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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 870

Papers of Elisabeth Dwight Cabot, 1851-1985


Commonplace book and letters of Elisabeth Dwight Cabot, reformer.


  • Creation: 1851-1985

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Elisabeth Dwight Cabot as well as 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.


.83 linear feet ((2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)

This collection consists of a commonplace book and letters from Elisabeth Dwight Cabot to Ellen Chase. The letters contain news of Cabot's family and discuss her work on education and housing in Boston (see folder #9 for a summary of the contents of the letters). These letters also contain news of Chase's work in England, as well as national United States politics, particularly the 1896 presidential election and the discussion of shifting the monetary standard from gold to silver to alleviate economic depression. Also included are letters received from Cabot's husband, family members, and friends, as well as appointments of her son Edward Twisleton Cabot and letters of condolence on his death. It appears that Cabot also collected poetry, reminiscences, and other material that could speak to the life of her son. In addition to letters and reminiscences sent to her by friends and family, Cabot also compiled his appointments to various offices and minutes, notes, and correspondence of the Talking Club, a small local club that gathered to discuss politics and the law of which her son Edward was a member. Material received in February 2002 (accession number 2002-M23) was added to the collection in June 2016. It is located in #10-16.)


Elisabeth (Dwight) Cabot was born in Boston on February 13, 1830, the daughter of Edmund and Mary H. (Elliot) Dwight. In 1857, she married a distant cousin, James Elliot Cabot. The couple had seven children: Francis Elliot, Edward Twisleton, Thomas Handasyd, Charles Mills, Richard Clarke, Philip, and Hugh. Their son Edward died in 1893 as a result of complications from diabetes. Both Cabot and her husband appear to have served on the Brookline, Massachusetts School Committee for some time. Cabot was also involved with managing town-owned tenements that provided housing to the poor, and was a member of the Friendly Society and the Associated Charities of Boston.

In 1888, at the age of 58, Elisabeth Dwight Cabot met Ellen Chase, a social worker from England who trained under Octavia Hill. Because of Cabot's own concern for the social welfare of the citizens of Boston, she and Chase maintained a friendship through correspondence that lasted until two months before Cabot's death in 1901.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 85-M43, 88-M37. Accession number 2002-M23 was added to the collection in June 2016.

The papers of Elisabeth (Dwight) Cabot were given to the Schlesinger Library between March 1985 and February 2002 by Faith Cabot (Mrs. Paul Pigors).

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library: see Cabot Family papers (A-99); Baker Library: see Philip Cabot papers, 1885-1942 (inclusive), 1924-1941 (bulk) (Arch GA 11); the Harvard University Archives: see Papers of Richard Clarke Cabot [unprocessed accessions], 1909-1951, and Papers of Richard Clarke Cabot, 1886-1974 (inclusive), 1888-1939 (bulk). (HUG 4255); and Houghton Library: see Letters to Faith Cabot Pigors, 1917-1928 (MS Am 2045).


  1. Box 1: 1-6
  2. Box 2: 7-16

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: July 1985

By: Teresa O'Rourke

Updated and additional material added: June 2016

By: Mark Vassar

Cabot, Elisabeth Dwight, 1830-1901. Papers of Elisabeth Dwight Cabot, 1851-1985: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elisabeth 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.

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