COLLECTION GUIDES

1842-1924; bulk: 1842-1891

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

All of the items in this collection have been photocopied for use by researchers. Photocopies are located in Box 2.


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of papers, primarily correspondence, of James Russell Lowell and his nephew Charles Russell Lowell.

Biographical Sketches

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) was the son of Rev. Charles Lowell (1782-1861) and Harriet (Spence) Lowell. He graduated from Harvard in 1838 and became Smith Professor of French and Spanish and Professor Belles-Lettres at Harvard, 1855-1886. He served as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, 1857-1861; minister to Spain, 1877-1880; and minister to the Court of St. James, 1880-1885. Lowell was married twice: in 1844, he married Maria White and, in 1857, Frances Dunlap.

Charles Russell Lowell (1835-1864) was the son of Charles Russell Lowell (1807-1870) and Anne Cabot (Jackson) Lowell (1819-1874) and a nephew of James Russell Lowell. He graduated from Harvard in 1854. In May 1861, he was commissioned a captain in the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry and served in the Peninsula Campaign, at Antietam, and at Cedar Creek, where he was fatally wounded on 19 October 1864. He married Josephine Shaw (1843-1905), a reformer and philanthropist, who was the daughter of Francis George Shaw (1809-1882) and sister of Robert Gould Shaw (1837-1863).

Sources

Duberman, Martin B. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.

Collection Description

This collection contains correspondence between James Russell Lowell, his first wife Maria White Lowell, and Francis George Shaw and Sarah Blake Sturgis Shaw. Correspondence relates to Lowell's writings, his travels in Europe, his service as U.S. minister to Spain and England, the deaths of Maria Lowell and his second wife Frances Dunlap Lowell, and other topics. The collection also includes letters and affidavits from friends and fellow officers of Lowell's nephew, Charles Russell Lowell, assessing his character and military career and describing the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, in which he was killed. Among the correspondents are Carlotta Russell Lowell, Josephine Shaw Lowell, and Robert Gould Shaw.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ernest Angevine, on behalf of Lowell heirs, October 1977.

Restrictions on Access

All of the items in this collection have been photocopied for use by researchers. Photocopies are located in Box 2.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1842-1924

Use photocopies in Box 2.

Box 1Folder 1
Miscellaneous notes and envelopes, undated
Box 1Folder 2
Correspondence, 1842-1850

Included is correspondence primarily between James Russell Lowell and his wife Maria White Lowell, and Francis George Shaw and his wife Sarah Blake Sturgis Shaw, with some fragments of letters from James Russell Lowell to Charles Russell Lowell, Jr.

Box 1Folder 3
Correspondence, 1851-1854

Included is correspondence between the Lowells and Shaws while in Europe, as well as a comic poem James Russell Lowell wrote to Francis George Shaw while having his portrait painted in 1851.

Box 1Folder 4
Correspondence, 1855-1863

Included is correspondence primarily between James Russell Lowell and Sarah Blake Sturgis Shaw; a congratulatory letter to Josephine Shaw on her engagement to Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 15 March 1863; and a copy of a condolence letter from James Russell Lowell to Sarah B. Shaw on the death of her son Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, 28 Aug. 1863.

Box 1Folder 5
Correspondence, 1864

Included are accounts of, and letters concerning, the death of Col. Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., as well as a short biography of him by an unidentified author, accounts of the Battle of Cedar Creek, and accounts of his funeral.

Box 1Folder 6
Correspondence, 1866-1886

Included is correspondence concerning Col. Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. and a memorial to be written about him. Correspondence between James Russell Lowell and Sarah Blake Shaw is mostly personal but contains some references to Benjamin Butler and Republican Party politics.

Box 1Folder 7
Correspondence, 1887-1924

Included is correspondence from James Russell Lowell to Sarah B. Shaw and correspondence to Carlotta Russell Lowell.

II. Photocopies, 1842-1924

This box contains photocopies of all documents in Series I (Box 1).

Box 2

III. Oversize materials, 1843-1876

This folder contains Charles Russell Lowell, Sr.'s Harvard diploma, 1843; the original score of the funeral hymn for Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. by J. K. Paine, 1864; a document honoring Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. with the posthumous rank of Brigadier General of Volunteers, 1865; and a document nominating Josephine Shaw Lowell as commissioner of the New York State Board of Charities, 1876.

Folder OS 1

Preferred Citation

James Russell Lowell 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.

Persons:

Lowell, Carlotta Russell.
Lowell, Charles Russell, 1835-1864.
Lowell, Frances Dunlap, -1885.
Lowell, Josephine Shaw, 1843-1905.
Lowell, Maria, 1821-1853.
Shaw, Francis George, 1809-1882.
Shaw, Robert Gould, 1837-1863.
Shaw, Sarah Blake Sturgis, 1815-1902.

Subjects:

Cedar Creek, Battle of, Va., 1864.
Diplomatic and consular service, American--England.
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Spain.
Diplomats.
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
United States--Intellectual life--1783-1865.