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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00029

Jane Loring Gray correspondence

Scope and Content

The collection consists of letters to Jane Gray from her family and others and one letter from Jane to a relative. It also contains a small notebook of biographical sketches about Asa Gray.


  • 1848-circa 1895


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


1 collection (4 folders in file cabinet H)


Jane Lathrop Loring was born on August 27, 1821, to Charles Greely Loring, a prominent Boston attorney, and Anna (Pierce) Brace Loring. Though the family lived in Boston Jane spent a good deal of time with her mother’s family in Litchfield, Connecticut. After her mother’s death in 1836 Jane ran her father’s house in Boston. She married Harvard botanist Asa Gray on May 4, 1848 and lived with him at a house in the Harvard Botanic Garden in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jane suffered from poor health for most of her life. She and Asa never had children, but she took an active interest in her husband’s work and accompanied him on most of his voyages, chronicling their travels in letters to her family. While living in Cambridge she was a member of the Female Humane Society of Cambridge, which was founded to assist indigent women. She also corresponded with many botanists and their families. After Asa’s death in January 1888, she devoted herself to memorializing him, preparing his letters for publication and contributing funds toward the establishment of the Asa Gray Professorship. She continued to live at the Botanic Garden until her death in 1909.


Dupree AH. 1959. Asa Gray. Cambridge (MA): The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.


The collection was donated by Susan Loring on June 27, 1984. Susan Loring received the collection from her aunt, Katharine Peabody Loring, daughter of Jane’s brother, Caleb William Loring. Katharine Loring was president of the Beverly Historical Society from 1918 to 1941 and used the letters in an exhibit on the Loring family. They were returned to her family after her death in 1943.

The gift from Susan Loring included additional items which have been incorporated into other collections in the archives.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria:
  1. Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892: Series I. Correspondence to Asa Gray, Series II. Correspondence from Asa Gray, Series VII. Europe 1850-1851, and Series X. Jane Gray Correspondence.
  2. Jane Gray autograph collection, 1563-1908.
Other related material at Harvard University:
  1. Papers of the Loring Family, Schlesinger Library.
In the Beverly Historical Society and Museum, Beverly, Massachusetts
  1. Loring Family Papers, 1833-1943
In the Litchfield Historical Society, Litchfield, Connecticut
  1. Loring Family Correspondence, 1812-1863.

Processed by:

Lynn McWhood

January 1982

Gray, Jane Loring, 1821-1909. Jane Loring Gray correspondence, 1848-circa 1895: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Gray Herbarium Library, Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Gray Herbarium Library, Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Gray Herbarium Library specializes in the identification and classification of New World plants with emphasis on North American plants. The Archives of the Gray Herbarium houses unique resources including personal papers, institutional records, field notes and plant lists, expedition records, photographs, original artwork, and objects from faculty, curators, staff, and affiliates of the Gray Herbarium.

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