Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BUCKINGHAM, Joseph Tinker, journalist, born in Windham, Connecticut, 21 December, 1779; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 11 April, 1861. His father's name was Nehemiah Tinker; but Joseph, when twenty-seven years old, was authorized by the Massachusetts legislature to take his mother's name of Buckingham. Nehemiah Tinker died in 1783, leaving his widow and ten children so destitute that they were supported during one winter by the town authorities. They then removed to Worthington, Massachusetts, where Joseph was apprenticed to a farmer, and acquired a knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic. At the age of sixteen he entered a printing-office at Walpole, New Hampshire, and a few months later became a printer in the office of the Greenfield, Massachusetts, "Gazette." He removed to Boston in 1800, and in 1803 filled the office of prompter to a company of comedians. He founded the "Polyanthus," a monthly magazine, in 1806, but discontinued it in September, 1807, and published a weekly, called the " Ordeal," in 1809, but it ran only six months. The "Polyanthus " was revived in 1812, and continued through six volumes. From 1817 till 1828, in company with Samuel L. Knapp, he published the "New England Galaxy and Masonic Magazine," which sided with the federalists in politics. In 1828 he sold the "Galaxy" that he might give his whole attention to the Boston "Courier," which he had begun to publish in 1824. He continued to edit this till 1848, and from 1831 till 1834 published, with his son Edwin, the "New England Magazine." In this magazine Dr. Holmes published one or two articles under the title of " The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table," which became famous when he resumed it twenty-five years later for a series in the "Atlantic Monthly." Mr. Buckingham was frequently elected to the lower house of the legislature, and in 1847 and 1850 served in the state senate. Among other public services, he made a report in favor of the suppression of lotteries. He was president of the Massachusetts charitable association, of the Bunker Hill monument association, and of the Middlesex agricultural society. After retiring from the press he published "Specimens of Newspaper Literature, with Personal Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Reminiscences" (2 vols., Boston, 1850); "Personal Memoirs and Recollections of Editorial Life" (2 vols., 1852); and "Annals of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics' Association" (1853).--His son, Edwin, associated with him in the publication of the " New England Magazine," died at sea, on a voyage to Smyrna, in 1833, aged twenty-three years.
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