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Papers of Hugh Codman (1875-1946)


Hugh maintained a running correspondence with his brother, Tom, in the years between World War I and II. This is the most extensive element of his correspondence. These letters deal primarily with family affairs. Like Tom and Dorothy, Hugh wrote to and received letters from French prisoners of war. R.K. Snow was a personal friend whose correspondence is personal, includes news about mutual friends, Hugh's concerts, and the like. Raphael Vaast's correspondence provides first hand reporting on the military situation in France at that time. Many of the postcards are also war-related, sent by P.O.W.s. His activity as a concert violinist is well documented in the financial records, especially in bills paid and letters received. His role in the preservation of the Lincoln estate is documented in the Boston and Maine Rail Road papers, eminent domain papers, and in various subseries involving the Northeastern Timber Salvage Administration, a federal agency. Hugh also played a role in looking after Margaret E. Sherman, a servant in the employ of the Codman family who lived on the grounds. His musical interests are represented in several series, including his notes on musical and theatrical events in Boston. There are maps of concert halls and lists of complimentary tickets to his performances which he sent to family and friends. There are also notebooks, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks on a variety of musical topics. It is not clear whether he wrote the article on Edward A. MacDowell, but it is entirely possible judging from his musical expertise. Additional material related to Hugh can be found in Ogden Codman, Sr.'s papers (financial receipts), as well as in the correspondence of his mother, Sarah Fletcher Bradlee Codman, and all of his brothers and sisters.

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Collection Name
Codman family papers
Collection Code
1863-1954, undated
Collection Type
Description Level
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Hugh Codman was born in Dinard, France, on 16 April 1875, fifth child and fourth son of Ogden Codman, Sr. and Sarah Fletcher Bradlee Codman. The Codmans had removed to Dinard from Boston in 1874, in part owing to losses sustained during Boston's great fire of 1872. The Codmans remained in Dinard for nine years, and Hugh grew up speaking French. Like his brothers and sisters, he maintained a lifelong interest in France. When he was eighteen, his mother took him and his sister, Dorothy Sarah Frances May Codman to Berlin, and they remained there from the winter of 1893 through the summer of 1894. His early interest in the violin was encouraged with his enrollment at Berlin's Royal Academy, where he both learned German and furthered his musical studies. He became a gifted violinist, and upon his return to the United States began to perform in and around Boston. Hugh was mechanically accomplished like his older brother, Thomas Newbold Codman, and he shared with him a passion for fine automobiles. The Codmans kept several cars at the family estate in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and owned one of the first Cadillacs in New England. Hugh lived with his brother, Tom, and sister, Dorothy, both in Lincoln and at their house on 5 Marlborough Street in Boston, sharing their enthusiasm for work with the French wounded and responsibilities in war relief work. He frequently attended the opera and theatre. Hugh died at the Lincoln estate on 28 September 1946.


The series is arranged in five subseries.