Harrison Gray Otis Professional Papers, 1658-1966
Collection of manuscripts of Harrison Gray Otis of Otis House in Boston
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.