Alfred Hemenway was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts in 1839 and died in Boston in 1927. He was a prominent Boston lawyer educated at Yale and Harvard. He was a member of the University Club, Union Club, and the Boston Art Club, and Republican in politics.

President McKinley nominated Alfred Hemenway to sit on the Supreme Court and Alfred indicated that he would accept the nomination, but in a twist of fate, on September, 6, 1901, McKinley was felled by an assassin's bullet. His successor, Theodore Roosevelt did not feel obligated to proceed with Alfred's nomination, and he chose Oliver Wendell Holmes instead.

In his Will, Alfred bequeathed a substantial portion of his estate to the following recipients, which are indicative of his interests.

Yale University to be applied to the purchase of books for its library
Harvard University for the purchase of books for the Dane Law Library
The Social Law Library of Boston
Boston Public Library
Boston Athenaeum
Hopkinton Public Library
First Congregational Church of Hopkinton
Ralph W. Hemenway (of Hemenway & Coolidge)