The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Beehive series: From Our Collections

Dr. Lincoln R. Stone, Civil War Surgeon

Gallipolis, Ohio is a village of 3,462 people nestled on the banks of the Ohio River. It has a few claims to fame, including being the birthplace of artist Jenny Holzer and hometown of Bob Evans of “Bob Evans” restaurants. Unrelated to conceptual art or country-themed restaurants, the town also played a major role in the American Civil War as the site of an extensive U.S. Army General Hospital for Civil War soldiers.

From the society’s collections: a hand-drawn map of the hospital, which stood from April 1862 until July 1865


The (unknown) artist drew detailed representations of the multi-building hospital, numbering and labeling each structure at the bottom of the map.

"Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 are hospital ward buildings."


The first four buildings are the dedicated hospital wards for the sick and injured. Building 5 is the two-in-one office and dispensary. The surgeon’s quarters and staff quarters are buildings 6 and 7, respectively. A dining hall and kitchen, house for the dead, bakery, laundry and linen room, stable, carpenter’s shop, and coal house round out the number of buildings at 14.


The hospital map is officially titled in our online catalog, ABIGAIL, as “Plan of U. S. A. Hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio, where Dr. and Mrs. Lincoln R. Stone spent the first seventeen months of their married life.” A military hospital doesn’t sound like an ideal place to honeymoon, but Dr. Lincoln R. Stone of Newton, Massachusetts was called to action to become the head surgeon of the hospital at Gallipolis immediately after his wedding in February 1864. He would reside there until the hospital’s closure in July 1865.

From the National Museum of African American History and Culture

A native of Maine, Dr. Stone graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1854 and worked at Massachusetts General Hospital for a year before opening his own medical practice. In 1861, duty called him to serve as assistant surgeon to the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. At Winchester, Virginia, Stone was taken prisoner after refusing to abandon the hospital in his charge. He survived this ordeal and continued his military service, transferring to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment upon the direct invitation of his close friend Robert Gould Shaw.

Robert Gould Shaw’s name has been buzzing through the halls of the society following our recent acquisition of the sword he wielded at Fort Wagner just before his death. Due to Dr. Stone’s consistently shifting posts at military hospitals, Dr. Stone would come to learn of Shaw’s death secondhand.

"...we learned that Col. Shaw was shot dead through the heart and was buried in the fort."


In this copy of a letter from our archives, which was sent to Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, Dr. Stone himself informs the governor of Shaw’s passing and of the total loss experienced at the battle.

"The whole loss in the attack of Fort Wagner was 1,510 - of these almost one half were killed."

About seven months after the Fort Wagner attack, Stone married Ms. Harriet Hodges of Salem, Massachusetts and moved to Gallipolis to assume his post as resident surgeon. On October 1st, 1865, to honor his service, Stone was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Subsequently, he was mustered out on October 13th, 1865, and would return home to Newton to continue practicing medicine.

His wife Harriet Hodges Stone would become well-known to the community 30 years later as the founder of the Newton branch of the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women.

Dr. Stone would come to live well into his nineties. He is buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts with his family.

To view these featured American Civil War materials in person, consider visiting the library at MHS. If you get here sometime this summer, you can view Robert Gould Shaw’s sword while you’re at it!

You can also find additional information about the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women within our collections, though you will find those specific to the Newton branch and Harriet Hodges Stone at Harvard’s Houghton Library.

In Gallipolis you can visit the historical marker where the U.S. Army General Hospital once stood, on the corner of Ohio and Buckeye Avenues.


Sources and Related Materials:

Marquis, Albert Nelson, ed. Who’s who in New England: A biographical dictionary of leading living men and women of the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company, 1916.

“12-27 U.S. Army General Hospital,” Remarkable Ohio, accessed July 29, 2017,

Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women. Newton Branch Committee. Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women Newton Branch Committee records, 1894-1902.

United States. Army. General Hospital, Gallipolis, Ohio. Army General Hospital of Gallipolis, Ohio: Correspondence, orders, rules, and regulations. 1864-1865. Located in: Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; MS C 24.;idno=army024

“Carte-de-visite album of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment,” National Museum of African American History and Culture, accessed July 28, 2017,


comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Friday, 4 August, 2017, 2:26 PM

John Randolph of Roanoke

The recently acquired MHS collection of Shaw-Minturn family papers has received its fair share of well-deserved press, particularly related to the discovery of the famous sword carried by Robert Gould Shaw at the assault on Fort Wagner. I hope to write more about the Shaw letters in a later post. But the collection also contains some interesting papers from the Minturn branch of the family, including letters written by John Randolph (1773-1833) during the last year and a half of his life.



“John Randolph of Roanoke” (as he is usually known) was a Congressman, minister to Russia, tobacco planter, fiery orator, vehement anti-Federalist, and all-around difficult man to get along with. The seventeen Randolph letters in this collection were written to Fish, Grinnell & Co. of New York, shipping merchants who procured and shipped items for Randolph that he couldn’t acquire in Virginia. (Fish, Grinnell & Co. became Grinnell, Minturn & Co. when Robert B. Minturn joined the firm. Robert Gould Shaw’s sister married Robert B. Minturn, Jr.)

In October 1831, when the letters start, Randolph was only 58 but suffered from a variety of physical ailments, including the tuberculosis that would ultimately kill him. His first few letters deal primarily with business matters, but on 9 February 1832, he launched into an angry discourse on banking policy and the upcoming presidential election. A New York newspaper had apparently reported that Randolph’s support for Andrew Jackson was wavering.

I am & ever shall be I hope the friend of Genl. Jackson. But deadly opposed as I am to the Bank of the U.S. I cannot support his ministers [Louis] McLane & [Edward] Livingston who are its warm supporters. I will do nothing & say nothing that can injure his re-election […]

Randolph also had a few choice words for Martin Van Buren and John C. Calhoun (and a bad prediction).

Neither of them [will] ever be President of the U.S. & Heaven forbid that either ever should be. Although I think the N. Yorker much less objectionable than him of South Carolina, I should be very sorry to see him in an office for which in my poor judgemt. he is unfit, wanting that weight & dignity of character & manners which are more essential than the greatest abilities & which Genl. Washington alone (in my opinion) of all our Presidents possessed.

One of the issues that got Randolph fired up was the Second Bank of the United States. Jacksonian Democrats believed that a central bank violated state sovereignty and the Constitution. Randolph called it “that knot of brokers in Philada. that levy contributions all around them & leave nothing undone to injure the Trade of New York.” But he had confidence in President Jackson. When Congress voted to reauthorize the bank, Randolph reassured Fish & Grinnell that “no Bill re-chartering the present Bank will ever receive Genl. J.’s signature. I have it under his own hand.” And he was right—Jackson vetoed the bill on 10 July 1832.

However, just four days later, Jackson set in motion the Nullification Crisis by signing the Tariff of 1832. This protectionist tariff and its previous incarnation, the 1828 “Tariff of Abominations,” hit Southern states hard. A fed-up South Carolina adopted the Ordinance of Nullification, which declared both tariffs void in the state and threatened secession if the federal government used force to compel compliance. Congress called their bluff and passed a bill authorizing the use of military force in South Carolina.

Randolph did not support nullification, but he was disappointed with Jackson and sympathetic to South Carolina. “And yet I fear,” he wrote, “that the people about the President, taking advantage of his own ferocious passions, and thirst for blood, will precipitate us into a conflict, that must end in ruin, no matter which party gets the upper hand.”

Fortunately South Carolina and the federal government would settle on a compromise tariff that defused the conflict, but Randolph’s feelings about the general political situation, combined with his poor health, made him despondent. He wrote on 31 January 1833:

The springs of life are worn out. Indeed in the abject state of the public mind, there is nothing worth living for. It is a merciful dispensation of providence, that Death can release the captive from the clutches of the Tyrant. […] I could not have believed that the people would so soon have shown themselves unfit for free government. I leave to General Jackson, & the Hartford men, and the ultra federalists and tories and the office-holders & office-seekers their triumph over the liberties of the Country. They will stand damned to everlasting fame.

Despite his cynicism, Randolph was a very witty correspondent. I like this passage from his 19 July 1832 letter, when he was considering a move to England and ordered a number of supplies.

After my last, you may well be surprised at the list of articles subjoined, but I have got into the habit of considering myself in a fourfold state – 1. as a dead man, 2. as a living one, 3. as a resident at Roanoke, 4. as residing on the south coast of England […] & I try to provide for each contingency.

We hope you’ll visit the MHS to take a look at the Shaw-Minturn family papers, the Robert Gould Shaw sword, or any of our other terrific resources.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 2 August, 2017, 2:59 PM

From Fenways Past

Tomorrow, the Massachusetts Historical Society -- in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy -- is offering a walking tour of our neighborhood, the Fenway. In celebration of this unique neighborhood, I have selected a few postcards from our collection that illustrate the Fenway’s gardens, streets, and buildings as they once appeared. The next time you visit the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park, or the Back Bay Fens, take a moment to look around for signs of our neighborhood as it has grown and changed for the century and more that the MHS has occupied the corner of Boylston and The Fenway.


Since 1912, Fenway Park has been home to the Boston Red Sox and parts of its original brick facade are still visible to visitors and passersby. This postcard dates from 1914 and suggests that the ritual of lining up before the gates open has a long history!


The Back Bay Fens, part of the chain of city green spaces known as the Emerald Necklace, were designed and constructed in the 1890s by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted. The broad avenues of The Fenway and Park Drive that encircle the gardens, playing fields, and marshlands, were purposefully designed for leisure driving, cycling, and walking.


The two columns at Hemenway St. and Westland Ave. still stand as a gateway to the Fens for pedestrians and drivers alike. If you walk through this intersection today, many of the young trees depicted on this postcard now tower above the street, providing shade to pedestrians and cyclists as they pause for a break in automobile traffic.


Open to the public in June 1876 on Copley Square, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston relocated to the Fenway in 1909. The Evans Wing for Paintings, depicted here in a fine black and white print, opened to the public in 1915. Today, one of three entrances to the museum opens out onto the Fenway, memorably flanked by the bronze sculptures Night and Day by Spanish artist Antonio Lopez Garcia.


 Across the waters of the Fens from the MFA stands the Kelleher Rose Garden, opened in 1931 and designed by landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff, whose papers are held in the MHS collections.


Beyond the Museum of Fine Arts, along The Fenway, stand “Mrs. Jack Gardner’s Palace” --  the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum -- and Simmons College, founded in 1899 and opened to its first class of 142 students in the fall of 1902. They offered young women degrees in Home Economics, Library Studies, Secretarial Studies, Nursing, Teaching, and General Science.


At the opposite end of the Back Bay Fens from Simmons College stands the Somerset Hotel. Designed by Arthur Bowditch in the 1890s -- the same period during which the Massachusetts Historical Society’s 1154 Boylston St. building was under construction -- Somerset Hotel still stands today along what remains of Charlesgate Park, the link between the Back Bay Fens and the Charles River Esplanade.


The Esplanade parkland was severed from the Emerald Necklace in the 1950s when Storrow Drive was constructed to ease the traffic congestion to and from downtown Boston. Our final postcard today shows the newly-minted roadway as it snakes passed the now-iconic Hatch Memorial Band Shell, from which the Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcasts its Boston Pops concert every 4th of July.

While the postcard collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society is uncataloged, it is available for research use in the Society’s reading room. The postcards are arranged by geographic location and subject matter, covering Massachusetts, national, and foreign scenes. If you would be interested in accessing this collection please contact the library to arrange a visit.


comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Friday, 28 July, 2017, 10:42 AM

Winslow Homer’s Civil War reporting for Harper’s Weekly

While searching through the MHS’ library catalog, ABIGAIL, for records relating to Mr. Sidney Homer, an 1860s inventor, I stumbled upon a trove of graphics created by Winslow Homer. As a fan of Homer, I admonished myself for not being aware that we had any of his artworks here at the MHS. I did not, however, find any of Homer’s famous paintings in our stacks. Instead, I found evidence of an oft-overlooked part of Homer’s artistic career.

Known for his dramatic depictions of the ocean and idyllic images of country life, Homer’s career as a painter began to take off after his late-twenties. However, he showed artistic talent much earlier in his life in the form of sketches, prints, and other black-and-white media. This includes the MHS’ holdings, a selection of some of Homer’s lesser known work from this earlier period of his life, consisting in-part of prints he created for Harper’s Weekly as an artist-reporter during the Civil War.

Following an arduous apprenticeship at the Boston lithographer J.H. Bufford, 21 year-old Winslow Homer was eager to begin his career as an artist free from the shackles of any sort of contracted work. He became a freelance illustrator, submitting pieces to magazines such as Harper’s or Ballou’s Pictorial. When he was offered a contract as a staff artist for Harper’s in 1860, he turned it down. “The slavery at Bufford’s was too fresh in my recollection to let me care to bind myself again,” he later stated. “From the time I took my nose off that lithographic stone, I have had no master; and never shall have any.” However, after completing a commission from Harper’s to cover the presidential inauguration of Abraham Lincoln at the dawn of the Civil War, Homer began a stint with Harper’s that would end up becoming a formative part of his early career as an artist.


 “Presidents Buchanan and Lincoln entering the senate chamber before the inauguration. – (From a sketch by our Special Artist.)” Harper’s Weekly, March 16, 1861, p. 165


With photography still in its developmental period, some of the public’s best sources for images of current events were publications such as Harper’s Weekly. Based in New York City, Harper’s was a political magazine featuring news, stories, illustrations, and more. It was especially active during the Civil War, during which it had nearly 200,000 subscribers, and it worked to provide the public with images, news, and accounts from the front. Part of this endeavor included the hiring of around 30 artist-reporters, tasked with shadowing troops to the warfront and attempting to depict what they saw there. In a short but vivid description from their June 3, 1865 issue, Harper’s explained the project as follows:

They have made the weary marches and dangerous voyages. They have shared the soldiers’ fare; they have ridden and waded, climbed and floundered… The pictorial history of the war which they have written with their pencils in the field, upon their knees, upon a knapsack, upon a bulwark, upon a drum-head, upon a block, upon a canteen, upon a wet deck, in the grey dawn, in the dusk twilight, with freezing or fevered fingers…--this is a history quivering with life, faithful, terrible, romantic.

Winslow Homer was one such artist, although he was not assigned to a particular unit as were most of his colleagues. He made several trips to the front over the course of the war, but completed most of the actual depictions of what he saw there back at his studio in New York. His first trip to the front was likely around October of 1861, during which he focused on the Army of the Potomac. He did not witness any fighting as the army had recently returned from its defeat at Bull Run and was undergoing reorganization. The majority of Homer’s depictions of the war featured army life rather than actual fighting—soldiers setting up camp, eating, receiving medical care, or generally palling around. His images of camp are jovial and often humorous, highlighting the solders’ camaraderie and rowdiness. When compared with other artists’ depictions of soldiers from that time, Homer’s soldiers are distinctive in their quality of expressivity in contrast to other square-jawed, conventionally patriotic representations of “heroic” troops.  Though Homer did have a few pieces of a more patriotic nature, such as “Songs of the War” and “Our Women of the War.”


 Detail from “A Bivouac Fire on the Potomac,” Harper’s Weekly, Dec. 21, 1861, p. 808-809


Detail from “Our Women and the War,” Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 6, 1862, p. 568


In the spring of 1862 Homer visited the front again, and this time witnessed actual fighting. He was present in Washington to watch McClellan’s Army of the Potomac embark, and accompanied them on a transport ship to the York Peninsula in preparation for an advance on the Confederate capitol. Homer watched the month-long siege against Yorktown, but left not long after the siege ended. He completed most of his depictions of what he saw there after he returned to New York, and thus ended his stint as a “special artist” for Harper’s. He later complained to his friend John W. Beatty that Harper’s greatly reduced the size of his sketches upon printing them, sometimes squeezing 4 onto a single page and paying him only $25 for the entire page instead of $25 per artwork as was originally negotiated.

“The Army of the Potomac: a sharp-shooter on picket duty,” Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 15, 1862, p. 724


“Rebels outside their works at Yorktown reconnoitering with dark lanterns,” Harper’s Weekly, May 10, 1862, p. 305


Homer’s more famous images of the Civil War, “A Cavalry Charge” and “A Bayonet Charge,” were done after he returned to his home in New York and ended his work with Harper’s. Later drawings of army life suggest that he did make subsequent visits to the front later on in the war, but they were not part of Homer’s official work as a reporter. From here he shifted his focus to painting, although Harper’s did offer him another steady job at the end of his time at the front. Feeling intimidated by his obscurity as a painter, Homer heavily considered taking the job and vowed to his brother that he would accept the offer if his next two paintings did not sell. Unbeknownst to Homer, his brother purchased the paintings himself. Homer did not find out until years later, at which point he “swore roundly and refused to speak to his brother for weeks.” Still, this small encouragement helped to propel Homer into his career as a painter. In subsequent work he depicted scenes from war and soldiers, no doubt inspired by these early sketches.


All prints pictured in this post and more can be seen in their original forms in Harper’s Weekly at the MHS.


  1. Donald H. Karshan and Lloyd Goodrich, The Graphic Art of Winslow Homer, organized by the Museum of Graphic Art, New York, 1968
  2. Lloyd Goodrich, Winslow Homer, New York: Published for the Whitney Museum of American Art by Macmillan, 1944
  3. “Biography of Winslow Homer,” Winslow Homer, 2017,
  4. Amy Athey McDonald, “As embedded artist with the Union army, Winslow Homer captured life at the front,” Yale News, 20 April, 2015,




comments: 1 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 12:00 AM

“A stain of depravity”: John Quincy Adams on Lord Chesterfield

When Louisa Catherine Johnson wrote to her then-fiancé John Quincy Adams on March 20, 1797, she desired to impress him with her reading of Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to His Son. The reaction she received was not the reaction she expected.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield 

(National Portrait Gallery, London)


Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to His Son is a compilation of 448 letters from Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773), to his son, also named Philip (1732–1768), from the time the boy was five until his death. The letters contain lessons on subjects such as history and mythology in the boy’s youth, but the older he gets, the more the lessons relate to what Stanhope constantly refers to as, “the useful and necessary art of pleasing.” When the boy was eleven, Stanhope wrote that he desired he should be “as near perfection as possible” as “never were such pains taken for anybody’s education” and as his opportunities for knowledge and improvement were unparalleled. “The smallest inattention, or error in manners, the minutest inelegancy of diction, the least awkwardness in your dress and carriage, will not escape my observation,” Chesterfield wrote to his son. Understandably, Philip felt the need to keep secrets from his father. Upon his death from edema in 1768, Chesterfield discovered that Philip had been secretly married for ten years and had two sons. While Chesterfield provided for Philip’s two sons during what remained of his life and in his will, he neglected to leave Philip’s wife Eugenia anything, prompting her to publish over thirty years of his letters to his son. The collection of letters, published in 1774, attracted a great deal of notice in Britain and across the Atlantic.

Over twenty years after their original publication, Louisa wrote to her fiancé that she thought the letters “very good” but asked for John Quincy’s opinion on the book. John Quincy responded that he was never permitted to read the letters in his youth and harbored “too much contempt” for the principles within to have dedicated time to its perusal in his adulthood. Furthermore, he told her Chesterfield had a “stain of depravity which pervades all his ideas of morality” and that could only generate an “accomplished knave.” He advised her to read Samuel Johnson instead and leave Chesterfield’s “fraud” and “baseness” alone. (There is a 1779 copy of Stanhope’s work in the Stone Library at Peacefield with John Quincy’s bookplate attached.)

Undoubtedly, John Quincy’s fervent ideas about the book he claimed not to have read came, in part, from his parents. When his mother Abigail requested a copy in 1776, his father dissuaded her, telling her she wouldn’t want it as the letters were, “stained with libertine Morals and base Principles.” Abigail accepted her husband’s advice but got her hands on a copy four years later. After perusing the letters, she agreed that Chesterfield was filling his son’s mind with “the most immoral, pernicious and Libertine principals.”

Though John Quincy was no stranger to a father’s care, attention, and critiques, his relationship with his father little reflected the relationship of the Stanhopes. While John Adams urged his son to study the history of revolutions, Chesterfield outlined the proper way to bid farewell to mistresses. Chesterfield was, and urged his son to be, a chameleon in the world, a far cry from John Adams, the possibly uprooted but never swayed oak. In fact, Chesterfield’s instruction was so opposed to John Quincy’s lifestyle that he admitted to Louisa he felt as though Chesterfield were “personally satyrising” him.

John Quincy’s reaction to the text perhaps realizes his father’s April 15, 1776 wish that his children should “wear mean Cloaths, and work hard, with Chearfull Hearts and free Spirits” and that they would “scorn Injustice, Ingratitude, Cowardice, and Falshood. Let them revere nothing but Religion, Morality, and Liberty.” Nowhere did John Adams mention the useful and necessary art of pleasing.


comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 12:00 AM

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