COLLECTION GUIDES

1741-1975; bulk: 1816-1951

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of the papers of the families of Edmund March Wheelwright and his wife Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright, including correspondence, scrapbooks, commonplace-books, travel diaries, genealogical records, architectural sketches, and printed material.

Biographical Sketch

Edmund March Wheelwright (1854-1912) was born on 14 Sep. 1854 in Roxbury, Mass., the son of George William Wheelwright (1813-1879) and Hannah Giddings Wheelwright (1822-1903). After graduating from Harvard College in 1876 and studying architecture at MIT from 1876 to 1877, Wheelwright worked as an architect in the offices of Peabody and Stearns in Boston; McKim, Mead and Bigelow in New York; and E. P. Treadwell in Albany before opening his own practice in Boston in 1883. He partnered with Parkman B. Haven as Wheelwright and Haven in 1888, the firm becoming Wheelwright, Haven and Hoyt in 1912. Wheelwright served as Boston city architect from 1891 to 1895. His publications include A Frontier Family (Cambridge, 1894), Memoir of John Forrester Andrew (Cambridge, 1897), School Architecture (Boston, 1901), and Lampy's Early Days, by an Old Lampooner (Cambridge, 1909), as well as many articles in architectural periodicals.

Wheelwright married Elizabeth "Bessie" Boott Brooks (1862-1949), the daughter of Francis Boott Brooks and Louise Winsor Brooks, on 18 June 1887. The couple had three children that lived to adulthood: Louise Wheelwright Damon (1889-1973), Edmund Wheelwright (1890-1946), and John Brooks Wheelwright (1897-1940). Two other children died in infancy. Wheelwright died in Dedham, Mass. on 11 Aug. 1912 at the age of 57.

Collection Description

The Wheelwright family papers consist primarily of correspondence between Boston architect Edmund March Wheelwright and his mother Hannah Giddings Wheelwright, his father George William Wheelwright, his wife Elizabeth "Bessie" Brooks Wheelwright, and others, dating from 1866 to 1912. A small amount of Edmund's correspondence pertains to his architectural career. Also among his papers are drafts and writings on architecture and papers related to the Harvard Lampoon. Papers of Elizabeth Wheelwright include condolence letters following the death of her son John Brooks Wheelwright in 1940, letters received from her grandson during World War II, a scrapbook compiled from 1923 to 1942, and a commonplace-book compiled about 1878.

The collection also contains architectural drawings of John Brooks Wheelwright, as well as Brooks family papers, including the correspondence of Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright's grandfather Edward Brooks with his parents, Peter Chardon Brooks and Ann Gorham Brooks, and with his wife Elizabeth Boott Brooks. Also included are letters from Elizabeth's father Francis Boott Brooks to his family while traveling in Cuba in 1851 and 1852, as well as travel diaries kept by Elizabeth's mother Louise Winsor Brooks in Europe from 1853 to 1854. Genealogical records document the Wheelwright, March, Brooks, and Giddings families.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth Wheelwright, January 1936. Additions given by Louise Wheelwright Damon, 1948-1950.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1866-1950

Correspondence is largely that of Edmund March Wheelwright with his mother Hannah Giddings Wheelwright, his father George William Wheelwright, his wife Elizabeth "Bessie" Brooks Wheelwright, and others, dated from 1866 to 1912. Letters contain a few references to his architectural career, particularly those Edmund wrote to his family in 1881 and 1882 as he traveled in Europe. Also of interest are an 1892 letter and report from Wheelwright to Boston mayor Nathan Matthews presenting cost estimates for the Boston Public Library, three letters to Wheelwright related to his role as an advisor for state capitol building competitions in Montana and Minnesota in 1895 and 1896, and a June 1902 letter to Wheelwright from Charles Francis Adams discussing the Massachusetts Historical Society building in Boston, which Wheelwright and Haven had designed.

Post-1912 family correspondence is largely that of Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright, including condolence letters following the death of her son John Brooks Wheelwright in 1940, letters received from her grandson Edward as he served both in the U.S. and abroad during World War II, and letters from her son-in-law S. Foster Damon, a poet and professor at Brown University.

Box 1
1866-1947
Box 2
1887-1950

II. Edmund March Wheelwright papers, 1852-1951

Papers in this series consist of materials written or collected by Edmund March Wheelwright, including drafts and publications on architecture and papers related to Wheelwright's involvement with the Harvard Lampoon and the Lampoon building, which Wheelwright and Haven designed. Also included is a legal agreement and specifications for a Boston warehouse owned by Peter Chardon Brooks and designed by Gridley J. F. Bryant in 1852.

Box 3
Papers, 1852-1951
OS Box 1
Articles in the The Brickbuilder

III. Elizabeth Boott Brooks Wheelwright papers, 1878-1949

Papers of Elizabeth Wheelwright include a 1920 household inventory of her 5 Marlborough Street home in Boston; a scrapbook compiled from about 1923 to 1942; and a commonplace-book that she compiled about 1878, including a lengthy narrative about the death of William Morris Hunt.

Vol. 3
Commonplace-book, [1878]
Box 7
Papers, 1912-1949
Vol. 4
Scrapbook, 1923-1942

IV. John Brooks Wheelwright papers, [ca. 1930s]

This series consists of oversize architectural sketches by John Brooks Wheelwright, the son of Edmund March Wheelwright and Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright.

OS Box 2
Architectural drawingsStored in extra-large oversize.
OS Box 3
Architectural drawings
OS Box 4
Architectural drawings

V. Brooks family papers, 1816-1854

Related Brooks family papers include correspondence between Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright's grandfather Edward Brooks and his father Peter Chardon Brooks while Edward traveled abroad from 1816 to 1818. Edward's family correspondence also includes that with his mother Ann Gorham Brooks, courtship letters to his future wife Elizabeth Boott, and letters to his wife and father while traveling in the United States and Europe in the 1820s and 1830s. Also in this series are letters from Elizabeth's father Francis Boott Brooks to his family while traveling to Cuba in 1851 and 1852, as well as travel diaries kept by her mother Louise Winsor Brooks in Europe in 1853 and 1854.

Box 6
Papers, 1816-1854
Vol. 1
Louise Winsor Brooks travel diary, 1853-1854
Vol. 2
Louise Winsor Brooks travel diary, 1854

VI. Genealogical records, 1741-1975

Genealogical papers include information related to the Wheelwright family and the descendants of Rev. John Wheelwright of Boston and, later, Exeter, N.H., as well as the March, Brooks, and Giddings families. Papers, including several original manuscripts, were largely compiled by Edmund March Wheelwright and his daughter Louise Wheelwright Damon.

Box 4
1741-1793
Box 5
[1950]-1975

Preferred Citation

Wheelwright 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.

Persons:

Brooks, Ann Gorham.
Brooks, Edward, 1793-1878.
Brooks family--Genealogy.
Brooks, Francis, 1824-1891.
Brooks, Louise Winsor, 1835-1892.
Brooks, Peter Chardon, 1767-1849.
Damon, Louise Wheelwright, 1889-1973.
Giddings family--Genealogy.
March, Edmund, 1704?-1791.
March family--Genealogy.
Wheelwright, Edmund March, 1854-1912.
Wheelwright, Elizabeth Brooks, 1860-
Wheelwright family--Genealogy.
Wheelwright, George William, 1813-1879.
Wheelwright, Hannah Giddings.
Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940.

Subjects:

Architects--Massachusetts--Boston.
Architectural drawings (visual works).
Condolence notes.
Courtship.
Cuba--Description and travel.
Diaries--1853.
Diaries--1854.
Europe--Description and travel--1800-1918.
Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Harvard lampoon.
Scrapbooks--1923-1942.
Voyages and travels--Diaries.
Women travelers--Diaries.
Women's commonplace books.
Women's diaries.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Wheelwright family photographs (Photo. Coll. 334).