Henry N. Hinckley was born in Trumansburg, NY, son son of Henry L. and Nellie Noble Hinckley. The family moved to ithaca and Henry attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1911. He worked as an architect and for the Thomas Morse Air Craft Corporation. During World War I, he served in the Signal Corps and with the Air Force in France. After the war, he returned to Ithaca and worked as an investment banker, city building commissioner, owner and manager of residential properties, and collector and authority on antiques. After Henry's death in 1969, his house became the Hinckley Foundation Museum. The museum closed in the 1990s.