HENRY J. GARDNER, the twenty-fourth governor of Massachusetts, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 14, 1818. His education was attained at the Phillips Academy in New Hampshire, and later at Bowdoin College, where he graduated in 1838. After establishing a successful mercantile store in Boston, Gardner entered into a political career. He first was elected to the Boston Common Council, a position he held from 1850 to 1854, and where he also served as the council president from 1852 to 1853. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1851 to 1852, and served as a delegate to the 1853 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention. Gardner next won election to the Massachusetts governorship on November 13, 1854. He was reelected to a second term in 1855, and to a third term in 1856. During his tenure, the state naturalization law was strengthened; election reform laws were authorized; anti-alien legislation was endorsed; and restrictions on educational appropriations were supported. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Gardner left office on January 7, 1858, and retired from public service. He returned to his mercantile business, and later worked in the insurance industry. Governor Henry J. Gardner passed away on July 21, 1892, in Milton, Massachusetts.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.