Martha Usher Osgood papers

Collection Type

  • Manuscripts


1857-1900, undated

Location Note

Housed in Miscellaneous Manuscripts and filed under the donor's name, Jewell.




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.


Descriptive Terms

flowers (plants)
interior decoration
literature (humanities)
reading lists
personal correspondence
personal papers

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 Code


Collection Name

Martha Usher Osgood papers

Reference Code



This collection is mainly composed of letters to Martha (Usher) Osgood from Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett.

Acquisition Type


Credit Line

Gift of Miss Margaret H. Jewell.


Hollis Center (York county, Maine)
Back Bay (Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts) [neighborhood]
Bar Mills (York county, Maine)

Record Details


Osgood, Martha Usher, 1823-

Material Type

personal papers

Other People

Usher, Rebecca, 1821-1919
Leighton, Frances
Fields, Annie, 1834-1915
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909
Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891
Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908
Jewett, Mary Rice, 1847-1930
Thaxter, Celia, 1835-1894
Fields, James Thomas, 1817-1881
Lloyd, Anna


Charles Street (Boston, Mass.)


This collection is available for research.

Description Level


Location Note

Housed in Miscellaneous Manuscripts and filed under the donor's name, Jewell.

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.

Related Items

Jewett family papers

Historical/Biographical Note

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.