391 Marlborough was designed by architect Obed F. Smith and built in 1880-1881 by Vinal & Dodge and G. & E. Stewart, builders, for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., for speculative sale, one of six contiguous houses (381-383-385-387-389-391 Marlborough) built at the same time and one of twelve contiguous houses (369-371-373-375-377-379-381-383-385-387-389-391 Marlborough) built for George Wheatland in 1879-1881, all twelve of the same design. He is shown as the owner of 381-391 Marlborough on the original building permit application for the six houses, dated November 11, 1880.
By the 1882-1883 winter season, 391 Marlborough was the home of Lemuel Rice Howe and his wife, Martha Ada (Silsby) Howe. They previously had lived at 33 Fairfield. He was a dealer in dyewoods, analines, and extracts, and later also was a commission merchant in the Calcutta trade. Martha Howe is shown as the owner of 391 Marlborough on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps.
By the 1894-1895 winter season, 391 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth (Warren) Mason, the widow of John Warren Mason, and their daughter, Sarah Dean Mason. They previously had lived at 341 Marlborough.
Mortimer Blake Mason. John and Sarah (Warren) Mason’s son, is shown as the owner on the 1895, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps, and was the assessed owner through 1909. He and his wife, Mary (Phillips) Mason, lived at 347 Commonwealth.
Sarah (Warren) Mason died in June of 1897 and Mortimer Mason died in February of 1909.
Sarah Dean Mason continued to live at 391 Marlborough until her death in June of 1931. She is shown as the owner on the 1912, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps, and was the assessed owner through 1931.
By the 1931-1932 winter season, 391 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. Mary A. (Black) Woodward, the widow of William Edward Woodward, and her sister, Miss Nora C. Black, a dressmaker. They operated it as a lodging house. They had lived in Brookline in 1930. Mary A. Woodward et al were the assessed owners of 391 Marlborough from 1932 through 1940 and are shown as the owners on the 1938 Bromley map.
Mary Woodward died in July of 1939, and Nora Black died in March of 1940.
In 1940, 391 Marlborough was the home of Mary Woodward’s daughter, Theresa (Mrs. Francis J.) Doyle, who continued to operate it as a lodging house..
In October of 1941, Street & Company, a real estate management firm, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
By 1942, 391 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. Anna Louisa (Austin) Walters, the widow of William Walters, and her sister, Mrs. Blanche (Austin) Wharton, the widow of George Wharton. They operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 364 Marlborough.
By 1946, 391 Marlborough was the home of Frank T. Richardson and his wife, Elizabeth Richardson. Frank Richardson et al were the assessed owners from 1946 through 1948. He was a carpenter and toy manufacturer.
In June of 1946, the Richardsons filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into lodging house with one apartment, indicating that they would occupy the basement and first floor, and have lodging rooms on the upper floors.
They continued to live and operate a lodging house at 391 Marlborough until about 1948.
By 1948, 391 Marlborough was owned by Jacob Leroy Garber, who was the assessed owner from 1949. In November of 1948, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house with one apartment into eight apartments. It was probably at this point that a penthouse was added.
The property changed hands and in August of 1969 was acquired through foreclosure by Robert White.
In December of 1988, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of apartments from eight to seven.
391 Marlborough remained an apartment house in 2015.