Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of four generations of the Hale family of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, as well as related families.

Biographical Sketches

Hale family

Joseph Hale (1729-1814) of Alstead, N.H. was the father of David Hale (1758-1822) of Alstead, who married Hannah Emerson. The couple had 14 children, among them Salma Hale (1787-1866), editor, historian, congressman, president of the Cheshire Railroad Company, and trustee of Dartmouth College and the University of Vermont. He married in 1820 Sarah Kellog King (1798-1865).

Their son George Silsbee Hale (1825-1897) was a graduate of Harvard in 1844, a lawyer, author, philanthropist, president of the Boston Common Council, founder of Associated Charities of Boston, counsel for Boston & Worcester and Boston & Albany railroads, president of the Massachusetts Reform Club, and member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He married in 1868 Ellen (Sever) Tebbets. They had two sons, Robert Sever Hale (1869-1942) and Richard Walden Hale (1871-1943), lawyer, author, lecturer, state legislator, secretary and treasurer of the Selden Society, and senior partner at Hale & Dorr. He married in 1903 Mary Newbold Patterson. Their son was Richard Walden Hale (1909-1976), a historian, teacher, and Massachusetts state archivist, who married in 1940 Elizabeth Fairbanks.

Sever family

John Sever (1792-1855) married in 1825 Anne Dana (1800-1864). The couple's children were: John B. Sever (1826-1827), Anne Dana Sever (1828-1896), Herbert Sever (1829-1830), Charles William Sever (1831-1831), Mary Sever (1832-1919), Emily Sever (1834-1925), Ellen Sever (1838-1904), and Martha Sever (1839-1864).

Ellen Sever married (first) Theodore Tebbets (1831-1863). They had one son, John Sever Tebbets (1858-1901). Ellen Sever Tebbets married (second) George S. Hale in 1868. They had two sons, Robert Sever Hale and Richard Walden Hale.

Collection Description

This collection consists of papers of the Hale family of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and related families, including the Emerson, Dana, King, Patterson, Sever, and Tebbets families. Correspondence of N.H. congressman Salma Hale relates to his literary, journalistic, and political activities, including his service on the commission to settle boundaries under the Treaty of Ghent (1815). Correspondents include John Bailey, Samuel Bell, William C. Bradley, Josiah Butler, Arthur Livermore, Nathaniel Silsbee, John W. Taylor, and Nathaniel Upham. Papers of his wife, Sarah Kellog (King) Hale, include correspondence with her guardian William Gay and Catherine Fiske, who raised her. Correspondence of Salma's son George Silsbee Hale is primarily with his parents, other family members, his wife Ellen (Sever) Tebbets Hale, and later his sons Robert S. and Richard W. Hale and others, concerning his schooling at Harvard University, his travels in Europe, his philanthropic efforts, and family matters. Correspondents include William Barstow, George S. Emerson, Harry Hibbard, Francis Parkman, Josiah Quincy, Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Schurz, Nathaniel Silsbee, Jared Sparks, Charles Sumner, Daniel Webster, and Edward A. Wild.

The collection contains Sever family correspondence between Ellen and her sisters Martha and Anne Sever, who were nurses during the Civil War, and other Sever family members, including Ellen's father Col. John Sever, members of the Dana family, and Ellen's mother Anne (Dana) Sever. Family papers of Theodore Tebbets (Ellen's first husband) include items for Theodore, some earlier Tebbets family members, and Ellen and Theodore's son John Sever Tebbets. Papers of George and Ellen's son, the lawyer Richard W. Hale, relate to his business, legal, and literary activities and include many files of his research and writing. Some particular topics include a biography of Lady Sarah Lennox, Duchess of Richmond; Hale's great-great-aunt Sarah Josepha Buell Hale and her authorship of the verses for "Mary Had a Little Lamb"; the murder trial of Samuel Gallo and Gangi Cero; the Supreme Court cases of Douglas C. Macintosh and Marie A. Bland concerning the citizenship oath for immigrants; and the history of Roxbury Latin School, among many other subjects. R. W. Hale's correspondents include, among others, his brother Robert Sever Hale, Learned Hand, Oliver W. Holmes, Jr., William D. Howells, Charles E. Hughes, Harold Laski, Roscoe Pound, and his colleague Charles P. Howland. There is also correspondence with his wife Mary Newbold (Patterson) and some Patterson family members and one box of correspondence concerning Richard and Mary's wedding in 1903.

Papers of Warwick Greene, a public official and businessman whose letters were edited by R. W. Hale, are mostly concerned with financial investments and household matters, but also include some papers relating to his work with the New England Oil Refining Company in Venezuela and some papers relating to personal and financial interests of his colleague in the Philippines, Eugene de Mitkiewicz. The collection also contains miscellaneous notes and genealogical materials for the Hale, Cox, Gilbert, Hansen, Liddon, Newbold, Patterson, and Singer families, and other related families. Bound volumes include (but are not limited to) diaries of George S. Hale, John S. Tebbets, and two unidentified women; school volumes and scrapbooks of George S. Hale; scrapbooks of John S. Tebbets; and miscellaneous volumes of Richard W. Hale and others.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the estate of Richard Walden Hale, Jr. 1976.

Other Formats

Digital facsimiles of the John Sever Tebbets diary are available on Life at Sea, a digital publication of Adam Matthew Digital, Inc. This digital resource is available at subscribing libraries; speak to your local librarian to determine if your library has access. The MHS makes this resource available onsite; see a reference librarian for more information.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Family correspondence and loose papers, 1727-1965

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains correspondence and other papers of the extended Hale family, mainly Salma Hale, George Silsbee Hale, and Richard Walden Hale, along with papers of the connected families of King, Sever, Dana, Tebbets, Patterson, and miscellaneous others. Early papers include items for Joseph Hale, David Hale, and some Emerson family material.

Salma Hale's correspondence pertains to his editorship of the Walpole, N.H. Political Observatory and his work as clerk of the Court of Common Pleas for Cheshire County. Other letters illuminate his activities as a U.S. Congressman and member of the commission to settle boundaries under the Treaty of Ghent (1815), including correspondence with William C. Bradley, representative from Vermont, and Cornelius Peter Van Ness, governor and representative from Vermont, both of whom served with Hale on the commission, as well as Ward Chipman, British agent to the commission. Other correspondents include New Hampshire political figures with whom Hale served during his two years in Congress (1817-1819): Samuel Bell, Josiah Butler, Arthur Livermore, William Plummer, and Nathaniel Upham. Also included is correspondence with Nathaniel Silsbee, John Bailey, and John W. Taylor. These letters treat both state and national politics, touching upon such issues as the Missouri Compromise of 1820, foreign affairs, and current debates and legislation, as well as politicians such as James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Lewis Cass, Martin Van Buren, and Zachary Taylor.

Salma's correspondence concerns, secondly, his association with various publishing houses regarding his History of the United States, which was first published at Keene, N.H. in 1823 and passed through many subsequent editions.

This series also contains materials concerning Sarah King (Salma's future wife), 1816-1821, including letters with Catherine Fiske, who raised and educated her, and William Gay, her guardian.

George Silsbee Hale papers include letters with friends from Keene, the Phillips Exeter Academy, and Harvard University, among them William Barstow, Francis Parkman, Edwin A. Wild, and George S. Emerson. His school papers for the years 1839-1844 include notes, essays, compositions, and college themes. There is correspondence with numerous family members and a large series of letters between Hale and Ellen (Sever) Tebbets, whom he married in 1868, among them letters written home during his many European travels. Other correspondents include A. M. Chalmers, in whose Virginia school he taught for a year; Harry Hibbard, U.S. Congressman from New Hampshire (who married George's sister Sarah King Hale Bellows); and various public figures such as Josiah Quincy, Jared Sparks, Daniel Webster, Charles Sumner, Carl Schurz, and Theodore Roosevelt. Hale's philanthropic activities are documented in his correspondence with many of Boston's institutions and organizations in which he was active or an officer.

The series also contains papers of George's wife Ellen (Sever) Tebbets, including a large amount of Sever family correspondence, early Sever papers, and some items related to Ellen's first husband John Tebbets and her son John Sever Tebbets. Earlier Sever family members represented here include William Sever (1729-1809); John Sever (1766-1803), merchant and shipbuilder; and John Sever (1792-1855), first president of the Old Colony Railroad. Sever family materials include some items pertaining to the Dana family (who were related to the Severs) and correspondence among the Sever sisters, two of whom served as nurses in the Civil War.

Richard Walden Hale's correspondence and papers mainly concern his personal research and writing about the law, historical topics, and current affairs, but include family correspondence. There is a box of materials relating to his engagement and marriage (1903) to Mary Newbold Patterson. Among his correspondents are Charles Evan Hughes, Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Harold Laski, Roscoe Pound, and William Dean Howells.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
Box 7
Wedding papers, Richard W. Hale and Mary Patterson, 1903
Box 8
Box 9
Box 10
Box 11
1942-1965 and undated
Box 12
George S. Hale school papers, 1839-1844

II. Genealogy, ca. 1830-ca. 1950

This series contains genealogical materials apparently collected by several family members, including small volumes of genealogies for the Hale family and memoirs for various family members. There is also a box of genealogies and notes on the related Cox, Gilbert, Hansen, Liddon, Newbold-Smith, Patterson, Sever, Singer, and Tebbets families.

Box 13
Hale family
Box 14
Related families

III. Richard W. Hale papers, 1830-1954

This series consists of the research, writing, and subject files of Richard W. Hale. Hale was a prolific writer and dedicated researcher, and his interests were wide-ranging, including legal topics, historical topics, and current affairs.

A. Research and writing files, 1830-1954

Article file, 1863-1942

Arranged chronologically.

Richard W. Hale's "article file" contains articles, briefs, essays, editorials, speeches, lectures, addresses, etc. Included is one 1863 manuscript article, possibly written by George S. Hale, but Richard's writing dates from 1897 to 1942.

Box 15
Box 16
Box 17
Box 18
Box 19
Box 20
Box 21
1940-1942 and undated

Specific topics, 1830-1954

Included is Richard W. Hale's research and writing pertaining to particular topics: a proposed biography of Lady Sarah Lennox (never completed); files devoted to proving the authorship by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale of the verses for "Mary Had a Little Lamb'; materials gathered for a proposed article in the American Trials series (Alfred Knopf) on the complicated cases of Gangi Cero and Samuel Gallo in the murder of Joseph Fantasia (1927); and correspondence and writing for briefs in the cases of Douglas C. Macintosh and Marie Averil Bland before the Supreme Court (1930) and more generally on the topic of modifying the Oath of Allegiance for citizenship in the U.S.

Box 22
Lady Sarah Lennox biography, correspondence and source material, 1924-1926

Included is a letter from Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland (1705-1774), to Sir Henry Bunbury respecting marriage settlements, 9 Mar. 1762. This letter was apparently purchased by R. W. Hale from an autograph dealer for his research.

Box 23
Lady Sarah Lennox biography, miscellaneous drafts, 1927-1934
Box 24
Lady Sarah Lennox biography, miscellaneous drafts, 1935-1942 and undated
Box 25
Mary's Lamb files, 1830-1941

Included are papers regarding R. W. Hale's efforts to prove that his great-great-aunt Sarah Josepha Buell Hale was the author of the verses for "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Early research materials date from 1830.

Box 26
Cero-Gallo cases, 1927-1940

Included are materials gathered for a proposed article on the cases of Gangi Cero and Samuel Gallo in the murder of Joseph Fantasia in Boston's North End (1927) for the American Trials series (Alfred Knopf).

Box 27
Macintosh case, 1930-1939

Included are materials gathered for writing Brief in Behalf of American Friends Service Committee by Hale and Charles P. Howland (Supreme Court, October term, 1930, nos. 504, 505); correspondence with Howland and others; and other writing on "qualified allegiance" and oaths of allegiance in general, particularly in the cases of Douglas Clyde Macintosh and Marie Averil Bland.

Box 28
Roxbury Latin School history, 1944-1954

Included are research materials and drafts for Hale's Tercentenary History of the Roxbury Latin School, 1645-1945 (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1946).

B. Subject files, 1898-1941

This subseries contains Richard W. Hale's Schooner Head files, which consist of correspondence, work specifications, inventories, and other papers related to the Hale house at Schooner Head, Bar Harbor, Maine, with some material related to other properties. Also included is a box of correspondence and other papers pertaining to his interest in gardening, flowering shrubs, and fruit tree and nut tree cultivation. In addition, there are subject files for maps (mainly Norfolk County), Samuel Pepys (apparently a research interest), and Dorothy Quinn, his typist and research assistant.

Box 29
Schooner Head files, 1898-1937

Included are letters, inventories, and other papers regarding the house at Schooner Head (Bar Harbor, Maine), along with inventories of other Hale property.

Box 30
Gardening, fruit tree and nut tree cultivation, 1916-1941

Included is correspondence with people concerning Hale's gardening efforts, mainly shrubs, fruit trees, and nut trees.

Box 31
Maps (mostly Norfolk County)
Box 31
Samuel Pepys research, 1929-1935
Box 31
Dorothy Quinn work/pay records, 1934-1935

IV. Warwick Greene papers, 1915-1929

This series consists of personal papers of Warwick Greene, a public official who served in the Philippines (1910-1915), as director of the War Relief Commission of the Rockefeller Foundation (1916), on the Red Cross Commission in France and Belgium (1917), as major of the Aviation Section (1917), as major of the Signal Corps (1917), and later as lieutenant colonel (1918-1919). After the war, he became president of the New England Oil Refining Company and later vice-president of the Petroleum Heat and Power Company of Boston. He died in Boston in 1929. Richard W. Hale edited a volume of the Letters of Warwick Greene, 1915-1918 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931), which is probably the reason this material appears among Hale's papers.

Included are papers and correspondence with various financial investment companies: W. H. McKenna and Company (1921-1922), North American Company (1921-1927), and the Old Colony Trust Company (1924-1926); correspondence relating to the New England Oil Refining Company and its work in Venezuela (1925-1927); passports and travel documents (1915-1926); general papers and correspondence about banking and household matters (1920-1929); and papers concerning the finances and personal legal matters (1921-1924) of Eugene de Mitkiewicz, a colleague in the Philippines.

Box 32
Correspondence and miscellaneous papers, 1920-1929
Box 32
W. H. McKenna & Co., 1921-1922
Box 33
North American Company, 1921-1927
Box 33
Eugene de Mitkiewicz, 1921-1924
Box 33
Household accounts, 1925-1927
Box 34
Old Colony Trust Co., 1924-1926
Box 34
Passports, 1915-1926
Box 34
Venezuela (New England Oil Co.), 1926-1927

V. Bound volumes, 1831-1960

This series consists of 11 bound volumes of George Silsbee Hale, three volumes of John Sever Tebbets (first husband of Ellen Sever), and 12 volumes of other Hale family members, including Richard W. Hale, Ellen (Sever) Tebbets Hale, Thomas F. King, and Sarah King Hale. John S. Tebbets's volumes include a diary of two voyages to the Azores aboard the bark Azor and the bark Kate Williams in 1874 and 1875, as well as scrapbooks, one pertaining to the Duquesne Mining Camp and one concerning Harvard. George S. Hale and Richard W. Hale also have Harvard-related volumes, including school work, expenses, and some diary entries.

A. George S. Hale volumes, 1837-1895

Arranged chronologically.

Box 35Folder 1
Diary, Keene, N.H., 23 Jan.-31 Mar. 1837

Daily activities.

Box 35Folder 2
Diary, Phillips Exeter Academy, 4-16 Mar. 1840; commonplace book, 1840-1841
Box 35Folder 3
Commonplace book and Latin exercises, 1840
Box 35Folder 4
College expenses, Harvard, 1840-1844
Box 35Folder 5
Diary, 10 Sep. 1842–16 Oct. 1845

Very intermittent entries.

Box 35Folder 6
Diary, Niagara Falls, 18-24 July 1844; diary, Richmond, 12 June-24 Dec. 1847

Two diaries in one volume.

Box 35Folder 7
Passport, issued 1848
Box 35Folder 8
Court cases, 1846; other legal notes, to 1858
Box 35Folder 9
Diary and memoranda, Schooner Head, 1876-1893

Summer entries for Schooner Head.

Box 36Folder 1
Scrapbook, 1887-1890

Mostly clippings about the Unitarian Club, with some material on charities, women's suffrage, the Bostonian Society, Harvard, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Reform Club. NOTE: This item was badly mildewed, so was photocopied and discarded.

Box 36Folder 2
Scrapbook, 1889-1895

Miscellaneous clippings.

B. John Sever Tebbets volumes, 1874-1896

Box 37Folder 1
Scrapbook, 1896

Clippings, mainly concerning the Duquesne Mining Camp. NOTE: This scrapbook was mildew-damaged, so was photocopied and discarded.

Box 37Folder 2
Diary, 6 Apr.-7 Aug. 1874 and 22 Mar.-1 June 1875

Two voyages to the Azores. Detailed narrative diary entries kept onboard ship and on land. Also cash records, 3 Apr.-10 July [1874], and latitude/longitude records for the first voyage. The first voyage was a journey to Fayal, St. Michael, and return on the bark Azor, and the second voyage was a journey to Fayal, Flores, and return on the bark Kate Williams, commanded by Capt. L. R. Hale.

Digital facsimiles of the John Sever Tebbets diary are available on Life at Sea, a digital publication of Adam Matthew Digital, Inc. This digital resource is available at subscribing libraries; speak to your local librarian to determine if your library has access. The MHS makes this resource available onsite; see a reference librarian for more information.

Box 37Folder 3
Scrapbook, 1876-1890

Harvard ephemera, with a few work-related items at the end of the volume, 1890.

C. Hale family miscellaneous volumes, 1831-1960

Box 37Folder 4
Thomas F. King autograph album, 1837
Box 38Folder 1
Unidentified [Sever family woman's] diary, 1867-1868, 1888
Box 38Folder 2
Ellen Sever Tebbets Hale "Book of the Two Rs," 1873-1877

Memoranda about her two sons.

Box 38Folder 3
Richard W. Hale journal and school exercises, 19 June-28 Sep. 1882
Box 38Folder 4
Richard W. Hale suretyship notes, vol. 1, 1894-1895
Box 38Folder 5
Richard W. Hale suretyship notes, vol. 2, 1894-1895
Box 38Folder 6
Richard W. Hale and Mary N. Patterson Hale wedding book, 1903
Box 38Folder 7
Gertude Mary Reynolds Hughes diary [typescript], 1939-1945
Box 38Folder 8
[Mary N. Patterson Hale] address book, to 1960
Box 38Folder 9
Unidentified [woman's] diary, undated, [19th century]

European travel.

Cased vol. 1
Unidentified woman's scrapbook, Keene, N.H., [1831-1865]

Possibly kept by Sarah King Hale. Includes articles, poetry, commonplaces, obituaries, etc., mostly in the form of newspaper clippings.

Cased vol. 2
Richard W. Hale scrapbook of college essays, 1888-1893

VI. Oversize material

This box contains oversize materials from other parts of the collection. All items were dummied out from their original positions.

Box OS

Preferred Citation

Hale family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

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.


Bailey, John, 1786-1835.
Barstow, William.
Bell, Samuel, 1770-1850.
Bland, Marie Averil.
Bradley, William Czar, 1782-1867.
Butler, Josiah, 1779-1854.
Cero, Gangi.
Cox family.
Dana family.
Emerson family.
Emerson, George S.
Fiske, Catherine, 1784-1837.
Gallo, Samuel.
Gay, William.
Gilbert family.
Greene, Warwick, 1879-1929.
Hale, Ellen Sever Tebbets, 1838-1904.
Hale, George S. (George Silsbee), 1825-1897.
Hale, Mary Newbold Patterson.
Hale, Richard Walden, 1871-1943.
Hale, Robert Sever, 1869-1941.
Hale, Salma, 1787-1866.
Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell, 1788-1879.
Hale, Sarah Kellog King, 1798-1865.
Hand, Learned, 1872-1961.
Hansen family.
Hibbard, Harry, 1816-1872.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr., 1841-1935.
Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920.
Howland, Charles P. (Charles Prentice), 1869-1932.
Hughes, Charles Evans, 1862-1948.
King family.
King, Thomas F.
Laski, Harold Joseph, 1893-1950.
Lennox, Sarah, Lady, 1745-1826.
Liddon family.
Livermore, Arthur, 1766-1853.
Macintosh, Douglas Clyde, 1877-1948.
Mitkiewicz, Eugene Stanislaus Kostka de, Count, 1849-1901.
Newbold family.
Parkman, Francis, 1823-1893.
Patterson family.
Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964.
Quincy, Josiah, 1772-1864.
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919.
Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906.
Sever, Anne Dana, 1800-1864.
Sever, Anne Dana, 1828-1896.
Sever family.
Sever, John, 1792-1855.
Sever, Martha, 1839-1864.
Silsbee, Nathaniel, 1773-1850.
Singer family.
Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866.
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874.
Taylor, John W., 1784-1854.
Tebbets family.
Tebbets, John Sever, 1858-1901.
Tebbets, Theodore, 1831-1863.
Upham, Nathaniel, 1774-1829.
Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852.
Wild, Edward Augustus, 1825-1891.


Duquesne Mining Camp.
Great Britain. Treaties, etc. United States, 1814 Dec. 24/
Harvard University--Students.
New England Oil Refining Company.
Roxbury Latin School (Mass.)--History.


Account books--1840-1844.
Authors, American.
Citizenship--United States.
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918.
Oaths--United States.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Medical care.
United States--Politics and government--1815-1861.
Voyages and travels--19th century.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Hale family photographs (Photo. Coll. 500.51).