Horace Seaver

On this date in 1810, Horace Seaver was born in Boston. At age 28, he became a compositor at the Boston Investigator and there learned the art of printing. Seaver also began writing editorials under the name "Z." The Investigator had been launched in 1830 by Abner Kneeland as a weekly, becoming the most effective and prominent freethought newspaper in the United States, continuously published until 1904, when it merged with The Truth Seeker. When Kneeland, who had been prosecuted for blasphemy more than once, resigned, Horace Seaver was selected to become its editor. Seaver edited the newspaper for the next half-century, promoting freethought, the working class, and other secular reforms. He wrote Occasional Thoughts of Horace Seaver from Fifty Years of Free Thinking (1888). When his freethinking wife died, Seaver held a "social funeral," an innovative model of the modern secular memorial service. When Seaver himself died, his funeral oration was given by the great 19th century freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll. D. 1889.

“For over fifty years he [Seaver] battled strenuously for Freethought; he was an Atheist and Materialist; he had no fogs of superstition; he was a clear, plain writer, and always went straight to the point; he indulged in no rhetoric; he was a wise man--a philosopher . . and he won the respect of every one who knew him.”

—Eulogy for Horace Seaver

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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