a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Otis, Harrison Gray (1765-1848)

Otis, Harrison Gray (1765-1848)

Otis Gray Harrison

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1809. Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

This Unitarian businessman and lawyer was appointed by George Washington as a U.S. district attorney for Massachusetts and served as one of the original incorporators of the Boston Bank. A strong advocate for centralized government, Otis warned that Napoleon’s mounting victories might “roll toward our shores.”

His public service included terms in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1797-1801) and the Massachusetts state legislature (1802-1817). He was the primary actor in the controversial Hartford Convention of 1814, a gathering that favored states’ rights. From 1817 to 1822 Otis served as a U.S. senator, returning to Boston in 1829 to serve as its mayor.

The elegant Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston is now the home of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.



Notable in UU History
Emerson lodged at his grandparents’ home, the Old Manse, when he first moved to Concord. Courtesy of the Concord Free Public Library.

Emerson in Concord

The Living Legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson moved to Concord, Massachusetts, in 1834 ... Read More

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Women’s Rights: Legacy of Emerson Series

The Living Legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson “If women feel wronged then they are wronged...I should ... Read More
Jennifer Leaning

Jennifer Leaning

Jennifer Leaning is Professor of the Practice of International Health in the Department of Population and ... Read More
Perspective, Scheme "D" Latest Design.

The Church in Harvard Square: Architectural Evolution

Architectural Evolution In the 1890s, the Parish seriously considered replacing the fifth meeting house with a ... Read More