackett appointed him chairman of the newly created Massachusetts Free Public Library Commission in 1890, and through its work he soon became known to every town in the State.

    Mr. Tillinghast took great interest in our normal schools, and devoted many moments to promising young students from country towns who wished to get a teacher’s education. He also interested himself in methods of instruction for the deaf, the blind, and the feeble minded. Friendships begun in 1870, with others as the years passed, led him into many societies, the Old Colony Historical Society, the Weymouth Historical Society, the Worcester Society of Antiquity, the Buffalo Historical Society, the Chicago Historical Society, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Boston Art Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the General Theological Library, the Massachusetts Total Abstinence Society, and the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union. Their variety of aim testifies to the catholicity of his tastes.

    Apart from his work at the State House and in the accumulation of a private library, he devoted time and thought to the welfare of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He rarely attended meetings of the Society, but in the Council and in Committees his clear mind and incisive reasoning made him for a decade the greatest single force in its affairs. As Vice-President for Massachusetts and chairman of the Committee on Publications he had an opportunity to encourage every plan which gave promise of increasing the Society’s usefulness. His connection with the Colonial Society of Massachusetts began in 1907, and covered a period in which his health gave evidence of failing.

    His recreation consisted in an occasional trolley ride into the country, with a good inn as his objective point; and on these outings he would enjoy a quiet companion who might know and appreciate the little humors of such a journey. His avocation was the search for biographical material for his lives of members of the Massachusetts State government. He used to say that he had written over 75,000 letters in the quest, all the work being done by the evening lamp. Another pursuit in which he took delight was the collection of rare editions of the writings of John Ruskin.

    He worked incessantly for the Commonwealth, promoting education, creating libraries, advising officials upon every variety of subject, and receiving as compensation only his salary as librarian. He was offered several positions of greater remuneration, among others the librarianship of the Boston Public Library, but he preferred not to change. He had opportunities to write and to lecture, and even to acquire money by lending the use of his name on title-pages of books which he was not to write or compile; but he was sensitive lest he might seem to turn his official position indirectly to his profit. To a man who estimated honor with such true discrimination, fitting recognition came in its pleasantest forms. He received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Harvard University in June, 1897, and the degree of Doctor of Literature from Tufts College in 1905.

    As age and illness came upon him new library methods made their appeal to him less strongly. He could not understand those who felt that in preparation for the time when his great knowledge and strong personality should be gone some devices, mechanical and conventional, should be introduced into his library. Just as he clung to old and well-tried methods, he drew about him the ties of old friendships, and never lost the kindly smile and pressure of the hand for those who were worthy of his affection.

    He died after several slight operations at the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital in the early morning of April 28, 1909. He had married in Boston, June 30, 1886, Mrs. Martha Ann (Lane) Wonson of Gloucester, and she survives him, together with Mr. Tillinghast’s son Lin wood.