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HUD 886.94

Winthrop, Grenville Lindall, 1864-1943. Photograph album of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, ca. 1886 : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 886.94
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Winthrop, Grenville Lindall, 1864-1943.
Title: Photograph album of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, approximately 1886
Date(s): 1885-1886
Quantity: 0.45 cubic feet (1 document boxes)
Quantity: 1 photograph albums
Quantity: 117 photographs cyanotypes
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The photographs in this album were taken by Grenville Lindall Winthrop in approximately 1886 while he was an undergraduate student at Harvard College. Taken in the northeast as well as at Harvard, these photographs illustrate student life at Harvard in the late nineteenth century, upper-class family life, and various nature scenes.

Acquisition information:

The collection was donated to Harvard University in 1943 by Grenville Lindall Winthrop.

Processing Information:

Titles and dates were transcribed from inscriptions on photographs or album pages when present. Any titles supplied by the archivist are enclosed in brackets. Image numbers were assigned by archivist at time of processing. Image numbers were assigned from left to right and top to bottom. Photographs are mounted on paper and were originally housed in a bound album. Original album was disbound prior to accession. Archivist maintained original order of photographs.
This finding aid was created by Amanda Strauss in March 2011. Updated in July 2014 by Kate Bowers.

Researcher Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Winthrop, Grenville Lindall, 1864-1943. Photograph album of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, approximately 1886. HUD 886.94, Harvard University Archives

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General Information by and about Beck Hall HUB 1200.2
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Biographical Note

Grenville Lindall Winthrop, lawyer and art collector, was born in New York, N.Y. on February 11, 1864. He received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1886 and his LL.B., a two year degree, from Harvard Law School in 1888. Winthrop resided in Beck Hall at Harvard from 1883 to 1886 and from 1887 to 1888 as both an undergraduate and a law student. In 1892, Winthrop married Mary Tallmadge Turner (d. Dec. 1, 1900) of Yonkers, N.Y; the couple had two children. He later became a member of the law firm Ludlow, Phillips & Winthrop. Winthrop was also a prolific art collector. In Forty Prints from Forty Friends, published in 1990 by the Harvard Alumni Association for its 150th anniversary, Winthrop is described as being one of the most important donors of art to Harvard. Upon his death on January 19, 1943 in Lenox, Mass., Winthrop bequeathed nearly 4,000 Asian, European, and American works of art to Harvard; many of these works are currently held by Harvard's Fogg Museum.

Historical Note

Beck Hall was one of Harvard's "Gold Coast" residence halls. It was a private dormitory that housed wealthy Harvard students from prominent families, including Theodore Roosevelt (Harvard class of 1909), son of President Roosevelt, J. P. Morgan (Harvard class of 1889), and John Jacob Astor IV (Harvard class of 1888). Among Beck Hall's noteworthy features were its elaborate furnishings and décor, which included high ceilings, chandeliers, marble mantles, ash trim, and oak paneling, as well as a 'steam heating apparatus.'
Never owned by Harvard, Beck Hall was nonetheless located close to the University on a trapezoidal lot formed of Harvard Street, Bow Street, and Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge (approximately 1201 Massachusetts Avenue). Built in 1876, Beck Hall, was known for a time as "Centennial Hall." It was originally owned by Mrs. Anna Möring, who was the daughter of Charles Beck (1798-1866), a professor of Latin at Harvard from 1832-1850. C. C. Stellman (Harvard class of 1898) was the last in a series of Harvard alumni to own Beck Hall. He died in 1927. In 1926, a year before Stellman's death, the Beck Hall Trust was created by a group of Harvard alumni in an attempt to retain Beck Hall's affiliation with the Harvard community. In 1930, despite the Trust's efforts, Beck Hall was sold at auction to James T. Thurman of Boston, a businessman in the wool industry. Beck Hall was later demolished, and a Gulf gasoline service station built in its place. As of 2011, the Inn at Harvard stands on the site.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of 117 cyanotypes taken ca. 1886 by Grenville Lindall Winthrop while he was a student at Harvard and living in Beck Hall. Taken at a variety of locations, including Beck Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Elberon, New Jersey; Dublin, New Hampshire; and Tivoli-on-the-Hudson, New York, these photographs illustrate student life at Harvard in the late nineteenth century. Some of the photographs were most likely taken outside of the Porcellian Club, of which Winthrop was a member; several of these images depict George Washington Lewis, African-American steward of the Club from 1876-1921. Also depicted are upper-class family life, nature scenes, and sporting activities including tennis and Fives. Fives is a type of hand-tennis that originated in Great Britain; a Fives court was built on Holmes Field at Harvard University in 1889.
The photographs are mounted on paper and were originally housed in a bound album. Photographs are housed in Mylar sleeves.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 August 10.

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