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George Baily Loring (1817-1891) Papers

George Baily Loring (1817-1891) Papers

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GEORGE BAILY LORING (1817-1891) PAPERS, 1831-1904


Processing and conservation of this collection were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Loring, George B. (George Bailey), 1817-1891
Title:George Baily Loring (1817-1891) Papers
Quantity:4.75 linear feet (10 boxes)
Abstract:This collection documents the business and personal activities of the noted doctor, agriculturalist, statesman, and diplomat, George Bailey Loring (1817-1891) of Salem.
Collection Number:MSS 183

Series List

SERIES I. United States Marine Hospital Patient Records
SERIES II. Addresses and Lectures
A. New England Dedicatory and Political Addresses
B. Agricultural Addresses
C. Miscellaneous Addresses
SERIES III. Business and Personal Papers
SERIES IV. Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the business and personal activities of the noted doctor, agriculturalist, statesman, and diplomat, George Bailey Loring (1817-1891) of Salem. The papers contain descriptive patient records, kept while Loring was a surgeon at the United States Marine Hospital in Chelsea, and many of his dedicatory, political, and agricultural addresses. In addition, the collection includes political, personal, and estate papers of George B. Loring, and correspondence, diaries, and legal papers of family members. The papers are divided into four series.

Series I. United States Marine Hospital Patient Records is comprised of 22 volumes which form a nearly complete chronological run from 1843 to 1850. These important and illuminating volumes contain the names, health history, disease symptoms, dates, and nature of treatment provided to the patients Loring attended. All volumes include an index, either by patient name, or, in the case of the 1843 records, by date of hospital entrance. Noted in these pages are descriptions and treatments of such ailments as venereal disease, typhoid, rheumatism, diarrhea, pneumonia, ulcers, cancer, hepatitis, burns, measles, fractures, frostbite, epilepsy, scurvy, leprosy, insanity, intemperance, and gunshot wounds. Of interest are several lists which Loring compiled: a tabulation of the number of cases of each disease (August-November, 1844), and a selection of medicinal recipes, and disease treatments (August-November 1847).

Series II. Addresses and Lectures, 1860-1879, are divided into three chronologically arranged sections. Subseries A. New England Dedicatory and Political Addresses includes dedication and anniversary orations for towns, schools, town halls, and lyceums delivered in North Andover, Salem, Topsfield, Plymouth, Dunstable, Swansea, Sherborne, Lexington, Bolton, and Lawrence. Biographical addresses and an address made at the 1872 Republican States Convention in Worcester may also be found here. Subseries B. Agricultural Addresses includes speeches made before the New England Agricultural Society, of which Loring was president, and the Essex Agricultural Society. Subseries C. Miscellaneous Addresses includes copied speeches and chapters from New England and the rest of the country.

Series III. Business and Personal Papers contains correspondence, legal, financial, and miscellaneous papers. The correspondence illuminates events in Loring's political career and in national politics: the celebration of Thomas Jefferson's birthday (1859), including the responses of Jefferson Davis and United States Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb to celebration invitations; Loring's support of the Lincoln administration against the supporters of George B. McClellan (1864); the assassination attempt made on President Garfield (1881); inner political conflicts in the government, recorded while Loring was United States Commissioner of Agriculture and a United States Representative; and Loring's tenure as a United States minister to Portugal (1889-1890). The correspondence also includes personal letters regarding real estates and stock investments, the estate of William Pickman, Loring's will, and the Osgood family genealogy. Of special interest is a letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson (November 23, 1853), reflecting Loring's avid interest in literature. Loring's legal and financial papers often include or are authored by his brother, Boston attorney John Alden Loring. These records include deeds for stock, real estate, and the Pickman farm. The miscellaneous papers contain Honorable Joseph S. Cabot's speech delivered at the 1859 Thomas Jefferson celebration, poetry, eulogies on George Loring, and an undated survey of Salem property.

Series IV. Family Papers contain personal correspondence, legal records, diaries, and commonplace books belonging to Loring's wives, Mary Toppan (Pickman) (1816-1878) and Anna (Smith) Hildreth Loring, his daughter and son-in-law, Sally Pickman (Loring) and Theodore F. Dwight, and his brother, John Alden Loring (1824-1898). In addition to Mary Loring's will, this collection contains three volumes of her original diaries (1831, 1834, 1839). The volume of diary extracts (1831-1898), which includes Mary's biography, was compiled by her husband as a gift to their daughter Sally. The legal papers of Anna Loring include documents regarding the Pickman farm and court papers concerning Anna and Sally's clear title to the real estate bequeathed to them in George Loring's will. Sally (Loring) and Theodore Dwight's correspondence also discusses George Loring's estate, and the conflicts between Anna and Sally in their selection of estates trustee. Also included is a list of Sally and Theodore's wedding gifts (1895), Theodore's 1904 appointment as consular agent to Switzerland, and an undated photograph of Sally. John Alden Loring's papers include correspondence and legal papers concerning the William Pickman estate, and stock and real estate investments which he held jointly with his brother George B. Loring.

Biographical Sketch

George Bailey Loring was born in 1817, the eldest son of the Reverend Bailey and Sally Pickman (Osgood) Loring of North Andover, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation from Harvard College in 1838, Loring taught school for a year in Boston and Andover. In 1839, he commenced his medical studies with Dr. Joseph Kittredge of North Andover and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. He graduated from the Harvard Medical School in 1842 and set up a private practice in North Andover. In 1843, Loring became a surgeon at the United States Marine Hospital in Chelsea, a position he occupied until 1850. During his tenure, he was also appointed commissioner to revise the United States Marine Hospital system.

Retiring from the medical profession in 1851, Loring moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where he married Mary Toppan Pickman (1816-1878). At this time, he turned his attention to politics and agricultural studies. Over the years, Loring became increasingly politically active. From an appointment as Salem postmaster (1853-1857), he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1866-1868), the Massachusetts Senate (1873-1877), and the United States House of Representatives (1877-1881). He also served as a member of the Massachusetts delegation to the National Democratic Convention (1856), chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Committee (1869-1876), and a delegate to the Republican National Convention (1868, 1872, 1876). Although originally a member of the Democratic Party, Loring felt impelled during the 1860s to change his political affiliation. The unwillingness of the Democrats to support the preservation of the Union convinced him to back the Republican administration of President Lincoln.

Loring's agricultural studies led him to found the New England Agricultural Society, of which he was president from 1864 to 1889. His energies and abilities as an agriculturalist also prompted his appointment as United States Commissioner of Agriculture (1881-1885).

Loring died at Salem in 1891, a year after returning from Lisbon where he had served as United States minister to Portugal (1889-1890). He left his only daughter, Sally Pickman (Loring) Dwight, and his second wife, Anna (Smith) Hildreth Loring.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Cabot, Joseph S. (Joseph Sebastian), 1796-1874
Cobb, Howell, 1815-1868
Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889
Dwight, Sally Pickman Loring, 1859-1912
Dwight, Theodore F.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882
Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Loring, Anna Smith Hildreth
Loring, John A. (John Alden), 1824-1898
Loring, Mary Toppan Pickman, 1816-1878
Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885
Osgood family
Parsons, Theophilus, 1750-1813
Pickman, William, 1774-1857
Essex Agricultural Society (Mass.)
U.S. Marine Hospital (Chelsea, Mass.)
Diplomatic and consular service
Estates, administration of
Hospitals, Naval and marine
Lectures and lecturing
Marriage--Gift books
Medicine--Formulae, Receipts, Prescriptions
Real estate
Bolton (Mass.)--Monuments--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Dunstable (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Lexington (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
North Andover (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Plymouth (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Plymouth (Mass.)--Monuments--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Portugal--Description and travel
Salem (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)--Schools--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Sherborn (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Topsfield (Mass.)--Addresses, Essays, Lectures
United States--Congress.--House
United States--Department of Agriculture
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--Politics and government


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use. Due to its fragility, the poem in box 9, folder 5 is not available for use by researchers. A photocopy is located in box 8, folder 5.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

George Baily Loring (1817-1891) Papers, MSS 183, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The George Bailey Loring Papers are a reorganization of 22 volumes of United States Marine Hospital patient records and three boxes of manuscript material which were received from an unknown source. Integrated into these papers was one box of records separated from the Pickman Family Papers (MSS 5). The Pickman materials included correspondence, legal documents, diaries, and commonplace books belonging to George Bailey, Mary Toppan (Pickman) and Anna (Smith) Hildreth Loring, and Sally Pickman (Loring) and Theodore Dwight (papers and volumes removed from MSS 5 are marked). A George Loring poem book (1836), donated by M. Elliot in 1922, was also integrated into the collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sylvia B. Kennick, June 1985. Updated by Catherine Robertson, June 2015.

Related Material

Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Essex County, Massachusetts: with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia : J.W. Lewis, 1888.

Maloney, Joan M. ""George Bailey Loring: A Matter of Trust-s"" Essex Institute Historical Collections 1st ser. 122 (1986): 35-60.

Pope, Charles Henry, Katharine P. Loring, James Spear Loring, and John Arthur Loring. Loring Genealogy. Cambridge, MA: Murray and Emery, 1917.

Benjamin Pickman Papers, 1679-1923, MSS 5.

Ennion Williams Papers, 1875-1876, Fam. MSS. 1097.

Theodore F. Dwight Papers, 1884-1916, Fam. MSS. 273.

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