Genealogical material, estate records, and related

Collection Type

  • Manuscripts

Location Note




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Series III, Genealogical material, estate records, and related, 1842-1987, undated (#1.27-1.31, 2.1-2.2), contains burial plot listings for Lyman family members buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Waltham, Massachusetts; material related to the Lyman family estate, the Vale (also, the Lyman Estate), in Waltham, Massachusetts (including letters, works of poetry, clippings, etc.); material regarding the Mrs. Arthur T. Lyman Fund (including letters, treasurer's reports, an 1894 deed of trust, memoranda, and a list of contributors); Ella Lyman Cabot's furniture inventory from the Arthur T. Lyman Estate sale; letters regarding the donation of the Lyman family papers to Historic New England; genealogical material (including genealogical charts, photographs, notes, clippings, etc.); and a house plan of the Hancock Estate. The Mount Auburn Cemetery documents contain the handwritten notes of Robert Treat Paine (1731-1814). Material on the Vale includes letters and works of poetry relating to the architecture of the house and the gardens; letters and related regarding an 1820 ball held at the Vale, with such notable guests as John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) in attendance; two 1918 letters from Fiske Kimball, chairman of the Archaeological Institute of America's Committee on Colonial and National Art, regarding a study of photographs taken of the Vale to determine Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) as its architect; an undated clipping regarding the greenhouses on the grounds; etc. The Mrs. Arthur T. Lyman Fund focuses on a memorial trust established at King's Chapel in Boston, Massachusetts, following Ella [Bancroft (Lowell)] Lyman's (1837-1894) death; the funds were applied to the Instructive District Nursing Association (an English system of district nursing to aid the poor and immigrant families living in Boston, Massachusetts from ca.1884 to 1914). Ella Lyman Cabot's (1866-1934) furniture inventory relates to purchases from the Arthur T. Lyman Estate, following its division in 1917. The inventory contains prices, the location from which each item was removed, and a full description of each piece of furniture. Genealogical material includes a letter from Grandma Pratt of Oakley (dates unknown), grandmother of Anne (Pratt) Lyman (1798-1875); handwritten notes and stories about Lyman family members; clippings regarding the Pepper family; and two undated black and white photographs, one of Grandfather with Walter and one of Mrs. Charles W. Eliot with Grace Hopkinson. The series is arranged chronologically.


Descriptive Terms

family papers

Physical Description

Family papers (2 file boxes)

Collection Code


Collection Name

Lyman family papers

Date of Acquisition


Reference Code


Date Notes

1842-1987, undated

Credit Line

Gift of Martha Miller, 1988

Record Details

Material Type

family papers

Description Level


Location Note


Historical/Biographical Note

Historical/Biographical Note

In 1631, Richard Lyman (c.1580-1640) arrived in America with his wife Sarah (Osbourne) Lyman (died 1640) and their family. The Lymans settled first in Charlestown and Roxbury, Massachusetts, and later became proprietors of Hartford, Connecticut. After Richard Lyman's death, his son John (1623-1690) (from whom Historic New England's Lymans descend) moved to Northampton, Massachusetts. John's great grandson, Isaac Lyman, was born in 1725 in Northampton, Massachusetts. Isaac presided over a parish in York, Maine. In 1750, Isaac married Ruth Plummer (1730-1824); they had nine children. Theodore Lyman (1753-1839), son of Isaac and Ruth (Plummer) Lyman, worked as a clerk for Waldo Emerson, a store owner in Kennebunk, Maine. In 1776, he married Emerson's daughter, Sarah (1762-1784). After inheriting his father-in-law's fortune, Theodore commissioned the building of ships for his own use in the West India Trade and he built a mansion in Maine. In 1786, two years after Sarah's death, Theodore Lyman (1753-1839) married Lydia Pickering Williams (1763-1826) of Salem, Massachusetts. The Lymans lived in Kennebunk, Maine, for two years, and then established a residence in Boston on Bowdoin Square/ Tremont Street at Southack's Court (later Howard Street). Theodore continued his involvement with the West India Trade and had several ships built by John Bourn (dates unknown). In 1793, Theodore commissioned architect, Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) of Salem, Massachusetts, to design a country estate. Known as the Vale (also, the Lyman Estate), the estate was comprised of 450 acres, which Theodore had purchased in Waltham, Massachusetts. Following Theodore's death in 1839, the property was inherited by his eldest son, George Williams Lyman (1786-1880). After graduating from Harvard in 1806, George continued in the shipping business, trading in China and Europe. He also invested in textile mills in Waltham, Lowell, Lawrence, and Holyoke, Massachusetts; served as a director ofthe Boston and Lowell Railroad; was director of the Columbian Bank; president of the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company; and president of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. In 1810, he married Elizabeth Gray Otis (1791-1824), the eldest daughter of Harrison Gray and Sally Foster Otis (for whom Historic New England's Otis House was built). Three years after Elizabeth's death, he married his mother's niece, Anne Pratt (1798-1875). Arthur Theodore Lyman (1832-1915), son of George Williams and Anne (Pratt) Lyman, purchased his father's estate in 1880 from his half-brother, George Theodore Lyman (1821-1908) and other surviving heirs. Arthur trained as a lawyer but continued working in the textile industry in Lowell, Lawrence, and other nearby communities. He also held many notable positions on manufacturing, commercial, and institutional boards. In 1858, he married Ella Bancroft Lowell (1837-1894); they had six children. Following Arthur's death in 1915, his son, Arthur Theodore Lyman, Jr. (1861-1933) and his wife, Susan (Cabot) Lyman (1864-1951) inherited the estate. Arthur, Jr., held positions as director and officer of textile manufacturing companies, as well as the Massachusetts Life Insurance Company. He also served on the boards of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Waltham Hospital; was president of the Democratic Club of Massachusetts; chairman of the State Democratic Committee; director of finance for the Massachusetts branch of the National Democratic Committee; chair of the Board of License Commissioners in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1894; and mayor of Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1896. Arthur and Susan were the last Lyman family members to reside at the Vale, in Waltham, Massachusetts.

*Sources: Material within MS017; Lyman Estate Research Files; Library of Congress. Library of Congress Authorities. Retrieved from http://authorities.loc.gov/; “Lyman Estate History,” Historic New England, last modified 2014, http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/lyman-estate/lyman-estate-history.