- Timothy Long
Bulfinch, Thomas (15 July 1796–27 May 1867), man of letters famous for a popularizing book on mythology, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Bulfinch, an architect, and Hannah Apthorp. Although he was born at the height of an extended period of financial difficulties for his father, he was able to enroll at Harvard in 1811 and graduate in 1814. Upon graduation he taught for one year at Boston Latin School. He was a devoted and successful teacher, but at the end of the year he decided to pursue a career in business and became a salesman in his brother Charles’s hardware firm. In 1818 he followed his family to Washington where he worked as a salesman of construction materials. In 1825 he returned to Boston and was a partner in a textile firm but, owing to his temperament and a self-confessed lack of business acumen, had little success. In 1837 he withdrew from private business and became collection clerk at the Merchants’ Bank of Boston....