40 Hereford is located on the SE corner of Commonwealth and Hereford, with 32 Hereford to the north, across Commonwealth, 46 Hereford to the south, across Alley 431, 308 Commonwealth to the east, and 314 Commonwealth to the west, across Hereford.
40 Hereford was designed by architects Shaw and Hunnewell and built in 1886 by George F. Shepard and C. E. Clark, builders, as the home of cotton merchant Francis Williams Sargent and his wife, Jane Welles (Hunnewell) Sargent. They previously had lived at 183 Marlborough and in Wellesley, where they continued to maintain a home.
Francis Sargent is shown as the owner of 40 Hereford on the original building permit application, dated March 9, 1886, and on the final building inspection report, dated September 22, 1887 (both of which show it as 42 Hereford; bound with the building inspection report, located in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department, is a water-damaged floor plan of the first floor). Jane W. Sargent is shown as the owner on the 1888, 1898, 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, the Sargents were living elsewhere and 40 Hereford was the home of Robert Chamblet Hooper and his wife, Helen Angier (Ames) Hooper. They had lived at 183 Commonwealth in 1889.
Robert Chamblet Hooper was treasurer and later president of the Constitution Wharf Company. A noted dog fancier, he was owner of “Judge” (also known as “Hooper’s Judge”). credited as the ancestor of the Boston Terrier breed.
The Hoopers moved soon thereafter to a new home they had built at 448 Beacon.
The Sargents were once again living at 40 Hereford by the 1890-1891 winter season. They continued to live there during the 1895-1896 season, but moved thereafter to 130 Beacon to live with Jane Sargent’s widowed father, Horatio Hollis Hunnewell.
40 Hereford was not listed in the 1897 Blue Book.
During the 1897-1898 winter season, it was the home of attorney William Vail Kellen and his wife Ella Frances (Sturtevant) Kellen. They previously had lived at 317 Dartmouth. By 1899, they had purchased and moved to 202 Commonwealth.
40 Hereford was not listed in the 1899 Blue Book.
During this period, the Sargents had continued to live with Horatio Hunnewell at 130 Beacon. However, in late 1899, they moved back to 40 Hereford.
Francis Sargent died in January of 1920. Jane Sargent continued to live at 40 Hereford with their unmarried children: Henry Jackson Sargent, Daniel Sargent, and Margaret Williams Sargent, an artist.
She also maintained a summer home in Wellesley.
Daniel Sargent married in June of 1920 to Louise Riché Coolidge and they moved elsewhere. Margaret Williams Sargent married in July of 1920 to Quincy Adams Shaw McKean, a stockbroker, and they moved to Prides Crossing.
Henry Jackson Sargent remained unmarried and continued to live at 40 Hereford with his mother. In 1931, he was the sole survivor of an arctic expedition aboard the Viking. The expedition was organized by Varick Frissell to make a motion picture about a seal hunt. The boat exploded and the entire party, except for Henry Sargent, was killed.
Mrs. Sargent and Henry J. Sargent continued to lived at 40 Hereford until her death in September of 1936.
By 1938, 40 Hereford was owned by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson, who is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map and was the assessed owner through 1940.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1938-1940 City Directories.
In January of 1940, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
By 1941, 40 Hereford was owned by William Karmazine, a loan company executive. He was the assessed owner from 1941 through 1949.
From about 1941, it was the home of Thomas MacAllister Wallace and his wife, Edna D. (Cayouette/Cowett) Black Wallace, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 12 Haviland. They continued to live at 40 Hereford until about 1948.
In October of 1948, William Karmazine filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into a private vocational school to be operated by Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. The filing was made in anticipation of the property’s sale.
MFSC (Miss Farmer’s School of Cooking) Inc. subsequently purchased 40 Hereford and operated its cooking school there until the late 1970s. It also maintained a dormitory at 40 Hereford for students of the school.
In June of 1978, Eugene W. Friedrich, trustee of the 40 Hereford Street Trust, purchased 40 Hereford from MFSC Inc. In August of 1978, the 40 Hereford Street Trust filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into six apartments.
In December of 1978, it converted the apartments into six condominium units, the Forty Hereford Street Condominium.