PUTNAM, James Osborne, diplomatist, was born in Attica, N.Y., July 4, 1818 ; son of Harvey and Myra (Osborne) Putnam, and a descendant, in the eighth generation, of John and Priscilla Putnam, who emigrated from Buckinghamshire, England, in 1634 and settled in Salem, Mass. He passed his freshman and sophomore years in Hamilton college, 1837-38, and entered the Yale junior class of 1839, and was graduated as of that class in 1865, receiving his A.M. degree the same year. He studied law in his father's office; was admitted to the bar in 1842; practiced in Buffalo, N.Y., and was postmaster of that city, 1851-53. He was married Jan. 5, 1842, to Harriet Foster, daughter of George and Harriet (Foster) Palmer of Buffalo; and secondly, March 15, 1855, to Kate F., daughter of the Rev. Worthington and Katherine (Green) Wright of Woodstock, Vt. He was a member of the New York state senate, 1854- 55, where he originated the bill that became a law, requiring the title of church property to be vested in trustees. He was defeated as the American party nominee for secretary of state in 1857; was a presidential elector from the state-at-large on the Lincoln and Hamlin ticket in 1860; U.S. consul at Havre, France, 1861-66; U.S. minister to Belgium, 1880-82, and US delegate to the International Industrial Property congress at Paris in 1881. He is the author of: Orations Speeches and Miscellanies (1880). In 1903 he still held the position of chancellor of the University of Buffalo, which he had occupied for many years.
Rossiter Johnson, ed., "Putnam, James Osborne," The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 8 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).