1757-1923; bulk: 1787-1912

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Coolidge and Lowell families, including family correspondence, personal papers, military papers, diaries, recipe books, and printed materials. Correspondence includes that of Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, as well as the Civil War letters of Algernon Coolidge.

Biographical Sketches

These brief biological sketches highlight the individuals most prominently represented within the Coolidge-Lowell family papers. They are arranged alphabetically.

The Coolidge Family

Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) was the son of Boston import merchant Joseph Coolidge (1747-1820) and Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge. After graduating from the Royal Military College of Soreze in southern France in 1792, he traveled extensively throughout Europe. Upon his return to Boston, he became a prosperous merchant, taking over and enlarging his father's business and amassing a large estate. He married Elizabeth Bulfinch, his second cousin and the sister of architect Charles Bulfinch, and the couple had five children that lived to adulthood: Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge Swett (1797-1880); Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879); Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge (1802-1850); Susan Bulfinch Coolidge Lyman (1812-1898); and Anna Storer Coolidge Prince (1819-1881).

Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge (1777-1837) was the daughter of Thomas Bulfinch (1728-1802) and Susan Apthorp Bulfinch and the sister of architect Charles Bulfinch. She married Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) and had five children that lived to adulthood: Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge Swett (1797-1880); Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879); Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge (1802-1850); Susan Bulfinch Coolidge Lyman (1812-1898); and Anna Storer Coolidge Prince (1819-1881).

Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) was the son of Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) and Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge. Born in Boston, he was educated in public schools and graduated from Harvard in 1817, earning a Master's degree in 1820. After traveling in Europe, he returned to the United States in 1824 and attended the reunion of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette at Monticello. There he met Jefferson's granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph, whom he married the following year. Coolidge became a prominent shipping merchant and China-trader, working initially with Russell and Co. and later as an agent for the house of Augustine Heard and Co. He spent much of his time abroad, particularly in China, and his wife occasionally accompanied him while their four sons attended school in Geneva and Berlin. Their children were Ellen Randolph Coolidge Dwight (1826-1894); Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge (1827-1832); Joseph Randolph Coolidge (1828-1925); Philip Sidney Coolidge (1830-1863); Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912); and Thomas Jefferson Coolidge (1831-1920).

Ellen (Eleonora) Wayles Randolph Coolidge (1796-1876) was the daughter of Thomas Mann Randolph and Martha Jefferson Randolph and the granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. She lived at Monticello with her mother and siblings from the ages of 13 to 28, married Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) at Monticello in 1825, and moved with him to Boston. Ellen remained in Boston for long periods while her husband traveled to China on business. In 1838, she traveled to London and Macau for two years to join her husband, and lived in Europe with him for several years after 1844. The couple had six children: Ellen Randolph Coolidge Dwight (1826-1894); Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge (1827-1832); Joseph Randolph Coolidge (1828-1925); Philip Sidney Coolidge (1830-1863); Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912); and Thomas Jefferson Coolidge (1831-1920).

Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912) was the son of Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) and Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge. Born in Boston, he attended school in Geneva while his father worked as an agent for a merchant house in China. He received his M.D. from Harvard in 1853 and later studied medicine in Vienna. During the Civil War, he served as an assistant surgeon at the army hospital near Fort Monroe, Va. and as a surgeon for the U.S. Sanitary Commission. He later practiced medicine in Boston. He married Mary Lowell in 1856, and the couple had five children: Algernon Coolidge (1860-1939); Francis Lowell Coolidge (1861-1942); Sidney Coolidge (1864- ); Ellen Wayles Coolidge (1866-1953); and Mary Lowell "Mia" Coolidge Barton (1868-1957).

Mary Lowell Coolidge (1833-1915) was the daughter of Francis Cabot Lowell (1803-1874) and Mary Lowell Gardner Lowell. She married Algernon Coolidge in 1856, and the couple had five children: Algernon Coolidge (1860-1939); Francis Lowell Coolidge (1861-1942); Sidney Coolidge (1864- ); Ellen Wayles Coolidge (1866 -1853); and Mary Lowell "Mia" Coolidge Barton (1868-1957).

The Lowell Family

Anna Cabot Lowell (1768-1810) was the daughter of John Lowell (1743-1802) and his first wife Sarah Higginson Lowell. She was the sister of John Lowell (1769-1840) and the half-sister of Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) and Charles Russell Lowell (1782-1861). A resident of Bromley-on-Vale in Roxbury, she died unmarried in 1810 at the age of 42.

Francis Cabot Lowell (1803-1874) was the son of manufacturing pioneer Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) and Hannah Jackson Lowell. He graduated from Harvard in 1821 and oversaw his family's substantial 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. He married Mary Lowell Gardner in 1826, and the couple had five children: Francis Cabot Lowell (1827-1830); George Gardner "Glen" Lowell (1830-1885); Mary Lowell Coolidge (1833-1915); Georgina "Nina" Lowell (1836-1922); and Edward Jackson Lowell (1845-1894).

Edward Jackson Lowell (1805-1830) was the youngest son of Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) and Hannah Jackson Lowell and the brother of John Lowell (1799-1836) and Francis Cabot Lowell (1803-1874). He graduated from Harvard College in 1822 and from Harvard Law in 1825. During his travels to the American midwest in 1825 and to Europe from 1826-1828, he developed an extensive library of literary and historical volumes. He died in 1830 at the age of 25.

Eliza Cabot Blanchard Winthrop (1809-1842) was the daughter of Francis Blanchard and Mary Cabot Lee Blanchard. After her parents' early death, she was taken into the family of her father's uncle, Samuel Pickering Gardner. She grew up with Samuel's daughter Mary, who later became the wife of Francis Cabot Lowell. Eliza married Robert C. Winthrop (1809-1894) in 1832. Her husband practiced law in Boston and served in the Mass. House of Representatives from 1835-1840. In Nov. 1840, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Eliza accompanied him to Washington with their children, Robert Charles Winthrop (1834-1905), and John Winthrop (d. ca. 1895). In the spring of 1842, Eliza left Washington because of ill health, and Robert resigned his office to care for her. She died in June 1842 at age 33.

Georgina "Nina" Lowell (1836-1922) was the daughter of Francis Cabot Lowell (1803-1874) and Mary Gardner Lowell and the sister of Mary Lowell Coolidge.


Within each family series, papers are arranged generationally by individual family member. Correspondence between a father and son will be found within the father's papers. Where papers of an individual are located in more than one series, a "see also" reference has been added to guide the reader.

Some letters and diaries, particularly those of Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge and her son Algernon Coolidge, have been transcribed by later family members. Where transcriptions exist, they have been filed with the original documents. Additionally, dates have been supplied for some undated letters by later family members. Although in most cases these supplied dates were used in the chronological arrangement of materials, researchers should be aware that they are estimated and unconfirmed.

Collection Description

The Coolidge-Lowell family papers consist of six boxes and one volume of manuscripts and printed material. They are arranged into four series that contain the papers of Boston merchant Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840), his wife Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge, his son and daughter-in-law, Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) and Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, and his grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Algernon Coolidge and Mary Lowell Coolidge; the papers of several members of the Lowell family, including Anna Cabot Lowell (1768-1810), Edward Jackson Lowell (1805-1830), and Georgina Lowell; the papers of other related families and individuals including the Bulfinch family, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, Martha Jefferson Randolph, and Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist; and printed material. The bulk of the collection consists of family correspondence and personal papers that document the activities, health, and daily life of family and friends; Boston social and political affairs; and travels throughout Europe, China, and the eastern United States.

The papers of Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, the granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson, include letters that discuss her visit to James and Dolley Madison at Montpelier in 1834, her husband's business activities in Canton and Calcutta, descriptions of her travels throughout Europe, and her impressions of the people and culture of Macau, China. Her book of reminiscences containing "Virginia Legends" and "Negro Stories" includes fables, folklore, and favorite stories that Ellen recalled from her youth at Monticello.

Of particular significance are the Civil War letters of Algernon Coolidge, who served as a surgeon at the army hospital near Fort Monroe, Va. and aboard the hospital boats of the U.S. Sanitary Commission from March to July 1862. In letters to his parents and his wife, Algernon vividly describes the conditions and daily life at the army hospital at Old Point Comfort, Va. and at neighboring Fort Monroe, the ironclad ships Monitor and Merrimack (Virginia), the visit of President Lincoln to the wounded soldiers at the army hospital, General McClellan's defeat on 30 June 1862, and the conditions of the camp of the Massachusetts 20th in July 1862. In June 1865 letters, Algernon describes post-war Richmond and his visit to the Virginia homestead of his mother's brother, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, chronicling the struggle between the two sides of his family on either side of the war to come to terms with it.

Other items of note include letters to Joseph Coolidge from his father Joseph Coolidge (1747-1820) discussing the formation and politics of the new American government, the family's relationship with King's Chapel in Boston, and the architectural work of Charles Bulfinch in Boston's Bowdoin Square; and a letter from Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) to his father describing the development of his business as a trader in Canton, China in 1833.

Acquisition Information

This collection forms part of a larger collection of Coolidge-Barton-Churchill family papers, the gift of the family of Dr. and Mrs. Edward Delos Churchill, July-September 2013.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Coolidge family papers, 1787-1923

This series contains the papers of Boston merchant Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) and his wife Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge; their son Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) and his wife Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge; and their grandson Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912) and his wife Mary Lowell Coolidge. It includes family correspondence, personal papers, military and financial papers, diaries, and memo books. Also included is a small amount of the correspondence of other Coolidge family members and the recipe books of Ellen Coolidge Dwight.

A. Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) papers, 1787-1838

Joseph Coolidge's papers consist of correspondence with his father Joseph Coolidge; his stepmother Katherine Boyer Coolidge; his wife Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge; his son Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge; his son Joseph Coolidge; and his daughter Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman). Personal and business papers include correspondence and receipts.

i. Family correspondence, 1787-1838

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

This subseries includes letters to Coolidge while he was a student in France from 1789 to 1792 from his father Joseph Coolidge, who discusses his business, policies of the newly-formed American government, and his son's education. Letters from his father in London in March and April 1795 mention the work of Joseph's future brother-in-law Charles Bulfinch on Harrison Gray Otis's house in Boston's Bowdoin Square. In later letters (1819-1820), he primarily discusses his health and family matters.

Coolidge's correspondence with his wife Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge includes courtship letters written when he is in Portsmouth, N.H., Newport, R.I., and London in 1793 and 1794. Elizabeth writes primarily of the health and activities of family and friends. Letters also include those from 1823-1825 and 1835, while Joseph is in Washington, D.C. and Elizabeth is in Boston.

Letters from Joseph's son Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge are largely undated. Thomas writes from Baltimore and Quebec and includes a description of his travels through New York. Additional family correspondence includes that with Joseph's brother Daniel Coolidge, his stepmother Katherine Boyer Coolidge, his daughter Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman), and his son Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879), who expresses his disappointment with business in Canton and his determination to succeed in an 1833 letter.

Box 1Folders 1-4
Letters from Joseph Coolidge (1747-1820), 1787-1820
Box 1Folders 5-9
Correspondence with Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge, 1793-1835
Box 1Folder 10
Letters from Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge, 1823
Box 1Folder 11
Letters to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman), 1824-1838
Box 1Folder 12
Miscellaneous family correspondence, 1819-1833

ii. Personal papers, 1794-1836

Arranged chronologically.

Personal papers include correspondence from Joseph's Soreze schoolmates (some in French), an 1805 letter describing a party held by Coolidge, and an 1827 letter from Maryland senator Robert H. Goldsborough. The bulk of the papers are shipping receipts and business correspondence, largely dating from 1811 to 1813, related to Coolidge's work in Portsmouth, N.H., New York, Charleston, Merida (Mexico), and Portland.

Box 1Folders 13-19

B. Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge papers, 1806-1830

Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge's papers contain correspondence with her mother Susan Apthorp Bulfinch, her sister Anna Bulfinch Storer, and other family members; personal correspondence; and poems.

See also Joseph Coolidge - Correspondence with Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge. (Series I.A.i.)

i. Family correspondence, 1806-1830

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

Letters to Elizabeth's mother Susan Apthorp Coolidge contain family news and details of her travels to New York and Canada in the summer of 1806. Undated letters from her sister Anna Bulfinch Storer discuss family activities and health. Other family correspondence includes that with her son Joseph Coolidge about the 1820 death of his fiancé and his travels throughout England; a letter from her father-in-law Joseph Coolidge; and correspondence with her son Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge and daughter Susan Bulfinch Coolidge.

Box 1Folder 20
Letters to Susan Apthorp Bulfinch, 1806-1809
Box 1Folder 21
Letters from Anna Bulfinch Storer, n.d.
Box 1Folder 22
Miscellaneous family correspondence, 1820-1830

ii. Personal papers, n.d.

Elizabeth's papers include undated poems and personal correspondence.

Box 1Folder 23

C. Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) papers, 1819-1870

The papers of Joseph Coolidge contain family correspondence including letters to his sister Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman); correspondence with his son and daughter-in-law, Algernon and Mary Lowell Coolidge; and letters to his grandsons, Algernon and Sidney Coolidge. Also included is a military receipt and personal correspondence related to the death of his son Sidney Coolidge.

See also Joseph Coolidge (1773-1840) - Family correspondence (Series I.A.i.) and Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge - Family correspondence (Series I.B.i.).

i. Family correspondence, 1820-1870

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

Joseph's family correspondence includes letters to his sister Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman) from London, Siena, and Rome from 1820 to 1822, and in 1838 from London and Canton. Correspondence with his son Algernon Coolidge includes several childhood letters from Algernon, as well as letters from the U.S. Army hospital in Portsmouth, R.I., where Algernon served as a surgeon in 1862. (For additional Civil War letters of Algernon Coolidge, see Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge - Family Correspondence; and Algernon Coolidge - Family Correspondence.) Joseph writes to Algernon from Rome, Paris, and Edinburgh from 1867 to 1869, discussing his daily life and activities, the family's long connection to King's Chapel in Boston, and American politics. Joseph also writes affectionately to his daughter-in-law Mary Lowell Coolidge in 1868 congratulating her on the birth of her daughter. Also included are several letters to his grandsons Algernon and Sidney Coolidge from Rome in 1869. Some letters include transcriptions.

Box 1Folder 24
Letters to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman), 1820-1840
Box 1Folders 25-26
Correspondence with Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912), 1838-1870
Box 1Folder 27
Letters to Mary Lowell Coolidge, 1868-1869
Box 1Folder 28
Letters to Algernon and Sidney Coolidge, 1868-ca. 1870

ii. Personal papers, 1819-1863

Arranged chronologically.

Included are an 1819 receipt for fines incurred from Coolidge's failure to appear at militia musters, as well as 1863 correspondence related to the death of Coolidge's son Sidney at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia.

Box 1Folder 29

D. Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge papers, 1831-1874

The papers of Ellen Coolidge consist of correspondence with her sister-in-law Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman); her son and daughter-in-law, Algernon and Mary Lowell Coolidge; and her grandsons Sidney and Algernon Coolidge. Personal papers include letters to Sarah Hathaway Forbes; a notebook containing "Virginia Legends" and "Negro Stories"; and other miscellaneous papers.

i. Family correspondence, 1834-1874

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

Ellen's 1834 letters to her sister-in-law Susan B. Coolidge Lyman mention the Ursuline convent riots in Charlestown and include a lengthy description of her visit to James and Dolley Madison at Montpelier in October 1834. Letters to Susan from Ellen in Boston in 1837 and 1838 discuss Bowdoin Square and King's Chapel, as well as her husband's activities in Canton and Calcutta. 1838 letters describe her impressions of England. An 1840 letter from Macau gives a detailed description of its people and customs, including a funeral in the Portuguese colony. Later letters written from Pau, in southern France, and later Geneva, Paris, and Italy largely discuss family and friends.

Correspondence with Ellen's son Algernon Coolidge consists of childhood letters, some written from school at Vevey, Switzerland in 1844. Ellen's letters to Algernon largely consist of family news. Algernon also writes in 1854 while studying medicine in Vienna, and in 1862 from the Chesapeake Hospital in Old Point Comfort, Va. and the U.S. Sanitary Commission ship, where he discusses conditions and news of the war. Many of these 1862 letters are transcribed. (For additional Civil War letters of Algernon Coolidge, see Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) - Family correspondence; and Algernon Coolidge - Family correspondence.) Later correspondence consists largely of news of family and friends.

Ellen's correspondence with her daughter-in-law Mary Lowell Coolidge discusses family news and health, local events, and the activities of her grandchildren. Also included are several letters between Ellen and her grandsons Algernon and Sidney.

Box 1Folders 30-35
Letters to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman), 1834-1870
Box 1Folders 36-40
Correspondence with Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912), 1838-1868
Box 2Folders 1-7
Correspondence with Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912), 1869-1874
Box 2Folders 8-9A
Letters from Mary Lowell Coolidge, 1866-1872
Box 2Folder 10
Letters to Algernon and Sidney Coolidge, 1866-1869

ii. Personal papers, 1831-1842

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Ellen's letters to Sarah Hathaway Forbes, the wife of her husband's business partner John Murray Forbes, speak of her uncertainty about joining her husband in China and commiserate about their similar situations. She writes from London, Macau, and Geneva, discussing local customs and daily life. Several letters are undated.

"Virginia Legends" and "Negro Stories" is a manuscript volume of stories that Ellen recalled from her childhood at Monticello, many including descriptions of early Virginia and its natural landscape. The twelve "Negro Stories" were those she heard from enslaved people at Monticello and include her reminiscences of religious practices, fables, and favorite tales. A table of contents at the back lists the individual legends and stories.

Box 2Folders 11-12
Letters to Sarah Hathaway Forbes, 1831-1842
Box 2Folder 13
Miscellaneous papers, 1837-1841
Box 2Folder 14
"Virginia Legends" and "Negro Stories," n.d.

E. Algernon Coolidge (1830-1912) papers, 1844-1912

Algernon Coolidge's papers contain correspondence with his wife Mary Lowell Coolidge, his brother Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, his sister-in-law Georgina "Nina" Lowell, his brother-in-law Edward Jackson Lowell, and other family members. Also included are military and professional papers related to his service as an army surgeon during the Civil War and his work with the U.S. Sanitary Commission, papers related to his investment in a Savannah cotton plantation after the war, and papers related to the death of his brother Sidney Coolidge. Several memo books and diaries, as well as a notebook describing the activities of the U.S.S. Monitor during the Battle of Hampton Roads are also in the series.

See also Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) - Correspondence with Algernon Coolidge (Series I.C.i.); and Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge - Correspondence with Algernon Coolidge (Series I.D. i.).

i. Family correspondence, 1844-1905

Arranged chronologically and by correspondent.

Algernon's letters to Mary Lowell (Coolidge) include several courtship letters written while Algernon was in Europe. The bulk were written from March to July 1862, while Algernon served as an assistant surgeon with the U.S. Army in Virginia and with the U.S. Sanitary Commission, transporting wounded soldiers. They describe the politics between the regular medical staff and the Sanitary Commission; Dorothea Dix and her nurses; conditions and daily life at the army camp and the Chesapeake Hospital near Fort Monroe at Old Point Comfort, Va.; descriptions of Sanitary Commission hospital ships; accounts of individual soldiers; and McClellan's defeat on 30 June. Several letters discuss the ironclads Monitor and Merrimack (Virginia) in great detail, including a 9 May letter describing an encounter between the two ships, with drawings and maps, and a 5 July letter containing a description of his visit to the Monitor and its interior cabins. His 11 May letter describes meeting President Lincoln at the Chesapeake Hospital and the president's interaction with the wounded soldiers there. Other letters chronicle his observations of the "contraband" families living in Newport News, Va. and the "secessionist mood" of Baltimore, along with many military and political details. Most of Algernon's 1862 letters have been transcribed and dated by his descendants.

Later letters to Mary include those from September-October 1863 written in Louisville and Cincinnati as Algernon searches for information about his brother Sidney, who was killed in the Battle of Chickamauga. A letter from Richmond in June 1865 describes the post-war city and the condition of its people, as well as Algernon's visit with the family of his mother's brother, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, and their views of the war and the future of the south. Letters from the Caribbean and Honduras in 1890 include a description of Algernon's meeting with President Luiz Bogran of Honduras.

Letters from Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Algernon's brother, were written while Thomas was in Dresden from 1844 to 1846. Later letters were written from Boston and Paris, discussing family news and the effects of the war. Algernon's letters to his sister-in-law Georgina "Nina" Lowell largely discuss news of family and friends. A series of 1871-1872 letters chronicle the family's voyage and relocation to Berlin while Algernon's sons attend school there, describing his impressions of the city and the family's daily activities. Later letters are written from Cotuit (Mass.), Mexico, Europe, and Jamaica.

Letters from Algernon's brother-in-law Edward Jackson Lowell include a March 1880 letter from Dresden describing social conditions there and in Berlin, particularly "the Jewish question." Later letters were written from Rome, Paris, and throughout Europe, including news of friends and family and descriptions of the places he visited. Miscellaneous family correspondence includes that with Algernon's brothers Sidney and Randolph, his brother-in-law George G. Lowell, his niece Anna Cabot Lowell, and his father-in-law Francis Cabot Lowell.

Box 2Folders 14A-36
Letters to Mary Lowell Coolidge, 1855-1901
Box 3Folders 1-2
Letters from Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, 1844-1865
Box 3Folders 3-14
Letters to Georgina "Nina" Lowell, 1857-1905
Box 3Folders 15-17
Letters from Edward Jackson Lowell (1845-1894), 1880-1883
Box 3Folders 18-19
Miscellaneous family correspondence, 1844-1872

ii. Personal, military, and financial papers, 1845-1912

Arranged chronologically and by subject.

General papers include report cards and other school papers in German and French; personal correspondence; military papers, including his contract as a private surgeon with the United States Army; correspondence related to his position as assistant surgeon at the military hospital; a letter of introduction to the Sanitary Commission from Frederick Law Olmsted; and a contract with the hospital in Portsmouth Grove, R.I. Also in this subseries is a 25 Jan. 1865 letter from James Murray Mason, Confederate liaison to England and France, in reply to Algernon's letter accompanying the Sanitary Commission's report of Union prisoners treatment; a draft of Algernon's reply; and a letter from Amos A. Lawrence addressing Mason's letter and discussing Lawrence's involvement with John Brown. Papers also include a letter of recognition upon Algernon's resignation from Massachusetts General Hospital in 1876, a series of letters from George Parker Winship related to Algernon's collection of early Mexican printed volumes, and other personal and professional correspondence.

Savannah plantation papers include correspondence with Arminius Oemler, a Savannah doctor and former classmate, who lost his land and fortune during the Civil War. Papers relate to the partnership of Coolidge and Oemler in a cotton plantation on Wilmington Island, details of Coolidge's investment, an 1866 contract and promissory note, and the subsequent failure of the investment.

Papers related to the death of Algernon's twin brother, Sidney Coolidge, include telegrams, correspondence discussing various accounts of his injury or death at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, the whereabouts of his effects, obituaries, and printed memorials.

Box 3Folders 20-35
General papers, 1845-1912
Box 4Folders 1-6
Papers related to Savannah plantation, 1860-1876
Box 4Folder 7
Papers related to the death of Major Sidney Coolidge, 1863-1864

iii. Volumes, 1850-1862

Arranged chronologically.

Volumes include an 1850 memo book written in French and two 1850-1851 diaries discussing daily activities and events while Coolidge was a student at Harvard. A memo book, written in several hands, contains miscellaneous quotations and excerpts, including what appears to be an account or an interview with Samuel Dana Greene, executive officer of the U.S.S. Monitor, about the Battle of Hampton Roads on 14 March 1862.

Box 4Folder 8
Memo book (in French), 1850
Box 4Folder 9
Diary, 1850
Box 4Folder 10
Diary, Jan.-July 1851
Box 4Folder 11
Memo book, 1859-1862

F. Mary Lowell Coolidge correspondence, 1849-1912

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

Family correspondence includes that with Mary's brother, George G. "Glen" Lowell, largely written by Mary from Europe. Letters to her sister Georgina "Nina" Lowell were written from Boston, Newport, Baltimore, Berlin, and other European cities. They discuss activities of family and friends, as well as meals, lodgings, and travels throughout the eastern United States and Europe. The bulk are undated.

Mary's letters to her father Francis C. Lowell discuss life in Berlin, household affairs, and her children's schooling. Lowell writes to Mary about his business importing window glass, as well as family matters, finances, expenses in Berlin, and plans to build a house on Marlborough Street once Algernon and Mary return to Boston. Other family correspondence includes letters from her sister Ellen and to her brother "Bub."

Personal correspondence includes letters from Mary's friends Harriet Gray, Sarah Woolsey, and Katharine P. Wormeley.

See also Joseph Coolidge (1798-1879) - Letters to Mary Lowell Coolidge (Series I.C. i.); Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge - Letters from Mary Lowell Coolidge (Series I.D.i.); and Algernon Coolidge - Letters to Mary Lowell Coolidge (Series I.E.i.)

Box 4Folder 12
Correspondence with George Gardner Lowell, 1849-1854
Box 4Folders 13-20
Letters to Georgina "Nina" Lowell, 1857-1912
Box 4Folders 21-22
Correspondence with Francis Cabot Lowell, [1871-1872]
Box 4Folders 23-24
Miscellaneous family correspondence, 1857-1912
Box 4Folders 25-26
Personal correspondence, 1852-1912

G. Miscellaneous Coolidge family papers, 1846-1923

This series contains the family correspondence of various Coolidge family members, as well as a set of recipe books compiled by several generations of Coolidge women.

i. Correspondence, 1846-1886

Arranged chronologically.

Included in this subseries is the correspondence of Susan Elizabeth Goldsborough, the wife of Thomas Bulfinch Coolidge. The bulk of her letters were written to her sister-in-law Susan Bulfinch Coolidge (Lyman), containing news of friends and family. Also included are several undated letters to her husband's parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge. Letters from Susan's mother Henrietta M. Goldsborough and her sister Mary Caroline Goldsborough to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge are also included here.

Other Coolidge family correspondence includes letters from Ellen Coolidge Dwight and Sidney Coolidge.

Box 4Folders 27-32

ii. Recipe books, 1870-1923

These volumes were most likely compiled by Ellen Dwight Coolidge, but are written in several hands. The bulk of recipes date from the 1870s, with many later additions, and are attributed to various friends and family members. Each book is devoted to a particular group of recipes, including "Puddings, sweet dishes, and vegetables," "Meat, soups, and fish," and "Breakfast bread, cake, and cooling drinks for sickness." The volumes included many loose clippings and recipes, now foldered with the volumes.

Box 5Folders 1-2
Recipe book #1, 1870-1889
Box 5Folders 3-6
Recipe book #2, 1870-1894
Box 5Folders 7-8
Recipe book #3, 1870-1923

II. Lowell family papers, 1792-1885

Included in this series is the correspondence and poetry of Anna Cabot Lowell (1768-1810); the papers of Anna's nephew Edward Jackson Lowell (1805-1830), including correspondence, journals, and obituaries; and the correspondence and commonplace-book of Georgina "Nina" Lowell, the sister of Mary Lowell Coolidge. A small amount of the correspondence of other Lowell family members is also found here.

For the correspondence of Mary Lowell Coolidge with members of the Lowell family, see Mary Lowell Coolidge correspondence (Series I.F.)

A. Anna Cabot Lowell (1768-1810) papers, 1792-1810

The papers of Anna Cabot Lowell consist of her letters to her stepmother Rebecca Russell Lowell, her brother Francis Cabot Lowell, her friend "Ann B.," and other miscellaneous family and friends. Several poems are also included.

i. Correspondence, 1792-1810

Arranged chronologically by correspondent.

Anna's correspondence includes letters written from Roxbury to her half-brother Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817), discussing family activities and offering him advice on his friendships at school. Later letters were written from Portsmouth, N.H. and Paris to Francis when he was merchant in Boston. Also included are two copy books containing extracts of her letters to "Ann B." (possibly Ann Bulfinch Storer), not written in Anna's hand, discussing news of friends, family, and daily activities; and a copy book of Anna's letters to her stepmother Rebecca Russell Lowell, discussing her trip to Europe in 1805-1806. This subseries also includes Anna's letters to Rebecca Amory Lowell, Sally Sullivan, Mary Gardner Lowell, and John Thornton Kirkland.

Box 5Folders 9-10
Letters to Francis Cabot Lowell, 1792-1805
Box 5Folders 11-12
Extracts from letters to "Ann B.", 1802-1810
Box 5Folder 13
Letters to Rebecca Russell Lowell, 1805-1806
Box 5Folder 14
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1794-1809

ii. Poems, 1796-1799

Arranged chronologically.

A series of poems in Anna's hand are largely undated. Several are dedicated to "Miss C. R." Some poems attributed to Anna appear to have been copied by others.

Box 5Folder 15

B. Edward Jackson Lowell (1805-1830) papers, 1811-1830

Arranged chronologically by record type.

Edward's correspondence includes several childhood letters to his father and uncles, drafts of several letters written from a steamboat on the Ohio River and the Erie Canal in 1825, and an 1826 letter to his uncle John Lowell from Rome chronicling his European travels. An 1826 letter from John Lowell warns Edward against prejudice toward foreign cultures. Letters to his brother Francis C. Lowell (1803-1874) in 1829 discuss a fire and loss of a building in Newton. Other letters to his brother written from Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire discuss family, travels, investments, and business.

Edward's journal pages consist of several loose sheets of paper chronicling his trips to Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Kentucky in the spring of 1825, and his trip to Europe from 1826 to 1828. Other papers include Edward's will and obituaries in manuscript and print.

Box 5Folders 16-19
Correspondence, 1811-1830
Box 5Folders 20-22
Journals, 1825-1828
Box 5Folder 23
Wills and obituaries, 1830

C. Georgina "Nina" Lowell papers, 1845-1885

Arranged chronologically by record type.

Nina's correspondence includes letters to her brother George from Europe in 1851 and a letter from her mother Hannah Jackson Lowell. Personal correspondence includes an 1873 letter from Louis Agassiz discussing their friendship and an 1885 letter from an unknown correspondent regarding the death of Marian Hooper "Clover" Adams.

A collection of engraved stationery containing European scenes is most likely a souvenir of her 1851 trip.

A commonplace-book contains copies of poems, newspaper clippings, some notes, pressed flowers, and several pieces of correspondence, most likely compiled by Georgina Lowell.

See also Algernon Coolidge - Letters to Georgina "Nina" Lowell (Series I.E.i.); and Mary Lowell Coolidge - Letters to Georgina "Nina" Lowell (Series I.F.)

Box 5Folders 24-25
Correspondence, 1851-1885
Box 5Folders 26-27
"European scenes" stationery, ca. 1851
Vol. 1
Commonplace book/scrapbook, 1854-1872
Box 5Folder 28
Papers removed from scrapbook, 1845-1869

D. Miscellaneous Lowell family correspondence, 1826-1868

Arranged chronologically.

This series includes several 1826 letters of Mary Gardner Lowell, the wife of Francis Cabot Lowell; an 1830 letter from Georgina M. Lowell to Anna Cabot Lowell about the death of Georgina's brother Edward Jackson Lowell; a letter to Georgina M. Lowell from Ann Tracy about the death of Edward; and an 1857 letter from Anna Cabot Lowell to Francis Cabot Lowell.

Box 5Folders 29-30

III. Papers of related families and individuals, 1757-1916

This series includes correspondence, an essay, and a poem written by members of the Bulfinch family; the correspondence of Eliza Cabot Blanchard Winthrop; and correspondence of Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, Martha Jefferson Randolph, and Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist, sisters of Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge. Unidentified family papers in this series include correspondence and journals.

A. Bulfinch family papers, 1757-ca. 1809

Arranged chronologically.

Papers consist of family correspondence, including a letter from Thomas Bulfinch, the father of Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge, to his father from Edinburgh where he was a student in 1757. A poem, "Jamaica Pond – a simile" by C.B. (1787), was mostly likely written by architect Charles Bulfinch. Also included is an undated medical essay by Thomas Bulfinch (1728-1802).

Box 6Folders 1-2

B. Eliza Cabot Blanchard Winthrop correspondence, 1832-1842

Arranged chronologically.

Eliza was related to the Lowell family through the family of Mary Gardner Lowell, the wife of Francis Cabot Lowell. Her correspondence includes an 1832 letter to her sister from a voyage to Havana and a series of letters to Eliza in Washington from her family in Boston and Salem in 1841 and 1842.

Box 6Folders 3-4

C. Randolph family correspondence, 1832-1869

Arranged chronologically.

Included in this series is a copy of an 1832 letter from John Randolph of Roanoke, as well as letters from the granddaughters of Thomas Jefferson, including letters from Cornelia Jefferson Randolph to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge Lyman dating from 1857 to 1865, an 1869 letter from Martha Jefferson Randolph to Susan Bulfinch Coolidge Lyman, and an undated letter from Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist from Alexandria to her son. Letters primarily discuss family news and activities.

Box 6Folder 5

D. Unidentified family papers, 1849-1916

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Unidentified correspondence consists of letters from unidentified senders and recipients, including letters from South Carolina and France and letters written in Spanish and German.

An unidentified reading journal contains essays on classical, historical, and popular literature, including Linwood by Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Another journal, which appears to be in the same hand, contains entries on health, religious meditations, reading, dining, and social visits in Clifton Springs, New York, where the writer is undertaking the water cure of Dr. Henry Foster in 1857.

Box 6Folder 6
Correspondence, 1851-1916
Box 6Folders 7-8
Reading journal, 1849-1852
Box 6Folder 9
Journal, 1857-1861

IV. Printed material, 1850-1912

Arranged chronologically.

Printed material includes an 1850 menu for Revere House, a Francis Cabot Lowell memorial, an undated program for a Harvard presentation of Oedipus the King, and several newspaper clippings.

Box 6Folder 10

Preferred Citation

Coolidge-Lowell 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.


Bulfinch family.
Coolidge, Algernon, 1830-1912.
Coolidge, Elizabeth Bulfinch, 1777-1837.
Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph, 1796-1876.
Coolidge family.
Coolidge, Joseph, 1773-1840.
Coolidge, Joseph, 1798-1879.
Coolidge, Mary Lowell, 1833-1915.
Coolidge, Sidney, 1830-1863.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Travel--Virginia.
Lowell, Anna Cabot, 1768-1810.
Lowell, Edward Jackson, 1807-1830.
Lowell family.
Lowell, Georgina, 1836-1922.
Madison, James, 1751-1836.
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
Randolph, Cornelia J. (Cornelia Jefferson), 1779-1871.
Randolph family.
Randolph, Martha Jefferson, 1772-1836.
Trist, Virginia Jefferson Randolph, 1801-1882.
Winthrop, Eliza Blanchard, 1809-1842.


King's Chapel (Boston, Mass.).
Monitor (Ironclad).
United States--Army. Hospitals.
United States--Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 20th (1861-1865).
United States--Army of the Potomac.
United States--Army. Surgeons.
United States Sanitary Commission.
Virginia (Ironclad).


African Americans--Folklore.
Berlin (Germany)--Description and travel.
Berlin (Germany)--Social life and customs.
Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs.
China--Commerce--United States.
China trade.
Europe -- Description and travel.
Family history--1750-1799.
Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Macau (China)--Description and travel.
Macau (China)--Social life and customs.
Peninsular Campaign, 1862.
United States--Commerce--China.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
Virginia--Description and travel.
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Voyages and travels.
Women travelers.
Women's commonplace-books.

Materials removed from the collection:

Photograph of Libby Prison, ca. 1865 removed to MHS Photo. Collection, Views small #10.18.