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William Coombs Codman (1860-1938)


This series includes correspondence, diaries, financial papers, legal records, literary papers, and printed matter belonging to William Coombs Codman (1860-1938). Folder 76 contains letters sent from W.C.C. to his father, William Coombs Codman (1821-1903) from 1877 to 1894. Folder 77 contains letters sent from W.C.C. to his sister Anna Gertrude Codman (1858-1938) in 1883. Folder 75 contains letters sent from W.C.C. to his mother Elizabeth (Hurd) Codman (1836-1896) from 1884 to 1888. Folder 70 contains letters received by W.C.C. between 1896 and 1930. Folder 71 contains letters received by W.C.C. in 1909 from the Boston Transit Commission and the Boston Elevated Railway Company in response to W.C.C.’s opposition to a subway tunnel under Beacon Hill. Folder 72 contains letters received by W.C.C. in 1909 from several individuals and organizations supporting W.C.C.’s opposition to the plan to build a subway tunnel under Beacon Hill to Park Street. W.C.C. advocated the construction of the subway under Cambridge Street with a terminus at Scollay Square. Folder 73 contains letters received by W.C.C. in 1926 from his former Phillips Exeter Academy classmates in response to W.C.C.’s request for information about football games in 1878 and 1879 and about fellow classmate Amos B. Shattuck. Folder 74 contains letters received by W.C.C. from 1928 to 1938 regarding the genealogy of the Coombs, Hurd, and Wheelright families. Folder 78 contains letters sent by W.C.C. from 1935 to 1937 regarding the genealogy of the Coombs and Hurd families. Folder 79 contains copies of letters sent by [?] opposing the construction of a subway tunnel under Beacon Hill.

Folder 80 contains a travel log from a trip to Cuba and Mexico from January through March of 1881. W.C.C. was twenty years old at the time he wrote this journal. Although his writing style is plain, W.C.C. does include detailed descriptions of the inhabitants and the social life of the places he visited, including one very long description of a bullfight in Havana. At some later time, W.C.C. wrote an introduction to this journal which included an account of his working career at the firm of Henry W. Peabody & Co. up until the time of his trip. Folder 81 includes a diary from 1937 that is a routine accounting of W.C.C.’s daily activities. It is not very expressive.

Folders 82a, 82b, 82c, 82d, 82e, 83a, 83b, 83c, 83d, and 83e contain journals of real estate transactions (rentals, sales, etc.) of the firm of William C. Codman dating from 1895 through 1927. Folders 84 and 85 contain account books for the firm of William C. Codman dating from 1916 through 1932. Folders 86a, 86b, and 86c include undated ledgers.

Folder 87 contains W.C.C.’s passport from 1881. Folder 88 contains an assignment from Frank L. Lumbert to W.C.C. of a patent for a cask handling device in 1901. Folder 89 contains a loose leaf binder of an inventory of holdings in the estate of W.C.C., including lists of securities, real estate holdings, household furniture and miscellaneous personal property at 208 Prospect Street in Hingham, Mass., including silverware, pictures, and other items.

Folder 90 contains genealogical papers related to the Wheelright and Coombs families of Newburyport, Mass. These materials include: deeds of Ebenezer Wheelright from 1810 and 1813; a deed of Ebenezer Wheelright and Philip Coombs from 1807; a sermon at William Coombs funeral given by Daniel Dana in 1814; a sermon by John Boddily given at the dedication of the 2nd Presbyterian Meeting House in Newburyport in 1796; a sermon by Daniel Dana at the funeral of Harriot Putnam in 1832; an account book and journal of an unidentified author written in the 1790s on the blank pages of an almanac published in 1700; and miscellaneous manuscripts of William Coombs, Anna Wheelright, and others. Folder 92 contains genealogical papers relating to the Hodges, Parish, and Chandler families, including: letters received by Mary Hodges of Taunton, Mass., in 1829, 1838, and 1843; a letter received by Jacob K. Parish of Randolph, Vermont, in 1829; and a letter received by Joseph Chandler of Pomfret, Conn., in 1829. Folder 91 contains undated genealogical papers related to the Coombs family. Folder 93 contains undated genealogical papers related to the Codman family. Folder 94 contains undated genealogical papers related to the Hurd family.

Folder 96 contains miscellaneous printed matter, including invitations to W.C.C’s wedding and to his brother John’s wedding in 1887 and 1894 respectively, a poem and menu from a dinner in honor of W.C.C. in 1884, and a broadside announcing the sale of W.C.C.’s farm, Prospect Hill Farm, in Hingham, Mass. Folder 95 contains newspaper clippings of articles written by and about W.C.C. Several are about his opposition to the construction of the subway tunnel under Beacon Hill.

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Collection Name
John Codman (1898-1989) family papers
Collection Code
Physical Description
37 folders
Collection Type
Description Level
Reference Code


Materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by subseries and chronologically within each subseries.

Record details

Codman, William Coombs, 1860-1938
Other People
Boddily, John, 1755-1802
Codman, Anna Gertrude, 1858-1938
Codman, Elizabeth (Hurd), 1836-1896
Codman, William Coombs, 1821-1903
Coombs, Philip
Coombs, William, 1736-1814
Dana, Daniel, 1771-1859
Hodges, Mary
Lumbert, Frank L.
Parish, Jacob K.
Putnam, Harriot, 1791-1832
Shattuck, Amos B.
Wheelright, Anna
Wheelright, Ebenezer
Other Organizations
Boston Elevated Railway Company
Boston Transit Commission
Chandler family
Coombs family
Hodges family
Hurd family
Parish family
Phillips Exeter Academy
Wheelright family
Descriptive Terms
account books
broadsides (notices)
clippings (information artifacts)
football (sports)
genealogy (discipline)
ledgers (account books)
rapid rail transit systems
real estate
Material Type
financial records
legal documents
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Havana (Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba)
Hingham (Plymouth County, Massachusetts)
Newburyport (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Pomfret (Windham county, Connecticut)
Randolph (Orange county, Vermont)
Taunton (Bristol county, Massachusetts)

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