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Home > Collections, Archives, and Exhibitions > Exhibitions > Family and Business Papers > Harrison Gray Otis Professional Papers, 1658-1966

Harrison Gray Otis Professional Papers, 1658-1966

Collection of manuscripts of Harrison Gray Otis of Otis House in Boston

Harrison Gray Otis
Portrait of Harrison Gray Otis.

The professional papers of Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848) reflect the planning and work of Otis, the Mount Vernon Proprietors, and the Boston Mill Corporation in developing Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. The papers largely comprise professional correspondence, legal and real estate documents, and site plans.

The collection focuses on the initial 1796 purchase of Copley Pasture from artist John Singleton Copley, the ensuing dispute of the land sale, and the challenges of the Proprietors right of title. Harrison Gray Otis eventually moved from his first house on Cambridge Street to two Charles Bulfinch-designed homes in the neighborhood he helped develop.

The first Harrison Gray Otis house on Cambridge Street served for decades as the headquarters for Historic New England (formerly the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities). Today, it houses the Otis House Museum, the Library and Archives, and some administrative offices.

This collection contains:

  • Legal documents
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Maps and drawings
  • Printed materials

Explore the searchable finding aid to discover more about Otis's business papers.

Contact the Library and Archives. Visit Otis House.

Otis's Quick Step
Otis's Quick Step sheet music arranged by Ch. Zeuner.
Otis letter, 1836
A page from a letter from Harrison Gray Otis to Charles Bulfinch, October 12, 1836.
Copley letter, 1795
A page from a letter from John Singleton Copley to Samuel Cabot, August 29, 1795.
Harrison Gray Otis Professional Papers, 1658-1966