140 Marlborough was built in 1872-1873 by John Fisher Farrington, a carpenter and builder, for speculative sale, one of five contiguous houses (140-142-144-146-148 Marlborough). He had built three contiguous houses in 1871-1872 at 132-134-136 Marlborough. 138 Marlborough was a vacant lot until 1891.
The five houses at 140-148 Marlborough were built on a 121 foot wide parcel that John Farrington acquired in three transactions: a 58 foot wide lot to the east on July 29, 1872, from Francis E. Parker; a 25 foot lot to the west on November 2, 1872, from Louisa (Bronson) Hunnewell, the wife of Hollis Hunnewell; and a 38 foot wide lot between the other two on April 15, 1873, from Joseph Washington Clark.
The land had been held by several owners. It originally was part of six lots purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: a 24 foot lot to the east purchased on April 11, 1864, by Robert R. Bishop, three 24 foot lots in the middle purchased on April 17, 1864, by George Putnam, Jr., and two 24 foot lots to the west purchased on March 30, 1865, and April 6, 1865, by Peleg Whitman Chandler. On April 8, 1865, Peleg Chandler purchased a third lot, with a 30 foot frontage running to the corner of Marlborough and Dartmouth, and on April 3, 1869, he sold all three of his lots to Louisa Hunnewell. Hollis and Louisa Hunnewell built their home at 315 Dartmouth on the western 53 feet and sold the remaining 25 feet to John Farrington.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 140 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 424, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
On December 20, 1873, 140 Marlborough was purchased from John Farrington by attorney Alexander Strong Wheeler. He and his wife, Augusta (Hurd) Wheeler, lived at 72 Marlborough.
On February 3, 1874, 140 Marlborough was purchased from Alexander Wheeler by importer, dry goods merchant, and real estate investor James Lovell Little. He and his wife, Julia Augusta (Cook) Little, lived at 2 Commonwealth. He purchased 140 Marlborough as trustee for his daughter-in-law, Mary Robbins (Revere) Little, the wife of his son, James Lovell Little, Jr. They had married in January of 1874 and 140 Marlborough became their home. He was a dry goods merchant in his father’s firm.
When he sold 140 Marlborough to Alexander Wheeler, John Farrington retained the eastern 6 inches of the lot, with half of the party wall on it, presumably on the assumption that he would sell it to whoever built a house on the still-vacant lot at 138 Marlborough. However, on April 11, 1874, he sold the strip of land to James L Little. The eastern wall of 140 Marlborough had not been placed so that the boundary line between 138 and 140 Marlborough ran precisely down the middle of the 12 inch thick wall. Accordingly, on February 21, 1891, when builder George Nason was planning to construct a four unit apartment house at 138 Marlborough, James L. Little, Jr., sold him a portion of the 6” strip with a 0.35 foot frontage on Marlborough and a 0.45 foot frontage on the alley, and then entered into a party wall agreement with him governing the wall.
James and Mary Little continued to live at 140 Marlborough in 1878, but moved thereafter to Brookline. 140 Marlborough continued to be owned by James L. Little, Sr., as trustee for Mary (Revere) Little, and leased to others.
140 Marlborough was not listed in the 1879 Blue Book.
By the 1879-1880 winter season, 140 Marlborough was the home of Horatio Greenough Curtis and his wife, Annie Neilson (Winthrop) Curtis. They previously had lived at 80 Marlborough.
Horatio Curtis was a shipping merchant in the Calcutta trade and later a sugar refiner. By 1885, he was agent for the Pacific Guano Company, and from 1891 to 1916, he was president of the Old Boston National Bank.
The Curtises continued to live at 140 Marlborough during the 1881-1882 season, but moved thereafter to a new home they had built at 179 Marlborough.
By the 1882-1883 winter season, 140 Marlborough was the home of cotton mill treasurer Samuel Leonard Bush and his wife, Emeline (Emma) Bicknell (Franklin) Bush. They had lived at 80 Marlborough during the previous season.
Living with them were their unmarried children — Samuel Dacre Bush, Emma T. Bush, and Mary L. Bush — and Emma (Franklin) Bush’s unmarried brother, Daniel B. Franklin. Also living with them were Samuel Bush’s nieces, Annie Deblois Bush and Sallie Bush, the daughters of his deceased brother, James Phillips Bush. Before their father’s death in May of 1880, they had lived with him in Roxbury and, prior to that, at 407 Beacon.
Samuel Bush died in April of 1884. Emma Bush continued to live at 140 Marlborough with their children, her brother, and his nieces.
In February of 1885, Annie Deblois Bush married to Capt. Henry Walker, commander of the Cunard Company’s SS Cephalonia. After their marriage, they lived in England. Annie (Bush) Walker’s sister, Sallie, may have moved with her to England.
By the 1885-1886 winter season, Emma Bush, her children, and her brother had moved to a new house they had built at 283 Beacon.
After the Bush family moved, James L. Little, Sr., converted 140 Marlborough into a multiple dwelling. He continued to own the property as trustee for his daughter-in-law, Mary (Revere) Little, until January 21, 1886, when he transferred the property to James, Jr., as trustee for his wife.
In September of 1885, real estate dealer John Jeffries & Sons advertised in the Boston Journal offering the house “with the exception of the second story” for lease “at a low rental for a quiet family, lease can include carpets, if desired.” In October of 1885, the firm offered “single rooms or suites to let, furnished or unfurnished at 140 Marlborough Street.”
The second story of 140 Marlborough had been leased to Edmund Hamilton Sears, Jr., where he lived and operated a “day school for young ladies.” He previously had lived briefly at 78 Marlborough and before that in California, where he was an instructor of Latin and Greek at the University of California in Berkeley. He remained at 140 Marlborough through the Spring of 1888. In June of 1888, he purchased 233 Marlborough, where he moved his residence and the school.
By 1888, 140 Marlborough had become a lodging house operated by Miss Delia Murphy and a kindergarten school operated by Miss Edith Annie Fiske. Miss Fiske lived at 140 Marlborough and in Milton with her parents, Francis Skinner FIske and Anne Farnsworth (Wilson) Fiske.
In his biography of Noble Laureate Dr. George Richards Minot, The Inquisitive Physician, Francis M. Rackemann comments that Dr. Minot attended Fiske School from the age of six (ca. 1891-1892), and describes Miss Fiske as “an energetic, able woman of strong character, who each year introduced a new group of little boys and girls into the mysteries of the three R’s.” He indicates that the school was “in a private home on Dartmouth Street,” which appears to be an error, inasmuch as as the school was located at 140 Marlborough (near Dartmouth).
Among the lodgers at 140 Marlborough was Dr. Walter Lincoln Burrage, a gynecologist, who lived there from about 1890. He previously had lived in New York City, where he had been a member of the staff at the Woman’s Hospital. By the 1892-1893 winter season, he had been joined by Dr. John Lovett Morse, a pediatrician, who lived and maintained his office at the house. He previously had lived at 8 Joy. Walter Burrage married in October of 1894 to Sally Swan. After their marriage, they moved to 317 Marlborough and Dr. Morse moved with them.
The lodgers at 140 Marlborough also included US Navy Lieutenant-Commander Joseph Giles Eaton, whom the Boston Globe reported on November 27, 1890, had “taken a residence at 140 Marlborough” with his family. He was Naval inspector of ordnance at the South Boston Iron Works. He and his wife, Annie M. (Varnum) Eaton, probably only lodged at 140 Marlborough briefly, inasmuch as he was reassigned at about that time to be inspector of steel at the Nashua Steel Works. He later served in the Spanish-American war and retired in 1905 as a Rear Admiral. Annie Eaton died in February of 1906 and he remarried in July of 1906 to Jennie May (Harrison) Ainsworth, the former wife of Daniel Henry Ainsworth. In March of 1913, Joseph Eaton died in Norwall of arsenical poisoning. Jennie Eaton was accused of his murder but was acquitted after a grand jury trial. In June of 1914, she re-married Daniel Ainsworth.
Also briefly among the lodgers was Harriet Mulford (Stone) Lothrop, the widow of publisher Daniel Lothrop, who lived at 140 Marlborough in 1894. She was an author of children’s books (notably the “Five Little Peppers” series), writing under the name Margaret Sidney. She had lived at the Copley Square Hotel (northeast corner of Huntington and Exeter) the previous year. Her primary residence was Wayside in Concord, once the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which she made her year-round home in 1895.
At various times the late 1880s and 1890s, Delia Murphy also rented rooms to a number of teachers, who taught their pupils at the house, Among them were Harold B. Warren, who gave lessons in drawing and watercolors, Paul L. Guerin, who taught French, Miss Ida Herdt, who taught German, and Miss Adele Lewing, who taught piano.
Edith Fiske continued to operate her school at 140 Marlborough until 1904. She had married in June of 1900 to Dr. Edward Hickling Bradford, a physician and surgeon who later would become Dean of the Harvard Medical School. After their marriage, they lived at 218 Beacon with his mother, Eliza Edes (Hickling) Bradford, the widow of Charles Frederick Bradford.
Delia Murphy continued to live at 140 Marlborough during the 1903-1904 winter season but moved thereafter to the Hotel Argyle at 394 Massachusetts Avenue.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, 140 Marlborough had become the home of Miss Janet (Jeannette) W. Forbes and Miss Caroline Hooper Fabens.
Miss Forbes operated the lodging house at 140 Marlborough. She previously had lived at 79 Charles.
Miss Fabens acquired the Fiske School from Edith (Fiske) Bradford and operated it with Miss Ada Dana. Miss Fabens lived at 140 Marlborough and in Marblehead; Miss Dana lived in Newton.
By 1925, the Fiske School had grown to have four teachers (all of whom lived elsewhere) plus Caroline Fabens, who was listed as principal (Miss Dana no longer was affiliated with the school). The Fiske school is described in the 1926 Handbook of American Private Schools as “a day school for boys and girls from the first grade to the ninth…the Winnetka method of individual instruction is used.”
James L. Little, Jr., and Mary (Revere) Little both died in August of 1914, one day apart. 140 Marlborough was inherited by their three children, James Lovell Little, III, Laura Revere Little, and Clarence Cook Little. On March 17, 1917, Laura and Clarence Little transferred their interests in the property to their brother, James.
On May 7, 1921, Caroline Fabens acquired 140 Marlborough from James Lovell Little, III.
Janet Forbes continued to live at 140 Marlborough and operate it as a lodging house until about 1929. She had moved to Cambridge by 1930 and died in July of that year.
Caroline Fabens continued to live at 140 Marlborough and in Marlblehead until about 1930, operating the Fiske School.
By September of 1930, Caroline Fabens had leased 140 Marlborough to the Katharine Gibbs School as a dormitory, and had made Marblehead her year-round home.
The house was not listed in the 1932-1934 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1932 and 1933 City Directories.
In August of 1933, Caroline Fabens applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from single-family dwelling to four apartments (3 single units and 1 duplex). It appears that the fourth story was expanded at this time (140 Marlborough is shown as 3-1/2 stories plus a basement on the 1928 Bromley map and as 4 stories plus a basement on the 1938 map).
Caroline Fabens died in April of 1951.
On October 14, 1953, 140 Marlborough was acquired from Caroline Fabens’s estate by Alice B. (Hicks) Runge, the wife of Dr. Paul Martin Runge, a physician. They lived in Randolph.
On August 31, 1966, 140 Marlborough was acquired from Alice Runge by Lenk Properties, Inc. (Richard Van Siclen Lenk, president).
On August 31, 1967, 140 Marlborough was purchased from Lenk Properties, Inc., by publisher Paul Edwin Prindle and his wife, Susan (Dwight) Prindle. They previously had lived at 44 West Cedar. They continued to maintain it as a four-family residence.
Paul Prindle died in April of 2000. After his death, Susan Prindle continued to live at 140 Marlborough.
On December 3, 2007, Susan Prindle transferred ownership to the 140 Marlborough Street LLC, and on December 6, 2008, the 140 Marlborough Street LLC transferred the property to Susan Prindle and her son, Carl Prindle, as trustees of the 140 Marlborough Street Realty Trust.
On January 11, 2012, they converted the property into two condominium units, the 140 Marlborough Street Condominium.