CHAPIN, HERMAN M. (29 July 1823-24 May 1879), a businessman interested in libraries, was born in Walpole, N.H., to Nathaniel and Fanny Bowen Brown Chapin. He came to Cleveland in 1848 as a partner in the wholesale grocery warehouse of Chas. Bradburn & Co. In 1852, he started his own business as a provision dealer and beef and pork packer, moving to Chicago in 1862, but returning to Cleveland a few years later. In 1865, he helped form and became president of the Hahnemann Life Insurance Co., which later merged with Republic Life Insurance Co. and moved to Chicago.
During the CIVIL WAR, Chapin raised money and equipment for the Union; and while away in the spring of 1865, he was elected mayor of Cleveland, not even knowing he was nominated. During his term, the Metropolitan Police Act was passed, transferring police powers of the mayor, police marshal, and city council to a new board of police commissioners consisting of the mayor and 4 others appointed by the governor. In 1872, the act changed allowing for the commissioners' election.
In 1854 and 1858, Chapin was president of the CLEVELAND LIBRARY ASSOC., putting the organization on a sound fiscal base, and became a director for life in 1870. He was a founder of the First Unitarian Church in 1854, and that year built the Chapin Block at the Square, whose third floor housed the elegant public Concert Hall, later renamed Chapin Hall. Chapin married Matilda Fenno of Boston on 15 Oct. 1849 and had 5 children: Erving, Matilda, Fanny, Jeanie, and Agnes. He died in Cleveland as was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.