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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601635

Charles Benjamin Barnes diaries


This collection contains the diaries of Charles Benjamin Barnes (1868-1956), attorney, lecturer and civic leader. Entries are detailed, describing Barnes' law practice, club membership, and social engagements.


  • 1894 - 1954

Conditions Governing Access

Open to the public without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright. Literary rights, including copyright, to these diaries were not transferred to the Harvard Law School Library at the time of this gift, and they remain with the heirs of Charles Benjamin Barnes, Jr., who died in 1981.


58 items (9 Paige boxes)

The diaries of Charles Benjamin Barnes (1868-1956) cover the years 1894 to 1954. There are individual volumes for the years 1894 through 1898 and 1904 through 1954; entries for 1899 through 1903 are in one volume and are sparse and incomplete.

Entries for the individual diary volumes are extremely detailed, describing Barnes' mode of reaching his office, activities during the day at the law office, at board meetings, club functions, and social engagements at home and elsewhere. During most of his years of law practice, Barnes commuted from Hingham on the Nantucket Steamship Line (which his father had founded) during the milder months; during the inclement winter months he resided in Boston. A large portion of the entries relates to his sports activities, such as sailing, tennis, golf, and summer fishing in the Canadian Maritimes. Barnes was an active Harvard alumnus and kept a record of his participation in various alumni activities.

The diaries refer to many personal friends and acquaintances by initials only. Barnes makes scant references to national political or general historical events; neither is he given to contemplation or expression of strong feelings.

Twenty of Barnes' student notebooks from his law school years are kept in the library's Student Notebooks Collection.

Historical/Biographical Information

November 1, 1868
Born in Boston, Massachusetts. Son of Charles Benjamin and Clara Louisa (Page) Barnes
A.B., Harvard College
LL.B., Harvard Law School
Admitted to Bar in Massachusetts
Married Josephine Lea Low. Children: Bertha Lea, Charles Benjamin, Jr., Clara Page, John Pindar
Practiced law with the firm of Long & Hemenway, later Hemenway and Barnes
September 28, 1897
Appointed instructor in suretyship for the academic year 1897/98 at the Harvard Law School, to take Dean Langdell's place
Referee in Bankruptcy for Plymouth and Middlesex Counties
Commissioner for the Investigation of Causes of Delay in Administration of Justice in Civil Actions in Massachusetts
Held town offices, without compensation, in Hingham, his lifelong residence
Active in local and state Republican affairs
President, New England Historical Society and Hingham Historical Society
Director, Nantasket Steamship Boat Company, other commercial companies
Appointed by Governor Calvin Coolidge as a member of the Pilgrim Tercentenary Commission of the State of Massachusetts
August 28, 1956
Died at Hingham Massachusetts

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The diaries of Charles Benjamin Barnes (1868-1956), attorney, lecturer and civic leader, were presented to the Harvard Law School Library by his son, Charles Benjamin Barnes, Jr., on August 3, 1978.

Barnes, Charles Benjamin. Diaries, 1894-1954: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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