Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

Portions of the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the records of the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation, which was formed to build a dam across the tidal marshes of the Charles River in Boston to produce water power for mills, and later filled in the basin to create the land that became Boston's Back Bay. Included are administrative and financial records, building accounts, stockholders' records, maps, plans, and printed material. The personal records of superintendent William S. Whitwell are also part of the collection.

Organizational Timeline

(June) Isaac P. Davis, Uriah Cotting, and 144 others petition Massachusetts legislature for incorporation as Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation (BRMC) for the purpose of building a dam across Charles River marshlands to create water power for mills.
(14 June) BRMC is officially incorporated.
(January?) Public offer of corporate shares creates such a great demand that street is blocked by mobs of people attempting to purchase them.
(April) Corporation begins to build dams, with Uriah Cotting as superintendent or "agent."
(23 March) Uriah Cotting resigns because of ill health and dies shortly thereafter.
(28 April) Col. Loammi Baldwin is hired as agent.
(1 January) Corporation fails to meet original completion deadline for project. Legislature extends date for two years.
(2 July) Mill Dam Rd. (later Beacon St.) opens with great ceremony, including a formal cavalcade of 100 carriages and chaises led by General William H. Sumner.
Col. Loammi Baldwin resigns as superintendent/agent.
BRMC stockholders organize Boston Water Power Co. (BWPC) to handle water-power issues, while BRMC controls property and road issues. Stockholders hold equal numbers of shares in each corporation.
(July) Samuel Nicolson becomes superintendent/agent of B&RMC.
Boston and Providence Railroad and Boston and Worcester Railroad are incorporated and laid out, with lines crossing lands of BWPC. Stock in both BRMC and BWPC decreases by 50%.
BRMC and BWPC officially divide property between them, BWPC gaining mill franchises, water-power privileges, and all flats lying south of the Mill Dam, and BRMC retaining roadways and flats north of the dam.
Tracks of Providence and Worcester Railroad are laid across basin.
BRMC builds five houses on Western Ave. (formerly Mill Dam Rd. and later Beacon St.)
Boston Board of Health declares basin "a nuisance...offensive and injurious to the large and increasing population residing" near it.
State Commission is appointed to consider ways to improve basin. Legislature resolves that basin should be filled in, roads should be toll-free, and streets should be laid out, under state supervision.
(9 June) BRMC agrees with Commonwealth of Massachusetts to convey land covered by dam as a public highway.
Samuel Nicolson resigns as superintendent after 28 years and is replaced by William S. Whitwell.
Corporation begins adding landfill to basin. Ownership of land is divided between B&RMC, BWPC, and Commonwealth.
Western Ave. (former Mill Dam Rd.) is renamed Beacon St.
(7 December) Beacon St. and other roadways are opened as free public highways.
William S. Whitwell resigns and his assistant, William Matchlett, becomes superintendent.
Landfill is completed.
(13 October) Stockholders in BRMC vote to dissolve corporation.
(22 March) After unsuccessful search for last remaining shareholder, petition is granted by court for corporation to dissolve. Remaining dividends are split among existing shareholders.

Collection Description

The records of the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation consist of 46 boxes, 30 cased volumes, six oversize boxes, and one drawer of plans, spanning the years 1794 to 1912. The collection has been organized into eight series: Administrative records; Financial records; Stockholder records; Maps and plans; Printed material; William Whitwell papers; and B. T. Reed Trust Fund letterbooks.

The Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation (BRMC) was incorporated in 1814 to build a dam across the tidal marsh lands of the Charles River in Boston in order to produce power for mills. Begun under the direction of engineer Uriah Cotting and completed by Loammi Baldwin, the dam and the toll-road on top of it (later to become Beacon St.) was completed in 1821. In 1824, stockholders organized the Boston Water Power Company (BWPC) to handle mill franchises and water rights, but after railroad tracks crisscrossed the basin in the 1830s and 1840s, the project proved impractical. By 1857, the BRMC, the BWPC, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began filling in the basin, which became the Back Bay section of Boston, and ownership of the land was divided between the three entities. BRMC continued to build roads, houses, and other structures on their land, which included present-day Beacon St., Brookline Ave., Commonwealth Ave., and Kenmore Square, until the 1890s. The records in this collection reflect the activities of the corporation, its directors, superintendents, and stockholders, relating primarily to its varied construction and building projects.

Administrative records include directors' and superintendents' correspondence and reports; meeting minutes; building contracts and agreements; deeds and leases; and construction records, including those for the original dam and roadway across the marsh lands, landfill operations, and house construction from the 1850s to the 1880s. These records also include papers that were part of the corporation's lawsuit with contractor Joseph Chesley from 1818 to 1820, which provide insight into the organization of early 19th-century construction projects.

Financial records primarily pertain to building the dam in 1818-1820 and filling in the bay and the subsequent construction of roads and buildings from the 1850s through the 1880s. They include ledgers, cash books, and other general accounts; annual reports; account books for tolls on the Mill Dam Road (later Beacon St.); account books for rents on the corporation's houses, stores, toll house, and tavern; bank notes; insurance policies; and other bills, checks, and financial memos. Of particular interest to genealogists and labor historians are early payroll records (1818-1820) that list the name of the laborer, occupation or description of work, number of days worked per week, daily wages, and signature for receipt of wages. Some 1820 payrolls record over 200 names per week.

Stockholder records include correspondence requesting dividend payments or authorizing power of attorney; lists of stockholders; dividend record books; and original stock certificates. Occasionally interfiled with the stock certificates, which are arranged alphabetically by the name of the stockholder, are probate records certifying estate settlements of deceased stockholders. The BRMC records also contain an extensive collection of maps and plans, which include manuscript maps, printed maps, and blueprints illustrating the topography of the corporation's lands, property boundaries, roads, railroads, and building locations. A detailed list of maps is included as an appendix to this guide. Printed material includes the 1814 act establishing the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation and an 1822 set of conditions for leasing mills, as well as numerous reports from Boston and Massachusetts government offices regarding Back Bay lands, auction catalogs of house lots and lands, and other briefs and reports.

The personal papers of William Whitwell (1809-1899), who served as superintendent of BRMC from 1855 to 1887, are also among the records of this collection, and include his personal correspondence, as well as his personal bills and receipts. Finally, the collection includes two letterbooks of correspondence related to the B. T. Reed Trust, although their relationship with BRMC is unclear.

Restrictions on Access

Portions of the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Administrative records, 1794-1912

Records in this series relate to the administration and management of the corporation, as well as the administration of the corporation's various building and construction projects. They consist of directors' and superintendents' records, including correspondence; reports of superintendents, treasurers, and various committees; building and service contracts; property lists; meeting minutes; and construction records. Also in this series are deeds and leases for land held by the corporation, as well as land leased and sold by the corporation in the newly filled Back Bay. Building accounts and memos include records of land fill, paving stones, construction estimates, and other plans, as well as records of scows or open barges hired by the corporation to haul mud and ballast. Finally, this series includes records related to the corporation's lawsuits with Joseph Chesley in 1818-1820, in which the corporation sued Chesley for breach of contract, and Chesley countersued for failure of payment.

A. Directors' and superintendent's records, 1818-1912

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Because the board of directors and superintendents of the corporation often acted in similar capacities and generated the same types of records, these documents are filed together. The superintendent (originally called the agent) reported to the board of directors and ran the day-to-day operations of the company. He also often served as the corporation's treasurer.

Included in these records are correspondence; reports to the directors and shareholders by superintendents, treasurers, and committees; building and service contracts; petitions; applications; bonds; agreements relating to land and water rights; resignations of agents, presidents, and board members; property lists; correspondence with Boston selectmen and later the Boston City Council; notices of board meetings; proposals; and building specifications.

Superintendents' reports to the board and stockholders contain particularly detailed information, describing construction activities, problems and successes, expenses, and plans. Early superintendent's reports are referred to as treasurer's and agent's reports, and also include financial data. Also in this series are applications for the position of toll gatherer (1821); writs of attachment and other legal documents; surety bonds for treasurers and toll gatherers; a series of proposals to fill old sluices (1834-1835); a proposal to build a sea wall along Western Ave., later known as Beacon St. (1840); building specifications for houses on Western Ave. (1848); and records of the corporation's Back Bay Commission committee (1852).

Notable board members include John Lowell, Ralph Huntington, Harrison Gray Otis, and Artemas Ward. Superintendents whose records are included in this series include Uriah Cotting, who served from 1817 to 1819; Loammi Baldwin, from 1819 to 1822; Samuel Nicolson, from 1827 to 1855; and William S. Whitwell, from 1855 to 1887.

Volumes in this series include six directors' record books, spanning the years 1823-1912, which contain meeting minutes, indentures, reports, bylaws, committee reports, results of surveys, copies of agreements and contracts, and copies of plans. Shareholders' meeting minutes appear at the back of each volume. A letterbook contains copies of the correspondence of superintendents William S. Whitwell and William Matchlett from 1859 to 1891, and includes an index.

i. Loose records, 1818-1900

Box 1
Jan. 1818-May 1821
Box 2
June 1821-Dec. 1835
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5

ii. Volumes, 1823-1912

Vol. 1
Directors' record book, 1823-1845
Vol. 2
Directors' record book, 1845-1857
Vol. 3
Directors' record book, 1857-1869
Vol. 4
Directors' record book, 1869-1885
Vol. 5
Directors' record book, 1885-1895
Vol. 6
Directors' record book, 1895-1912
Vol. 7
Superintendent's letterbook, 1859-1891

B. Deeds and leases, 1794-1890

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Records in this series that are dated earlier than 1818 are copies or abstracts of earlier deeds related to Boston and Roxbury Mill Corp. lands. Deeds held directly by the corporation date from 1818. This series also includes leases and indentures held by the corporation.

By 1854, the corporation began to lease and sell their lands in the Back Bay, specifically on Western Ave. (later known as Beacon St.), and the deeds found here pertain to these transactions. The series also includes indentures between the corporation and the city of Boston, as well as the commissioners of public lands.

The Book of Deeds contains handwritten copies of deeds pertaining to the corporation, as well as several original deeds pasted into the volume.

Box 6
Loose records, 1794-1874
Box 7Folders 1-8
Loose records, 1875-1890
Vol. 8
Book of Deeds, 1818-1862

C. Building accounts and memoranda, 1814-1889

Arranged chronologically and by subject.

This series contains lists of measurements, estimates, and other memoranda and accounts related to building projects conducted by the corporation. Included are an 1814 account of tides at the South Boston Bridge, measurements for buildings, distances between points of land, measurements for stones and iron posts, memos of articles delivered and received, estimates and certifications for land fill (1850s-1860s), paving stones delivered to the mill dam (1880s), and other accounts relating to building dams, walls, fences, land fill, and paving stones.

Scow memoranda relate to the scows, or open barges, hired by the corporation to haul loads of mud or ballast for landfill, and include the name of the owner or skipper, the scow's identification number, and the number of loads it carried per month.

Box 7Folders 9-25
Building records, 1814-1889
Box 7Folders 26-38
Scow memos, 1845-1847
Box 8Folders 1-11
Scow memos, 1848-1849

D. Records related to Joseph Chesley lawsuits, 1818-1822

Arranged chronologically and by subject.

In February 1818, Joseph Chesley III of Durham, N.H. contracted with the corporation to build three scows and deliver them to Boston. Later, the corporation hired Chesley to break out and deliver 10,000 perches of stone for walls, paying part of the contracted amount to Chesley in advance. In August 1818, the corporation issued writs of attachment related to Chesley's non-performance of contract, suing him in November 1818.

In March 1820, Chesley countersued the corporation for back wages. Depositions in this series pertain to the 1820 trial. Other records include writs of attachment, correspondence, accounts and receipts, undated memos, and superintendent Loammi Baldwin's case notes.

Box 8Folders 12-19
Correspondence, accounts, and memoranda, 1818-1822
Box 8Folders 20-21
Loammi Baldwin's case notes, 1818-1822
Box 8Folders 22-30
Depositions, 1820-1822
Box 9Folders 1-6
Depositions, 1820-1822

II. Financial records, 1815-1899

The bulk of financial records covers the years 1819-1820, representing the building of the dam across the Back Bay, and the 1850s through the 1880s, representing the filling in of the bay and subsequent construction of roads and buildings. Included in this series are general accounts, consisting of ledgers, cash books, journals, and other account books that list corporate receipts and expenditures, as well as treasurers' accounts and annual reports. Payroll records were kept separately from general accounts and list weekly labor costs for constructing roads and dams, recording wages of individual laborers from 1818-1821. Other financial records include receipts and income from tolls collected on the corporation's road across the dam, and after 1850, rents from houses and other structures built on the corporation's filled land. Also in this series are bills and receipts reflecting the corporation's daily activities, promissory and bank notes, insurance policies, bank checks, and other financial memoranda.

For treasurers' reports dated before 1831, see Directors and superintendents records (Series I.A.)

A. General accounts, 1818-1891

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Included here are the corporation's accounts with individual agents, balance sheets, disbursements, quarterly and monthly statements, trial balances and ledgers listing receipts and expenditures. Early records (1818-1821), which comprise the bulk of this series, largely consist of expense reports from project managers Charles Blaney, Enoch Moody, and Amos Cotting, including labor and materials. Beginning in 1831, the series also includes monthly treasurer's accounts and annual reports presented to corporate stockholders.

Journals and daybooks record the sequential daily account of all financial transactions. Ledgers list accounts by person, firm or product, including tolls, house rents, land rents, road expenses, house expenses, iron work and hardware, notes payable and receivable, interest, stock, stables, toll houses, salaries, boat houses, bathing houses, profit and loss statements, and balance statements. Cash books record all cash payments and receipts, including bills, labor (but not payroll accounts), dividend payments, salaries, and building materials.

i. Loose records, 1818-1887

Box 9Folders 7-30
Box 10Folders 1-18

ii. Volumes, 1818-1891

Vol. 9
Journal, 1818-1822
Box 10Folder 19
Ledger, 1819
Box 10Folder 20
Daybook, 1819
Vol. 10
Cash book, 1819-1820
Box 10Folder 21
Daybook, 1820
Vol. 11
Cash book, 1834-1845
Vol. 12
Ledger, 1842-1856
Box 10Folder 22
Cash book, 1855-1856
Vol. 13
Cash book, 1856-1865
Vol. 14
Ledger, 1856-1887
Vol. 15
Cash book, 1861-1863
Vol. 16
Cash book, 1864-1870
Vol. 17
Cash book, 1865-1880
Vol. 18
Cash book, 1870-1883
Vol. 19
Cash book, 1881-1891

B. Payroll records, 1818-1863

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Records in this series include both loose records and several softbound account books, the bulk of which date from 1818 to 1821. Loose payroll records are recorded by week, and include the name of the worker, number of days per week he has worked, daily wages, total wages for the week, and the worker's signature verifying that he has received his pay. Most payrolls also list the occupation or work description of the laborer. Some 1820 payroll records list over 200 men per week. Between 1824 and 1855, payroll records consist only of individual receipts for wages. Later records (1855-1863) include both laborers and tollmen.

Box 11Folders 1-21
Loose records, 1818-1819
OS Box 1
Loose records, 1818
OS Box 2
Loose records, 1819
Box 11Folder 22
Memorandum of labor done at Roxbury, Apr.-Nov. 1819
Box 11Folder 23
Monthly account book, Apr. 1819-Mar. 1820
Box 11Folder 24
Monthly account of work at Five Sluices, June-Dec. 1819
Box 12Folders 1-10
Loose records, 1820
OS Box 3
Loose records, 1820
Box 12Folder 11
Monthly account book, Apr.-Oct. 1820
Box 12Folder 12
Monthly account of work at Five Sluices, Apr. 1820-June 1821
Box 12Folders 13-25
Loose records, 1821
Box 13Folders 1-19
Loose records, 1822-1863

C. Tolls, 1821-1849

Arranged chronologically.

This series includes two volumes listing daily receipts for tolls collected on the corporation's road. Originally known as Mill Dam Rd., it later became Western Ave. and, in 1865, Beacon St. The first volume contains lists of receipts for tolls collected by James Willson from July 1821 through March 1823, recorded by treasurer Samuel McCleary. The second book contains receipts for tolls collected from January 1835 through December 1849, recorded by treasurer Samuel Nicolson.

Box 13Folder 20
Toll receipt book, 1821-1823
Box 13Folder 21
Toll receipt book, 1835-1849

D. Rents, 1850-1880

Arranged chronologically.

Beginning about 1850, the corporation began constructing houses and other structures on their land to rent to tenants. Rent books list renters, date rent is paid, and the amount of rent for structures, including the Old Toll House, Tavern Estate, Store and House on the Wharf, and Houses #1-5. The later two rent books are organized as ledgers, with accounts listed by renters' names.

Box 13Folder 22
Rent book, 1850-1860
Box 13Folder 23
Rent book, 1860-1879
Vol. 20
Rent book, 1879-1880

E. Bills and receipts, 1815-1887

Arranged chronologically.

Bills and receipts reflect the general activities of the corporation. These transactions were usually also recorded in the treasurers' cash books and ledgers. Most of the bills and receipts are individual receipts for services such as advertising, printing, general labor, stone splitting, transportation, construction contracts, carpentry, legal expenses, and water. Receipts for supplies include nails, gunpowder, groceries, rum, cordage, timber, ballast, hay, cast steel, office supplies, coal, oil, and materials for constructing houses, such as wallpaper and window sashes.

This subseries is stored offsite and must be requested by barcode at least two business days in advance.

Box 14SH17WBA
Feb. 1815-July 1818
Box 15SH17WCB
Aug.-Oct. 1818
Box 16SH17WDC
Nov. 1818-Apr. 1819
Box 17SH17WED
1 May-20 July 1819
Box 18SH17WFE
21 July-30 Sep. 1819
Box 19SH17WGF
Oct. 1819-Mar. 1820
Box 20SH17WHG
Apr.-July 1820
Box 21SH17WIH
Aug.-Dec. 1820
Box 22SH17WJI
Jan.-Nov. 1821
Box 23SH17WKJ
Dec. 1821-Dec. 1826
Box 24SH17WLK
Box 25SH17WML
Box 26SH17WNM
Jan. 1839-May 1851
Box 27SH17WPO
June 1851-Dec. 1854
Box 28SH17WQP
Jan. 1855-July 1858
Box 29SH17WRQ
Aug. 1858-Dec. 1862
Box 30SH17WSR

F. Promissory and bank notes, 1844-1881

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

This series includes promissory and bank notes signed by the treasurer to various banks, insurance companies, and individuals, using shares of stocks and bonds as collateral. The values of the notes range from $300 to $30,000, with the bulk dating from 1860-1865. The bound volumes entitled "Notes and Bills Payable and Receivable" list the date of the note, from whom it was received, the amount, length of loan, date due, and the endorsers.

Box 31Folders 1-9
Loose records, 1844-1890
Box 31Folder 10
Record book, 1848-1852
Box 31Folder 11
Record book, 1852-1881

G. Insurance policies, 1829-1869

Arranged chronologically.

This series includes fire insurance policies purchased by the corporation for the buildings and structures that they owned. They describe the property, its location, and its usage, as well as the property's value. In 1829, a policy for $13,000 included the "building and fixtures of City Mill for grinding grain and on four blocks of wooden buildings on the easterly side of the mill." In 1831, a $5,500 policy for a tavern house and stables was added. By 1847, insured property included a sawmill and machinery; a machine, forge, and pattern shop; a foundry; a boiler house; a blacksmith shop; a locomotive shop; and a mill for sawing mahogany, as well as all tools, machinery, and other contents. In 1850, the corporation began to insure the dwelling houses they were renting to tenants.

Box 31Folders 12-30

H. Checks, 1818-1899

Arranged chronologically.

This series includes individual checks written by the corporation's treasurer, the bulk of which date from 1818-1821. A check register dating from 1891-1898 lists the check numbers, payees, and amount of payment.

Box 32Folders 1-26

I. Miscellaneous financial memos, 1829-1886

Arranged chronologically.

These records include lists, accounts, and memoranda related to various financial topics. The bulk are short memos dating from 1875 to 1886 written by superintendent William Matchlett in regard to dividends, indentures, cash settlements, and other financial matters.

Box 32Folders 27-29

III. Stockholder records, 1818-1901

Although the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corp. was incorporated in 1814, it did not publicly trade its stock until early in 1818, when it met with great demand. Records in this series include shareholder correspondence requesting dividend payments or authorizing power of attorney for annual stockholders' meetings; lists of stockholders; stock certificates that were returned when the stock was sold back to the corporation, with related correspondence; and dividend record books containing the date and amount of stock dividends, as well as the signatures of each stockholder upon receipt.

A. Stockholder correspondence and proxies, 1818-1895

Arranged chronologically.

This series primarily consists of letters to the corporation's treasurer requesting dividends to be paid, inquiring about dividends, or authorizing powers of attorney for proxies to vote at the annual stockholders' meeting.

Box 32Folders 30-39
Box 33Folders 1-20

B. Stockholder lists, 1818-1891

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Loose records include alphabetical lists of stockholders from the years 1818, 1831 through 1857, which include only the stockholders' names and the number of shares owned. The bulk of the records, however, date from 1871-1891 and are printed with stockholders' names and place of residence, as well as the number of shares owned. They date from May of each year.

Volumes in this subseries include a shareholders' record book which contains alphabetical lists of stockholders in February 1818, December 1819, December 1820, and July 1832, as well as all transactions related to the sale and transfer of stock from 1818 to 1856. Beginning in 1835, the number of the stock certificate is also included. The shares book also covers the years 1818 to 1856, but it is organized alphabetically, listing shares held by each stockholder with an index in the front. The list of stock certificates contains the number, name of the original buyer, and subsequent owners from 1818 to 1835. The record of stockholders dates from 1849 to 1858 and contains an alphabetical list of stockholders with the number of shares they own for each year.

Box 33Folders 21-36
Loose records, 1818-1891
Vol. 21
Shareholders' record book, 1818-1856
Vol. 22
Shares book, 1818-1856
XT Vol. 1
List of stock certificates, 1818-1835
Vol. 23
Record of stockholders, 1849-1858

C. Stock certificates and transfers, 1818-1901

Arranged alphabetically.

The bulk of this series is stock certificates originally issued between 1818-1901 that were returned to the corporation when it bought back the shares. They contain the name of the stockholder, number of shares, certificate number, and signature of the board president and treasurer. Information on the verso records the subsequent sale or transfer of the stock. Certificates are filed alphabetically under family name. Also included here is correspondence related to lost certificates or requests for a duplicate certificate, as well as probate court records certifying the estate settlements of deceased stockholders.

This subseries is stored offsite and must be requested by barcode at least two business days in advance.

Box 34SH17WTS
Box 35SH17WUT
Box 36SH17WVU
Box 37SH17WWV
Box 38SH17WXW
Box 39SH17WYX
Box 40SH17WZY
Box 41SH17X11
Box 42SH17X22

D. Dividend record books, 1825-1899

Arranged chronologically.

These five books list each dividend paid by the corporation and contain the name of stockholders, the amount of each dividend, dates, and signatures of stockholders verifying their receipt of the dividend. Together, they create a fairly complete record of stockholders, except for a gap during the years 1865-1867.

XT Vol. 2
Dividend record book, 1825-1854
Vol. 24
Dividend record book, 1854-1864
Vol. 25
Dividend record book, 1868-1890
Vol. 26
Dividend record book, 1890-1894
Vol. 27
Dividend record book, 1895-1899

IV. Maps and plans, 1828-1891

Arranged chronologically and by size.

Documents in this series consist of manuscript maps, printed maps, and blueprints. They illustrate the topography of the corporation's lands, property boundaries and locations, the original shoreline, roads, railroads, and building locations. Some documents also include the names of property owners. Maps and plans are stored in oversize boxes and map drawers according to their size, but they are listed chronologically in the appendix, "List of Maps." Smaller, undated sketches and plans of streets, houselots, and other parcels of land are foldered in Box 43.

OS Box 4Folders 1-11
Maps and plans, 1828-1891
OS Box 5Folders 1
Maps and plans, 1847-1888
Map DrawerFolders 1-27
Maps and plans, 1850-1890
Box 43Folder 1
Plans and sketches, undated

V. Printed material, 1814-1882

Arranged chronologically.

Early printed material includes the 1814 Act to Establish the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation and the 1822 set of conditions for leasing mills and mill power from the corporation. The bulk of printed material dates from 1850 to 1873 and consists of reports of the Committee of Public Lands related to the Public Garden and land auctions; reports of the Massachusetts Senate, House of Representatives, and City of Boston related to Back Bay lands; reports of the directors of the Boston Water Power Company; auction catalogs of Back Bay house lots and lands; legal briefs; Massachusetts General Court acts and resolves; and annual reports of the commissioners of public lands.

Box 43Folders 2-17

VI. William Whitwell papers, 1851-1871

William Scollay Whitwell (23 May 1809 - 31 October 1899) was superintendent of Boston and Roxbury Mill Corp. from 1855 to 1887. Included in this series is Whitwell's personal correspondence, bills, and receipts.

A. Personal correspondence, 1851-1871

Arranged chronologically.

The bulk of Whitwell's correspondence are letters to and from his brother-in-law, William Parker, in relation to Whitwell's candidacy for superintendent of the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Co. in Jersey City, N.J. Also included is correspondence with his sister Lucy Cushing Parker, his son William S. Whitwell, Jr., other family members, and business associates.

Box 44Folders 1-11

B. Personal bills and receipts, 1856-1870

Arranged chronologically.

Personal bills and receipts include those for groceries and sundries, medical fees, clothing, household furnishings, tuition, gas and water bills, rent and tax payments, home repairs, and other expenses.

Box 44Folders 12-44
Box 45
Box 46Folders 1-14

VI. B. T. Reed Trust Fund letterbooks, 1880-1890

This series contains two letterbooks of correspondence related to the B. T. Reed Trust. The first contains copies of letters written by trustees J. Avery Richards and J. P. Putnam from 1880 to 1889. The second letterbook contains copies of letters written by B. C. Vose between 1881 and 1890. B. T. Reed served as a treasurer of the Bay State Iron Company of South Boston in the 1850s, and a trust was formed from his shares of stock in the company after his death. Subsequent treasurers continued to serve as trustees. Letters in these volumes consist of correspondence with beneficiaries of the trust regarding dividends, payments, and other financial matters. The trust's relationship with Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation is unclear.

Vol. 28
Letterbook, 1880-1889
Vol. 29
Letterbook, 1881-1890

Appendix - List of Maps

OS Box 4Folder 1
Plan of Tavern Estate of J. Lowell on the Mill Dam, 1828
OS Box 5Folder 1
[Plan of Boston and Roxbury Mill Corp. lands in Back Bay], 1847
Map DrawerFolder 1
Plan of Back Bay and vicinity, 1850
OS Box 4Folders 2-3
Plan of Back Bay and vicinity, accompanying Senate Document #45, 1852
Map DrawerFolder 1
Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation lands, 1854
Map DrawerFolder 1
Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation lands, 1855
OS Box 4Folder 4
Sketches of Brighton and Brookline branches of Mill Dam, 1857
OS Box 4Folder 5
South Boston flats, ca. 1860
OS Box 5Folder 2
Brookline Avenue, 1861
OS Box 4Folder 6
Plan of lands to be sold at public auction, 1863
Map DrawerFolder 2
Corey Marsh, 1866
Map DrawerFolder 3
Plan recorded with license to build seawall, 1872
Map DrawerFolder 3
Plan of Burnt District (Fire of 1872), 1873
OS Box 5Folder 3
Brighton Avenue, 1873
OS Box 4Folder 7
Jamaica Park and Bussey Farm Parkway, 1876
OS Box 5Folder 4
Brookline Avenue, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 4
Brighton Park, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 4
South Bay and Savin Hill Parks, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 4
Charles River embankment, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 4
City Point Battery, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 5
Proposed parks and parkways, 1876
Map DrawerFolder 6
Back Bay Park, 1877
Map DrawerFolder 7
Plan of river with embankments on Boston and Cambridge sides, 1878
Map DrawerFolder 7
Beaver and Beacon Streets, 1879
OS Box 5Folder 5
Parker Street, 1879
Map DrawerFolder 8
Proposed improvement of Back Bay, 1879 (3)
OS Box 5Folder 6
Plan of house lots belonging to Boston and Roxbury Mill Corp., 1880
Map DrawerFolder 9
Plan of house lots, Back Bay Park, 1880
Map DrawerFolder 10
Beacon Street and Charles River, 1880
Map DrawerFolder 11
Plan of house lots, Back Bay Park, 1880 (multiple copies)
OS Box 5Folder 7
Charles River/Beacon Street, 1880-1887
OS Box 4Folder 8
Proposed plan of terminal grounds for the New York and Boston Inland Railroad, 1882
Map DrawerFolder 12
Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation lands, 1882 (2)
Map DrawerFolder 12
Land of Brighton Avenue (Richards's Marsh), 1882
Map DrawerFolder 13
Beacon Street between Kenmore Square and Hereford Street, 1883
OS Box 5Folder 8
Plan of Harvard Bridge, 1884
Map DrawerFolder 13
Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation lands, 1884
Map DrawerFolder 13
Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue, 1885
OS Box 4Folder 9
Map of portions of Boston and Cambridge, 1885
Map DrawerFolder 14
Commonwealth Avenue between Kenmore Square and West Chester, 1886
Map DrawerFolder 15
Beacon Street entrance to park, 1886
Map DrawerFolder 16
Beacon Street between Hereford St. and Adams's March, 1886 (4)
OS Box 4Folder 10
Beacon Street grades, 1887
Map DrawerFolder 17
Plan of Lots B and E, 1887
Map DrawerFolder 18
Detailed Block B lots, 1887
Map DrawerFolder 18
Plan widening Beacon Street and Brighton Avenue, 1887
Map DrawerFolder 18
Plan widening Brighton Avenue, 1887 (2)
OS Box 5Folder 9
Kenmore Square, 1888
Map DrawerFolder 19
Beacon Street, between Kenmore Square and Hereford Street, 1888
OS Box 4Roll
Architectural plans for Beacon Street house, 1889
Map DrawerFolder 20
Land on Commonwealth Avenue, 1889
Map DrawerFolder 21
Commonwealth Avenue, 1889
Map DrawerFolder 22
Architectural plans for Bay State Road house, 1889
Map DrawerFolder 23
Commonwealth Avenue between Essex Street and Kenmore Square, 1890
Map DrawerFolder 24
Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon Street, and Bay State Road, 1890
OS Box 4Folder 11
Beacon Street sewer system, 1891
Map DrawerFolder 25
"Rail Punch," undated
Map DrawerFolder 26
Architectural plans for Beacon Street house, undated
Map DrawerFolder 27
Plan of Public Garden, undated

Preferred Citation

Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation records, 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.


Baldwin, Loammi, 1780-1838.
Cotting, Uriah, d. 1819.
Nicolson, Samuel, 1791-1868.
Whitwell, William S., 1809-1899.


Boston Water Power Company.


Account books.
Back Bay (Boston, Mass.).
Beacon Street (Boston, Mass.).
Boston (Mass.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
Boston (Mass.)--Environmental conditions.
Boston (Mass.)--History.
Boston (Mass.)--Maps.
Business enterprises--Massachusetts--Boston.
City planning--Massachusetts--Boston.
Commonwealth Avenue (Boston, Mass.).
Dams- Massachusetts -- Boston.
Maps, Manuscript.
Real estate development--Massachusetts--Boston.
Real property--Massachusetts--Boston.
Roads--Design and construction--Massachusetts--Boston.
Toll roads--Massachusetts--Boston.