9 Hereford was designed by Alfred S. Bither, architect, and built in 1879-1880 by Edward E. Chapin, builder, for real estate dealer Henry Whitwell. It was one of four contiguous houses (435 Beacon and 7-9-11 Hereford). All four houses originally were planned as two-story buildings; however, an additional story was added to 7 and 11 Hereford before they were completed. Henry Whitwell is shown as the owner on the original building permit for 7-9-11 Hereford, dated December 13, 1879.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting attributes 435 Beacon, 7-9-11 Hereford, 364 Marlborough, 27-29-31 Hereford, and 216-218 Commonwealth – all built in 1879 – to R. S. Bither. This is a misreading of the handwriting on the permit applications. It is clearly written as “A. S. Bither” on several of the permit applications, and is less legible on several others. There was no R. S. Bither listed in the Boston City Directories at any time in the 1870s or 1880s, whereas Alfred S. Bither was a practicing architect there from 1870 to 1880.
By the 1880-1881 winter season, 9 Hereford was the home of Elizabeth M. (Smith) Tolman, the widow of merchant tailor James Tolman. She previously had lived at 7 Upton. She is shown as the owner of 9 Hereford on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, Elizabeth Tolman was living elsewhere and 9 Hereford was the home of William Albert Dietrich (called “Dietrick” in the Blue Books) and his wife, Ellen (Nellie) Virginia (Battelle) Dietrich. By the 1891-1892 winter season, they were living at 178 Huntington.
By 1890, Elizabeth Tolman was living at 9 Hereford once again. She continued to live there until her death in January of 1891.
By the 1891-1892 winter season, 9 Hereford was the home of James and Elizabeth Tolman’s son, James P. Tolman, and his wife, Mary (Chace) Cheney Tolman. He was president of a sash cord manufacturing company. They previously had lived in West Newton and by 1893 were living there once again.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, 9 Hereford was the home of Mrs. Augusta Maria (Denny) Tyler, the widow of Dr. John E. Tyler, and her sister, Miss Mary Harriet Denny. They previously had lived at 42 West Cedar. In 1894, they were joined by their brother, wool merchant Robert Breck Denny, and his wife, Valeria Kendall (Titcomb) Denny. They previously had lived in Allston and by 1895 had moved to 42 Mt. Vernon.
Augusta Tyler and Mary Denny continued to live at 9 Hereford during the 1895-1896 season, but moved thereafter.
By the 1896-1897 winter season, 9 Hereford was the home of attorney Leverett Saltonstall Tuckerman and his wife, Grace (Richardson) Tuckerman. They had been married in September of 1896 and 9 Hereford probably was their first home together. He is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
Leverett Tuckerman died in March of 1917. Grace Tuckerman continued to live at 9 Hereford.
During the 1923-1924 and 1924-1925 winter seasons, Grace Tuckerman was traveling abroad.
During the 1923-1924 season, 9 Hereford was the home of Mrs. George M. Hall and Miss Margaret Hall, probably her daughter.
During the 1924-1925 season, it was the home of Mrs. Anita (Tone) Potts, the widow of Rockhill Brevoort Potts. By the next season, she had moved to 4 West Hill Place.
Grace Tuckerman resumed living at 9 Hereford for the 1925-1926 winter season, but moved thereafter to an apartment at 250 Beacon. She also maintained a home in Nahant.
During the 1926-1927 winter season, 9 Hereford was the home of Ethel (Whiting) Otis, widow of Herbert Foster Otis, and their adult children, James and Mary. Edith and Mary Otis previously had lived in Brookline; James Otis, a lawyer with the Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Company, had lived at the Tennis & Racquet Club at 939 Boylston. By the 1927-1928 season, Edith and Mary Otis had moved to 13 Gloucester, and James Otis probably was once again living at the Tennis & Racquet Club (where he was living at the time of the 1930 US Census). By the 1930-1931 winter season, they all were living at 239 Marlborough.
In mid-1927, 9 Hereford was purchased from Grace Tuckerman by Charles Gray Bancroft and his wife, Blanche Matilde (Hight) Bancroft. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 31, 1927. They also maintained a home in Framingham. Blanche Bancroft is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.
Charles Bancroft was an attorney. From the late 1920s, he was president of the Porto Rico Sales Corporation and by the early 1930s also was vice president and treasurer of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation.
By 1935, it was the home of insurance broker Herbert Bramwell Shaw and his wife, Frances (Fairchild) Shaw. They had lived at 241 Beacon the previous year. They continued to live at 9 Hereford until about 1941, when they moved to Needham.
In October of 1941, John E. Kennedy and his wife, Mary Langley (Morrison) Kennedy, acquired 9 Hereford from Blanche Bancroft. Mary Kennedy’s mother, Mrs. Mary (Ruby) Morrison, the widow of architect William Langley Morrison, lived with them. They all previously had lived at 279 Dartmouth.
John Kennedy was an advertising agency executive. Mary Morrison Kennedy was an architect and interior designer. She 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.” Her mother, Mary (Ruby) Morrison, operated an import and dressmaking shop, also at 277 Dartmouth.
Mary (Ruby) Morrison died in January of 1949. John and Mary Kennedy continued to live at 9 Hereford.
In May of 1963, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 9 Hereford from a single-family dwelling into a three-family dwelling.
John Kennedy died in August of 1981 and Mary Kennedy died in June of 1989.
In June of 1991, Robert E. Brooker bought 9 Hereford from Anne (Kennedy) O’Neil and Ailsa (Kennedy) Steinert, daughters of John and Mary Kennedy. In 1993, he transferred the property into his name and that of his wife, Razan A. Brooker.
In September of 1997, Alice D. Murphy bought 9 Hereford from Robert and Razan Brooker.
In December of 1997, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a three-family dwelling back into a single-family dwelling.
9 Hereford remained a single-family dwelling in 2014