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Lowell-Russell-Gardner Papers

Lowell-Russell-Gardner Papers

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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:Lowell-Russell-Gardner family
Title:Lowell-Russell-Gardner Papers
Dates:1788/1828, 1855/1881
Quantity:2.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:This collection spans three generations of the Lowell, Russell, and Gardner families of Boston and Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MSS 658

Series List

Scope and Content Note

This collection spans three generations of the Lowell, Russell, and Gardner families of Boston and Charlestown, Massachusetts. It includes papers of John Lowell (1743-1802), Thomas Russell 1740-1789), Sarah Russell (1750-1819), Samuel Pickering Gardner (1767-1843), and John Lowell Gardner (1804-1884). The papers pertain primarily to their estates and include inventories, accounts, probate documents, deeds and other legal papers, receipts, correspondence, and memoranda.

The papers of John Lowell pertain to his estate. They include probate documents and detailed inventories of personal property, including his books. There are also lists of real estate owned by Lowell and debts due to him, two letters, some receipts, and a memorandum book. There are two documents from John Lowell's wife, Rebecca Russell Lowell, one a deed releasing inherited properties to her children, and the other a copy of her will.

The papers of Thomas Russell, brother of Rebecca Russell Lowell, pertain to his estate and consist primarily of John Lowell's accounts as administrator of Russell's estate. Included are probate documents, inventories, accounts, and memoranda. The papers of Sarah Russell, sister of Rebecca Russell Lowell and brother of Thomas Russell, pertain to her estate. Included are inventories, legal documents, memoranda, and a funeral eulogy of Sarah Russell.

The papers of Samuel Pickering Gardner, the son of John and Rebecca Russell Lowell Gardner, consist of personal letters from his uncle James Russell and nephews Francis and Henry Blanchard, and also business letters regarding the firm Welles and Williams. Finally, there are a few letters of Samuel P. Gardner's son, John Lowell Gardner.

Biographical Sketches

John Lowell was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on June 17, 1743, the son of John and Sarah (Champney) Lowell. He graduated from Harvard College in 1760 and became an attorney in 1762. He served in the Massachusetts House in 1778 and 1780 to 1782, in the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783, and from 1784 to 1785 was a member of the Massachusetts Senate. He was a Judge of the Massachusetts Court of Appeals from 1784 to 1789. In 1789 he was appointed United States District Judge serving until 1801. From 1801 until his death Lowell was Judge of the United States Circuit Court. He was a botanist and served as President of the Massachusetts Agricultural Society, in addition to being a founder of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. By his first wife Sarah he had three children: Anna Cabot, John, and Sarah Champney; by his second wife Susanna he had two children: Francis Cabot and Susanna Cabot; and by his third wife Rebecca Russell, he had three children: Rebecca Russell, Charles, and Elizabeth Cutts. John Lowell died on May 6, 1802, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Thomas Russell was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on April 7, 1740, the son of James and Katherine (Graves) Russell. He became a prominent and wealthy merchant in Boston who was largely involved in direct trade with the West Indies. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1788 and was a member of the State Council from 1789-1794. Thomas Russell had three wives, Elizabeth Henly, Sarah Sever, and Elizabeth Watson, and six surviving children. He died on April 8, 1796, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sarah Russell was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on December 2, 1750, the daughter of James and Katherine (Graves) Russell. She resided in Charlestown and died on October 14, 1819.

Samuel Pickering Gardner was born in Salem, Massachusetts, to John and Elizabeth (Pickering) Gardner on May 14, 1767. He graduated from Harvard College in 1786 and was a merchant first in South Carolina and after 1793 in Boston. In 1797 he married Rebecca Russell Lowell, and they had five surviving children: Elizabeth Pickering, Mary Lowell, John Lowell, Sarah Russell, and George. Samuel Gardner died on December 16, 1843, in Boston, Massachusetts.

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.

Gardner, John Lowell, 1804-1884
Gardner, Rebecca Russell Lowell, 1747-1816
Gardner, Samuel Pickering, 1767-1843
Lowell, John, 1743-1802
Russell, Sarah, 1750-1819
Russell, Thomas, 1740-1796
Account books
Administration of estates
Decedents' estates
Boston (Mass.)
Charlestown (Mass.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

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

Lowell-Russell-Gardner Papers, MSS 658, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The provenance of this material is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lee Jacoby, July 2017.

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