Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of the papers of the Channing family, including correspondence concerning family matters, most significantly the marriage and subsequent separation of Ellen Fuller and William E. Channing II. Other materials include legal documents and inventories, diaries, memoirs, histories, and genealogical material.
Channing family members represented in the collection:
Barbara H. Channing was the daughter of Dr. Walter Channing (1786-1876).
Edward T. Channing (1790-1856) was born in Newport, R.I. on 12 Dec. 1790, the son of William and Lucy (Ellery) Channing. He graduated from Harvard in 1807 and served as a professor there from 1819-1850. He married Henrietta Ellery in 1826 and died in Cambridge on 8 Feb. 1856.
Ellen Kilshaw Fuller Channing (d. 1856) was the sister of Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller and wife of William Ellery Channing (1817-1901). She died in Sep. 1856.
Lucy Bradstreet Channing was the daughter of Dr. Walter Channing (1786-1876).
Lucy Ellery Channing (1752-1834) was the wife of William Channing, Sr. (1751-1793).
William Channing (1751-1793) was born on 11 June 1751 in Newport, R.I. He graduated from Princeton in 1769, had a career as a lawyer, and married Lucy Ellery (1752-1834).
William Ellery Channing (1817-1901) was born on 29 Nov. 1817, the son of Dr. Walter Channing (1786-1876). He attended Harvard in 1834 but soon left. He married Ellen Kilshaw Fuller in 1840, and they moved to Concord, Mass., but she separated from him in 1853 due to his abusive treatment. She returned two years later, but upon her death in 1856, their children were raised by relatives. As a Transcendentalist like his sister-in-law Margaret Fuller, William knew Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. He was later Thoreau's first biographer. He was a published poet and his first poems were published in The Dial. He died on 23 Dec. 1901.
William Ellery (1727-1820) was born in Newport, R.I. on 22 Dec. 1727, the son of William and Elizabeth (Almy) Ellery. He graduated from Harvard in 1747. He married Ann Remington in 1760 and was married for the second time in 1767 to Abigail Cary. He was one of the founders of Rhode Island College (later Brown), a member of the Continental Congress from 1776-1780, and chief justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court from 1785. He died in Newport on 15 Feb. 1820.
Lucy Russell Channing (1787-1863) was the sister of Dr. Walter Channing (1786-1876). She married William M. Russell of New York.
Other individuals represented in the Channing family papers:
Edward Daniel Hayden (b. 1833) was born in Cambridge on 27 Dec. 1833. the son of Elizabeth W. Hayden. He graduated from Harvard in 1854, and in 1858 he opened his own law office. He married Marcia A. Winn and later Ellen F. Champney. He was a representative to the Massachusetts General Court from 1879-1881. He was the representative to the 49th and 50th Congress and selectman from Worcester for seven terms. For seventeen years, he was the president of the First National Bank of Woburn and vice-president of the Boston and Albany Railroad.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) was born in Cambridge on 22 Dec. 1823, the son of Stephen and Louisa (Storrow) Higginson. He graduated from Harvard in 1841 and the Harvard Divinity School in 1847. He married Mary Thatcher in 1879. He was the author of many books and died on 9 May 1911.
Lydia Swain Mitchel Hinchman (b. 1845) was the author of Early Settlers of Nantucket (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1896).
Henry Dutton Morse (1826-1888) was born in Boston on 20 Apr. 1826, the son of Hazen and Lucy (Cary) Morse. He married Ann Hayden on 22 May 1849. He was a partner in the firm of Crosby, Hunnewell & Morse until 1875. He then left the firm and organized the Morse Diamond Cutting Co. He was the first American to learn the art of diamond cutting and made many improvements to the field. He died in Jamaica Plain on 2 Jan. 1888.
Noah Rice (1751-1820) was born in Marlborough, Mass. on 10 Sep. 1751, the son of Jabez and Hannah (Brigham) Rice. He graduated from Harvard in 1777. He married Sarah Cazneau in 1778 and Hannah (Palfrey) Cole in 1784. He was a merchant/trader and the treasurer of Marlborough from 1790-1800. He died on 1 Oct. 1800.
The Channing family papers form part of the Channing family collection and include correspondence of Lucy B. Channing, Barbara H. Channing, Mary E. Channing Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Walter Channing II, William Ellery Channing II, Ellen K. Fuller Channing, Margaret (Crane) Fuller, and Henry D. Morse. The correspondence concerns family matters, most significantly the marriage and subsequent separation of Ellen Fuller and William E. Channing II.
Other materials include: inventories of the properties of William Minot of Boston and Noah Rice of Marlborough, Mass.; a diary of William E. Channing, 1831; legal documents pertaining to the estate of William Channing; the will of William Ellery; an anonymous journal of a trip to Europe, 1872; an autobiographical memoir by Edward Channing; a typescript history of Nantucket by Lydia S. Hinchman; numerous clippings; several small anonymous diaries; and genealogical materials.
Large portions of the entire Channing family collection were donated to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1965 by the children of Henry M. Channing. It is assumed this collection formed part of that donation.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Family papers, 1685-1930
This series contains Channing family correspondence, diaries, writings, deeds, wills, and other miscellaneous papers. Most of the correspondence is among the female members of the family and includes correspondence of Lucy B. Channing, Barbara H. Channing, and Mary E. Channing Higginson. The most significant amount of this series consists of letters of reaction concerning the meeting, marriage, and separation in 1853 of William Ellery Channing (1817-1901) and Ellen Kilshaw Fuller. This series also includes condolence letters after the death of Dr. Walter Channing in 1876.
Other materials include the inventory of the property of Noah Rice and the will of William Ellery (1820). The bound volumes include an anonymous journal of a trip to Europe (1806), several small anonymous diaries, and a typed excerpt from Early Settlers of Nantucket by Lydia Hinchman. The bulk of the correspondence lies in the early part of the collection, while the latter part contains primarily (but not entirely) business papers.
A. Loose materials, 1685-1930
B. Bound volumes, 1775-1895
II. Printed materials [179?]-1956
Includes newspaper clippings and miscellaneous printed materials on a variety of topics, including the William Ellery Channing Memorial Church and Centennial, invitations, Tavern Club announcements, business cards, etc.
This series also contains maps and plans, 1845-1926, of property related to the Channing family, including the site of the Channing Asylum in Brookline and lands in Newport, R.I.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Materials removed to the Walter Channing, Esq. papers
The following materials have been integrated into the Walter Channing, Esq. papers (oversize) and are housed in the oversize folder for the Channing family collection:
Deed. William Davis to George Champlin, 24 Mar. 1793.
Shipping insurance form. Newport Insurance Company, 16 Oct. 1800.
Bill of sale. Walter Channing to John Earl, Jr. for contents of ship, 6 Feb. 1801.
Bill of sale. Ship purchased by Walter Channing, 1 Aug. 1801.
Bill of sale. Ship purchased by Walter Channing, 5 Nov. 1801.
Charter party, 21 Jan. 1802.
Bill of sale. Ship purchased by Walter Channing, 20 Nov. 1802.
Bill of sale. Ship purchased by Walter Channing, 7 Feb. 1803.
Insurance policy. Insurance Co. of North America, to Thomas William Morse on goods for 12 months, 17 Jan. 1812.
Insurance policy. Insurance Co. of North America, to Thomas William Morse on house for 12 months, 17 Jan. 1812.
Insurance policy. Phoenix Assurance Company, to Benjamin Jay on house for one year, 16 Aug. 1816.
Indenture of lease between Mary Gibbs of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 24 Jan. 1817.
Regulations for transfers and insurance policies, .
Kirkland, John T. Harvard University, Cambridge 25 March 1822. [Circular letter, sent to Walter Channing].
Materials removed to the Walter Channing papers II
Sketch of that Town. The Highlands of Scotland.
Letter. Washington Allston to Walter Channing, 18 June 1834.
Letter. James R. Lowell to Walter Channing, 1 Jan. 1844.
Subscription notice. Boston Employment Society, 1847-1847.
Boston Dispensary..., n.p., n.d. [Advertising card/postcard].
Boston Employment Society... Second Quarterly Report, 3 Apr. 1843. Boston: 1843 (broadsheet).
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. 36 (9), 31 Mar. 1847.
Washington Total Abstinence Society. Circular ... October, 1841. Boston: 1841 (broadsheet).
Materials removed to the Walter Channing papers III
Clipping. "On the New Rings of Saturn," The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 2 (Nos. 1 & 2), n.d. Clipping. "Illustrated Paper on Photo Phone," n.d.
Clipping. "Suggested Outline for the History of Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada," n.d.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Semi-Annual Exam, 1867-1868 (printed document completed in manuscript).
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 27 Oct. n.d.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 29 Oct. n.d.
Clipping. "Attention," from Free Society, Vol. 7 (31), p. 5, 1 Sep. 1901.
Newspaper. Walter and Anzeger, 7 Sep. 1901 (in German).
Clipping. "Was Czolgosz Insane?" from Free Society, Vol. 9 (7), pp. 2-3, 16 Feb. 1902.
Clipping. "Leon F. Czolgosz," from Free Society, Vol. 9 (17), pp. 2-3, 27 Apr. 1902.
Business card. Henry J. Williams, Chemical Engineer and Analytical Chemist, Boston, 1909.
Postcards. Anonymous to Walter Channing, [191-], 2.
Clipping. "The Alleged Increase of Insanity" by H. R. Stedman, M.D., from New York Psychiatrical Society, 5 Jan. 1910.
Clipping. "Inside the Psychopathic Hospital," from Boston Transcript, 19 Mar. 1910.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 26 May 1911.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 18 July 1911.
Postcard. Owen Copp to Walter Channing, 13 Aug. 1911.
Postcard. E. E. Southard to Walter Channing, 8 Sep. 1911.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 16 Sep. 1911.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 9 Apr. 1912.
Clipping. "A Law that is Menacing," from Boston Sunday Herald, 14 Apr. 1912.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 17 June 1912.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 21 July. 1912.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 7 Oct. 1912.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 19 Nov. 1912.
List of readers. Boston Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1913-1914.
Clipping. "Massachusetts Leads in War on Insanity," Boston, 9 Feb. 1913.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 31 Mar. 1913.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 6 Apr. 1913.
Clipping. "Who's Who in Brookline?" by Dr. Walter Channing, from Brookline Townsmen, 3 May 1913.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 10 Sep. 1913.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 19 Oct. 1913.
Clipping. "There is No Criminal Type, Says Prison Expert," from Boston Herald, 2 Nov. 1913.
Postcard. Ellen Scott to Walter Channing, 16 Dec. 1913.
Letter. Walter Channing to son Henry, with typed list of Dr. Channing's publications and memberships, 24 Feb. 1915.
Clipping. "Dr. Walter Channing, Pioneer," from Boston Herald, 26 Nov. 1921.
American Medico-Psychological-Association. Preliminary Program, 68th Annual Meeting, May 28, 29 30 and 31. 1912, .
American Neurological Association. Programme of the Thirty-eighth Annual Meeting, May 30th 31st, and June 1st. 1912. Boston. Mass., [Boston: 1912].
[Boston State Hospital. Temporary Care Recommendation Form], 1911.
Boston State Hospital. Annual Reports (titles vary), 1911, 1914, 1915, 1916.
Boston State Hospital. Conference on ...Alcohol, 24 Nov. 1913. [Announcement].
Boston State Hospital. Psychopathic Department. [Announcement of opening of Outpatient Service], 1 Jan. 1913.
Boston State Hospital. 2nd Annual Conference on Medical and Social Work, 26 June 1914, [Announcement].
"Boston State Hospital Dorchester Centre, Mass.," reprinted from Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada, Vol. II, .
Brookline Education Society, n.d. [broadside].
Brookline Public Baths and Swimming School. [Rules and advertisement, 1903].
Bullard, William N., Walter Channing, and Herbert B. Howard. An Appeal for the Endowment of a Professorship of Psychiatry (or Mental Diseases) in the Harvard Medical School, n.p., n.d.
Channing, Walter and Benjamin Seaver. [Case of Joseph Hayden], n.d.
Clarke, T. Wood. Sample History. History of the Utica State Hospital, n.d.
"Dr. Walter Channing," reprint from Boston Transcript, 25 Nov. 1921.
Gregg, Donald, "The Differentiation of Psychotic from Neurotic Conditions," reprinted from Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. clxxvii (26), pp. 904-907, 27 Dec. 1917.
Gregg, Donald, "Fundamental Considerations in the Treatment of the Psychoneuroses," reprinted from Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. clxxvi (2), pp. 57-57, 11 Jan. 1917.
Massachusetts. General Court. House. No. 1857, 1 Mar. 1912.
Massachusetts. General Court. House. No. 2122, 27 Mar. 1912.
Massachusetts. General Court. An Act to Authorize the Appointment of a Board of Examiners for Alleged Insane Criminals, No. 109, Jan. 1912.
Massachusetts. State Board of Charity. An Educational Exhibit of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of Articles Made by Patients in the Hospitals and Schools for the Insane..., n.p., n.d. [Announcement].
Massachusetts. State Board of Insanity. Information Concerning Temporary Care of Persons Suffering Mental Derangement, 19 June 1911.
Massachusetts. Supreme Judicial Court. William J. Welch, Petitioner, v. H. Lincoln Chase et als. Respondents..., Norfolk County, Nov. 1912.
Massachusetts. Supreme Judicial Court. William J. Welch vs. H. Lincoln Chase et al ...Petitioner's Brief, Nov. 1912.
Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene. Monthly Bulletin. Vol. 18 (1-2), Jan.-Feb. 1939.
Mental Hygiene Exhibit and Conference ... Yale University ... January 6th to 11th, 1913.
Philadelphia Medical Journal, Vol. 9 (17), 26 Apr. 1902.
Physical Examination of School Pupils, n.d.
Playground and Recreation Association of America. Recreational Institute for the New England States. Brookline. Mass., February 15, 16, 17. 1912, [Program], N.Y., .
Woodward, Samuel B. The History of an Unpaid Board (The Mass. State Board of Insanity)..., n.d.
Materials removed to the William F. Channing papers
"Electromagnetism," by Dr. Hare, incomplete, n.d.
"Of Galvanism, or Voltaic Electricity," by Dr. Hare, incomplete, n.d.
Clipping. "A Memorial of Dr. Channing," n.d.
Clipping. Letter to Professor Faraday on Certain Theoretical Opinions by R. Hare, M.D., American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 38 (1), n.d.
Clipping. Meeting of the Horticultural Society, n.d.
Diagram. Telegraph?, n.d.
Clipping. "Observations on the Photographic Process" by William F. Channing, Apr.-June 1842.
Clipping. "Early telephoning," Providence Sunday Journal, 12 Mar. 1843.
Selections from a book covering surveys of St. Mary's River by William F. Channing, 16 Oct. 1847.
Clipping. "Notes on the Medical Application of Electricity," 1849.
Clipping. "The Union of Hemispheres," 1858.
Letter. Charles Sumner to William F. Channing, 7 Oct. 1863.
Clipping. "On a Method of Producing by the Electric Spark, Figures Similar to Those of Lichtenberg," by Eli W. Blake, Jr., American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 44, May 1870.
Patent. United States Patent Office. Improvement in Introduction -- Coil Apparatus and Circuit-breakers, with diagrams, Charles Page, 10 Oct. 1871.
Clipping. "Generation Before Regeneration," supplement to Health Monthly, 1877.
Clipping. "The Telephone," Scientific American, New York, 31 Mar. 1877.
Clipping. Journal of the Telegraph, Vol. 10 (23), New York, 1 Dec. 1877.
Materials removed to the Henry Morse Channing papers
Harvard Class of 1902. 50th Anniversary Report form, n.d.
Diploma. Brookline High School, 21 June 1897.
Certificate on completion of Military Instruction Camp, 11 May 1917.
Certificate as an attorney of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, 19 Nov. 1936.
Postcard. F. T. W. Gill, Jr. to Henry Channing, 9 Feb. 1949.
Postcard. Hester Hastings to Henry Channing, 17 May 1952.
Typed personal memoir, 1952.
Trustees of Public Reservations. Annual Report. 1949, [Boston: 1950].
The following photographs have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives:
Channing Asylum, ca. 1887, 1 folder
Channing Asylum, ca. 1897, 1 folder
Printed Materials Removed
For a list of printed materials removed from this collection, see Curator of Manuscripts.
Channing family 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.