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HLB was born Helen Lawrence Appleton in 1846 in Roxbury, Mass., the youngest of three daughters of Catherine (Lawrence) Appleton and Charles Appleton. Her mother died shortly after her birth; HLB also had four half-sisters, the daughters of CA and his second wife, Mary Grace Parks. In 1873, HLB married Francis T. Washburn (1843-1873), a Unitarian minister; they had one daughter, Frances Washburn. FTW died three days before their first anniversary, and the child died in 1880. That same year, HLB married John Graham Brooks (1846-1938), also a Unitarian minister and later first president of the National Consumers' League. In 1882-1885 and again in 1891-1893, HLB lived and traveled in Europe, where JGB was studying. In 1895, the Brookses moved into their house at 8 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, where they lived until their deaths. The family traveled to Europe again in 1898 and in 1908, and took several U.S. trips as well. They vacationed in South Orleans, Mass. and in Jackson, N.H. HLB had three sons from her second marriage. Lawrence Brooks (1881-1981) graduated from Harvard in 1902 and earned his law degree there in 1905. He married Susan Morris Hallowell, Radcliffe '05, in 1912. HLB's other sons both died early: Charles Brooks as a baby in 1889, and Guy at the age of 13 in 1900. HLB was active in a number of voluntary activities, notably the Mothers' Club of Cambridge, with which she helped found vacation schools and school playgrounds, both of which were eventually taken over by the City of Cambridge. She also assisted JGB with his writings.

From the guide to the Papers, 1822-1985, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Papers, 1822-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Agassiz, Elizabeth person
associatedWith Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot (Cary), 1822-1907 person
correspondedWith Alice (Gibbens) James person
associatedWith Alliance of Unity Churches corporateBody
associatedWith Brooks, John Graham, 1846-1938 person
associatedWith Brooks, Lawrence Graham, 1881-1981 person
associatedWith Brooks, Susan Morris (Hallowell) person
associatedWith Cambridge Latin School corporateBody
associatedWith Catherine Appleton (Katy, Katie) person
associatedWith Catherine Lawrence person
associatedWith Charles Brooks person
associatedWith Consumers' League of Massachusetts corporateBody
associatedWith Crothers, Samuel McChord, 1857-1927 person
correspondedWith Eliot, Charles person
associatedWith Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926 person
associatedWith Elizabeth Appleton Ware (Lizzie) person
correspondedWith Fran Lincoln person
correspondedWith Gertrude Lincoln person
associatedWith Greenleaf, Richard person
associatedWith Guy Brooks person
associatedWith Hallowell, Sarah Wharton (Haydock), 1846-1935 person
associatedWith James, Alice Howe (Gibbens) person
associatedWith James, Henry, 1811-1882 person
associatedWith James, William, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Kate Miles person
associatedWith Mary Grace Parks Appleton person
associatedWith Miles family family
associatedWith Mothers' Club of Cambridge corporateBody
associatedWith Norton, Grace, 1834-1926 person
correspondedWith Riehl, Sofie person
associatedWith Royce, Josiah, 1855-1916 person
correspondedWith Samuel Crothers person
associatedWith Sarah Hallowell person
correspondedWith Sturge, Sophia person
associatedWith Sturge, Sophia, 1849-1936 person
associatedWith Tyler family family
associatedWith Washburn family family
associatedWith Washburn, Francis Tucker, 1843-1873 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cambridge, Mass.
Family records


Birth 1846

Death 1938

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Ark ID: w6721h08

SNAC ID: 12294358