Hale Family

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Note: Detailed biographical sketches of many Hale family members are available in standard reference works such as the American National Biography (ANB), Dictionary of American Biography (DAB), Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB), and Notable American Women (NAW). Please consult these sources (as referenced below) for further information.

Hale Family group at Matunuck, 1890s [left to right: Emily (Perkins) Hale, Ellen Day Hale?, ?, ?, Edward Everett Hale, Camilla (Conner) Hale?, Herbert Dudley Hale]

Generation I : Enoch and Octavia (Throop) Hale

The Hale family as represented in this collection begins with the Rev. Enoch Hale (1753-1837) and his wife Octavia Throop (1754-1839). Enoch was born and raised in Coventry, Connecticut. He earned a degree from Yale in 1773 and taught while studying to be a preacher. He was the Congregational minister in rural Westhampton, Massachusetts, from 1778 until his death in 1837. From 1804 to 1824, Enoch was secretary of the General Association of Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts. He was also secretary of the Hampshire Missionary Society for a number of years. He was the brother of Nathan Hale (1755-76) who was hanged as a spy by the British.

Enoch married Octavia Throop in 1781. They had eight children: Sally, Nathan, Melissa, Octavia, Enoch (see DAB), Richard, Betsey, and Sybella. Of these, Nathan (1784-1863), here known as Nathan, Sr., is the best represented in the papers.

Generation II : Children of Enoch and Octavia (Throop) Hale

Nathan Hale, Sr. (1784-1863, see also DAB) was raised in Westhampton, Massachusetts, earned an A.B. from Williams College in 1804, and briefly taught mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy. He moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1808 where he studied law privately and opened a law office around 1810. His career as a journalist began when he was asked to edit the Boston Weekly Messenger. In 1814 he purchased the Boston Daily Advertiser, the first daily newspaper in Boston. In 1816 he married Sarah Preston Everett. He was also a book publisher and experimental printer. Considered somewhat of a fanatic about railroads, Nathan, Sr., worked tirelessly to help establish the Boston and Worcester Rail Road and served as its first president from 1831 to 1849. He was also a civil engineer who served on the Boston Water Commission in the 1840s and early 1850s.

The Daily, as it was known by the Hales, was truly a family business with Nathan's spouse and children all contributing to its pages. It was Boston's first daily newspaper and one of the earliest American papers to regularly feature editorial articles. The family lived at the center of the Boston social and political scene in a series of houses near the Boston Common. The Daily offices generally occupied the ground floor and the family lived above. Nathan Hale retired from active control of the Daily in 1854. In 1857, financial losses connected with Nathan's involvement with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company forced a move to a smaller house in Brookline. He died there in 1863.

Sarah Preston (Everett) Hale (1796-1866) was the daughter of Oliver Everett, minister of New South Church in Boston. After the death of her father when she was six, Sarah's brothers, editor and diplomat Alexander Hill Everett (see DAB) and clergyman and orator Edward Everett (see DAB), took charge of her education. In his book Memories of a Hundred Years, Sarah's son Edward Everett Hale wrote, "so little had schools to do with [her] education, that I cannot...name any of her school teachers." At age twelve, she was introduced by her brother Alexander to his friend and fellow teacher at Exeter Academy, Nathan Hale, Sr. They married in 1816. A regular contributor to her husband's newspaper the Boston Daily Advertiser, Sarah P.E. Hale wrote book reviews and was its French editor. Edward Everett Hale remembered "seeing his mother rock the cradle in which reposed his sister...while [Daniel] Webster and Judge Story dictated to her speeches that were to appear in her husband's paper." She also wrote juvenile biographies of Spanish explorers for the School Library and several other books and stories for children (Well Bred Girl, Well Bred Boy, Childs Token).

She and Nathan, Sr. had eleven children of whom four died in childhood, and two, Sarah and Alexander, died as young adults. According to their son Edward Everett Hale, Nathan, Sr., and Sarah "had decided and advanced views on education." In his memoir A New England Boyhood, Edward Everett Hale describes his father, Nathan, Sr., as "one of the best teachers I ever knew" and says his mother, Sarah Preston (Everett) Hale, "had a genius for education." "Their genius made home the happiest place of all with an infinite variety of amusements...almost everything wanted for purposes of manufacture or invention." Because of their father's position as editor of the Daily, the family received copies of most of the books published in America and tickets to most of the concerts, lectures, and events in Boston. All of this wealth of experience was made available to the children and this highly enriched home environment produced a truly remarkable brood. "To write a book for one of the Hales, was as natural as to breathe:…[they] were all authors by instinct," wrote Van Wyck Brooks in his The Flowering of New England, 1815-1865.

Generation III : Children of Nathan, Sr., and Sarah Preston (Everett) Hale

Nathan Sr., and Sarah Hale's children naturally divided into two groups by age. The older four, Sarah, Nathan, Jr., Lucretia, and Edward, known as "We Four," attended school together until the boys were old enough to go to Boston Latin School, and did many things as a unit.

Sarah Everett Hale (1817-51) was educated at Miss Susan Whitney's School and most probably joined her sister Lucretia at the schools of Elizabeth Peabody and George B. Emerson. She died in 1851 at age 34 after a long illness.

Nathan Hale, Jr. (1818-71) was educated at Miss Susan Whitney's School, continued to Boston Latin, and then to the newly founded English High School in 1829. He went on to Harvard College where he earned an A.B. in 1838, then studied law there, graduating in 1841. From 1842 to 1869 he carried on the family business as co-editor of the Daily and also edited Boston Miscellany. From 1869 until his death in 1871, he taught Mental and Moral Philosophy at Union College. He also edited Old and New with his brother Edward.

Lucretia Peabody Hale (1820-1900, see ANB, DAB, DLB, NAW) was educated at the schools of Susan Whitney, Elizabeth Peabody, and George B. Emerson where she earned the equivalent of a B.A. Like her sisters, Lucretia lived at home until their parents' deaths in the 1860s. Her first published work was a religious novel, Margaret Percival in America (1850), co-written with her brother Edward. As a response to the family's financial problems in the 1850s, Lucretia began writing for a variety of magazines, publishing stories and articles in the Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, Our Young Folks, and its successor St. Nicholas, as well as a novel Struggle for Life (1861), and two anthologies of devotional readings. Her most famous and popular creation was a set of stories about the Peterkins, a hapless family forced to turn to the wise "Lady from Philadelphia" for solutions to a variety of domestic mishaps. These stories were collected as The Peterkin Papers in 1880. Lucretia helped edit her brother Edward's journal Old and New and published a series of books on games (Faggots for the Fireside), sewing, and embroidery for children. In 1874 she was among the first women elected to the Boston School Committee, serving two terms in 1875 and 1876.

Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909, see ANB, DAB, DLB) went to Miss Susan Whitney's school with his brother and sisters beginning, at his request, at age two. He studied there until he could enter Boston Latin at age nine. From there he matriculated to Harvard College at age thirteen. After graduating in 1839, Edward taught Latin at Boston Latin then worked as legislative reporter for the Daily. He studied privately for the ministry and was licensed to preach in 1842. He was minister of the Congregationalist Church of the Unity in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1846 to 1856, then moved to South Congregational Church in Boston where he was minister until 1899. He married Emily Baldwin Perkins in 1852.

Perhaps best known for the story "The Man Without a Country" (1863), Edward was a prolific writer with broad interests. He published works in a wide variety of genres from fiction to history to biography to memoir. Edward used his writings and the two magazines he founded, Old and New (1870-75) and Lend a Hand (1886-97), to advocate for a variety of causes including the abolition of slavery, religious tolerance, education reform, and positive social action. He was made chaplain of the U.S. Senate in 1903, a position he held until 1909.

Edward Everett Hale was the only one of Nathan, Sr. and Sarah Preston (Everett) Hale's children to marry. His wife was Emily Baldwin Perkins (1829-1914) of Hartford, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Thomas Clap Perkins and Mary Foote Beecher and niece of Catharine Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Isabella Beecher Hooker.

The younger children of Nathan, Sr. and Sarah Preston (Everett) Hale, were known as the "Three Little Ones." Like "We Four," they did many things as a unit.

Alexander Hale (1829-50), known as "Elly," graduated from Harvard in 1848, then went to work as a civil engineer at the navy yard in Pensacola, Florida. He drowned there while attempting to rescue the crew of a ship in a storm on September 23, 1850.

Charles Hale (1831-82, see DAB) attended Boston Latin School and Harvard, graduating in 1850. He worked on-and-off at the Daily Advertiser between 1850 and 1865. In 1852 he founded Today: A Boston Literary Journal which failed after one year. In 1855 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was chosen speaker in 1859. Ill health forced his resignation in 1861 and he spent much of the next few years traveling. Following the death of his friend William S. Thayer in 1864, Charles was offered Thayer's post, consul-general in Cairo, Egypt. During his years as consul-general, Charles maintained close ties with the Egyptian government and played an active role in the replacement of consular courts with the more professional and impartial mixed courts. From the time of his appointment, Charles was the subject of charges and suits brought by Francis Dainese, the man who had held the position of consul-general on a temporary basis before Charles. Though no allegations against him were proved, Dainese created enough controversy over the years that Charles was asked to resign in 1870.

After returning to the U.S. in 1871, Charles was elected to the Massachusetts Senate and in 1872 he became Assistant Secretary of State. Charles returned to Boston after two years and was again elected to the state House of Representatives in 1876 and 1877. Declining mental and physical health, probably the result of syphilis, led to his eventual institutionalization. He died in 1882.

Susan Hale (1833-1910, see ANB, DLB, NAW) was primarily educated at home by her mother and siblings. Susan lived at home until her parents' deaths in the 1860s. Like her sister Lucretia, Susan contributed to the family's resources beginning in the 1850s. She gave classes for children in the family's home and reviewed books for the Daily. After the death of their mother, she and Lucretia traveled abroad. In 1872, she studied painting in Paris and Weimar, Germany. Upon returning to Boston, she took rooms and gave classes in watercolor painting at the Boston Art Club. In addition to teaching, Susan wrote articles for Boston newspapers, including regular columns about art, artists, theater, her travels, and a sort of weekly report called "Susan Hale's Chit-Chat" for the Boston Globe in the 1880s. She also "developed a specialty" of editing literary collections published as fundraisers for a variety of causes.

A brilliant and delightful personality, Susan developed a very popular series of two-week courses on fiction in which she lectured about, and read from, a variety of eighteenth-century English novelists (many of them women). In the 1880s and 90s, she became a literary celebrity, traveling the country giving her courses for charity. In the 1880s, she collaborated with Edward Everett Hale on the Family Flight series of travel books for young readers. She also published Self-Instructive Lessons in Painting with Oil and Water-Colors (1885) and several other books. While winters were spent traveling, Susan settled into Edward's summer house in Matunuck, Rhode Island, as a permanent summer home beginning in 1885. Here she hosted a wide variety of guests making "a delightful mecca for her young friends." She died at Matunuck in 1910. A volume of her collected letters was published posthumously.

Generation IV : Children of Edward Everett and Emily (Perkins) Hale

Edward and Emily had one daughter and eight sons of whom three (Alexander, Charles Alexander, and Henry Kidder) died in childhood. A fourth, Robert Beverly Hale, died as a young adult.

Ellen Day Hale (1854-1939, see ANB), known as "Nelly," was an artist and art teacher. As the unmarried only daughter and eldest child in a large family with an often-ill mother, Ellen Day Hale spent a good portion of her time in household duties and family responsibilities. Nevertheless, she pursued a career as a professional artist and traveled, studied, and exhibited extensively. Ellen's first art lessons were probably given by her aunt Susan Hale. As a young woman, Ellen studied in Boston with William Rimmer, William Morris Hunt, and Helen Knowlton. She opened a portrait studio in 1877, took private students, assisted Knowlton and Rimmer, and taught at private grammar schools. In the early 1880s, she studied in Paris with Emile Carolus-Duran, Jean-Jacques Henner, and at the Academie Julian with Bougereau and Tony Robert-Fleury.

Until the death of her father in 1909, Ellen's home-base was her parents' house in Roxbury, Massachusetts, though she spent extended periods traveling in Europe and all over the U.S. In 1883, on a visit to Philadelphia, Ellen met artist Gabrielle Clements, with whom Ellen made a home after the death of Emily Hale. In 1893, Clements bought a summer house in Folly Cove on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, an area popular among artists. Gabrielle, Ellen and their mothers spent a good portion of most summers at Folly Cove. At this popular summer colony Ellen and Gabrielle shared models and techniques with other artists staying nearby. Ellen Day Hale built her own house there in 1912. Ellen and Gabrielle traveled extensively, usually to Europe, in the winter and returned to Folly Cove each summer. They made art until they became too frail to continue. Ellen Day Hale died in a nursing home in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1939.

Arthur Hale (1859-1939) worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and the American Railway Association. In 1899 he married Camilla Conner of Maryland. They had one daughter, Sybil.

Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931, see ANB) was an artist, writer, art historian, and art teacher. Educated at Boston Latin and Roxbury Latin Schools, Philip passed the entrance examination for Harvard, thus earning his father's permission to instead attend art school. He studied at the Boston Museum School in 1883 and then at the Art Students League in New York beginning in 1884. He went to Paris to study in the later 1880s and early 1890s returning for periods to Boston. In 1893, he was hired to teach drawing at the Boston Museum School, a position he held until his death. He taught drawing and lectured on art history and also gave private lessons. In addition to the Museum School, Philip gave classes at the Worcester Art Museum (1898-1910), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1913-28), and Boston University (1926-28).

Philip Hale was also a writer. In the 1890s he wrote about the art scene in Paris for various magazines and newspapers. From 1905-09 he was art critic for the Boston Herald and contributed occasional articles to other Boston papers. His Jan Vermeer of Delft (1913) was the first American book about Vermeer. Philip Hale died as the result of a ruptured appendix in 1931.

Philip Hale met his wife Lilian Clarke Westcott (1881-1963, see ANB) in 1901 at the Hartford, Connecticut, home of her uncle Charles Perkins. She was the daughter of businessman Edward Gardner Westcott and piano teacher Harriet Clarke. Lilian studied at the Hartford Art School (1897-1900) then won a scholarship to attend the Boston Museum School (1900-04). She married Philip Hale halfway through the course. Lilian's first solo show was in 1908, also the year of the birth of the Hales' only child, Anna Westcott Hale (1908-88, see ANB), known as "Nancy" (see Nancy Hale Papers ).

Lilian made portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, exhibiting often through the 1920s. Philip Hale's sudden death in 1931 interrupted a period of intense activity. When she was able to return to making art, Lilian felt that her work "was out of step with the times." Still, she continued to produce. In 1953, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, to be closer to her daughter. She died while on a visit to her sister in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1963.

Edward Everett Hale, Jr. (1863-1932) known as "Jack" received an AB from Harvard in 1883 and a PhD from the University in Halle, Germany, in 1892. He taught English at Cornell University (1886-90) and the University of Iowa (1892-95), before settling into a long tenure at Union College in 1895. He was the author of Constructive Rhetoric (1896), Lowell (1899), Dramatists of Today (1905), Seward (1910), and Life and Letters of Edward Everett Hale (1917). He married Rose Postlethwaite Perkins in 1893. They had three sons: Maurice Perkins, Nathan, and Thomas Shaw Hale.

Herbert Dudley Hale (1866-1908) received an AB from Harvard in 1888 then went to study architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He established the firm Hale and Rogers which had offices in New York City and Chicago. He married Margaret Curzon Marquand, known as Greta, in 1892. They had six children: Russell, Margaret, Herbert Dudley, Jr., Robert Beverly, Edward Everett III, and Laura. Herbert died at age 42 in 1908.

Robert Beverly Hale (1869-95) was educated at Roxbury Latin School and Harvard College (AB, 1892). He wrote verses, stories, and articles which were published in a variety of magazines including Atlantic Monthly, Godey's, Harper's Weekly, and Youth's Companion. Elsie and Other Poems was published in 1894. He died October 6, 1895 after a short illness. A collection of his writings and drawings, Six Stories and Some Verses, was published posthumously.

From the guide to the Hale Family Papers MS 71., 1787-1988, (Sophia Smith Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hale Family Papers MS 71., 1787-1988 Sophia Smith Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Daily Advertiser corporateBody
correspondedWith Everett, Alexander Hill, 1790-1847 person
correspondedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Everett family family
associatedWith Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn, 1810-1865 person
correspondedWith Hale, Alexander, 1829-1850 person
correspondedWith Hale, Arthur, 1859-1939 person
associatedWith Hale, Charles, 1831-1882 person
associatedWith Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909 person
associatedWith Hale, Edward Everett, 1863-1932 person
associatedWith Hale, Ellen Day, 1855-1940 person
associatedWith Hale, Enoch, 1753-1837 person
associatedWith Hale, Herbert Dudley, 1866-1908 person
associatedWith Hale, Lilian Westcott, 1880-1963 person
associatedWith Hale, Lucretia P. (Lucretia Peabody), 1820-1900 person
associatedWith Hale, Nancy, 1908- person
associatedWith Hale, Nathan, 1755-1776 person
associatedWith Hale, Nathan, 1818-71 person
associatedWith Hale, Philip Leslie, 1865-1931 person
associatedWith Hale, Robert Beverly, 1869-1895 person
associatedWith Hale, Sarah Everett, 1817-1851 person
associatedWith Hale, Sarah Preston Everett, 1796-1866 person
associatedWith Hale, Susan, 1833-1910 person
correspondedWith Hunt, William Morris, 1824-1879 person
associatedWith Lee Arms Company (Hartford, Conn.) corporateBody
associatedWith Old and new (Boston, Mass.: 1870) corporateBody
associatedWith Westcott, Edward Gardner person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Boston (Mass.)
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md. and Washington, D.C.)
Authors, American--History--19th century--Sources
Artists, American--History--Sources
Diplomats--Egypt--History--19th century--Sources
Old and new (Boston, Mass.: 1870)--History--Sources
Family--United States--History--Sources
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md. and Washington, D.C.)--History--Sources
Clergy--United States--History--Sources
Art--Study and teaching--United States--History--Sources
Children's writings, American--19th century
American wit and humor--Women authors--19th century--Sources


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