259 Marlborough was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built in 1884-1885 by M. C. Grant, mason, and William Wood, carpenter, as the home of Dr. James Clarke White, a physician and professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, and his wife, Martha Anna (Ellis) White. They previously had lived at 10 Park Square.
In April of 1884, Martha Anna White purchased a 6 inch strip of land from William Simes, owner of 257 Marlborough, probably representing the western half of the existing party wall between the two properties. Martha White is shown as the owner of 259 Marlborough on the 1888 Bromley map.
The Whites’ three sons — McDonald Ellis White, Charles James White, and Perrin Ellis White — lived with them.
Martha White died in July of 1888. James White continued to live (and maintain his medical office) at 259 Marlborough. He is shown as the owner on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1912 Bromley maps.
McDonald and Charles White continued to live at 259 Marlborough with their father. Perrin White appears to have moved in the mid-1880s. He married in October of 1890 to Caroline Louise Chapman; after their marriage, they lived in Riverside, California.
Charles White married in June of 1893 to Olivia Alger Richardson. After their marriage, they lived at 259 Marlborough with his father. Like his father, Charles White was a physician specializing in dermatology and later a professor at Harvard Medical School; he maintained his office at 259 Marlborough.
McDonald White married in January of 1895 to Elizabeth Frothingham (Safford) Hobbs, the widow of Marland Cogswell Hobbs. McDonald White was a manager with Houghton, Mifflin & Company, publishers. After their marriage, they lived in Salem.
James White died in January of 1916. Charles and Olivia White continued to live at 259 Marlborough. They also maintained a summer home at Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset.
Charles and Olivia White’s three children — James Clarke White, Ellen (Nell) Phelps White, and Richardson White — lived with them.
James White married in July of 1917 to Camilla Leonard Morgan. They lived at 259 Marlborough with his parents while he served in the US Navy; by 1920 they had moved to 39 Chestnut. He would become a neurologist and Chief of Neurological Services at Massachusetts General Hospital. Richardson White married in September of 1928 to Cornelia Hallowell and they moved to Brookline. He was a sculptor, noted for his bronze horse statues, and later lived at and oversaw the family’s Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset. Ellen White married in July of 1929 to Charles Codman Cabot, a lawyer, and they moved to Brookline.
Olivia White’s mother, Ellen (Phelps) Richardson, the widow of Thomas Francis Richardson, Jr., lived with them from the early 1920s. She died in January of 1926.
Olivia White died in January of 1956. Charles White continued to live at 259 Marlborough until his death in March of 1964.
In March of 1969, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 259 Marlborough from a single-family dwelling into seven apartments. In July of 1969, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to cut an opening on the fourth floor between 261 and 259 Marlborough to provide access to the elevator at 259 Marlborough.
In May of 1985, John T. Giles purchased 259 and 261 Marlborough from Pierre de Bourgknecht. He purchased 259 Marlborough as trustee of the C. D. C. Pension Realty Trust, and 261 Marlborough as trustee of the 261 Capitol Realty Trust. In July of 1985, Pierre de Bourgknecht sold 257 Marlborough to another purchaser.
On the same day as he purchased 259 and 261 Marlborough, John Giles sold 259 Marlborough to Jerome T. Missel, trustee of the 259 Marlborough Street Realty Trust. He retained 261 Marlborough.
In February of 1986, Jerome Missel converted 259 Marlborough into seven condominium units, the 259 Marlborough St. Condominium. That same month, Jerome Missel’s wife, Margaret M. (Peggy) Huddleston, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct a fifth floor addition by enclosing the existing roof deck and skylight.