277 Dartmouth (147 Newbury) is located on the NE corner of Dartmouth and Newbury, with 279 Dartmouth to the north, 265-273 Dartmouth to the south, across Newbury, 143 Newbury to the east, and 278 Dartmouth (149 Newbury) to the west, across Dartmouth.
277 Dartmouth was designed by architect J. Pickering Putnam and built ca. 1878 for his mother, Mrs. Harriet (Upham) Putnam, the widow of John Pickering Putnam. He and his sister, Sarah Gooll Putnam, a portrait artist and watercolorist, lived with her. They all previously had lived at 78 Marlborough. Harriet Putnam also maintained a home in Nahant.
Harriet Putnam is shown as the owner of 277 Dartmouth on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps.
J. Pickering Putnam married in June of 1885 to Grace Cornelia Stevens. After their marriage, they lived at the Hotel Berkeley (southeast corner of Berkeley and Boylston).
By 1900, and probably before, Harriet Putnam had been joined at 277 Dartmouth by her daughter, Mrs. Mary Upham (Putnam) Fearing. Mary Fearing was living apart from her husband, retired stockbroker Charles Frederick Fearing, who traveled extensively. He died in April of 1901.
Harriet Putnam died in May of 1905. Following their mother’s death, Mary Fearing and Sarah Putnam traveled abroad. By 1909, they were living at The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon with their brother and sister-in-law, J. Pickering and Grace Cornelia Putnam (he had designed The Charlesgate and was one of its owners). By 1911, Mary Fearing and Sarah Putnam had moved to 333 Beacon.
277 Dartmouth was not listed in the 1906 Blue Book. The Heirs of Harriet U. Putnam are shown as the owners on the 1908 Bromley map.
By 1907, 277 Dartmouth had been rented from the Putnam Estate by Mrs. Mary (May) Adeline (Bradbury) Estes, former wife of Prince Joseph Estes, and had become a combination of medical offices and lodgings under Mrs. Estes’s management. She had lived and operated a lodging house at 281 Dartmouth from about 1898, and from 1900 had also rented 279 Dartmouth, where she also ran a lodging house.
In the spring of 1910, 277 Dartmouth was purchased from the Putnam Estate by Mary (Ruby) Morrison, the wife of architect William Langley Morrison. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on April 22, 1910.
After acquiring the property, Mary Morrison remodeled the basement and first floor to provide for a dress shop, millinery shop, and workroom. Plans for the remodeling are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN D-55, shown as A-63 on the plans).
By 1911, it had become the home of Mrs. Morrison’s mother, Ann (Kennard) Ruby (the widow of James Ruby), and also the location of Mrs. Morrison’s import and dressmaking shop, Mary Ruby, Inc. Mrs. Estes continued to operate a lodging house at 279-281 Dartmouth.
The Morrisons had lived at 11 Commonwealth in 1909. They had moved to 127 Revere in about 1910, and continued to live there in 1911, and then lived at 280 Dartmouth during the 1911-1912 winter season.
By the 1912,1913 winter season, Mary Morrison had acquired 279 Dartmouth and she and her husband had made it their home. Mrs. Estes continued to live and operate a lodging house at 281 Dartmouth. Mary Morrison is shown as the owner of 277-279 Dartmouth on the 1912, 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.
William Langley Morrison died in April of 1915. Mary Morrison continued to live at 279 Dartmouth and operate Mary Ruby, Inc., at 277 Dartmouth. Her mother lived with her until her death in 1931. Mary Morrison’s daughter, Mary Langley Morrison, an architect and interior designer, also lived with her. Mary Langley Morrison married ca. 1927 to John E. Kennedy, a broker and later an advertising agency executive, and they continued to live at 279 Dartmouth after their marriage.
By 1934, the Dartmouth Bookstall also was located at 277-279 Dartmouth. Both businesses continued there until about 1946: Mary Ruby, Inc., on the corner in 277 Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Bookstall in a storefront at 279 Dartmouth. Mary Morrison’s daughter, Mary Morrison Kennedy, also operated an interior decorator’s studio at 277 Dartmouth (in the 1940s, she joined the Sheraton Corporation and, according to her June 7, 1989, obituary in the New York Times, “for almost thirty years was in charge of interior design for the 45 hotel chain”).
In 1941, Mary Morrison and the Kennedys moved to 9 Hereford.
By late 1946, both Mary Ruby, Inc., and the Dartmouth Bookstall had had moved across the street, to 284 Dartmouth, and 277-279 Dartmouth was being used as the Republican campaign headquarters.
By 1947, the space at 277 Dartmouth was vacant, and the space at 279 Dartmouth had become Joseph’s restaurant, owned and operated by Joseph P. Gallinetti. He died in June of 1948. The restaurant was sold in 1949 to owners of Locke-Ober restaurant, who continued to operate it until 1979.
In the early 1950s. Joseph’s restaurant expanded into the still-vacant space at 277 Dartmouth. In about 1956, Joseph’s Restaurant expanded further into the street level of 281 Dartmouth, which Uptown Realty subsequently acquired in 1964. In 1979, Joseph’s Restaurant was acquired by Charles Sarkis and Jack Sullivan, who renamed it Joe’s American Bar and Grill.
The property subsequently changed hands and in April of 1991, the three parcels were combined into one property, with the lower level remaining a restaurant and the upper floors used for offices.
Below is a panoramic view taken ca. 1903, with 277-281 Dartmouth on the left and the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth in the center; photograph by E. Chickering & Co., provided courtesy of the Library of Congress.