Born in Worchester, Massachusetts. Graduated from Harvard in 1839. He married Elizabeth Brown Oliver in 1843 and had six children. School teacher in Philadelphia. Professor at Haverford College after 1871.
He collected and studied Civil War tokens during the war. Author of Catalogue of Tokens Circulating During the Rebellion of 1861. He donated tokens to the American Philosophical Society.
In 2002 he was inducted into the CWTS Hall of Fame.