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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2326

Greene-Appleton family letters


Letters between members of the Greene and Appleton families, especially concerning John Singleton Copley Greene and his wife, Mary Anne Appleton Greene.


  • 1844-1853

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.3 linear feet (1 folder in 1 box)

The letters are predominantly from John Singleton Copley Greene to various members of his first wife's family, though there are letters from his wife, Mary Anne Appleton Greene, to her family as well. Letters especially concern Mary Anne's illness (she is referred to as "Diamond" in the letters) and eventual death in 1852. Many letters are written by J.S.C. Greene as he and his family are sailing on their yacht the "Cygnet."

Biographical / Historical

Letters concern the Greene and Appleton families, both distinguished families of New England during the 19th century. The following individuals are prominent in this set of letters:

  1. John Singleton Copley Greene (1810-1872): Son of wealthy merchant Gardiner Greene (1753-1832) and Elizabeth Clarke Copley Greene (1770-1866). Gardiner Greene was the first president of the Boston branch of the United States Bank. He obtained an M.D. degree from Harvard in 1831, though he never practiced medicine. He is said to have led the life of a "playboy" until the death of his first wife, Mary Anne Appleton Greene, when he underwent a religious conversion. He eventually studied theology and served in the Christ Church ministry.
  2. Mary Anne Appleton Greene (b. ca. 1820-d.1852): Daughter of William Appleton (1786-1862), a shipping merchant based in Boston who later served as a Massachusetts congressman, and Mary Ann Cutler Appleton ( 1794). She was the first wife of John S.C. Greene.
  3. Sarah Elizabeth Appleton Lawrence (b.1822): Sister of Mary Anne Appleton Greene, and wife of Amos Adams Lawrence (1814-1886).


Arranged chronologically.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*93M-44. Gift of Henry Copley Greene, Cambridge, Mass.; received: 1941 Jan. 5. Transferred from Houghton Department of Printed Books, *41-2436F.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

These letters were first cataloged in the Houghton Department of Printed Books. In August of 2003, they were recataloged.

Green family. Greene-Appleton family letters: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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