Famous Allston-Brighton Residents, Past and Present
All of the people listed below resided in Allston-Brighton at one time or another and were significant, not just locally, but on a regional, national, or international basis.  We encourage readers to submit additional candidates for inclusion, with supporting biographical information and an indication of when and where they lived in Allston-Brighton.

Fred Allen (1894-1956) - Born John Florence Sullivan in Cambridge in 1894, this famous radio personality of the 1930s and 1940s, whose mother died when he was a small child, grew up on Bayard Street in  the home of his paternal aunt and attended the neighboring North Harvard Grammar School. As early as 1936, the literate, urbane, and intelligent comedian, who wrote most of his own material, had a radio audience of some 20 million listeners. In 1946-47 Allen's was ranked the number one show on network radio. His later career included a long stint on the television program "What's My Line?"

William Henry Baldwin (1826-1909) - A leading 19th century Boston businessman and social reformer, born into a prominent Brighton family in 1826, who attended Brighton High School, graduating in 1843 as one of its first students. In 1850 Baldwin established the highly successful woolen goods firm of Baldwin, Baxter & Company in Boston. He was active as a social reformer in the city throughout his lifetime, most notably as the long-time President the Boston Young Men's Christian Union. The Baldwin family of Brighton included several notable social reformers, including William Henry's sister-in-law. Harriet Hollis Baldwin (see Harriet Baldwin biography) and a grandson, Roger Baldwin, founder in 1917 of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jennie Loitman Barron (1891–1969) - Longtime Brighton resident Jennie Loitman Barron, daughter of Jewish immigrants, crossed gender barriers well before most women joined the professional workforce.  Jennie was raised in Boston’s West End and, at the age of twenty-three, earned her Master’s in Law from Boston University and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. She opened her own practice with her husband in 1918, which they shared until she was appointed Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1934. A committed suffragist and feminist, Jennie continued to advocate for women’s rights throughout her career, as well as actively participating in Jewish social justice organizations. She became the state’s first full-time female judge in 1937, and in 1957, the first woman appointed to its Superior Court. She lived in Brighton’s Aberdeen neighborhood until her passing in 1969.

Adolf Berle (1895-1971) - Brilliant corporate lawyer, the youngest person ever to graduate from the Harvard Law School, Adolf Berle, Jr. was born in Brighton, MA in 1895, the son of the minister of the Faneuil Congregational Church. The nation's leading expert on corporate governance, Berle served as Professor of corporate law at Columbia University Law School from 1927 until his retirement in 1964. An original member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" he helped shape the policies of the New Deal and was a principal  architect of FDR's "Good Neighbor Policy". Berle subsequently served as Undersecretary of State for Latin American Affairs

Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. He was probably best known to the public as the longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic, for conducting concerts by many of the world's leading orchestras, and for writing the music for West Side Story, Candide, Wonderful Town, and On the Town.  He lived in Allston from 1920 -1923 before moving to Roxbury and later Newton.  In 1935, he graduated from Boston Latin School.

Michael Bloomberg (1942 - ) New York City Mayor from 2002-2014 and founder of Bloomberg L.P., Michael Bloomberg, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, was born in St Elizabeth's Hospital in 1942 and resided in Allston at 100 Brainerd Rd until age 2.  A highly successful businessman and philanthropist, Bloomberg's fortune is variously estimated at $16 billion.

Abel Bowen ( 1790-1850) - Leading American illustrator and engraver.  Born in New York City in 1790, Young Bowen came to Boston in 1812 to work as a printer in the Columbian Museum, Boston's oldest museum, which was owned and operated by his uncle Daniel Bowen. (see the David Bowen biography).  During his period of employment with his uncle. Abel Bowen resided with his uncle on an estate in Brighton called Lime Grove, situated just west of Oak Square. He moved to Boston in 1814, following his marriage, where he long functioned as one of the city's leading illustrators and publishers.

Daniel Bowen (1760-1856) - Boston's first museum keeper, was born in Rehoboth, Rhode Island in 1760 and saw service in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Bowen then settled in Philadelphia, where he befriended the great painter and pioneer museum keeper Charles Wilson Peale.  Interested in establishing a museum of his own, but not wishing to compete with his friend, Bowen moved to Boston in 1791, where he established that city's first Museum, the Columbian Museum, on Tremont Street adjacent to the King's Chapel Burial ground.  Bowen resided, on a nine acre estate in Brighton called Lime Grove, just west of Oak Square. In 1815 Bowen sold the Columbian Museum and left Boston. He died in Philadelphia in 1856 at the age of 96.

Joseph Breck (1794-1873) The leading Massachusetts horticulturalist of his day, a founding member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and its President from 1859 to 1863, Joseph Breck was the long-time editor of the "New England Farmer," as well as several other horticultural publications. In 1836, he founded the Joseph Breck & Sons Agricultural Supply House in Boston, and moved to Brighton, where he established a nursery to the rear of his residence, on the site now occupied by the Oak Square School.
Patrick Collins (1844-1905) - Boston Mayor from 1902 to 1905, Collins, who was born in Ireland and emigrated to America at the age of 4, was one of Massachusetts leading Democratic politicians of late 19th century. During the last years of his life he resided on Corey Road in Brighton. Beginning as an upholsterer, and a labor activist, Collins eventually earned a law degree from Harvard, becoming one of the city's leading attorneys. Collins served in a wide array of public offices before becoming Mayor, including both houses of the Massachusetts legislature, the U. S. Congress, and as U.S. Consul General in London under President Grover Cleveland.

Harold Connolly (1931-2010) - Winner of an Olympic gold medal for hammer throwing at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne Australia, Harold Connolly grew up and trained in Allston, Ma. A statue of this outstanding athlete stands on the grounds of the William Howard Taft School in Brighton, which he attended. He also graduated from Brighton High School and Boston College. Connolly, who was born with one arm four inches shorter than the other, was an inspiration to the physically disabled. In his subsequent career he served as Executive Director of the Special Olympics.

Richard Cardinal Cushing  (1895-1970) - Roman Catholic Cardinal, was born in South Boston, MA, the son of Irish immigrants, and was educated at Boston College and St. John's Seminary.  He served as a parish priest in Roxbury and Somerville.  From 1929-1944 he held the position of Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In 1939 Cushing was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and in 1966 elevated to the post of Archbishop of Boston, following the death of William Cardinal O'Connell. whereupon he took up residence at the Archbishop's Palace in Brighton, MA.  An important part of his work consisted of building bridges to the non-Catholic elements of the city, in striking contrast to the more militant policies of his predecessor.

Commodore John Downes (1786-1854) Born in Canton, MA in 1854, U.S. naval officer Commodore John Downes, maintained a country estate on the western slope of Nonantum Hill in Brighton in the late 1830s and 1840s, while serving as Commandant of the Charlestown Navy Yard. Downes earlier career had included service in the Tripolitanian War, Command of both the Navy's Mediterranean and Pacific Squadrons and command of the  controversial expedition against Malayan Pirates at Kuala Batu in 1832. The ship he commanded in that South Seas expedition, the Potomac, was the first American naval vessel to circumnavigate the globe.

Sarah Willis Eldredge (Fanny Fern) (1811-1872) - Arguably the most popular American female writer of her day, Sarah Payson Willis (best known by her pen name, "Fanny Fern"), was born in Portland, Maine in 1811, the daughter of publisher Nathaniel Willis and sister of the poet Nathaniel Parker Willis. In 1837 she married banker Charles Harrington Eldredge of Brighton, MA. The couple resided in Brighton from 1837 to 1845, where three daughters were born to them. Following  Charles Eldredge's financial failure and death in 1845, Sarah sought to support herself and her children by writing, a course of action of which her male relatives strongly disapproved. Adopting the pen name Fanny Fern, she eventually moved to New York City where she attained great success and became a strong advocate of women's rights. Her best known novel, "Ruth Hall," largely autobiographical, deals with her period of residency in Brighton, MA.
Julian Eltinge (1881-1941) - American stage and silent screen actor, and the leading female impersonator of his day, sometimes referred to as "Mr. Lillian Russell".  Julian Eltinge was one of the highest paid actors on the American stage in the early years of the 20th century. Born in Newtonville, MA. in 1881, as William J. Dalton, Eltinge grew up in Allston, MA on Mechanics Street just outside of Union Square, and attended the  Washington Allston Grammar School.
George Bethune English(1787-1828) was an American adventurer, diplomat, soldier, and convert to Islam. English was born in Little Cambridge (now Brighton, MA), the grandson of Benjamin Faneuil, younger brother of Peter Faneuil. He attended Harvard College, where he earned a Masters in theology in 1811, and was the author of numerous religious tracts. He also served in the United States Marine Corps during the War of 1812.   English was among the first citizens of the United States to visit Egypt, where he resigned his commission, converted to  Islam and joined Isma'il Pasha (in an expedition up the Nile River against  in 1820 in the Sudan, winning distinction as an officer of artillery. He subsequently entered the US diplomatic service where he helped negotiate a treaty with the Ottoman Empire.

Hannah Webster Foster (1758-1840) - Hannah Webster Foster was born in Salisbury, N.H. in 1758, the daughter of wealthy Boston merchant Grant Webster. Hannah married the Reverend John Foster of Brighton, MA in 1785.  She was the first American born woman to publish a novel, "The Coquette, or the History of Eliza Wharton," which she wrote in the church parsonage on Brighton's Academy Hill Road in 1797. "The Coquette" was said to have been, next to the Bible, the most popular reading material of early nineteenth-century New England. A recent commentator tells us that it was “one of the two best-selling American novels of the 18th century.” She is also also credited with having organized the first women's club in Massachusetts among the female members of her husband's parish. Foster also encouraged her children to pursue literary careers, and two of her daughters, Eliza Lanesford Cushing and Harriet Vaughan Cheney, did so.
Nathan Hale II (1784-1863) - American journalist and railroad promoter, born in Westhampton, MA in 1784, nephew of the Revolutionary War hero of the same name.  Hale was an important Boston entrepreneur of the day. He edited the influential "Boston Daily Advertiser" from 1814 to 1854 and helped found the "North American Review." While supervising the construction of the Boston & Worcester Railroad through Brighton in 1834, Hale resided in a house on Dighton Street, just south of Brighton Center. His son, Edward Everett Hale, the later prominent author and clergyman, then a student at Harvard, also occupied this Brighton residence for a time.

William Hathaway (1924 - ) - U. S, Senator from Maine from 1973-1979, William Dodd Hathaway was born in Cambridge, MA in 1924, but grew up in Allston, MA. A decorated World War II veteran, he attended Harvard University, graduating in 1953, and then moved to Maine. Elected to the US Congress in 1965 as a Democrat, Hathaway defeated Republican icon Senator Margaret Chase Smith in the 1972 Maine senatorial race, but was himself defeated for reelection in 1978. Hathaway then relocated to Washington, DC, where he practices law. He also served for a time as the Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission.

Horace Gray Sr (1799-1873) - Known as "The Father of the Boston Public Garden" Horace Gray, son and heir of William "Billy" Gray, one of the wealthiest merchants in Massachusetts, devoted his life principally to horticulture.  In addition to spearheading the creation of the Boston Public Garden, he also owned and operated an extensive "grapery" on Nonantum Hill in Brighton on the grounds of his country estate, where prize grapes were grown under glass. Two of his sons, Horace Gray, Jr., future US Supreme Court Justice, and John Chipman Gray, first Royall Professor of Law at Harvard, also resided at the Brighton estate for a time (see Horace Gray, Jr. and John Chipman Gray biographies). He was also a brother-in-law of Mrs. Jack Gardner, founder of the Gardner Museum.
Horace Gray II (1828-1902) - Horace Gray, Jr., son of the prominent horticulturalist, Horace Gray Sr (see above), was a distinguished lawyer and jurist who served in succession as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  As a boy Gray lived for a time on the grounds of his father's country estate and Grapery on Nonantum Hill in Brighton, where his brother legal scholar John Chipman Gray was born in 1839. He was the principal legal historian on the Supreme Court during his twenty-four year's of service there (1889-1902) and the first Justice to hire a law clerk (future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis). His legal record was not without blemish, however. In 1896 he voted with the court's majority in the infamous case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that racial segregation was constitutional. Gray was succeeded on both the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the U. S. Supreme Court by the celebrated jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes.
John Chipman Gray (1839-1915) - Legal scholar and author, co-founder of the noted law firm of Ropes & Gray, and brother of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray, Jr,. was born in Brighton, MA in 1839, the son of leading horticulturalist Horace Gray, who in the 1830s owned and operated a famous nursery on the western slope of  Nonantum Hill. John Chipman Gray taught at the Harvard Law School from 1869-1913, where he held the position of Royall Professor of Law. His legal writings were so influential that they are still being used in American law schools.

William Henry Jackson (1848-1910) - Eminent civil engineer, William Henry Jackson was born in Brighton, MA in 1848. He attended the local schools and MIT, where he received a degree in civil engineering. Following graduation, Jackson worked on the construction of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Brighton. In 1885 he was appointed Civil Engineer of Boston, in which capacity he supervised the construction of the Harvard, Longfellow and Charlestown Bridges across the Charles River. He held this post until his death in 1910.  Brighton's William Jackson Avenue was named in his memory.

Nathan Hale II (1784-1863) - American journalist and railroad promoter, born in Westhampton, MA in 1784, nephew of the Revolutionary War hero of the same name.  Hale was an important Boston entrepreneur of the day. He edited the influential "Boston Daily Advertiser" from 1814 to 1854 and helped found the "North American Review." While supervising the construction of the Boston & Worcester Railroad through Brighton in 1834, Hale resided in a house on Dighton Street, just south of Brighton Center. His son, Edward Everett Hale, the later prominent author and clergyman, then a student at Harvard, also occupied this Brighton residence for a time.

Joseph P. Kennedy II (1952- ) - Joseph Patrick Kennedy II , eldest son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was born in Boston, MA in 1952.  In 1979 Kennedy founded Citizen's Energy, a non-profit organization that provides discounted heating fuel  to low income families. Upon the death of U. S. House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neil in 1986, Kennedy was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives from the historic Massachusetts Eighth Congressional District, a seat previously held by his uncle, President John F. Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy occupied this seat for thirteen years, stepping down in 1999. Kennedy resided on Bigelow Street in Brighton, MA during his period of serving in Congress.
Dennis Lehane (1965 - ) - Born and brought up in Dorchester, the son of Irish immigrants, award winning author Dennis Lehane is one of the most popular writers of our day, several of whose thrillers, including "Mystic River," published in 2001, have been made into blockbuster movies.  Lehane lived on Bigelow Hill near Oak Square in Brighton, MA for a number of years.

Charles Horatio Matchett (1843-1919) - Charles Horatio Matchett was born in Brighton, MA in 1843 at the family homestead on Washington Street just west of Oak Square.  After a career of several years in the U.S. Navy, Matchett, who had settled in New York State, helped to found the Socialist Labor Party and was that party's candidate for Vice President in 1892, Governor of New York in 1894, and President  of the United States in 1896. Matchett died in Allston, MA after a long illness in 1919.

Brenda Gael McSweeney, PhD. (1943- ) - A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney has committed her life to international development and achieving sustainable equality between women and men worldwide. Her career with the United Nations spanned thirty years with executive postings in West Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and South Asia, and was acknowledged by prestigious awards. Today she lives in Brighton’s Oak Square and is Visiting Faculty at Boston University’s Women’s Studies Program, Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, and affiliated with the Sustainable International Development program of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. Brenda initiated the Women’s History Group at the Brighton-Allston Historical Society, which has become a BAHS Standing Committee.

David Nevins, Sr. (1809-1881) - Wealthy New England textile manufacturer David Nevins, Sr. who was born in Salem, New Hampshire in 1809, owned several mills in Lawrence, Salem, and Methuen, MA., including the in Lawrence, scene of a January 1860 building collapse and fire that killed as many as 145 workers, mostly Irish and Scottish immigrants. After the disaster Nevins bought out his partner and rebuilt the mill, which still stands. Nevins resided for many years on an estate in Brighton called "Bellvue," a property that today comprises the grounds of St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the former St. Gabriel's Monastery. The hill on which Bellvue Estate stood is commonly referred to as Nevins Hill.

William Henry O'Connell (1859-1944) - Roman Catholic Cardinal William Henry O'Connell was born in Lowell, MA in 1859 to Irish immigrants parents.  Educated at Boston College and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, O'Connell was named Bishop of Portland, Maine in 1901 and Archbishop of Boston in 1907. In 1911, he became the first Archbishop of Boston to be appointed a Cardinal. It was Cardinal O'Connell who in the 1920s moved the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Boston from the South End to the grounds of St. John's Seminary in suburban Brighton. Cardinal O'Connell presided over a period of rapid growth for the Roman Catholic Church in Boston and wielded immense political and social power in the Massachusetts of his day.

Francis Ouimet (1893-1967) - American golf champion, best known for winning the 1913 American Open. Born in 1893 in Brookline, MA to immigrant parents, Ouimet's victory at the 1913 American Open helped to democratize the aristocratic game of golf.  In 1918, Ouimet married Stella Sullivan, daughter of a well-to-do Brighton building contractor, thereafter living on Brighton's Lake Street close to his wife's family. He also established a successful athletic supply business. In 1974, he was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. A book (2002) and film (2005), both entitled "The Greatest Game Ever Played" have appeared based on Ouimet's inspiring athletic career.
Zachariah B. Porter - Famed hotelier who served as the first manager of the well-known Cattle Fair Hotel in Brighton, MA established in 1830 on the grounds of the Brighton Stockyards. Later he owned and operated the equally well- known Porter House Hotel in Cambridge's Porter Square, likewise adjacent to a stockyard, in the dining room of which he introduced his famous Porter House Steak.

Mother Mary Regis (Annie) Casserly (1843-1917) - A leading educator in the Archdiocese of Boston, she established Mt. St. Joseph Academy in 1885 to provide a sound secular and religious education to elementary and high school students.  In 1891, the Academy moved from Fresh Pond in Cambridge to its current site in Brighton.  At the same time she established the motherhouse of the Boston Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton and was the first general superior of the Boston congregation.  Inventive and farseeing, from her arrival in Boston with three colleagues in 1873, Sister Regis discovered ways to increase the financial support of the educational ministry, established the Boston congregation as a separate entity from its roots in New York and sought education of high quality for the Sisters, as well to expand relations with the residents of the towns and cities in which Catholic schools were being established. Regis College in Weston was named after her.  Mother Regis lived in Brighton 1891-1892 and 1913-1917.

Edward Everett Rice (1847-1924) - Legendary Broadway producer, Edward Everett Rice, was born in Allston, MA in 1847.  Rice was the creator of "Evangeline" the first American production billed as a musical comedy. In 1884 he brought out "Adonis," the first musical to run more than five hundred performances in New York. In all, Rice produced some eighteen shows that appeared on Broadway over the course of a long career. He is also credited with having introduced Lillian Russell to the New York stage.
Frederick P. Salvucci (1940 - ) - Prominent transportation engineer, Frederick P. Salvucci was born in Brighton, MA in 1940, where he still resides. Salvucci graduated from MIT in the 1961-62 and is currently serving on the MIT faculty. Salvucci has participated in much of the transportation planning and policy formulation of the Boston urban area for the last forty years. During the period 1970-74 he was Transportation Advisor to Boston Mayor Kevin White and from 1975-1978 and 1983-90 served as Secretary of Transportation and Construction of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis. Salvucci played the central role in planning the massive Central Artery Project (the so-called Big Dig).

Tom Scholz (1947 - ) - Tom lived on Parkvale Ave and Market St in the late 1960s while attending MIT and playing in local bands.  Later in the 1970s, he founded, produced and played lead guitar for the very successful rock band Boston.  The first Boston record ranks as the second best-selling debut album in U.S. history with over 17 million copies sold and included their classic hit "More Than A Feeling"

Thomas W. Silloway (1828-1911) - Noted architect Thomas W. Silloway was born in Newburyport, MA. in 1828.  He received his architectural training in the office of Ammi B. Young, designer of the Boston Customs House. Silloway's works included the Vermont State House and over 400 churches in the northeastern United States. He is widely credited with having designed more churches than any other American architect. Silloway pursued a second career as a Universalist minister in the period 1862-67, presiding over the Universalist meetinghouse in Brighton, MA., which he is believed to have designed. After returning to his career as a full-time architect, Silloway continued living in Allston, where he died in 1911.

Edward Dexter Sohier (1810-1885) -  Edward Dexter Sohier was born in Boston in 1810 and graduated from Harvard College in 1829, entering the legal profession in 1832.  Considered one of the leading criminal attorneys of his time, Sohier was junior counsel in the sensational Dr. John White Webster murder trial of 1850 murder. The accused, Dr. Webster, was the grandson of another Brighton resident of note, pioneer American novelist Hannah Webster Foster (see Hannah Webster Foster biography). Sohier moved from Boston to Brighton in the 1840s. His elaborate South Allston residence stood on Commonwealth Avenue at Packard's Corner.
Warren Spahn (1921-2003) - Famed baseball legend, Warren Spahn, one of the best pitchers in major league history  was born in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1921.  Spahn lived on Monastery Road in Brighton, MA for a time while playing for the Boston Braves from 1941 to 1952. Spahn won more games than any other left handed pitcher in baseball history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.

Charles Richard Stith (1949 - ) -  Born in St. Louis, Mo. in 1949, the Reverend Charles Richard Stith is currently the Director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University. Stith earned a masters in divinity from Harvard, among other graduate degrees.  By the time he was 30, he was the senior minister at the Union United Methodist Church in Boston. President Bill Clinton appointed Stith U. S. Ambassador to Tanzania, where he served with distinction during a period of great turmoil. Upon assuming his current post at Boston University, Ambassador Stith and his wife Deborah Prothow Stith, an administrator at the Harvard School of Public Health, moved to Parsons Street, in Brighton, MA, where they still reside.

William Chamberlain Strong  (1823 - 1913) -  William Chamberlain Strong, horticulturalist and land developer, was born in Vermont in 1823. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1845 and attended the Harvard Law School.  He then joined Senator Daniel Webster's Boston law office. In the late 1840s Strong switched careers to horticulture when he purchased from Horace Gray (see Horace Gray biography) an estate and grapery on Nonantum Hill in Brighton. Strong soon became one of the most eminent horticulturalists in New England, serving, in the 1870s, as President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and in the 1880s as Vice President of the American Pomological Society. He also wrote extensively on horticultural topics, publishing two notable books, "The Culture of the Grape" in 1867, and "Fruit Culture and the Laying Out and Management of a Country Home" in 1885. Strong moved to neighboring Newton, MA where he founded and named the village of Waban.
Gustavus Franklin Swift  (1839-1903) - Founder of the Swift Meatpacking Company, Gustavus Franklin Swift was born in West Sandwich, MA in 1839. Before emigrating to the west, where he founded the nation's first great meatpacking empire in Chicago, Swift owned and operated a slaughterhouse in Brighton, MA which was then the most important cattle trading center in New England.  He and his family resided on Brighton's Oakland Street for a time in the 1869-72 period. Swift is credited with having introduced railroad car refrigeration to the meatpacking industry, an innovation that contributed significantly to the decline of the cattle industry in the east and presaged Brighton's transformation into a burgeoning residential suburb of the City of Boston.

Elizabeth Rowell Thomson (1821-1899) - Elizabeth Rowell Thompson was born into a poor farming family in Vermont in 1821. In 1844 she married the wealthy and reclusive Thomas Thompson of Boston, heir to a considerable fortune, and the city's premier art collector. The Thompson's settled on Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton soon after their marriage. When Thomas Thompson died in 1869 Elizabeth inherited the bulk of his estate. Her philanthropic ventures over the next thirty included generous support of the American antislavery movement, creation of model communities for working class families in the west, the gift of an astronomical observatory to Vassar College, and the funding of research to eradicate yellow fever.

Maurice Tobin (1901-1953) - Born in Roxbury, MA to Irish immigrant parents, Maurice Tobin's meteoric political career included service as Mayor of Boston (1938-45), Governor of Massachusetts (1945-47), and U. S. Secretary of Labor in the Truman Administration (1948-53), before an untimely death in 1953 at age 53. In 1932 Tobin married Helen Noonan of Brighton, daughter of stock broker David Noonan. At the time of his first election as Mayor, Maurice and Helen Tobin were living at 11 Kinross Road in Brighton, the home of Helen's recently widowed mother.  In 1967, the Mystic River Bridge was renamed the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge

Waban (1604 - c. 1680) - A Native American leader, born circa 1604 at Musketaquid, near present-day Concord, MA., Waban settled with his extended family on the outskirts of the Puritan settlement of Cambridge, near the present-day Newton-Brighton boundary, in order to trade with the English.  It was outside Waban's wigwam that the Reverend John Eliot, the so-called "Apostle to the Indians" made his first conversions of Native Americans to Christianity in October 1646. Eliot established the first "Praying" or Christian Indian community in British North America, to which he gave the name Nonantum (signifying "rejoicing" in the Indian language), at this location.  Waban and his followers left Nonantum for more ample acreage in present day South Natick in 1650. Waban subsequently served as Clerk of the town of Natick. The elderly Waban was imprisoned on Deer Island during King Philip's War.

Charles Alvah Walker (1848-1925)  - Well known painter and engraver, born in New London, N.H. in 1848. Walker was a versatile and largely self-taught artist, who lived in Brighton's Aberdeen Section, just outside of Cleveland Circle, for many years. He exhibited chiefly at the National Academy of Design in New York City, at the Boston Art Club, where he served as Vice President for a time, and at the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association. Walker is reputed to have invented the term "Monotype" in 1880. A 1997 exhibit at the Smithsonian entitled "Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America, featured works by Walker, alongside works by William Merritt Chase, Frank Duveneck, Maurice Prendergast, and Jasper Johns.

American David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) - Noted American novelist and short story writer, whose most important and critically acclaimed work, "Infinite Jest," published in 1996, was written while the author, who  suffered from depression, resided in a Brighton, MA halfway house. "Infinite Jest" contains many allusions to Brighton personalities and locations. The mentally troubled Wallace died by suicide in 2008.

James Lloyd Lafayette Warren (1805-1896) - J.L.LF, Warren, known as "The Father of California Agriculture" was born into a prominent Brighton, MA family in 1805. At a young age the enterprising Warrren was the proprietor of both a well-known "floral salon" in Boston, a local tourist attraction, and the Nonantum Vale Nursery on Lake Street in Brighton. Warren is credited with having raised Boston's first  commercially grown tomatoes on the grounds of his Brighton nursery. A humanitarian, he also also helped found the anti-slavery Liberty Party. In 1849, during the California Gold Rush, Warren sailed round Cape Horn with a party of forty-niners, where he scored a number of California firsts, including the founding of that state's first agricultural supply business, its first agricultural newspaper, "The California Farmer & Journal," founded the California state fair, as well as the state's agricultural society.

William Wirt Warren (1834-1880) - U. S. Congressman and Massachusetts State Senator, who as leader of the Tammany style "Brighton Ring" masterminded the 1874 annexation of the town of Brighton to the City of Boston. Born into an important local family in 1834, he was an early graduate of Brighton High School, pursued classical studies and graduated from Harvard University in 1856, and was admitted to the practice of law in 1857.  He served as Assessor of Internal Revenue in the Seventh Massachusetts District in the mid-1860s, as State Senator in 1870, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives in 1875-77, but failed of reelection.  Warren then practiced law in Boston until his early death in 1880, at the age of 47.

Ted Williams (1918-2002) - Ted Williams, born in San Diego, California in 1918, was arguably baseball's greatest hitter and the last player to bat over .400.  Ted lived at 39 Foster Street at the corner of Washington St for a number of years during his career with Boston. His roommates were fellow Red Sox players Billy Goodman (3rd base) and Mel Parnell (pitcher).  All three players have been inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.  Ted played for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Captain Jonathan Winship (1780-1847) - Born in Brighton, MA in 1780, Jonathan Winship III, son and grandson of the team that founded the  Brighton Cattle Market during the American Revolution, distinguished himself in the Pacific trade during the period 1801-1815, working for the firm of Homer & Winship, which his brother Abiel headed. His Pacific adventures, carried out in collaboration with his brothers, included trading along the westerly coast of the present United States between California and the Pacific Northwest, the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and Canton, China, in activities that included provisioning the Russian Colony in Alaska, attempting to colonize the Columbia River Valley, engaging in highly lucrative seal and otter hunting expeditions, securing a monopoly on the sandalwood trade from King Kamehameha of Hawaii, and spending time in China studying horticulture. Captain Winship capped this eventful mercantile career in 1820, by founding Brighton's important horticultural industry.

Dr. Noah Worcester (1758-1837) - Prominent Unitarian minister and author, founder of the American peace movement, known as in his day as "The  Apostle of Peace.  Dr. Worcester settled in Brighton, MA in 1813, residing there for the last quarter century of his life. He came to Brighton to edit "The Christian Disciple," an influential Unitarian journal, that had been founded by prominent associates William Ellery Channing and Joseph Tuckerman. In 1814 Worcester wrote "A Solemn Review of the Custom of War," the first significant American anti-war tract, and, in 1815, founded the Massachusetts Peace Society, the nation's most active pacifist group. The first meeting of the society was held in Rev. Worcester's Brighton residence at the northwest corner of Foster and Washington Streets just west of Brighton Center.