A biographical note on Bigelow states that "in the opinion of one of his contemporaries, Mr. Bigelow probably contributed more to the creation of charming and distinguished house interiors than any one person of his time." (Henry F Withey and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, Deceased, Los Angeles: New Age, 1956, p. 57.) In 1913-1914 he renovated the Boston Athenaeum, adding two new floors.
Bigelow was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Nelson Bigelow (October 6, 1839-January 15, 1907) and Clarissa Nichols (Forbes) Bigelow. On October 14, 1896, he married Eliza Frothingham Davis, (January 17, 1871-June 20, 1907), and then remarried Susan Thayer (born October 1, 1885) on June 1, 1912 in Lancaster, Massachusetts. His children by the first marriage were Henry Davis, born Boston, Massachusetts, November 4, 1897; Edward Livingston, born Boston, April 19, 1899; Chandler, born Milton, Massachusetts, July 21, 1900; and Nelson, born Milton, July 21, 1900. His child by the second marriage was Eugen Thayer, born Boston, March 19, 1913.
It appears that Bigelow attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as issue no. 2 of its Architectural Review included designs for a fountain by Henry Forbes Bigelow and W. Proctor, Jr., as well as a design for opera boxes by Henry F. Bigelow.