1736-1887; bulk: 1800-1865

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of six generations of letters, diaries, copybooks, account books, and other miscellaneous financial and legal papers of the Heath family of Brookline, Mass.

Biographical Sketches

John Heath (1732-1804) of Brookline, Mass. married in 1758 Susannah Craft (1738-1808), daughter of Ebenezer (b. 1705) and Susannah (White) Craft (1732-1752). Their children represented in the collection are: Susannah Heath (1758-1787), a.k.a. "Sukey," who married in 1783 Dr. John Goddard of Portsmouth, N.H., Harvard Class of 1777, surgeon, and state legislator; and Elizabeth Heath (b. 1769), who married in 1813 John Howe (d. 1825).

Ebenezer Heath (1765-1845) married in 1791 Hannah Williams (1771-1832). Their children represented in the collection are: John Heath (1792-1835), who married Harriet Newell; Susannah Heath (1795-1878), diarist; Ann Eliza Heath (1797-1878), a.k.a. "Aunt Annie"; Hannah Williams Heath (1799-1883), who married John Howe and had Hannah Williams Howe (1821-1839); Charles Heath (1801-1868), who married Caroline Penniman; Mary Heath (1804-1824); Elizabeth Williams Heath (1808-1838); Frederick Augustus Heath (1810-1880), who married Elizabeth Tuckerman and had Grace Heath (1842-1864), who was a friend of Marian "Clover" Adams and engaged to James J. Higginson; Abby Louisa Hayden Heath (1814-1894); and Elizabeth Craft (1747-1839), a.k.a. "Aunt White," who married in 1767 Caleb White (1741-1770).

Collection Description

The Heath family papers consist of six generations of letters, diaries, copybooks, account books, and other miscellaneous financial and legal papers of the Heath family of Brookline, Mass. The collection consists primarily of correspondence between and diaries kept by the children and grandchildren of John and Susannah (Craft) Heath, especially Ebenezer Heath, Susannah Heath, Ann Eliza Heath, and Mary Heath. Also included are letters and diaries of the related Craft, Goddard, Howe, White, and Williams families of Brookline, Mass. and Portsmouth, N.H.

The correspondence describes the details and routine of social and domestic life--education, births, deaths, marriages, religious services, travels, visitors, parties, reading, local personalities, and current events. Additional materials relate to Susannah Craft's inoculation for smallpox, 1792, and a Shaysite-related mob, 1786, and a series of letters from James J. Higginson describes the siege of Petersburg, Va. in 1863 and 1864. Correspondence of Grace Heath discusses the activities of her friend Robert G. Shaw in the Civil War. Also of interest are school notebooks, religious extracts, a recipe book, and the 61-volume diary of Susannah Heath kept between 1812 and 1874.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Henry R. Atkinson of Brookline, Mass., 1979.

Other Formats

Digital facsimiles of the Elizabeth Heath Howe diaries are available on Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism, a digital publication of Adam Matthew Digital, Inc. This digital resource is available at subscribing libraries; speak to your local librarian to determine if your library has access. The MHS makes this resource available onsite; see a reference librarian for more information.

Transcriptions of many of the volumes in this collection are contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers at the MHS.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Loose papers, 1736-1887

Arranged chronologically.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 4
Undated material files 1-21
Box 5
Undated material files 22-40
Box 6
Undated material files 41-43
Box 6
Miscellaneous printed items

II. Volumes, 1770-1885

Arranged by family member.

Hannah Williams Heath volumes, 1788-1832

NOTE: Typed transcriptions of the diaries of Hannah Williams Heath are contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers (Carton 2).

Box 7Vol. 1Folder 1
Letter copies, 1788-1812
Box 7Vol. 2Folder 2
Diary, 1805
Box 7Vol. 3Folder 3
Diary, 1806
Box 7Vol. 4Folder 4
Diary, 1807
Box 7Vol. 5Folder 5
Diary, 1808
Box 7Vol. 6Folder 6
Diary, 1809
Box 7Vol. 7Folder 7
Diary, 1810-1811
Box 7Vol. 8Folder 8
Diary, 1812
Box 7Vol. 9Folder 9
Diary and commonplace book, 1819-1832
Box 7Vol. 10Folder 10
Recipes, 1827-1832

Susannah Heath diaries, 1812-1874

NOTE: Typed transcriptions of the diaries of Susannah Heath are contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers (Carton 1).

Box 8Vol. 11Folder 1
Box 8Vol. 12Folder 2
Box 8Vol. 13Folder 3
Box 8Vol. 14Folder 4
Box 8Vol. 15Folder 5
Box 8Vol. 16Folder 6
Box 8Vol. 17Folder 7
Box 8Vol. 18Folder 8
Box 8Vol. 19Folder 9
Box 8Vol. 20Folder 10
Box 9Vol. 21Folder 1
Box 9Vol. 22Folder 2
Box 9Vol. 23Folder 3
Box 9Vol. 24Folder 4
Box 9Vol. 25Folder 5
Box 9Vol. 26Folder 6
Box 9Vol. 27Folder 7
Box 9Vol. 28Folder 8
Box 9Vol. 29Folder 9
Box 10Vol. 30Folder 1
Box 10Vol. 31Folder 2
Box 10Vol. 32Folder 3
Box 10Vol. 33Folder 4
Box 10Vol. 34Folder 5
Box 10Vol. 35Folder 6
Box 10Vol. 36Folder 7
Box 10Vol. 37Folder 8
Box 10Vol. 38Folder 9
Box 10Vol. 39Folder 10
Box 10Vol. 40Folder 11
Box 10Vol. 41Folder 12
Box 10Vol. 42Folder 13
Box 10Vol. 43Folder 14
Box 10Vol. 44Folder 15
Box 11Vol. 45Folder 1
Box 11Vol. 46Folder 2
Box 11Vol. 47Folder 3
Box 11Vol. 48Folder 4
Box 11Vol. 49Folder 5
Box 11Vol. 50Folder 6
Box 11Vol. 51Folder 7
Box 11Vol. 52Folder 8
Box 11Vol. 53Folder 9
Box 11Vol. 54Folder 10
Box 11Vol. 55Folder 11
Box 11Vol. 56Folder 12
Box 11Vol. 57Folder 13
Box 11Vol. 58Folder 14
Box 11Vol. 59Folder 15
Box 11Vol. 60Folder 16
Box 11Vol. 61Folder 17
Box 11Vol. 62Folder 18
Box 12Vol. 63Folder 1
Box 12Vol. 64Folder 2
Box 12Vol. 65Folder 3
Box 12Vol. 66Folder 4
Box 12Vol. 67Folder 5
Box 12Vol. 68Folder 6
Box 12Vol. 69Folder 7
Box 12Vol. 70Folder 8

Elizabeth Heath Howe volumes, 1781-1854

Box 12Vol. 71Folder 9
Commonplace-book, 1781
Box 12Vol. 72Folder 10
Penmanship copybook, 1781
Box 12Vol. 73Folder 11
Penmanship copybook, 1782
Box 12Vol. 74Folder 12
Diary, 1791
Box 12Vol. 75Folder 13
Diary, 1804

NOTE: A typed transcription of the 1804 diary of Elizabeth (Heath) Howe is contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers (Carton 2).

Box 12Vol. 76Folder 14
Diary, 1826-1831
Box 12Vol. 77Folder 15
Diary, 1854

Ann Eliza Heath volumes, 1824-1830

Box 12Vol. 78Folder 16
Commonplace-book, 1824
Box 12Vol. 79Folder 17
Diary, 1825-1826
Box 12Vol. 80Folder 18
Commonplace-book, 1826-1830
Box 12Vol. 81Folder 19
Commonplace-book, undated
Box 12Vol. 82Folder 20
Commonplace-book, undated
Box 13Vol. 83Folder 1
Susannah Craft Heath inoculation journal, 1792

NOTE: A manuscript transcription and a typed transcription of the 1792 diary of Susannah Craft Heath is contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers (Carton 2).

Mary Heath volumes, 1815-1824

Box 13Vol. 84Folder 2
Commonplace-book, 1821
Box 13Vol. 85Folder 3
Commonplace-book, [1824]
Box 13Vol. 86Folder 4
Diary fragment, Apr. 1824
Box 13Vol. 87Folder 5
Diary, Aug.-Dec. 1824
Box 13Vol. 88Folder 6
Sketchbook, 1815
Box 13Vol. 89Folder 7
Composition book, undated

Abby Louisa Heath volumes, 1823-1885

Box 13Vol. 90Folder 8
Commonplace-book, 1823-1833
Box 13Vol. 91Folder 9
Diary, Sep.-Oct. 1837
Box 13Vol. 92Folder 10
Diary, 1875-1885

Elizabeth Williams Heath volumes, 1819-1822

Box 13Vol. 93Folder 11
Penmanship copybook and commonplace, 1819-1822
Box 13Vol. 94Folder 12
Diary, May-July 1822

John Howe volumes, 1798-1840

Box 13Vol. 95Folder 13
Daybook, 1798-1799
Box 13Vol. 96Folder 14
Estate accounts, 1819-1840
Box 13Vol. 97Folder 15
Hannah Williams Howe diary, 1838

Elizabeth Craft White volumes, 1770-1832

Box 14Vol. 98Folder 1
Diary, 1770-1771
Box 14Vol. 99Folder 2
Poetry, 1780, and accounts, 1815-1818
Box 14Vol. 100Folder 3
Genealogy by E. W. Goddard, 1832, with other genealogies and notes on the White, Craft, Goddard, Heath, and Howe families
Box 14Vol. 101Folder 4
Ann "Nancy" White diary, 1783-1786

NOTE: A typed transcription of the diary of Ann White is contained in the Heath-Doliber-Hedge-Hammond family papers (Carton 2). That collection also contains a manuscript transcription of 1783 entries by "Aunt Eliza."

Box 14Vol. 102Folder 5
[Elizabeth White Goddard] personal expenditures, 1836-1853
Box 14Vol. 103Folder 6
Anonymous farm journal, 1844-1847
Box 14Vol. 104Folder 7
Grace Heath personal expenditures, Feb.-July 1864; letters on her death, Aug. 1864

III. Oversize materials, 1789-1877

This series of oversized items removed from the rest of the collection primarily consists of family deeds, real estate transactions, and military appointments and discharges.

Folder OS 1
Folder OS 2

Preferred Citation

Heath 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.


Adams, Marian, 1843-1885.
Channing, William Ellery, 1780-1842.
Craft family.
Drew family.
Goddard family.
Heath, Abby Louisa Hayden, 1814-1894.
Heath, Ann Eliza, 1797-1878.
Heath, Ebenezer, 1765-1845.
Heath, Grace, 1842-1864.
Heath, Hannah Williams, 1771-1832.
Heath, Susannah, 1795-1878.
Heath, Susannah Craft, 1738-1808.
Higginson, James J.
Howe, Elizabeth Heath, 1769-1853.
Howe family.
Perkins, Thomas Handasyd, 1764-1854.
Sewall family.
Shaw, Robert Gould, 1837-1863.
White, Elizabeth Craft, 1747-1839.
White family.
Williams family.


United States. Army. Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment, 1st (1861-1865).


Church buildings--Massachusetts--Brookline.
Petersburg (Va.)--History--Siege, 1864-1865.
Real property--Massachusetts--Brookline.
Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Cavalry, 1st.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Heath family photographs (Photo. Coll. 145).