Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: A-160

Papers of Ellis Gray Loring, 1809-1949


Correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, etc., of Ellis Gray Loring, lawyer and abolitionist, from Boston, Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1809-1949


Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unavailable for research while being digitized.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ellis Gray Loring is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


16.43 linear feet ((8+1/2 file boxes, 12 folio boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 2 folio+ folders, 1 photograph folder, 1 folio photograph folder)

The collection is largely the business papers of Ellis Gray Loring, and the papers of his estate. There are family letters, also, mainly from Anna Loring to her parents and later to her daughter, Louisa Loring Dresel. Of special interest are: a partial diary of Ellis Gray Loring in which he describes various discussions he had with Ralph Waldo Emerson on philosophic and religious issues, dated 1838 (#Vol. 4.); a trust established for William Lloyd Garrison by friends to help him and his family financially, but at the same time to hold tighter control over the gift (#26); and letters from Elizabeth Preston Peabody discussing the possible establishment of a Boston Academy (1850s to 1860s) (#14).

Folder #8a was added to the collection in March 1970. Additional material received in 1981 and 1982 (accession numbers 81-M31, 82-M204) were added to the collection in November 2019. These materials are housed in #92f-93 and Vol. 38-Vol. 43. All other files remain in the same order. Folders are listed in intellectual, not numerical, order.

Series I, FAMILY CORRESPONDENCE AND BUSINESS RECORDS OF ELLIS GRAY LORING, 1809-1881 (#1-38, 91f+, Vol. 1), includes records kept by Loring prior to his death May 24, 1858. This series includes a large amount of real estate records as well as records of wills, trusts, acts of incorporation, mortgages, loans, taxes, suits and promissory notes, and lists of profits, rents, and personal property. The papers are arranged alphabetically within the series and chronologically within each folder.

Series II, ESTATE PAPERS OF ELLIS GRAY LORING AND LOUISA LORING, 1853-1890 (#39-87, 92f+), includes the business and legal papers of Loring's estate; the records are largely vouchers, receipts and cancelled checks. There are also records of real estate transactions, suits, and various miscellaneous legal papers. This series is arranged according to individual, type of record, and chronologically.

Series III, SCRAPBOOKS, DIARIES AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE LORING AND DRESEL FAMILIES, 1821-1949 (#Vol. 2 - Vol. 43, 88-94). Among the correspondents are: Ellis Gray Loring, 1803-1858, Louisa Loring, 1797-1868, Anna Loring Dresel, 1830-1896, Louisa Loring Dresel, 1864-1958, Lydia Maria Child, 1802-1880, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, 1822-1907, and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, 1804-1894.This series is arranged chronologically.


Ellis Gray Loring, lawyer and abolitionist was born on April 14, 1803, the son of James Tyng Loring, a druggist, and Relief Faxon. Ellis Gray Loring was born in Boston and spent most of his life there. On October 29, 1827 he married Louisa Gilman of Boston, daughter of Frederick Gilman and Abigail Gilman. Louisa was born January 1, 1797, and died May 25, 1868.

(The following quotations are from the Loring Genealogy, Pope and Loring; Cambridge, 1917).

"He entered Harvard College in 1819 - but was not graduated, though a member of the Hasty Pudding Club and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The following extract from the College faculty explains this matter: 'June 27, 1824. Loring who left college in May, 1823, at a time a large part of the class was dismissed for resistance of college authority, applies for his degree. - Voted, that Loring's request be not granted, as the Govt. cannot make any distinction between his case and that portion of his class who were dismissed in May, 1823."

"He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. He was Counsellor-at-law, master in chancery, and solicitor for the Western Railroad Company. Was one of the early `abolitionists.'"

Loring was an organizer of the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1831. He financed the continuation of William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator and supported gradual abolition of slavery. In 1836, in the court case, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Thomas Aves, Loring established the principle that a slave having been brought into Massachusetts could not be taken out of the State against his will. Loring died May 24, 1858.

The Lorings had one child, Anna, who was born November 10, 1830. "To her Lydia Maria Child dedicated her book, Fact and Fiction. She married October 29, 1863, Otto Dresel pianist and composer, born at Geisenheim on the Rhine, December 22, 1826, died Beverly, (Massachusetts) July 26, 1890. She was Vice president of the Sanitary Commission of Boston during the Civil War, president of the Vincent Hospital. She died in 1896."

Anna Loring Dresel had two children: Louisa Loring Dresel, 1864-1958 and Ellis Loring Dresel, 1865-1925. Ellis Loring Dresel attended Harvard (A.B. 1887, L.L.B. 1892) and was a lawyer in Boston in the firm of Goodwin, Dresel, and Parker. He was attached to the United States Embassy in Berlin in 1915, and was assigned to the Embassy in Vienna and later to the Legation at Berne.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  2. Series II. ESTATE PAPERS OF ELLIS GRAY LORING AND LOUISA LORING, 1853-1890 (#39-87, 92f+)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession Numbers: 163, 1679, 81-M31, 82-M204. Accession numbers 81-M31 and 82-M204 were added in November 2019.

The papers of Ellis Gray Loring were given to the Schlesinger Library by Erica B. (Mrs. F. Stanton) Cawley between August 1969 and October 1982.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Ellis Gray Loring Family papers, 1828-1923 (A-115).


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-21, Vol. 1
  2. Box 2: Folders 22-48
  3. Box 3: Folders 49-84
  4. Box 3a: Folders 85-90, Vol. 2 - Vol. 3
  5. Box 4: Vol. 4 - Vol. 6.
  6. Box 5: Vol. 7 - Vol. 13
  7. Box 6: Vol. 14 - Vol. 18
  8. Box 7: Vol. 19, Vol. 21 - Vol. 24
  9. Folio+ Box 8: Vol. 20
  10. Folio Box 9: Vol. 25
  11. Folio Box 10: Vol. 26
  12. Folio Box 11: Vol. 27, Vol. 29
  13. Folio Box 12: Vol. 28
  14. Folio Box 13: Vol. 30
  15. Folio Box 14: Vol. 31
  16. Folio Box 15: Vol. 32
  17. Folio Box 16: Vol. 33
  18. Folio Box 17: Vol. 34
  19. Folio Box 18: Vol. 35
  20. Folio Box 19: Vol. 36
  21. Folio Box 20: Vol. 37
  22. Box 21: Vol. 38 - Vol. 43

Processing Information

Processed: November 1969


Additional material added: November 2019

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Loring, Ellis Gray, 1803-1858. Papers of Ellis Gray Loring, 1809-1949: A Finding Aid.
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA