John Gorham Palfrey (May 2, 1796 - April 26, 1881), American historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
He graduated at Harvard, 1815, and became a Unitarian minister, being pastor of the Brattle Square church, Boston, 1818-1831. He was professor of sacred literature in the Harvard divinity school, 1830-1839. Entering politics, he was secretary of state of Massachusetts, 1844-1847; a representative in Congress, 1847-1849; and postmaster of Boston, 1861-1867. He was editor of the North American Review, 1835-1843.
As a writer he is best known by his History of New England to the revolutionary war, in five volumes, of which the first appeared in 1859 and the last posthumously in 1890. He died at Cambridge, Massachusetts.