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Who Is James Lendall Basford?



2016 JULY 27TH
TERRI GUILLEMETS

I’ve stumbled upon a “new” author I like, amongst the dusty shelves of Google Books. Mr James Lendall Basford was a jeweler and watchmaker in Massachusetts who published two books of his own aphorisms — Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone in 1882 and Seven Seventy Seven Sensations in 1897 — “the result of ideas which have forced themselves into expression during a period of the author’s life, extending from early youth to middle age, amidst the many cares and perplexities of a business life.”

Basford was born 1845 January 27th in Livermore Falls, Maine and passed away 1915 January 30th in Wareham, Massachusetts. He was married to Mary Wyman who died in 1883 of tuberculosis; they had two children who did not survive infancy and a son Ernest Dutton (1875–1920). James later married Florence Whitney; they had a son Ellerton Whitney (1890–1960) and a daughter who did not survive infancy.

The 1900 census reports 55-year-old Basford with an occupation of physician, but I can find no further information about a transition from jeweler, watchmaker, and watch repairer to doctor except that he had an 1891 trade-mark for Basford's Aquarian Balm, a “remedy for the respiratory organs and the blood.” If he did indeed change careers, one wonders if his interest in medicine may have stemmed from his first wife’s disease and death in her thirties. His first book was dedicated to a Boston doctor, in appreciation and admiration of his contributions to the happiness and welfare of others, so perhaps he was inspired also by that man.

J. L. Basford doesn’t seem to be quoted or bio’d anywhere on the Web, so I'm excited to provide a bit of info on his life and to revive selections from his writings at The Quote Garden. Below are some sample quotes. Please enjoy these old-timey gems from this watchmaker by trade and aphorist by leisure.


Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882

James Lendall Basford (1845–1915)“How often do our thoughts play 'hide-and-seek' with us in our memory!” ~James Lendall Basford

“Deep thinkers often lose two good thoughts by coming to the surface to record one.” ~James Lendall Basford

“Most of what is said under excitement is regretted when we become ourselves again.” ~James Lendall Basford

“The man who never has money enough to pay his debts, has too much of something else.” ~James Lendall Basford

“No monarch is so well obeyed as that whose name is Habit.” ~James Lendall Basford

“Men usually take better care of their boots than of their stomachs.” ~James Lendall Basford


Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

“Gray locks,—Nature’s flag of truce.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“Joy comes to us like butterflies, but sorrow like wasps.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“The Present gallops away with clattering feet, while the Future steals noiselessly upon us.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“Men sin and the law punishes; the law sins and the devil rewards.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“Life is a long road on a short journey.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“Life is a series of ever-changing color, and each day has its hue of romance.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“Let us fly from the Past on the wings of Faith.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“One neglect makes ten regrets.” ~J. Lendall Basford

“The healthiest herbs in literature are prov‑erbs.” ~J. Lendall Basford


Image Information. Photo and signature from Google Books public domain scanned books, modified by Terri Guillemets using cameran collage app, 2016. An interesting side note: the books scanned by Google were from the libraries of James Russell Lowell and William James, sent as gifts from the author.



Page Information:
Original post date 2016 Jul 27
Revisions 2020 Apr 3
Last saved 2020 Aug 30 Sun 19:27 PDT
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