1736-1887; bulk: 1800-1865
Guide to the Collection
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.
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 1794 Hannah Williams (1771-1832). Their children represented in the collection are: John Heath (1792-1835), who married Harriet Newell; Susan Heath (1795-1874), diarist; Anna Eliza Heath (b. 1797), a.k.a. "Aunt Annie"; Hannah Williams Heath (b. 1799), 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 (1807-1838); Frederick Augustus Heath (b. 1810), 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 (b. 1814); and Elizabeth Craft (1747-1839), a.k.a. "Aunt White," who married in 1767 Caleb White (1741-1770).
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, Susan Heath, Anna 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 Susan Heath kept between 1812 and 1874.
Gift of Henry R. Atkinson of Brookline, Mass., 1979.
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.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Loose papers, 1736-1887
II. Volumes, 1770-1885
Arranged by family member.
Hannah Williams Heath volumes, 1788-1832
Susan Heath diaries, 1812-1874
Elizabeth Heath Howe volumes, 1781-1854
Anna Elizabeth Heath volumes, 1824-1830
Mary Heath volumes, 1815-1824
Abby Louisa Heath volumes, 1823-1885
Elizabeth Williams Heath volumes, 1819-1822
John Howe volumes, 1798-1840
Elizabeth Craft White volumes, 1770-1832
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.
Heath family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
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.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Heath family photographs (Photo. Coll. 145).