1840-2014; bulk: 1860-1966

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Bowditch, Codman, and Balch families of Jamaica Plain (Boston, Mass.) and Chocorua, N.H. It includes family correspondence, personal papers, diaries, scrapbooks, account books, and printed material.

Biographical Sketches

These brief biological sketches highlight the individuals most prominently represented within the Bowditch-Codman-Balch family papers. They are listed chronologically.

Cornelia Rockwell Bowditch (1841-1930) was born in Pittsfield, Mass. on 7 Oct. 1841, the daughter of Judge Julius Rockwell (1805-1888) and Lucy Forbes Walker Rockwell (1808-1887) of Pittsfield. Known to her family as "Nellie," her siblings included William Walker Rockwell (1839-1863), Francis "Frank" Williams Rockwell (1844-1929), and Robert Campbell Rockwell (1848-1928). In June 1866, she married Charles Pickering Bowditch, and the couple had five children: Cornelia Bowditch (1867-1946), Lucy Rockwell Bowditch Balch (1868-1942), Katherine Putnam Bowditch Codman (1870-1961), Edith Bowditch (1872-1872), and Ingersoll Bowditch (1875-1938). The family lived in Geneseo, N.Y. through the early 1870s, then moved to Moss Hill Road in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston. They summered at Chocorua, N.H. at a house they called "Loafer's Rest," and later "Conni-Sauti." Nellie died in Jamaica Plain on 25 May 1930.

Charles Pickering Bowditch (1842-1921) was born in Boston on 30 Sep. 1842, the son of merchant Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch (1806-1889) and Lucy Orne Nichols Bowditch (1816-1883) and the grandson of Nathaniel Bowditch. After earning his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1863, he served as captain of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and later as captain of the 5th Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, both African American regiments, during the Civil War. He returned to Harvard to earn a master's degree in 1866.

Bowditch managed private trusts and served as a director for the Massachusetts Cotton Mills, the Pepperell Manufacturing Company, and the Boston and Providence Railroad Company; as vice-president of American Bell Telephone Company; and as president of the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work as an archaeologist, specializing in Mayan hieroglyphic writing and the Mayan calendar system after trips to Mexico in 1888 and Honduras in 1890 sparked his interest in the culture. He was a major benefactor and trustee of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, financing numerous expeditions to Central America. Charles served as president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a founder of the American Anthropological Association.

On 7 June 1866, Charles married Cornelia Livingston Rockwell in Lenox, Mass. The couple lived in Geneseo, N.Y. until the early 1870s, then lived in Jamaica Plain, Mass. with their five children.

Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch (1867-1946) was born on 12 June 1867 in Geneseo, N.Y., the daughter of Charles Pickering Bowditch and Cornelia Livingston Rockwell Bowditch. She was known to her family as "Cora." She was active in many charitable organizations in Jamaica Plain, including the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association, and volunteered with the American Fund for French Wounded during World War I. She traveled extensively throughout Europe, North Africa, Mexico, and the American West. Cora died in Jamaica Plain on 2 Jan. 1946.

Lucy Rockwell Bowditch Balch (1868-1952) was born on 24 Aug. 1868 in Geneseo, N.Y., the daughter of Charles Pickering Bowditch and Cornelia Livingston Rockwell Bowditch. In Nov. 1894, she married Dr. Franklin Greene Balch (b. 1864), and the couple lived in Jamaica Plain with their six children: Charles Bowditch Balch (1896-1959), Franklin Greene Balch (1896-1982), Lucy Bowditch Balch Twitchell (later Putnam) (1898-1988), Henry Gordon "Harry" Balch (1901-1975), Cornelia "Conny" Balch Wheeler (1909-2005), and Katherine Balch (1913-2002).

Ernest Amory Codman (1869-1940) was born on 30 Dec. 1869 in Boston, the son of William Coombs Codman and Elizabeth Hurd Codman. Known to family and friends as "Amory," Codman graduated from Harvard University in 1891 and Harvard Medical School in 1895. He served on the surgical staff of Massachusetts General Hospital from 1899 to 1914 and was a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School. Codman was vocal in his dislike for the seniority system at Mass. General, and after criticizing measures of staff competence, he lost his privileges there and opened his own private hospital. There he began to implement his End Result System, in which patients' progress was monitored to determine the success of operations, the overall efficiency of the clinic, and the surgeon's margin of error. Codman's dedication to medical integrity aided in the formation of the American College of Surgeons and its Committee of Hospital Standardization.

Codman married Katharine "Katy" Putnam Bowditch on 6 Nov. 1899. In 1904, they moved into their residence at 227 Beacon St., where Katy lived until her death in 1961. The couple had no children. Codman died on 23 Nov. 1940.

Katharine Putnam Bowditch Codman (1870-1961) was born in Geneseo, N.Y. on 13 Apr. 1870, the daughter of Charles Pickering Bowditch and Cornelia Livingston Rockwell Bowditch. Known to her family as "Katy," she married orthopedic surgeon and medical reformer Ernest Amory Codman (1869-1940) on 16 Nov. 1899. The couple, who had no children, lived on Beacon Hill in Boston and summered in Ponkapoag, now Canton, Mass. Katy served as president of the Instructive District Nursing Association from 1918 to 1920 and was a social activist for women's suffrage, birth control, and educational reform.

Cornelia Balch Wheeler (1909-2005) was born in Boston on 3 Sep. 1909, the daughter of Dr. Franklin Greene Balch and Lucy Rockwell Bowditch Balch. She attended the Winsor School in 1927. In 1929, she married Leonard "Andy" Wheeler, Jr. (1901-1995), and the couple lived in Cambridge, Mass. with their four children: Cornelia "Neely" Wheeler, Leonard Wheeler, Penelope Wheeler, and John Balch Wheeler. Cornelia served on the Cambridge City Council for 12 years. She died in Chocorua, N.H. on 14 Aug. 2005.

Collection Description

The Bowditch-Codman-Balch family papers consist of 19 document boxes of manuscript and printed material arranged in seven series that document the interrelated Bowditch, Codman, and Balch families of Boston and Chocorua, N.H. from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The bulk of the collection consists of the papers of Boston financier and archaeologist Charles Pickering Bowditch; his wife Cornelia "Nellie" Rockwell Bowditch; their children Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch, Lucy Bowditch Balch, Katharine "Katy" Bowditch Codman, and Ingersoll Bowditch; and the family of Lucy Balch's daughter Cornelia Balch Wheeler. The collection documents their social activities, illnesses, births, deaths, marriages, and daily lives in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston and at their summer home in Chocorua, as well as the family's many trips to Europe, North Africa, Mexico, Central America, and the western United States.

Family correspondence, the largest series in the collection, contains the letters of Charles and Nellie Bowditch, their parents, their siblings, their children and grandchildren, and extended family members. Included are the courtship letters of Katharine Bowditch and her future husband, Ernest Amory Codman, and those of Cornelia Balch with her future husband, Leonard "Andy" Wheeler. Of interest are letters that document Charles's archaeological avocation; letters to Nellie from her nephew, historian Hendrik Willem Van Loon; and letters from Charles B. Balch to his mother Lucy Balch describing his army service during World War I with the 7th Field Artillery, Allied Expeditionary Force.

The Bowditch family papers series contains those of Charles and Nellie, as well as Charles's sisters Eliza and Charlotte Bowditch. Included is Charles's correspondence with folklorists Francesca and Lucia Alexander, his correspondence related to Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and his ledger of daily family accounts. Also included is Charles's and Nellie's correspondence with Katherine Putnam (later Dwight) and Eliza Bowditch's 1870 diary of her trip to Europe.

Series III, IV, and V consist of the papers of Charles's and Nellie's three daughters and their families. Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch's papers reflect her daily life in Jamaica Plain and Chocorua, her work with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association, and her involvement with the American Fund for French Wounded during World War I. Her travels to Europe, Africa, Mexico, and the American West from 1898 to 1904 are recorded in a series of detailed and heavily illustrated diaries. The Balch-Wheeler family papers contain correspondence and personal papers of the family of Lucy Bowditch Balch and her daughter Cornelia Balch Wheeler, including scrapbooks, teenage diaries, and travel journals. Katharine Bowditch Codman's papers include her extensive correspondence with Fanny Quincy Howe and Robert Beverly Hale, as well as papers related to her work with the Instructive District Nursing Association of Boston and the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, an organization promoting women's education.

The collection also contains a large amount of family poetry, journals describing activities at the family's summer home in Chocorua, papers related to the family's history and historical collections, printed material, and ephemera.

Additions to the collection, which were added in August 2018 and comprise Series VIII, consist of family correspondence; the papers of Lucy Bowditch Balch, Katharine Bowditch Codman, and Ernest Amory Codman; miscellaneous family papers; and printed material. A small January 2020 addition consists of Charles Pickering Bowditch's family correspondence, brief travel diary, and ephemera documenting his trip to Mexico in 1888. It is located within Series I, Family Correspondence.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Rachel Wheeler, February 2014, July 2015, and January 2020. Additions (Series VIII) gift of Cornelia Lanou, August 2018.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Family correspondence, 1840-1966

Arranged chronologically. Undated correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Early family correspondents include Charles Pickering Bowditch and his wife Cornelia "Nellie" Rockwell Bowditch; Charles's parents Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch and Lucy Nichols Bowditch; Charles's uncle Henry Ingersoll Bowditch; Charles's aunts Mary I. Bowditch Dixwell, Elizabeth Dixwell, Mary Wheeler, and Mary Donaldson; Charles's sister Charlotte Bowditch; Cornelia's parents, Judge Julius Rockwell and Lucy Forbes Walker Rockwell; Cornelia's brother Robert Campbell Rockwell; and her sister-in-law Mary E. Rockwell. Letters discuss the 1865 engagement of Charles and Nellie, the births of their daughters Cornelia (Cora) and Lucy in 1867 and 1868, and Nellie's convalescence. The almost daily letters between Charles and Nellie from 1869 to 1872, as Nellie travels from Jamaica Plain to Lenox to help care for her mother, contain news of family, local politics, cultural events, Charles's business, and household affairs. 1872 letters document the birth of their daughter Edith and her death from whooping cough several months later.

From 1878 to 1882, letters between Charles, Nellie, and their children Cora Bowditch, Lucy Bowditch Balch, Katy Bowditch Codman, and Ingersoll Bowditch, largely discuss daily life and activities in Jamaica Plain and Chocorua, N.H.; social events; family births, deaths, and illnesses; news of friends and acquaintances; and household details. Letters to Katy from Amory Codman begin in 1898, and family letters chronicle their engagement and marriage in 1899. 1902 correspondence between Charles and Ingersoll discuss family and business finances, Charles's manuscripts and publishing, home repairs, and building Faulkner Hospital. Many letters from this period describe the family's extensive travels throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Mexico. June to August 1886 letters to Nellie from Charles, Cora, and Katy describe their trip to England and Scotland. Jan. 1887 letters from Charles discuss his trip to Washington, D.C. and his involvement with a Supreme Court case, as well as Washington social events. Jan. and Feb. 1888 correspondence includes Charles's letters to family describing his trip to Mexico to visit antiquities in Aguacalientes, Mexico City, Jalapa, Vera Cruz, and Merida, along with his brief travel diary and ephemera from the trip. Other travel correspondence includes 1893 letters from Lucy in Rome, Florence, and London; 1897 letters from Charlotte Bowditch in Yokohama and Kyoto, Japan; 1898 letters from Charles, Nellie, and Katy on a trip to Europe and North Africa; 1900 letters from Charles in Chicago and Washington, D.C.; and letters from Charles, Nellie, and Cora during their European and African trip from December 1901 to June 1902. In Feb. 1904, Charles, Nellie, and Cora write from Mexico, describing their archaeological visits at Casa de Alvarado in Coyoacan and a meeting with archaeologists at Cuernavaca. In March and April 1904, they travel to San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, and in September Charles writes from the St. Louis World's Fair. In 1911, Charles and Nellie write from the Philippines, Java, and Japan.

Of interest are letters and postcards Nellie received from Hendrik Willem van Loon, the husband of her niece Eliza. A Dutch historian, Cornell professor, and children's author, Van Loon wrote amusing and richly illustrated letters from Dublin, N.H. and Washington, D.C. from 1907 through 1930. Also of note are 1918 and 1919 letters written by Charles B. Balch to his mother Lucy Bowditch Balch describing his experiences in France during World War I with the 7th Field Artillery, Allied Expeditionary Force.

Later letters, from 1927 to 1966, are primarily written to Cornelia "Conny" Balch Wheeler. Her correspondents include her husband Leonard "Andy" Wheeler, her father Franklin Green Balch, her mother Lucy Bowditch Balch, her aunt Cora Bowditch, her siblings, and her children. 1927-1929 letters chronicle the courtship, engagement, and marriage of Conny and Andy. 1931 letters offer congratulations on the birth of their daughter Cornelia and, in 1936, on their daughter Penelope. Later letters include those to Conny from her daughter Cornelia in France (1956) and Germany (1959), from her son John at Swarthmore College (1957-1960), and those surrounding John's engagement and marriage in 1962.

See also Series VIII. A. - Additions-Family correspondence.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
1909-Oct. 1928
Box 6
Nov. 1928-1930
Box 7

Undated correspondence

Box 8Folder 1
Lucy Bowditch Balch to Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 2-3
Lucy Bowditch Balch to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 4-6
Lucy Bowditch Balch to Katharine Bowditch Codman, undated
Box 8Folder 7
Lucy Bowditch Balch to various, undated
Box 8Folder 8
Charles P. Bowditch to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 9-10
Charlotte Bowditch to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folder 11
Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 12-19
Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch to Katharine Bowditch Codman, undated
Box 8Folder 20
Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch to various, undated
Box 8Folder 21
Cornelia R. Bowditch to Charles P. Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 22-21
Cornelia R. Bowditch to Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch, undated
Box 8Folders 24-34
Cornelia R. Bowditch to Katharine Bowditch Codman, undated
Box 9Folder 1
Ingersoll Bowditch to various, undated
Box 9Folders 2-10
Katharine Bowditch Codman to Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch, undated
Box 9Folder 11
Katharine Bowditch Codman to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 9Folder 12
Katharine Bowditch Codman to various, undated
Box 9Folder 13
Elizabeth Donaldson to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 9Folder 14
Mary P. Nichols to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 9Folder 15
Lucy Rockwell to Cornelia R. Bowditch, undated
Box 9Folder 16
Lucy Rockwell to various, undated
Box 9Folders 17-18
Leonard Wheeler to Cornelia Balch Wheeler, undated
Box 9Folders 19-21
Various, undated

II. Bowditch family papers, 1842-1929

This series contains the papers of Charles Pickering Bowditch, Charles's wife Cornelia "Nellie" Rockwell Bowditch, and Charles's sisters Eliza Ingersoll Bowditch and Charlotte Bowditch. It includes personal correspondence, poetry and writings, account books, travel diaries, and memoranda.

A. Charles P. Bowditch papers, 1861-1923

The papers of Charles P. Bowditch primarily consist of personal correspondence, notably that of Francesca and Lucia Alexander. Also included are Charles's essays, poetry, and a notebook of personal accounts.

See also Series I - Family correspondence.

i. Personal papers, 1865-1923

Arranged chronologically.

Charles's personal papers are primarily comprised of correspondence, including letters from Katherine "Katie" Putnam (later Dwight), former fiancée of Charles's brother Nathaniel Bowditch, who fought and died in the Civil War; correspondence related to his work with the trustees of Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology; and letters of thanks for contributions to various causes. Additional correspondents include Edith Emerson Forbes, Francis Peabody, and E. E. Child. Other papers include excerpts from essays on art history, book catalogs (1870s-1880s), a copy of the will of James Reed Chadwick, papers collected from Charles's wallet upon his death in 1921, and Charles's obituaries and memorials.

Box 9Folders 22-27

ii. Francesca and Lucia Alexander papers, 1893-1913

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains letters from Francesca Alexander and her mother Lucia. Francesca moved to Italy with her family in the 1890s and gained fame as a collector of Tuscan folk songs and stories, later published by English writer John Ruskin. Letters written from Italy between 1893 and 1913, the bulk of which are from Lucia to Charles, reflect his role as the family's financial advisor and personal friend. Also included is Charles's brief narrative about the correspondence and a newspaper article about Francesca.

Box 9Folders 28-30

iii. Poetry and writings, 1861-1904

Arranged chronologically.

Included in this subseries are school essays; acrostics; Valentine's Day poems; narrative, comedic, and elegiac poetry; and a draft of a play.

Box 9Folders 31-35

iv. Account book, 1874-1880

Charles's account book gives a detailed rendering of clothing, sundries, gifts, and other expenses for himself and each member of his family. Also included are household expenses such as food, candles and kerosene, wood, coal, washing, gardening, kitchen utensils, insurance, and taxes.

Box 9Folder 36

B. Cornelia Rockwell Bowditch papers, 1842-1929

Papers of Cornelia "Nellie" Bowditch include personal correspondence, particularly with Katie Putnam (later Dwight); notes from friends upon her engagement to Charles P. Bowditch; records of the infancy of her husband and children; poetry; recipes; and other memoranda.

See also Series I - Family correspondence.

i. Personal correspondence, 1860-1929

Arranged chronologically.

The bulk of Nellie's early correspondence is from Katherine "Katie" Putnam, the fiancée of Nathaniel Bowditch, who was killed in the Civil War. Her letters begin shortly after Nathaniel's death on 15 Dec. 1863 and continue through 1871. Other correspondents include friend Sarah Plunket Bollwood of Pittsfield and, after her marriage in 1866, of Detroit; Elizabeth Rogers Cabot, who discusses her school for young women; Edith Emerson Forbes; Isabel Sherwin; Elizabeth Rackemann; Abby Perry; Mary Wheeler; Robert Beverly Hale; Edward Everett Hale; and Moorfield Story.

Many letters of the 1870s and 1880s are those of friends and acquaintances thanking her for her help or acknowledging family births, engagements, marriages, or deaths. These include letters of condolence upon the death of her daughter Edith, who died in Sep. 1872 of whooping cough; congratulations on her fiftieth wedding anniversary in June 1916; condolences for the death of her sister-in-law Charlotte Bowditch in 1919; and many letters related to the death of her husband Charles in June 1921, including those from the trustees of the Peabody Museum and Faulkner Hospital.

Box 10Folders 1-33

ii. Personal papers, 1842-1927

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Nellie's personal papers include "baby records" which contain the birth height, weight, appearance, early milestones, first teeth, and first steps for all of her children, as well as information about the infancy of her husband Charles P. Bowditch. Also in this subseries are notes from Nellie's friends, originally accompanied by soap bubble pipes, written on 26 Jan. 1866 to honor her engagement to Charles; poems, including the narrative poem "Baby House" and many undated verses written for holidays and special occasions; a 1913 recipe file; and various notes, memoranda, and accounts.

Box 10Folder 34
Babies' records, 1842-1875
Box 10Folder 35
"Pipe Epistles," 1866
Box 10Folders 36-40
Poetry, 1873-1927
Box 10Folder 41
Recipe file, [1913]
Box 10Folder 42
Miscellaneous papers, undated

C. Eliza Ingersoll Bowditch travel diaries, 1870

Arranged chronologically.

Eliza Bowditch's "Journal of the Summer of 1870 in Europe" is comprised of three volumes that chronicle her travels to France, Italy, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, England, and Scotland. They contain detailed descriptions of Eliza's sightseeing and social activities, as well as numerous photographs and printed ephemera.

Box 11Folder 1
24 May-19 Aug. 1870
Box 11Folder 2
20 Aug.-20 Oct. 1870
Box 11Folder 3
21 Oct.-8 Nov. 1870

D. Charlotte Bowditch account book, 1877

Charlotte Bowditch's account book documents the "baby-house" made and furnished by Charlotte and her mother Lucy Nichols Bowditch, which was raffled at a fair for the benefit of New England Hospital. The book contains a list of raffle ticket holders and an account of the expenses to create the house.

Box 11Folder 4

III. Cornelia "Cora" Bowditch papers, 1878-1941

This series contains the papers of Cora Bowditch, the eldest daughter of Charles P. and Cornelia Bowditch. Her correspondence, personal papers, page-a-day journals, and travel diaries reflect Cora's work with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association, the American Fund for French Wounded, her daily life in Jamaica Plain and Chocorua, and her travels to Europe, Africa, Mexico, and the American West.

A. Correspondence, 1879-1941

Arranged chronologically.

Correspondence includes that of Ellen Emerson, Alice Bache Gould, several friends from England, friends traveling to Europe and the Far East, and an undated letter from William James. Many letters offer condolences upon the death of Cora's mother in 1930. Some correspondence is related to her work with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association, a house accommodating boys and girls clubs with classes, social activities, and sporting events. Letters from Clara Schaefer from 1932 to 1934 chronicle the activities of the association.

See also Series I - Family correspondence.

Box 11Folders 5-8

B. Personal papers, 1878-1935

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Cora's personal papers include those related to her work with the American Fund for French Wounded, an organization founded in 1915 by American women living in Europe to assist wounded French soldiers and civilians during World War I. Records in this subseries consist of weekly bulletins of the New England branch from Sep. 1916 to Sep. 1918; three 1917 newsletters describing the organization's activities and other news of the war; a small amount of correspondence; lists of volunteers; and Cora's notes and memos. Cora headed a volunteer group that made surgical dressings.

Additional papers include four issues of the handwritten "Hill-Top Gazette" (1878-1879) and a copy of an 1873 journal sent to Cora in 1935 about a journey to Newport, R.I. with Lucy Forbes Walker Rockwell, Cora's grandmother.

Box 11Folders 9-13
American Fund for French Wounded records, 1916-1918
Box 11Folder 14
Miscellaneous papers, 1878-1935

C. Volumes, 1878-1911

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains Cora's 1878-1890 autograph album with signatures of friends and family, small drawings, and watercolors; her "Chocorua Journal," written in Aug. and Sep. 1880 about activities with family and friends; and four page-a-day journals for 1893, 1895, 1896, and 1911 containing brief descriptions of her social activities, family news, and local events in Jamaica Plain and Chocorua.

Cora's travel diaries chronicle three international trips in great detail. Her diary "Trip to Sicily and Italy" describes the sites and people she encountered from March to July 1898 and includes concert programs, ship's passenger lists, photos, postcards, and sketches. Loose items are foldered separately, including letters from family and friends, newspaper clippings, and watercolor sketches.

Cora's trip to North Africa and Europe from Nov. 1901 to July 1902 is recorded in three diaries. The first describes Algiers, Biskra, and Constantine, Algeria, and includes postcards, photos, ephemera, and sketches of people and places. The second volume describes journeys to Carthage, Tunis, Palermo, Taormina, Pompeii, and Grenada, and the third describes trips to Seville, Cordoba, Madrid, Toledo, Paris, London, and Liverpool. They include many photographs, postcards, tickets, and sketches.

In her diary "Mexico and California," Cora describes her experiences and observations in Tampico, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Guadalupe, San Diego, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco from Jan. to Apr. 1904.

Box 11Folder 15
Autograph album, 1878-1880
Box 11Folder 16
Diary, 1880
Box 11Folder 17
Diary, 1893
Box 12Folder 1
Diary, 1895
Box 12Folder 2
Diary, 1896
Box 12Folders 3-6
Travel diary, "Trip to Sicily and Italy," Mar.-July 1898
Box 12Folders 7-8
Travel diary, "Trip to North Africa," Nov. 1901-Mar. 1902
Box 13Folders 1-2
Travel diary, "Trip to Africa and Italy," 15 Mar.-16 May 1902
Box 13Folders 3-4
Travel diary, "Trip to Spain and France," 17 May-3 July 1902
Box 13Folder 5
Travel diary, "Mexico and California," Jan.-Apr. 1904
Box 13Folder 6
Diary, 1911

IV. Balch-Wheeler family papers, 1874-1966

This series contains the papers of Lucy Rockwell Bowditch Balch, the second daughter of Charles P. and Cornelia Bowditch; the papers of Lucy's daughter Cornelia Balch Wheeler; and a few papers of other family members, including Lucy's husband Franklin G. Balch and her son-in-law Leonard Wheeler. It includes personal correspondence, diaries, and scrapbooks.

See also Series I - Family correspondence.

A. Lucy Rockwell Bowditch Balch papers, 1874-1950

Lucy's scrapbook contains letters and poems sent to her by her parents and siblings, and later her children and grandchildren, on occasions such as her birthday, her anniversary, and Christmas. The scrapbook also contains sketches, watercolors, letters from friends, programs, printed poems, and news clippings about the family, particularly her daughter's wedding. A large number of loose items have been foldered separately.

Also in this subseries is a 1936 play written by Lucy, "Four Scenes from the Life of Nathaniel Bowditch," with a printed playbill.

See also Series VIII. B. - Additions-Lucy Bowditch Balch papers.

Box 14Folders 1-10
Scrapbook, 1874-1950
Box 14Folder 11
"Four Scenes from the Life of Nathaniel Bowditch," 1936

B. Cornelia Balch Wheeler papers, 1922-1961

The papers of Cornelia Balch Wheeler, the daughter of Lucy Bowditch Balch, include personal correspondence, memoranda, and diaries.

i. Personal papers, 1927-1961

Arranged chronologically.

The bulk of Cornelia's personal papers consists of correspondence, including letters from friends and potential suitors while she attended school in Paris (1928-1929), correspondence about her engagement and wedding (1929), and congratulations upon the birth of her children Cornelia (1931), Leonard (1932), Penelope (1936), and John (1939). Also included are several memos and a French identity card.

Box 15Folders 1-20

ii. Diaries, 1922-1928

Arranged chronologically.

Cornelia's diaries include a five-year line-a-day journal dating from 1922 to 1928 that contains sporadic entries about her school and social activities through her teenage years. Her June-July 1923 diary briefly describes her trip to England and Scotland. Other diaries contain more detailed entries of her teenage activities, family, friends, and schoolwork.

Box 15Folder 21
Diary, 1922-1928
Box 15Folder 22
Diary, June-July 1923
Box 15Folder 23
Diary, Dec. 1923-Apr. 1924
Box 15Folder 24
Diary, 7 Oct.-9 Nov. 1924
Box 15Folder 25
Diary, 10 Nov. 1924-1 Apr. 1925
Box 16Folder 1
Diary, 2 Apr.-24 June 1925
Box 16Folder 2
Diary, 25 June-19 July 1925
Box 16Folder 3
Diary, Oct. 1925-Mar. 1926
Box 16Folder 4
Diary, Oct.-Nov. 1926
Box 16Folder 5
Diary, undated

C. Papers of related Balch-Wheeler family members, 1899-1966

Included in this subseries are the papers of Franklin G. Balch, husband of Lucy Bowditch Balch, related to a miniature portrait of Benjamin Franklin; a Balch family scrapbook; a 1924 travel diary written by Leonard Wheeler, future husband of Cornelia Balch Wheeler; and papers of other family members.

i. Franklin G. Balch, Franklin miniature records, 1899-1955

Arranged chronologically.

Franklin Balch's papers consist of correspondence with Boston's Museum of Fine Arts concerning the 1899 loan of a miniature portrait of Benjamin Franklin, the painting's provenance, and Balch's gift of the painting to the MFA in 1943. Also included is a 1955 reprint of "Jane Mecom's Little Picture" in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, which explains the history of the painting.

Box 16Folders 6-7

ii. Balch family scrapbook, 1901-1904

The scrapbook includes postcards sent to Lucy Bowditch Balch's children from her parents and her sister Cora on their travels from 1901 to 1904, including cards from Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Egypt, Mexico, California, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Also included are a few postcards from other friends and relatives, greeting cards, Valentines, and Christmas cards.

Vol. 1

iii. Leonard Wheeler travel diary, 1924

The diary of Leonard "Andy" Wheeler, the future husband of Cornelia Balch Wheeler, was written in a printed "Log Book" of the Cunard ship Franconia during a 1924 cruise to Iceland, Norway, Paris, and London. The journal includes printed maps, timetables, excursions and other information about the cruise, along with Andy's brief, handwritten entries.

Box 16Folder 8

iv. Miscellaneous papers, 1917-1966

Arranged chronologically.

Papers include a small amount of the correspondence of Charles B. Balch (1917) and Lucy Balch Putnam (1965-1966), the children of Lucy Bowditch Balch.

Box 16Folder 9

V. Katharine B. Codman papers, 1877-1961

This series contains the papers of Katharine "Katy" Bowditch Codman, the third daughter of Charles P. and Cornelia Bowditch. It consists of correspondence, particularly that of Fanny Quincy Howe and Robert Beverly Hale, and letters related to the Instructive District Nursing Association. Also within the series are personal papers, including a small amount of the correspondence of her husband Ernest Amory Codman; papers related to the Society to Encourage Studies at Home; and a series of teenage diaries.

See also Series I - Family correspondence; Series VIII. C. - Additions-Katharine Bowditch Codman papers; and Series VIII. D. - Additions-Ernest Amory Codman papers.

A. Correspondence, 1881-1960

i. General correspondence, 1881-1960

Arranged chronologically.

Much of Katy's correspondence consists of letters from childhood friends, particularly Emily Balch, Margaret Haywood, and Augusta Batchelder, and later potential suitors, discussing their social activities, gossip, travels, and news of family and friends. Many letters offer congratulations on Katy's engagement to Amory Codman in Nov. 1898. Also included is a 1915 letter from a British soldier fighting in France, letters related to her position as president of the Instructive District Nursing Association from 1918 to 1920, letters of sympathy on the death of her sister Cora in 1946, and 1956 letters related to the Chocorua property. A Christmas card from Nicola Sacco's son Dante contains a photograph of his three sons, taken about 1953.

Box 16Folders 10-30
Box 17Folders 1-9

ii. Correspondence with Fanny Quincy Howe, 1888-1930

Arranged chronologically.

Katy's friend Fanny Huntington Quincy Howe (1870-1933) was the daughter of Boston lawyer and writer Josiah Phillips Quincy (1829-1910) and Helen Huntington Quincy. She married Mark A. DeWolfe Howe, historian and editor of the Atlantic Monthly, in Sep. 1899. Her letters discuss courtships; travel in Italy, Austria, Germany, France, and England in 1893 and 1894; gossip about family and friends; and her wedding plans in 1899. The bulk of Fanny's letters date from 1893 to 1901, but a large portion are undated.

Box 17Folders 10-36

iii. Correspondence with R. Beverly Hale, 1888-1898

Arranged chronologically.

Robert Beverly Hale (1869-1895), known as "Beverly," was the son of author and Unitarian minister Edward Everett Hale. A poet and essayist, he graduated from Harvard in 1891. Beverly's letters are written from Cambridge about his Harvard activities and studies, and later about his job as an assistant at a Unitarian publishing house. Writing from Roxbury and Matunuck, R.I., he discusses news of family and friends, social activities, and his visits with Katy in Matunuck and Chocorua. The bulk of the letters are written by Beverly; Katy's letters are largely undated. Although the letters are sometimes flirtatious, it is not clear if the two were romantically involved. Also in this subseries are the Sep.-Oct. 1895 letters of Beverly's sister Susan, describing his illness and death from typhoid at age 26; newspaper obituaries; and an 1898 letter from Beverly's father Edward Everett Hale.

Box 18Folders 1-21

B. Personal papers, 1877-1956

Arranged chronologically by subject.

Katy's papers include an 1877 report card from Mrs. Walker's School; school essays written from 1878 to 1883; and several letters from others to her husband Ernest Amory Codman, primarily congratulations on their engagement in 1898.

Papers related to the Society to Encourage Studies at Home reflect Katy's position as a correspondent for the organization, which was founded to educate women in 1873. Dating from 1890 to 1897, they consist of correspondence, course instructions with Katy's notes, course curricula, a Jan. 1897 quarterly meeting report, flyers, and a draft of an essay, "Shall We Lead our Girls to College?"

Also included are typed and printed knitting instructions and patterns for children's clothing provided by the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations during World War II, as well as various accounts and receipts, notes, memos, and printed material.

Box 18Folders 22-23
School papers, 1877-1883
Box 18Folder 24
E. A. Codman personal correspondence, 1886-1898
Box 18Folders 25-26
Society to Encourage Studies at Home records, 1890-1897
Box 18Folders 27-29
Knitting instructions, 1941-1944
Box 18Folders 30-32
Miscellaneous papers, 1887-1956

C. Volumes, 1885-1961

Arranged chronologically.

Katy's short diaries, hidden in notebooks marked "Dictation" and "Recipes," contain details of her schooling, social activities, and relationships with family and friends during her teenage years. Also included are a 1950s address book and a memo book containing a list of charitable contributions made from 1957 to 1961, names and notes about household employees, and a list of gifts.

Box 19Folder 1
Diary, 1-23 Apr. 1885
Box 19Folder 2
Diary, 24 Apr.-14 May 1885
Box 19Folder 3
Diary, 19-25 May 1885
Box 19Folder 4
Diary, 25 May-30 June 1885
Box 19Folder 5
Address book, ca. 1952-1960
Box 19Folder 6
Memo book, 1957-1961

VI. Miscellaneous family papers, 1864-1988

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

Papers in this series include those created or collected by unidentified family members or a group of family members. They include Christmas, birthday, and other celebratory poems; poems and sketches entitled "Moss Hill Drawings"; and riddles, acrostics, and charades written by family members.

The "Loafer's Rest" and "Conni-Sauti" journals contain the history of the family's summer homes in Chocorua, N.H., along with journal entries written by Charles P. Bowditch until 1904 and then by his daughter Cora. The entries include lists of visitors and the dates they arrived, changes or additions to the property, and the status of farm animals, transportation, boats, and plantings, along with photographs and a few news clippings.

"The Launching of the Minnehaha" is a narrative of a celebratory 1887 family procession written on a handmade scroll, with a photograph of the family in costume launching a canoe at Chocorua Pond.

Papers related to family collections include letters of acknowledgement, deeds of gift, and correspondence related to family gifts of manuscripts, books, artwork, photographs and museum artifacts. Correspondents include the Peabody Museum of Salem, the Harvard College Library, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Fogg Art Museum, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Also included is a typescript for a Cavalcade of America radio program about the life of Nathaniel Bowditch; a walking tour of Mt. Auburn Cemetery featuring sites related to the Bowditch family; unrelated or unidentified correspondence, receipts, memos; and an 1898 handwritten copy of "The Chocorua Chronicle."

Box 19Folders 7-22
Poems, 1865-1929
Box 19Folder 23
"Moss Hill" drawings, 1873
Box 19Folders 24-28
Riddles, acrostics, and charades, 1880-1915
Box 20Folders 1-2
Loafer's Rest/Conni-Sauti journals, 1882-1949
Box 20Folder 3
"Launching of the Minnehaha at Chocorua," 1887
Box 20Folders 4-9
Papers related to family collections, 1925-1988
Box 20Folder 10
"Nathaniel Bowditch" radio program script, 1937
Box 20Folder 11
"A Walking Tour of Mt. Auburn Cemetery," undated
Box 20Folders 12-14
Unrelated or unidentified papers, 1864-1927

VII. Printed material, 1860-2014

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains Harvard Class Day exercises, theater programs, ships' lists of passengers, newspaper clippings related to the family and its activities, invitations, printed poems and essays, printed lists related to the Harvard Memorial Society, menus, commemorations of Nathaniel Bowditch, and other ephemera. Also included are the printed poems and short stories of Charles F. Dole, several of which are autographed by the author, and printed obituaries and memorials of Charles P. Bowditch.

Bowditches in Chocorua: The Early Years is a privately printed volume compiled by Rachel Wheeler in 2014 illustrating the family's history and their homes in New Hampshire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Box 20Folders 15-24
Loose material, 1860-1957
Vol. 2
Bowditches in Chocorua: The Early Years, 2014

VIII. Additions, 1858-1968

A. Family correspondence, 1858-1960

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains correspondence between members of the Bowditch, Balch, and Codman families, primarily Ernest Amory Codman, Katharine "Katy" Bowditch Codman, Lucy Bowditch Balch, Cornelia Rockwell Bowditch, Cora Bowditch, Charles Bowditch Balch, Lucy Bowditch Balch Twitchell, and Ingersoll "Ichabod" Bowditch, as well as members of the related Van Loon and Howe families. Also included are courtship letters between William Coombs Codman and Elizabeth Hurd, the parents of Ernest Amory Codman. Other letters discuss Amory's time in prep school at St. Marks School in Southborough, Mass. from 1882-1883; Amory and Katy's engagement in 1899; Amory's post-engagement travels in Wyoming and New Jersey; sympathy notes surrounding the deaths of Katy's sisters; and typical family matters like home life and health. A significant number of letters were written by Katy's sister Cora Bowditch during her time in Santa Barbara, as well as and Katy's niece Lucy Bowditch Balch Twitchell during her travels through Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Historical events mentioned include the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake and the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Box 21
Box 22
1894-Feb. 1899
Box 23
Mar. 1899-1915
Box 24
Box 25Folders 1-10

B. Lucy Bowditch Balch papers, 1878-1946

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

This series contains the papers of Lucy Bowditch Balch, the daughter of Charles P. and Cornelia Bowditch. Correspondence in this series consists primarily of congratulations following her engagement to Franklin Green Balch in 1894, condolence letters to Lucy following the death of her mother in January 1946, and get well cards. Also included are Lucy's school writings and volumes including "Prophecies," dated January 1883; an 1889-1919 journal written primarily in "takigraphy," a form of shorthand; a sketchbook from a trip to Greece in 1893; and an 1893 diary describing travel in Italy and Paris. A notebook lists gifts from Lucy's 1894 wedding.

Box 25Folders 11-28
Loose papers, 1878-1946

Volumes, 1883-1894

Box 25Folder 29
"Prophecies" notebook, 1883
Box 25Folder 30
"Takigraphy" notebook, [1889-1919]
Box 25Folder 31
Sketchbook, Feb. 1893
Box 26Folder 1
Notebook, Feb.-Mar. 1893
Box 26Folder 2
Travel diary, Feb.-July 1893
Box 26Folder 2A
Wedding gift notebook, 1894

C. Katharine Bowditch Codman papers, 1883-1960

Arranged chronologically.

This series primarily consists of correspondence between Katy Codman and her friends, including artist Philip Leslie Hale, whose letters are often accented with drawings, and Alice Hamilton, who discussed political opinions about John F. Kennedy. Also included are sympathy cards following the death of Katy's sisters Cora (1946) and Lucy (1952), as well as letters offering well-wishes after Katy's heart attack and subsequent recovery in Sep. 1960. Of interest are correspondence, programs, and memorabilia from the Instructive District Nursing Association, where Codman served as president from 1917 to 1920. The series includes a memo book (1908-1909), most likely associated with the IDNA, listing dates and names of ladies visited in their homes, alongside dollar amounts that could signify donations.

Loose papers, 1883-1960

Box 26Folders 3-27
Box 27Folders 1-34
Box 27Folder 35
Memo book, 1890-1909

D. Ernest Amory Codman papers, 1883-1943

Arranged chronologically.

The bulk of this series consists of Amory Codman's correspondence, primarily from his school years. Topics include test scores, shooting excursions, social activities, his 1886 Harvard entrance exam, his medical residency assignment, and his engagement to Katy Bowditch in 1894. Also included are travel documents, receipts, and bills from Codman's European residency beginning in 1893, as well as birth certificates from the 11 births he oversaw at the Lying-In Hospital of the City of New York. Frequent correspondents include Regis H. Post, a fellow member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity who would later become governor of Puerto Rico, and Francis Goodhue, Jr., a lifelong friend. A significantly smaller portion of papers are dedicated to Codman's professional career after opening his own hospital in 1911.

Box 28
Box 29Folders 1-13

E. Miscellaneous family papers, 1968, undated

This series consists of papers and printed material belonging to various family members of the Bowditch and Codman families, including Charles Pickering Bowditch, Henry Pickering Parker, and Cora Bowditch. Documents of interest include a "confidential report" of the marriage of Henry Pickering Parker and Eleanor Ridgeley which mentions the presence of President William Howard Taft and a history of the Walker-Rockwell house.

Box 29Folders 14-17

Preferred Citation

Bowditch-Codman-Balch 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.


Alexander, Francesca, 1837-1917.
Alexander, Lucia, 1814-1916.
Balch family.
Balch, Lucy Rockwell Bowditch, 1868-1952.
Bowditch, Charles P. (Charles Pickering), 1842-1921.
Bowditch, Charlotte, 1846-1919.
Bowditch, Cornelia, 1867-1946.
Bowditch, Cornelia Livingston Rockwell, 1841-1930.
Bowditch, Eliza Ingersoll.
Bowditch family.
Bowditch, Ingersoll, 1875-1938.
Codman, E. A. (Ernest Amory), 1869-1940.
Codman, Katharine Putnam Bowditch, 1870-1961.
Dwight, Katharine Putnam Baldwin.
Hale, Robert Beverly, 1869-1895.
Howe, Fanny Quincy, 1870-1933.
Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 1882-1944.
Wheeler, Cornelia Balch, 1909-2005.
Wheeler, Leonard, 1901-1995.


American Fund for French Wounded.
Instructive District Nursing Association (Boston, Mass.).
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association (Boston, Mass.).
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Society to Encourage Studies at Home.
United States. Army. Field Artillery, 7th.


Account books--1874-1880.
Algeria--Description and travel.
California--Description and travel.
Chocorua (N.H.)--Social life and customs.
Dwellings--New Hampshire--Chocorua.
Europe--Description and travel.
Family history--1850-1899.
Family history--1900-1949.
Family history--1950-1999.
France--Description and travel.
Great Britian--Description and travel.
Italy--Description and travel.
Jamaica Plain (Boston, Mass.)--Social life and customs.
Mexico--Description and travel.
Spain--Description and travel.
Teenage girls--Diaries.
Voyages and travels--Diaries.
Women travelers.
Women's diaries.
World War, 1914-1918--Civilian relief--Women.
World War, 1914-1918--Regimental histories--United States Field Artillery, 7th.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives.

A flower album created by Frederick Channing Bowditch (b. 1854) on an 1871 MIT expedition to Colorado has been removed to MHS Artifacts.

Lucia Gray Swett's John Ruskin's Letters to Francesca and Memoirs of the Alexanders (Boston: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard Co., 1931), inscribed to Cora Bowditch from the author, has been removed to MHS Printed Material.