Throughout Bay State history, there have been a plethora of people who have left lasting legacies and paved the way for the innovators of today. Below is a list of some notable native “movers and shakers” of the past and present.
Katherine Lee Bates
Author, poet and educator; penned the words to “America the Beautiful.”
Author and socialist; wrote “Looking Backward”, a utopian novel set in the year 2000.
Poet, painter, essayist, author and playwright; remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry.
Poet; also known for her unusual life of self-imposed social seclusion.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lecturer, essayist, and poet; best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Writer and cartoonist; widely known for his children’s books written under the pen name Dr. Seuss.
Novelist and short story writer; famous works include “The Scarlet Letter.”
Comic book writer and artist; best known for co-creating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Edgar Allan Poe
Author, poet, editor and literary critic; considered part of the American Romantic Movement.
Henry David Thoreau
Author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist; best known for his book “Walden” and his essay “Civil Disobedience.”
Commercial artist; recognized as the designer of the iconic smiley face
Architect; regarded as the first native-born American to practice architecture as a profession
John Singleton Copley
Painter; famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England.
Engineer, author, designer, inventor and futurist; created the geodesic dome.
Impressionist painter; noted for his urban and coastal scenes.
Landscape painter and printmaker; best known for his marine subjects.
William LeBaron Jenney
Architect and engineer; became known as one of the fathers of the American skyscraper.
Fitz Henry Lane
Painter and printmaker; used a style that would be later known as Luminism.
Architect; Became known as one of the "father of skyscrapers" and the "father of modernism".
James McNeill Whistler
Artist; leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake.”
Hard rock band; dubbed “Americas Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”
Rock band; best known works include the songs “More Than A Feeling”, “Don’t Look Back” and “Amanda.”
Rock band; at the forefront in merging 1970’s guitar-oriented rock with synth-oriented pop.
Jazz pianist, keyboardist, and composer; as a member of the Miles Davis’ band in the 1960’s he participated in the birth of the electric jazz fusion movement.
R&B group; progenitors of the boy band movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
New Kids on The Block
Popular boy band; enjoyed immense success in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
Rock musician, songwriter, and record producer; best known as the lead singer and primary songwriter for 4 Non Blondes.
Singer, songwriter; earned the title “The Queen of the Disco” during the 1970's.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist; five-time Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Steven Van Zandt
Musician, songwriter, arranger, record, producer, actor and radio disc jockey; best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
Musician, film director, screenwriter and film producer; founded the heavy metal band White Zombie.
Comedian, singer, dancer, and musician; best known for his roles as Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure, Grandpa Joe in the film version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Ed Brown in the television sitcom Chico and The Man.
Actress, comedian, writer, and producer; currently playing Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom The Office. She is also a co-executive producer and writer of several of the show’s episodes.
Actor, film director and writer; most widely known for playing Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom The Office.
Actor; best known for his role of Joey Tribbiani on the NBC sitcom Friends.
Actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer; most famous role is that of Spock in the original Star Trek series.
Actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter and director; best known for being a writer and co-executive producer and for playing the role of Ryan Howard in The Office.
Television host, comedian, writer, producer, and performer; currently the host of Conan, a late-night talk show that airs on TBS.
Actress and comedienne; best known as a cast member of Saturday Night Live and her role on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.
Television journalist and political advisor; chief political correspondent for ABC News and co-anchor of Good Morning America.
Actress; best known for her roles in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
Actor, singer, and film producer; a former member of New Kids on the Block; he has starred in Saw, The Sixth Sense, Boomtown, and Band of Brothers.
Actor, rapper and producer of film and television; formerly known as Marky Mark, he is well known for his roles in films such as Boogie Nights, Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, Planet of the Apes, Four Brothers, The Departed, Shooter and The Fighter.
Broadcast journalist and author; popular TV host of shows such as Today, ABC Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, and The View.
Professional wrestler, actor and rapper; best known for his performances as a champion wrestler with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Professional wrestler; best known for his time with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he wrestled on its Raw and SmackDown brands under the ring names Kenny and Kenny Dykstra.
Celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author; most notable for his Food Network shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril as well as catchphrases such as “Kick it up a notch!” and “BAM!”
Boxer and heavyweight champion of the world from September 1952 to April 1956; he became the only heavyweight champion to finish his career undefeated.
“Irish” Micky Ward
Retired junior welterweight professional boxer and former WBU champion.
Professional baseball player and manager; considered one of the best catchers in baseball history and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher; one of only 24 pitchers in major league history to earn 300 career wins.
William “Bill” Guerin
Former professional ice hockey player; first player of Hispanic descent to play in the National Hockey League.
Two-time Olympic figure skating medalist and 1993 U.S. champion.
Former professional Women’s National Basketball Association player; currently a television basketball analyst for ESPN. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Former professional baseball relief pitcher; currently ranks 7th on the All-Time Saves List with 367 saves.
Retired professional ice hockey player; played 18 NHL seasons and has become the 3rd American-born player to score 500 goals.
Former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball; third fastest recorded pitcher in baseball history, having thrown a pitch recorded at 103 miles per hour.
Industrialist and philanthropist; awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1998 for setting the standard of commitment to employees following a fire at his Malden Mills manufacturing plant.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist; acknowledged as the father of modern philanthropy, having established the practice later followed by Johns Hopkins, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates.
Henry H. Rogers
United States capitalist, businessman, industrialist, financer and philanthropist.
Forrest M. Bird
Aviator, inventor and biomedical engineer; best known for pioneering some of the first reliable mass-produced mechanical ventilators for acute and chronic cardiopulmonary care.
Harold Stephen Black
Electrical engineer; revolutionized the field of applied electronics by inventing the negative feedback amplifier in 1927.
Rachel Fuller Brown
Chemist; best known for her long-distance collaboration with microbiologist Elizabeth Lee Hazen in developing the first useful antifungal antibiotic.
Botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science; developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants. His most successful strains include the Shasta daisy, the Fire poppy, the Santa Rosa plum and the white blackberry.
William D. Coolidge
Physicist; made major contributions to x-ray machine development.
Robert H. Goddard
Professor, physicist and inventor; credited with creating and building the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket.
Lewis Howard Latimer
African American inventor and draftsman; received patents for an improved toiled system for railroad cars and an improved method for the production of carbon filaments used in light bulbs.
Samuel F.B. Morse
Inventor and painter; contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs and co-inventor of the Morse code.
Robert H. Rines
Lawyer, inventor, researcher and composer; well known for his efforts to find the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
Scientist; lead research teams that synthesized substances such as ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and cortisone. He also led a microbiological group that developed the fermentation process for actinomycin D, vitamin B12, streptomycin and penicillin.
Inventor; best known for inventing the cotton gin.
Fugitive slave turned sailor; he has been named the first martyr of the American Revolution.
Author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman and diplomat; one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Merchant, statesman and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution; served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third governor of Massachusetts.
James Otis, Jr.
Lawyer, member of the Massachusetts Legislature and an early advocate of the political views that led to the American Revolution; attributed to the phrase “Taxation with Representation is Tyranny.”
Robert Gould Shaw
Colonel in command of the all-black 54th Regiment in the American Civil War.
Lawyer and politician; the only person to sign Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
Colonel in the Revolutionary War; commanded the rebel forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Silversmith and Patriot of the American Revolution; helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British military.
Susan B. Anthony
Civil rights leader; played a pivotal role in the 19th century women’s right movement to introduce women’s suffrage into the United States.
Political and intellectual leader during the American Revolution; served in both branches of the Massachusetts General Court in the colonial era and was president of the state’s constitutional convention, also served as the governor of Massachusetts.
W.E.B Du Bois
Sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor; first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard. Remembered as the founder and editor of the NAACP’s journal The Crisis.
Woman’s rights advocate, critic and journalist; associated with the American transcendentalism movement. She was also the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism.
William Lloyd Garrison
Abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer; best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Edward “Ted” Kennedy
Politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts; known for his charisma and oratorical skills. Became known as “The Lion of the Senate.”
Education reformer and member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 to 1833; credited by many educational historians as the “Father of the Common School Movement.”
Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neil, Jr.
Politician; the longest consecutive serving Speaker of the House.
Abolitionist and suffragist; vocal advocate and organizer for women’s rights. She was the first woman in Massachusetts to receive a college degree.
Politician; served as the 69th lieutenant governor from 1999 to 2003 and acting governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003. She is the only woman to perform the duties of governor of Massachusetts.
Founding Father and 2nd President of the United States; lawyer, diplomat, and political theorist.
John Quincy Adams
Diplomat and politician; son of John Adams; 6th President of the United States, he also served in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
George H.W. Bush
Politician; 41st President of the United States, he also served as the 43rd Vice President, congressman, ambassador and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
John F. Kennedy
Politician; 35th President of the United States, he also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.
Pioneer teacher, nurse, and humanitarian; best remembered for organizing the American Red Cross.
Pioneer nurseryman; introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, became an American legend nicknamed “Johnny Appleseed.”
Howard Deering Johnson
Entrepreneur and businessman; founder of a chain of restaurants and motels under the name Howard Johnson’s.
Businessman; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Kraft Group. His best known holdings are in the New England Patriots, New England Revolution and Gillette Stadium.
Dwight L. Moody
Evangelist and publisher; founded the Moody Church, Northfield Mount Hermon School, the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.
Name is purportedly the source of the personification of the United States known as “Uncle Sam.”