Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
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FISHER, Joshua Francis, author, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 February 1807; died there. 21 January 1878. He was graduated at Harvard in 1825, studied law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1829, but never practiced. Mr. Fisher was one of the incorporators of the Pennsylvania institution for the instruction of the blind, the second of its kind in America. He remained one of its trustees until his death, was president for one year, and rendered important services to the institution by his examination of the systems of instruction in Europe during three foreign tours, and the reports of his conclusions. Early in life he became interested in historical studies, particularly those relating to America and to Pennsylvania,, and was one of the earliest and most industrious members of the Historical society of Pennsylvania. In 1829, when only twenty-two years old, he delivered before the society "An Account of the Early Poets and Poetry of Pennsylvania," which was published in the "Memoirs" of the society. His contributions to the society were numerous and valuable. The most important was his address on the "Private Life and Domestic Habits of William Penn" (1836). Mr. Fisher was one of the earliest advocates of minority representation, and, with perhaps one exception, the first American writer on that subject. He published "The Degradation of our Representative System and its Reform," proposing a plan of reform different from those of all other writers, which attracted much attention among students of the subject in this country and in Europe (1863); " Reform of Municipal Elections" (1866); and " Nomination of Candidates" (1868).
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