William Paine, a physician and prominent citizen of Worcester,
was one of the eleven incorporators of the American Antiquarian
in 1812. He served as the Society's vice president from 1813 to
later was a member of the committee for publications. He
professional library which consisted of many early medical texts
Society.(1) His personal and business papers, including documents
to his activities during the Revolutionary War, are preserved in
Paine was born in Worcester and graduated from Harvard College
He studied medicine with several Worcester county physicians and
partner in an apothecary business in town. During the
he supported the Loyalists and left Worcester for England and
in 1774. He received his medical degree from the University of
and enlisted in the British Army as a surgeon. In this capacity
was sent to New Jersey, New York, and Nova Scotia.(3) After the
over, Paine was given land in Canada as a reward for his loyalty
crown, but instead chose to live in Salem, Massachusetts, near his
family. In 1793, when Paine's father died, he left the family
in Worcester to his son, who soon returned to the city of his
re-established his medical practice. During the hostilities with
in 1812, Paine gave up his British military pension and was
as a United States citizen. In Worcester, he quickly regained his
and civic prominence, not only as a physician, but also as a
of education and an active member of the Second Parish Church.
Around 1830, Chester Harding, who was then the most fashionable
in Boston, painted Paine's portrait. Although Harding's sitters
patriots such as James Madison and John Quincy Adams, he agreed to
the former Loyalist, who by then was almost eighty years of age
long been retired from the practice of medicine.(4) A contemporary
that Paine 'was of medium height and of slight figure; his white
was brushed back from his head, made into a cue and bound with
with a bow at the end. Even at the age of eighty his complexion
clear and delicate.'(5)
1) George E. Francis, 'William Paine,' Proceedings of the
Antiquarian Society 13 (April 1900): 404.
2) Paine Family Papers c. 1721-c. 1918, American
Society Manuscript Collection.
3) For more on Paine's activities during the war see
'William Paine,' 398.
4) A miniature after this portrait by an unknown artist
by the Worcester Art Museum and is illustrated in Susan Strickler,
Portrait Miniatures (Worcester: Worcester Art Museum, 1989), 134.
to Strickler, the miniature was copied in the 1870s by the artist
Sullivan Lincoln. In addition, there is a profile silhouette of
Paine in the Society's Graphic Arts Collection.
5) Francis, 'William Paine,' 405-6.