Born Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His mother was Martha (Patterson) DuBois, daughter of Robert Patterson, Director of the Mint. He studied law and was admitted to the bar at age 22. He is described as having a weak voice unsuited to the practice of law. As a result he prefered to communicate in writing.
In 1833 he became director's clerk at the mint working for his uncle, Samuel Moore. In 1835 he went to the assay department working under Jacob R. Eckfeldt. In 1841 he married Susanna Eckfeldt, sister of Jacob. He and Eckfeldt were long time friends.
In 1838 Robert Maskell Patterson, another uncle, authorized the formation of a Mint collection of coins. Many foreign gold and silver coins were submitted to the mint at their bullion value for melting, refinement and reissue. Many of these had a numismatic value but could be added to the collection for their intrinsic value. DuBois became the first curator of the collection and remained curator until his death.
In 1842 DuBois and Eckfelt published their Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations. Author of Pledges of History: A Brief Account of the Collection of Coins Belonging to the Mint of the United States. One hundred fifty copies were published in 1846. In 1850 Eckfeldt and DuBois published New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins. When Eckfeldt died in September 1872, DuBois succeeded him as chief assayer.
DuBois published three books alone including On The Natural Dissemination of Gold in 1861, Propositions for a Revised System of Weights in 1869 and A Brief Sketch of Jacob R. Eckfeldt in 1872.
DuBois died in Philadelphia in 1881. He completed nearly 48 years service to the Mint. He was an honorary member of the Boston Numismatic Society. His collection was sold at auction by Elder October 15, 1918.
Inducted into the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame in 2002.
bio: ApCAB; CW/NM 5/26/76; DAB; WWWA-H obit: AJN 16 Oct 1881 page 44-46; New England Historical & Genealogical Register 35 Oct 1881 p 394