LA A25   Boase Frederic, died aged 73, 23rd December 1916

Frederic was born on 7 October 1843 in Larrigan, near Penzance, the youngest in the family of four sons and two daughters of John Josias Arthur Boase banker, and his wife, Charlotte.

He was educated at Penzance and Bromsgrove grammar schools and in 1861 was articled to Thomas Cornish, a solicitor in Penzance.   He passed his law finals in London in 1867 and was admitted attorney and solicitor in that year.  Until 1868 he worked as a solicitor in Exmouth after which he moved to London to a post as a conveyancing clerk, which he held until 1872.

In 1877 he was appointed librarian of the Incorporated Law Society.  He was an original member of the Library Association.

In 1891 Boase published a
 Catalogue of Printed Books in the Library of the Incorporated Law Society, which was reprinted in 1906.

He collected biographical notes about thousands of people, most of whom were not listed in standard biographical dictionaries.  His work, Modern English Biography, with some 30,000 entries for people who died in the period since 1850, was published in six volumes from 1892 to 1921.

Many hundreds of the thousands of entries included in his compilation related to persons who had not been famous, but had led interesting lives, accounts of which could not be found in any other book.

In 1903 Boase retired from his post of librarian of the Law Society and devoted the rest of his life to his biographical work.

The sixth volume of his Modern English Biography was completed (and published in 1921) by Miss A Kate Rance, who in January1948 gave a complete set to Hastings Library. (Hastings Observer 24 jan1948 p4)

In 1965 all six volumes were republished with a new preface written by Anna Kate Rance.

He developed a curious relationship to the Dictionary of National Biography, which he both contributed to and plundered. [We are indebted to the DNB for much of this information, H. F. Oxbury, ‘Boase, Frederic (1843–1916)’, rev. Myfanwy Lloyd, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, sign in required. accessed 19 Oct 2015]

Frederic Boase never married.  He died at 25 Boscobel Road, St Leonards on 23 December 1916.