ca. 1845-1983; bulk: 1850-1897
Guide to the Photograph Collection
This collection contains 153 photographs in one box and one cased volume, most dating from 1850-1867. The bulk of the collection consists of loose formal portrait photographs and informal snapshots of various members of the Emerson, Haven, Forbes, Mott, and Tompkins families.
William Emerson (WmE I) (1769-1811) was the son of William Emerson (1743-1776) and Phebe Bliss (1741-1825). He graduated from Harvard College in 1789, and in 1792 he became minister of the First Congregational Church at Harvard, Mass. From 1799 until his death, he preached at the First Church (Old Brick) in Boston. WmE I was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He was married to Ruth Haskins (1768-1853) of Boston in 1796, and they had eight children: Phebe Ripley (1798-1800), John Clarke (1799-1807), William (WmE II) (1801-1868), Ralph Waldo (RWE) (1803-1882), Edward Bliss (1805-1834), Robert Bulkeley (1807-1859), Charles Chauncy (1808-1836), and Mary Caroline (1811-1814).
William Emerson (WmE II) (1801-1868), the son of William Emerson and Ruth Haskins, married Susan Woodward Haven (1807-1868), daughter of John Haven (1766-1849) and Ann Woodward (1771-1859), in 1833. He graduated from Harvard College in 1818, received his A.M. degree from Harvard University in 1821, and studied theology and philosophy at the University of Göttingen, Germany, from 1824 to 1825. He was appointed attorney and counselor in the state of New York and was named First Judge of the County Courts in the county of Richmond, N.Y. in 1841. He and his wife lived on Staten Island, N.Y., with their three children, William (WmE III) (1835-1864), John Haven (1840-1913), and Charles (1841-1916).
Ralph Waldo Emerson (RWE) (1803-1882) was the son of William Emerson (WmE I) and Ruth Haskins. The well-known poet, preacher, and man of American letters married Ellen Louisa Tucker (d. 1831) in 1829 and Lidian Jackson (1802-1892) in 1835. This second marriage produced four children: Waldo (1836-1841), Ellen Tucker (1839-1909), Edith (b. 1841), and Edward Waldo (1844-1930). RWE was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Charles Chauncy Emerson (1808-1836) was the son of William Emerson (WmE I) and Ruth Haskins. He graduated with the Harvard class of 1828 and received his A.M. and L.L.B. degrees there in 1832. He served as a lawyer in Boston and was engaged to Elizabeth Hoar (1814-1878) at his death in 1836.
William Emerson (WmE III) (1835-1864) was the son of William Emerson (WmE II) and Susan (Haven). He graduated from Columbia College in 1853 and Harvard Law School in 1856. He was married to Sarah Hopper Gibbons (b. 1835) in 1863. They resided in New York, where he was a member of the bar.
John Haven Emerson (1840-1913) was the son of William Emerson (WmE II) and Susan Woodward Haven. He graduated from Columbia College in 1860 and earned his M.D. degree at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1864. A successful New York physician, he was published widely in medical journals. He married Susan Titus Tompkins (b. 1840) of Somers, N.Y., in 1868, and they had six children: Ruth (b. 1870), William (b. 1873), Haven (b. 1874), Helena Titus (1877-1967), Elizabeth Hoar (1877-1882), and Julia Titus (b. 1877).
Charles Emerson (1841-1916) was the son of William Emerson (WmE II) and Susan Woodward Haven. He graduated with the class of 1863 at Harvard College, and beginning in 1862, he served in the Civil War. He was married to Theresia ("Terche") Keveschi (b. 1847) of Hungary in 1871, and they settled in Concord, Mass.
Ellen Tucker Emerson (b. 1839) was the daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lidian Jackson. She resided in Concord.
Edith Emerson Forbes (b. 1841) was the daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lidian Jackson. She was married to William Hathaway Forbes (1840-1897) in 1865, and they resided in Milton, Mass. Their children were: Ralph Emerson (b. 1866), Edith (b. 1867), William Cameron (b. 1871), John Murray (1871-1888), Edward Waldo (b. 1874), Waldo Emerson (b. 1879), Ellen Randolph (1880-1881), and Alexander (b. 1882).
Edward Waldo Emerson (1844-1930) was the son of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lidian Jackson. He married Annie Shepherd Keyes (b. 1847) in 1874. Their children were: William (b./d. 1875), Charles Lowell (1876-1880), John (1878-1879), Ellen Tucker (b. 1880), Florence (b. 1882), William Forbes (b. 1884), and Raymond (b. 1886).
For more biographical and genealogical information on the Emerson family, see Benjamin Kendall Emerson, The Ipswich Emersons (Boston: David Clapp & Son), 1900.
The Emerson family photographs consist of one box of loose photographs and one cased volume, as well as glass photographs stored separately from the collection. The collection spans the years ca. 1845 to 1983, with the bulk of the photographs dating from 1850-1897.
Most of the collection consists of formal and informal portraits of Emerson family members. One box contains loose tintype, carte de visite portraits, cabinet cards, and other paper-based portraits of various Emerson, Haven, Forbes, Mott, and Tompkins family members. Subjects include William Emerson II; John Haven Emerson; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lidian Jackson Emerson, and their children; Annie Shepherd Keyes Emerson and her children; and Edith Emerson Forbes and her children, among others. One album also contains carte de visite and tintype portraits of various Emerson family members. There are also a small number of loose photographs of various Emerson and Haven family homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The Emerson family photographs also include a number of daguerreotypes and one ambrotype stored separately apart from the collection by format in the Daguerreotype collection (Photo. Coll. 1) and Ambrotype collection (Photo. Coll. 2). These cased glass photographs include portraits of various Emerson, Haven, Mott, and Tompkins family members. See the Photograph List for details and request these photographs based on the call numbers listed in bold there.
Photographers represented in this collection include Edward Waldo Emerson, Jeremiah Gurney and Rockwood (both of New York, N.Y.), and James Wallace Black, John Adams Whipple, and Southworth & Hawes (all of Boston, Mass.).
This collection was removed from the Emerson family papers, which were deposited at the Massachusetts Historical Society in May 1993 by Dr. Michael Wortis, great-great-grandson of William Emerson. The papers were given to the Society by Dr. Wortis in Aug. 2003.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Glass photographs
Note: Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes are stored apart from the collection by format: Daguerreotype collection (Photo. Coll. 1) and Ambrotype collection (Photo. Coll. 2). When requesting glass photographs, the reader should use these call numbers, listed below in bold, NOT Photo. Coll. 152.
Inscription: "Sarah Gordon, elder sister of Ray, daughter of David."
II. Loose photographs
A. Individual portraits
Photograph of plaster medallion of CCE on the mantelpiece of the northeast bedroom of the Emerson House, Concord, Mass. Note enclosed describing the origins of the photograph.
[There is no Photo #152.41.]
Inscription on back of photo: "Wm Emerson of 159 Brattle St. Architect."
Inscription on back of photo: "Ethel Tompkins Calif."
Typescript note from William Cameron Forbes to John Murray Forbes regarding photograph is included.
Inscription on back of photograph: "Charles Emerson - December 15, 1853."
B. Group portraits
Inscription on back of photograph in hand of Edward Waldo Emerson: "Annie & Raymond Coffin Beach August 1887 / For Susy; this the best result of my camera with wishes for a Merry Christmas - EWE."
Inscription on back of photograph in hand of Edward Waldo Emerson: "For Helena - William, aged 3 yrs. Raymond, aged 9 months Coffin Beach Aug. 1887."
Inscription on back of photograph: "A.S.E. July 1905."
C. Family homes
Arranged alphabetically by place name.
III. Emerson family carte de visite album
Arranged and numbered in the order in which the pages appear in the album.
Inscription on back of photograph: "This was done in New York 1790 and is acknowledged by all to be a very strong likeness / B Goodhue."
Inscription on back of photograph: "Condemned -"
Emerson family photographs, Photo. Coll. 152, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.
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.