The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera





Creator:          Joseph Story, 1779-1845.                               

Title:               Letters

Dates:             1840

Call No.:         Col. 756

Acc. No.:         77x640.1-.10

Quantity:        10 items

Location:        34 K 4






Joseph Story and Simon Greenleaf were professors at Harvard Law School, which had been established in 1817.  Although they were different temperamentally, they worked well together and built up the school.  Joseph Story was born in 1779 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the son of Mehitable Pedrick and Elisha Story.  He graduated from Harvard in 1798 and read law.  At the age of 31 in 1811, he was appointed to U.S. Supreme Court, the youngest person ever to have been appointed.  He died in 1845.  Simon Greenleaf was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1783, the son of Lydia Parsons and Moses Greenleaf.  He did not attend college but read law.  In 1833, Story offered him a professorship at Harvard Law School.  Greenleaf wrote several law books and oversaw the expansion of the law school library.  He retired from Harvard in 1848 and died in 1853.





Nine letters written to Joseph Story and Simon Greenleaf about donating busts to Harvard Law School library, and one letter from Baron Cranworth, Lord Chancellor of England, thanking Greenleaf for a book which had been sent to him.  The men whose busts had been solicited were judges.  The letter writers were J. or I. Mason (probably Jeremiah Mason), William Prescott, Lemuel Shaw, Joseph Hopkinson, Charles Jackson, John Bannister Gibson, Marcus Morton, John Amory Lowell (writing on behalf of his father John Lowell), and James C. Danne (writing on behalf of his father-in-law Judge Paine, probably Elijah Paine).  Several of the letters mention the artist of the bust in question: Shobal Vail Clevenger (mentioned in two letters), Henry Dexter (also mentioned in two letters), John Frazee, and E. Luigi Persico.





The letters are in chronological order.





Purchased from Goodspeed’s Book Shop, Boston, Mass.






            Dexter, Henry, 1806-1876.

            Clevenger, Shobal Vail, 1812-1843.

            Perisco, E. Luigi, 1791-1860.

            Frazee, John, 1790-1852.



            Harvard Law School. Library.

            Sculpture, American – 19th century.

            Sculpture – MassachusettsCambridge.

            Judges – United States.



Additional author:

            Greenleaf, Simon, 1783-1853.






Location: 34 K 4



.1         Letter, J. [or I.] Mason, Boston, July 13, 1840, to Justice Story and Professor Greenleaf, Cambridge.  Has a spare copy of his bust which he is delighted to give them for display in the law library.


            [probably Jeremiah Mason, 1768-1848.  He was born in Connecticut, graduated from Yale, became a lawyer and moved to New Hampshire, where he also served as U.S. Senator and state legislator.  He moved to Boston in 1832 and practiced there for six years before retiring.]



.2a       Letter, Wm. Prescott, Nahant, July 13, 1840, to Justice Story and Simon Greenleaf, Cambridge.  When he finds an artist to do his bust, he will gladly present it to the university’s law library.  .2b is the envelope which contained Prescott’s letter.


[Judge William Prescott was the father of the noted historian William Prescott.]



.3         Lemuel Shaw, Boston, 15 July 1840, to Simon Greenleaf. Cambridge.  Is honored “to have a likeness of myself in plaster by Clevenger” placed at Harvard’s Law Institute; will have Messrs. Chickey & Gary [or Garey] deliver it.


[Shaw, 1781-1861, lawyer, public official, chief justice of Massachusetts Supreme Court.]


[Shobal Vail Clevenger, sculptor, 1812-1843.  He was born in Ohio and was a stone cutter who began carving busts and working in plaster.  He eventually moved to Europe but became very ill and died on the voyage back to the United States.]



.4         Letter, Jos. Hopkinson, Philadelphia, July 16, 1840, to Jos. Story and Simon Greenleaf, Cambridge, Mass.  Has a bust of himself by Mr. Clevenger which he is honored to donate to Harvard.


[Joseph Hopkinson, 1770-1842, born in Philadelphia, graduate of University of Pennsylvania; lawyer; judge; wrote “Hail Columbia”]


[for Clevenger, see .3 above]



.5         Letter, Chas. Jackson, Brookline, [Mass.], July 21, 1840, to Joseph Story and Simon Greenleaf.  Mr. [Henry] Dexter is not yet ready to take a cast of his bust, but when one is done, he will donate it to Harvard.


[Charles Jackson, 1775-1855, born Newburyport, graduated from Harvard, lawyer, on Massachusetts Supreme Court]


[For information on sculptor Henry Dexter, see Col. 405 at this repository.  He writes about this bust in acc. 67x31.97, item 23.]



.6         Letter, John B. Gibson, Sunbury, Pa., July 26, 1840, to Joseph Story and Simon Greenleaf, Cambridge.  Will be happy to donate a copy of his bust by Persico to Harvard, but he cannot attend to having a copy made until he returns to Philadelphia in December.


[John Bannister Gibson, 1780-1853, born in Westover Mills, Pennsylvania; attended Dickinson College, read law, was a justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court]


[E. Luigi Persico was born in Naples in 1791.  He lived in the United States 1818-1855 and then returned to Europe, dying in Marseilles in 1860.  While in the U.S., he chiefly worked on the Capitol in Washington, D.C.]



.7         Letter, Marcus Morton, Boston, July 30, 1840, to Joseph Story and Simon Greenleaf, Harvard University.  “Will you do me the honour to accept, for the department of law in your library, a bust of myself, executed by Henry Dexter?”


            [Morton, 1784-1864, born in Freetown, Mass.; graduated from Brown; lawyer, judge, governor of Massachusetts]


            [For information on sculptor Henry Dexter, see Col. 405 at this repository.  He lists this bust in acc. 67x31.97, item 27.]



.8         Letter, J.A. Lowell, Boston, September 7, 1840, to Judge Story and Professor Greenleaf, Cambridge.  Will have a cast of his father’s bust sculpted by Frazee done for the law library.


            [The letter writer was John Amory Lowell.  His father was John Lowell, 1769-1840, who was born in Newburyport.  He was a lawyer and political writer.]


            [John Frazee, 1790-1852, was born in Rahway, New Jersey.  He was a bricklayer who took up stone carving.  He was largely self-taught.  He was one of the founders of the National Academy of Design.]



.9         Letter, James C. Danne, Boston, October 27, 1840, to Joseph Story, Cambridge.  Offers a bust of his father-in-law, Judge Paine of Vermont.  Currently, it is at Chickey & Garey’s in School Street.


            [The Judge Paine mentioned in this letter was probably Elijah Paine, 1757-1842.  He graduated from Harvard and was a lawyer and judge in Vermont.]



.10a     Letter, Cranworth, London, January 31, 1853, to Professor Greenleaf, Cambridge.  Thanks Greenleaf for sending him a copy of his latest work [possibly Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which was printed several times].  .10b is the envelope for this letter.


            [Cranworth was Roberty Monsey Rolfe, 1790-1868, lord chancellor of England.  Rolfe was created Baron Cranworth in 1850.]