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Martha Usher Osgood papers

MS030 (RS98298)


The majority of items in Martha Usher Osgood Papers consist of personal correspondence addressed to Mrs. Martha Hooper (Usher) Osgood from Annie Fields (Mrs. James T. Fields) between 1857 and 1900 (97 items). Many references are made to Mrs. Osgood's frequent gifts of flowers from her Maine garden, especially her annual gift of spring mayflowers which she sent to Boston. For students of the life of Annie Fields or of her husband, there is some mention of their activities and whereabouts, particularly those connected to her relationship with author Sarah Orne Jewett. Of special interest is a letter written by Mrs. Osgood to her sister Rebecca Usher describing the Fields's house on Charles Street, its furnishings, and the luncheon Mrs. Osgood enjoyed there. In the small number of letters (9 items) written by Sarah Orne Jewett to Mrs. Osgood, she writes about her literary efforts in the 1880s. Both Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields make reference to their tastes in literature in the reading lists they provided to Mrs. Osgood. Folder 10 contains two items from James Russell Lowell that allude to Mrs. Osgood's floral gifts and to several of his personal problems. Folder 11 includes a letter to Mrs. Fields from Charles Eliot Norton, in which he discusses a slanderous attack on James Russell Lowell following his death.


Collection Name
Martha Usher Osgood papers
Collection Code
1857-1900, undated
This collection is mainly composed of letters to Martha (Usher) Osgood from Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett.
Acquisition Type
Physical Description
0.417 linear feet (1 box, 11 folders, approx. 115 items)
Finding Aid Info
An electronic finding aid is available through Historic New England's Collections Access Portal. A paper finding aid is available in the Library & Archives.
Collection Type
Description Level
Credit Line
Gift of Miss Margaret H. Jewell.
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Martha Hooper (Usher) Osgood was born in Maine in 1823. She married Dr. Joseph G. Osgood in 1848. She was friends with members of literary circles in Maine and Boston, including Annie Fields (Mrs. James T. Fields), Sarah Orne Jewett, James Russell Lowell, and Charles Eliot Norton. She died in 1893.


This collection is arranged in five series as follows: Series I. Correspondence received from Annie and James Fields, Series II. Correspondence received from Mary Rice Jewett, Series III. Correspondence received from Sarah Orne Jewett, Series IV. Correspondence received from various correspondents, and Series V. Correspondence sent by Osgood and correspondence received and sent by others.

Record details

Osgood, Martha Usher, 1823-
Other People
Fields, Annie, 1834-1915
Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881
Jewett, Mary Rice, 1847-1930
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909
Leighton, Frances
Lloyd, Anna
Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891
Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908
Thaxter, Celia, 1835-1894
Usher, Rebecca, 1821-1919
Descriptive Terms
flowers (plants)
interior decoration
literature (humanities)
personal correspondence
reading lists
Material Type
personal papers
Charles Street (Boston, Mass.)
Hollis Center (York county, Maine)
Back Bay (Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts) [neighborhood]
Bar Mills (York county, Maine)
This collection is available for research.
Location Note
Housed in Miscellaneous Manuscripts and filed under the donor's name, Jewell.
Related Items
Jewett family papers
Language Note
This collection is entirely in English.
Preferred Citation
Item identification. Box #, folder #. Martha Usher Osgood papers (MS030).
Processing Information
This collection was processed by Library and Archives staff (date unknown). The finding aid was updated by Stephen Kharfen in 2009 and by Abigail Cramer in December, 2013.
Rules and Conventions
This finding aid is DACS-compliant.