1788-1966; bulk: 1817-1874
Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of the papers of financier and merchant Francis Cabot Lowell II (1803-1874) and includes material on Lowell family finances, the Glendon Iron Company, and the Phoenix Glass Works.
Francis Cabot Lowell II (1803-1874), 19th-century industrialist and financier, was the second of three sons of manufacturing pioneer Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817). He graduated from Harvard in 1821 in the same class with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Caretaker of the substantial Lowell textile and real estate holdings and family trusts, Lowell also helped to organize the Phoenix Glass Works of South Boston and the Glendon Iron Company of Pennsylvania. Before his death at 71 in 1874, Lowell's prudent management expanded the family fortune significantly.
The papers of Francis Cabot Lowell II span the years 1788 to 1966 and consist of 22 boxes of loose manuscripts; 13 boxes containing 140 bound volumes, including journals, notebooks, and account books; and one box of oversize material. The collection contains primarily the correspondence and other papers of Francis Cabot Lowell II. Family members represented in the correspondence include: Lowell's wife, Mary Gardner Lowell (1802-1854); his son, George Gardner Lowell (1830-1885); his daughter, Georgina Lowell (1836-1922); his brothers, Edward Jackson Lowell (1807-1830) and John Lowell IV (1799-1836); his uncle, John Lowell III (1769-1840); his cousin, John Amory Lowell (1798-1881); and Anna Cabot Lowell (1808-1894).
Among the other correspondents and individuals represented in the collection are: Robert W. Barnwell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Everett, Samuel P. Gardner, Horace Gray, Francis Lowell Hills, Charles W. Upham, Josiah Quincy, Daniel Webster, and Robert C. Winthrop. The collection contains considerable material on Lowell family finances, the Glendon Iron Company, and the Phoenix Glass Works, as well as a small collection of Ladd family papers. Also included are diaries of Mary Gardner Lowell, Georgina Lowell, Lowell's maid Lorenza Stevens Berbineau, and family friend Susan Cornish.
Gift of Harriet Ropes Cabot, May 1967.
The 1851 travel diary of Lorenza Stevens Berbineau has been published as From Beacon Hill to the Crystal Palace: The 1851 Travel Diary of a Working-Class Woman, edited by Karen L. Kilcup (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa City, 2002).
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Loose manuscripts, 1791-1966
This series is divided into five subseries: A. General correspondence; B. Business correspondence; C. Miscellaneous documents and notes; D. Phoenix Glass Works papers; and E. Ladd family papers.
A. General correspondence, 1791-1878
This subseries contains general correspondence of Lowell and his family, as well as accounts, receipts, and legal documents. The letters in this subseries are, for the most part, personal, but contain considerable material on business. Among the Lowell family members prominently represented are Mary Gardner Lowell; George Gardner Lowell; Georgina Lowell; Edward Jackson Lowell; John Lowell IV; John Lowell III; John Amory Lowell; Rebecca Amory Lowell; Catherine W. Amory; Warren Dutton; Eliza C. Dutton; George Gardner; and John Lowell Gardner (1804-1883). Other notable correspondents include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Everett, Horace Gray, Timothy Pickering, Josiah Quincy, Robert C. Winthrop; Eliza Winthrop, and Lowell business associates Samuel P. Gardner and Francis Lowell Hills.
B. Business correspondence, 1793-1953
This subseries consists primarily of Lowell's business correspondence, but also includes accounts, legal documents, and miscellaneous notes, as well as family documents, material relating to both the Amoskeag Company and the Glendon Iron Company, and some personal and political correspondence. Important correspondents are: Samuel P. Gardner, George Gardner, John Lowell Gardner (1804-1883), Francis Lowell Hills, George Bancroft, Edward Everett, Horace Gray, Harrison Gray Otis, John Gorham Palfrey, George Ticknor, Daniel Webster, and Robert C. Winthrop.
C. Miscellaneous documents and notes, 1820-1875
This subseries contains miscellaneous notes and documents, most of which relate to the life of Edward Jackson Lowell and his estate. Items include Harvard themes and book lists, anonymous notes on the Boston Moot Court, documents of the Pemberton Mill, deeds to Mt. Auburn Cemetery, an anonymous essay on French author Ange Guepin, and printed material.
D. Phoenix Glass Works papers, 1867-1966
This subseries consists of papers pertaining to the operation of the Phoenix Glass Works, South Boston, Mass., including accounts, receipts, inventories, legal documents, notes, printed material, and a small amount of correspondence. This subseries also contains two letters of Kenneth M. Wilson, curator of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, N.Y., and Harriet Ropes Cabot, Jan.-Feb. 1966.
E. Ladd family papers, 1804-1866
This subseries contains correspondence of the Ladd family and the related Greenough, Haskins, Ropes, Sewall, Shepard, and Wyer families. Also included are two small sea diaries of John Haskins Ladd and two journals which probably belonged to William Ladd Ropes.
II. Bound volumes, 1788-1919
The volumes in this series have been divided into six subseries, arranged by the individual to whom they belonged: A. Francis Cabot Lowell II; B. Georgina Lowell; C. Mary Gardner Lowell; D. Lorenza Stevens Berbineau; E. Susan Cornish; and F. Anonymous.
A. Francis Cabot Lowell II, 1807-1875
This subseries contains the journals, letterbooks, account books, and miscellaneous volumes of Francis Cabot Lowell II. Items were written by Lowell unless otherwise noted.
The bulk of the entries in this journal were written between 1823 and 1828, with scattered entries for earlier and later years.
Volumes 6 and 9 are accounts of the estate of Francis Cabot Lowell, 1817-1821.
B. Georgina Lowell, 1851-1919
Every year is represented except 1902 and 1912.
C. Mary Gardner Lowell, 1814-1853
There are no volumes for the years 1827-1829, 1840, and 1848.
D. Lorenza Stevens Berbineau, 1851-1869
E. Susan Cornish, 1878, 1886
This subseries consists of small line-a-day journals written by Susan Cornish, a Lowell family friend.
F. Anonymous, 1788-1850
The owner of these volumes has not been determined.
III. Oversize material, 1785-1864
This series consists of oversize legal documents; Harvard diplomas for Lowell (1821) and Edward Jackson Lowell (1825); passports for Lowell (1823) and Edward Jackson Lowell (1826-1827); galley proofs for an essay, "Treatise on War and Martial Law," by Lowell; and miscellaneous newspapers.
Francis Cabot Lowell (1803-1874) papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
Materials Removed from the Collection
One photograph of an unidentified member of the Lowell family has been removed to Portraits small (Photo. 9.21).