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COLLECTION Identifier: HUM 271

Wyman family archive


The collection documents five generations of the Wyman family, as well as the Morrill and Whitney families. It contains correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, notes, diaries, and financial documents, providing a view of New England daily life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The bulk of the collection relates to Rufus Wyman (1810-1870), Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874), Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941), Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995), and Anne Cabot Wyman (1929-2014) and families. Financial documents, correspondence, and ephemera from the Morrill and Whitney families are also included.


  • Creation: 1711-2010 and undated

Researcher Access

The Wyman family archive is open for research with the exception of a few restrictions, which are noted throughout the finding aid. Some items are restricted due to physical format. Please consult with reference staff for details.


17.3 cubic feet (17 flat boxes, 15 document boxes, 10 half-document boxes, 10 extra-wide document boxes, 2 card boxes, 3 glass negative boxes, 1 extra-tall document box, 1 folder, 1 custom box)

This collection contains the archives of Rufus Wyman (1810-1870), Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874), Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941), Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) and their families, as well as archives of the Morrill and Whitney families. Items include photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, correspondence, and family financial documents, such as deeds, receipts, and estate documents. The collection, which ranges in date from the 18th to 20th centuries, documents New England everyday life, especially its social and financial aspects. Additionally, the collection holds photographs and correspondence related to the Civil War.

Much of the collection relates to Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995), documenting both his personal and professional life, with family photographs and correspondence, much of which dates from his career as science attaché in Paris, France. Also includes photographs and correspondence from his wife, Anne Cabot Wyman (1903-1943), and her family.

Anne Cabot Wyman's archives (1929-2014)consists of correspondence related to her father's career and death, including with his colleagues and friends, as well as research materials for her book on Wyman, Kipling's Cat: A Memoir of My Father.

The Rufus Wyman (1810-1870) archive has Civil War correspondence related to his tenure in Maryland and Washington, D.C. as a relief agent for the Roxbury (Massachusetts) Reserve Guard in the fall of 1862.

The typewritten copies of incoming correspondence to Wyman (1814-1874) include letters from many noted scientific intellectuals, and give insight into Wyman's professional activities as Harvard Hersey Professor of Anatomy and curator of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Specifically, several of the letters discuss cranial measurements and relate to Wyman's interest in racial science.

The diaries of Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941) document his business travel, his social life as a young man, and later his family life in Massachusetts. The series also includes a diary written by his wife, Helen Mackay Wyman.

The Morrill family series contains the oldest material in the collection, and concerns James Morrill (1751-1833), the father-in-law of Rufus Wyman (1778-1842). It contains a Morrill family tree, and financial documents, including estate documents, inventories of furniture, mortgages, and certificates.

The Whitney family series contains material related to the family of Benjamin Duick Whitney, father-in-law of Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874). The materials date from the 19th century, and include correspondence, journals and diaries, ledger books, bills and other financial documents, and school materials.

Biographical Note on the Wyman family

This collection documents the personal and professional lives of five generations of the Wyman family.

Rufus Wyman (1778-1842) was a physician who served as the first superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in Boston, Massachusetts, later known as McLean Hospital, from 1818 to 1835. Born in Woburn, Massachusetts to Zebadiah and Eunice Wyman, he attended Harvard, earning his AB in 1799, and his MD in 1804. He practiced medicine with John Jeffries for one year before moving to Chelmsford, Massachusetts, to establish his own practice, after which he was appointed superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane.

Wyman married Ann Morrill (1784-1843) in 1809. The couple had six children: Rufus (1810-1870), Morrill (1812-1903), Jeffries (1814-1874), Edward (1816-1899), Elizabeth (1820-1880), and Hamilton (1821-1828).

Wyman was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1812. Wyman died in Roxbury, Massachusetts on June 23, 1842.

Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874) was a Harvard professor, anatomist, naturalist, museum curator, and co-founder of the National Academy of Sciences. Born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Wyman received his AB from Harvard College in 1833 and his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1837. Wyman was appointed Hersey Professor of Anatomy at Harvard College in 1847. He helped to establish the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and was appointed its first curator in 1866. Wyman married Adeline Wheelright (1825-1855) in 1850, with whom he had two daughters, Mary and Susan. After Adeline’s death, Wyman married Anne Williams Whitney (1832-1864) in 1861; the couple had one son, Jeffries (1864-1941).

Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941) was a railway engineer and vice president of the Bell Telephone Company in Boston. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wyman worked for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad and later served as the vice president of the Northern New York Telephone Company. He was also vice president of the Bell Telephone Company in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked until his retirement in 1904. Wyman married Helen Mackay (1866-1921) in 1892. The couple had two children, Helen (1893-1970) and Jeffries (1901-1995).

Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) was a biophysicist, diplomat, and Harvard professor. Born in West Newton, Massachusetts, Wyman received his AB from Harvard in 1923, and his PhD from University College, London, in 1927. He taught in Harvard's Biology Department from 1928 to 1951, when he resigned to serve as the first scientific adviser to the United States Embassy in Paris, where he lived until 1960. He spent the later years of his career conducting research and writing at the University of Rome until his retirement in 1984. Wyman was also a founder and past secretary general of the European Molecular Biology Organization, based in Basel, Switzerland. Wyman married Anne McMaster Cabot (1903-1943) in 1928. The couple had two children, Anne Cabot (1929-2014) and Jeffries, Jr. (1930- ). After his wife’s death, Wyman married Rosamond Forbes (1908-2004) in 1948; the couple divorced in 1949. He married a third time to Olga Lodigensky (?-1990), in 1955. Wyman died in Paris, France on November 4, 1995.

Anne Cabot Wyman (1929-2014), was the Boston Globe's first full-time travel writer and was the first woman appointed editor of the Globe's editorial section. Wyman was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. She received an AB from Radcliffe College in 1953, then began her career working at Houghton Mifflin in Boston and in several publishing houses in London and New York City. In 1959, she joined the Boston Globe, where she worked for 31 years; in 1975, Wyman became the first woman appointed chief editor of the Globe's editorial pages. Wyman died on July 26, 2014.

Biographical Note on the Morrill family

The Reverend Isaac Morrill (1718-1793) was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1738, was ordained in 1741, and became a minister in Wilmington, Massachusetts. Morrill married Mary Ayer (1718-1742) in 1741. After Mary's death, Morrill married Dorothy Ruggles in 1743. Their son, James Morrill (1751-1833), was a flour merchant who began his career in Providence, Rhode Island, before establishing a shop on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts, where he sold an assortment of European goods. He married Mary Glover (1758-1842) in 1788. The couple had six children, including Ann Morrill, who married Rufus Wyman (1778-1842) in 1809.

Biographical Note on the Whitney family

Benjamin Duick Whitney (1807-1892) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Asa and Mary Whitney. After receiving his AB from Harvard in 1828, he became a merchant in Boston with business interests in New Orleans, Vicksburg, and Washington, DC. He married Elizabeth Williams of Northborough, Massachusetts in 1830; the couple had eight children, including a daughter, Anne Williams, who married Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874) in 1861. Elizabeth Whitney died in 1849. Benjamin Whitney married again in 1863 to Charlotte E. Genella (1842-1865).


The collection is arranged in thirteen series. The contents of each series have been arranged in chronological order by the archivist:

  1. Wyman family photographs and drawings, [circa 1800s]-1986 and undated
  2. Wyman family photograph albums, 1882-1930s
  3. Rufus Wyman (1810-1870) correspondence and family papers, 1711-[1866] and undated
  4. Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874) and Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941) family correspondence and ephemera, 1822-1934 and undated
  5. Jeffries Wyman (1864-1941) and family diaries, 1881-1921 and undated
  6. Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) correspondence and ephemera, 1884-2009 and undated
  7. Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) and Anne Wyman (1903-1943) ephemera and printed materials, 1912-1995 and undated
  8. Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) journals, diaries, notes, and reference materials, 1938-2003 and undated
  9. Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) publications, 1955-2010
  10. Writings on Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995), 1985-2005
  11. Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) audio recordings, 1982, 1989
  12. Morrill family papers, 1824-1843 and undated
  13. Whitney family papers, 1810-1897 and undated

Acquisition information

This collection consists of two accessions: Accession number 14824, was donated to the Harvard University Archives by Anne Cabot Wyman on July 7, 2003. Accession 2017.179 was donated to the Harvard University Archives by Penelope Dincauze on December 22, 2015.

Related material

  1. In the Harvard University Archives:
  2. ___Papers of Jeffries Wyman, 1957-1985 (HUGFP 134):
  3. ___Morrill Wyman diary, 1829-1931 (HUD 829.96)
  4. ___Papers of John Tileston Edsall [unprocessed accessions], 1946-1997

Inventory update

This document last updated 2022 April 12.

Processing Information

This finding aid was produced from a preliminary collection inventory created at the point of accession by Dominic Grandinetti. This finding aid was created by Jennifer Pelose in January 2014.

Updates and additional processing were performed by Olivia Mandica-Hart in 2016-2017. Titles and dates enclosed in brackets were devised by the archivist.

Wyman family. Wyman family archive, 1711-2010 : an inventory
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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