90 Marlborough was built in 1871-1872 by Weston & Shepard, masons, masons, and Benjamin D. Whitcomb, carpenter and builder, for Robert Charles Winthrop and his wife Cornelia Adelaide (Granger) Thayer Winthrop.
Cornelia Winthrop purchased the land for 90 Marlborough on May 18, 1871, combining two 24 foot wide lots. She purchased the western lot from architect John H. Sturgis, and the eastern lot from Miss Ann Wainwright Davis. The western 12 feet was part of land originally purchased it from the Commonwealth on July 30, 1862, by David Snow, who had sold it to John Sturgis. The eastern 32 feet were part of a 60 foot wide lot owned by Ann Davis, and had originally been part of a 220 foot parcel that Henry Lee, Jr., and Jonathan Amory Davis, Ann Davis’s father, had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 14, 1863. J. Amory Davis died in May of 1865 and his interest was inherited by his daughter. On October 6, 1865, she transferred her interest in the eastern 160 feet to Henry Lee, and he transferred his interest in the western 60 feet to her.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 90 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 423, from Berkeley to Clarendon.
In early September of 1871, Weston & Shepard filed a Notice of Intention to Build on behalf of Robert Winthrop (reported In the Boston Evening Transcript on September 4, 1871). Construction probably started soon thereafter.
On July 19, 1872, a Boston Traveller article on “present building operations” in the Back Bay noted that the house was “far advanced toward completion.”
By late 1872, Robert and Cornelia Winthrop had made 90 Commonwealth their home. They previously had lived at 145 Beacon. They also maintained a residence in Brookline which had been the home of Cornelia Winthrop and her first husband, John Eliot Thayer, who died in Septemer of 1857.
Adele Granger Thayer, Cornelia Winthrop’s unmarried daughter by her marriage to John E. Thayer, lived with the Winthrops at 90 Marlborough and in Brookline, as did Elisa Cabot Winthrop, Robert Winthrop’s unmarried daughter by his first marriage, to Elizabeth Cabot Blanchard.
Robert Winthrop was President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, a former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and a former US Senator.
Cornelia Winthrop died in June of 1892. Adele Thayer traveled abroad during the 1892-1893 winter season and subsequently lived in Brookline, which she had inherited. By the 1894-1895 winter season, she was living at 169 Commonwealth.
Robert Winthrop died in November of 1894. Elisa Winthrop continued to live at 90 Marlborough during the 1894-1895 season, but moved thereafter to The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon. In 1899, she traveled to Paris, where she continued to live until her death in September of 1921.
90 Marlborough was not listed in the 1896 Blue Book.
On April 28, 1896, 90 Marlborough was acquired from Cornelia Winthrop’s estate by Eben Sumner Draper. He and his wife, Nannie (Bristow) Draper, made it their home. They previously had lived in Hopedale, where they continued to maintain a home, The Ledges.
Eben S. Draper was a manufacturer of cotton machinery in the firm founded by father in Hopedale. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1906-1908, and as Governor in 1909 and 1910.
The Drapers continued to live at 90 Marlborough until about 1905, when they moved to a new home they had built at 150 Beacon, replacing 150-152 Beacon (the former home of John and Isabella Stewart Gardner).
On May 15, 1905, 90 Marlborough was purchased from Eben S. Draper by Alice McClure (Peters) Burr, the wife of Isaac Tucker Burr, Jr., a banker and broker. They lived at 127 Commonwealth at the time of the purchase, and moved to 90 Marlborough after extensively remodeling it. They also maintained a home in Milton.
The Burrs’ four children lived with them: Isaac Tucker Burr, III, Barbara Burr, Carlton Burr, and Alice (Elsie) Parkinson Burr.
The Burrs spent the 1911-1912 winter season at their Milton home and traveling abroad, and 90 Marlborough was the home of Bayard Thayer, a banker and noted yachtsman, and his wife, Ruth (Simpkins) Thayer. They also maintained a home in Lancaster and owned a stable at 342 Newbury. They had lived at 261 Clarendon during the previous season. By the next season they had moved to a new home they had built at 83-84 Beacon, designed by Ogden Codman, Jr., and the Burrs had resumed living at 90 Marlborough.
Isaac T. Burr, III, a bond broker, married in October of 1913 to Nora Forbes Thayer of 25 Exeter, the daughter of Bayard Thayer’s twin brother, John Eliot Thayer. After their marriage, they lived in Milton and then in Needham.
Elsie Burr married in June of 1917 to Philip Hyde Sherwood, a career officer in the US Cavalry serving in Arizona.
Barbara Burr traveled to Europe in early 1918 to work as a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross and YMCA. She had returned by the 1919-1920 winter season and was living with her parents at 90 Marlborough.
Carlton Burr was killed in action in July of 1918 in France, in the Battle of Soissons, a lieutenant in the US Marine Corps.
During the 1920-1921 season, 90 Marlborough was the home of Bayard Warren and his wife, Elizabeth (Sears) Warren. They also maintained a home in Pride’s Crossing. He was a trustee of estates. Nora (Thayer) Burr’s brother, John Eliot Thayer, Jr., was married to Bayard Warren’s sister, Katherine. The Warrens had moved by the next season, and during the 1922-1923 season were living at 35 Commonwealth.
During the 1921-1922 winter season, 90 Marlborough was the home of wool merchant William Arthur Dupee and his wife, Clara Ethel (Purdon) Dupee. They previously had lived in Milton. By the 1922-1923 season they were living in Hyde Park, and by the 1923-1924 season were living at 181 Commonwealth.
The Burrs resumed living at 90 Marlborough during the 1922-1923 season, but by 1925 had moved to the Hotel Agassiz at 191 Commonwealth.
On May 12, 1924, 90 Marlborough was purchased from the Burrs by the Katharine Gibbs School for use as classrooms, and possibly as offices and staff housing. The school previously had been located at 247 Berkeley. It subsequently acquired 151 Commonwealth in September of 1924, 92 Marlborough in April of 1926, 135 Commonwealth in September of 1927, 303 Dartmouth in October of 1930, and 21-23 Marlborough in August of 1936.
In mid-1953, Katharine Gibbs School acquired 6 Arlington to consolidate its operations in one location.
On August 31, 1953, 90 Marlborough was acquired by real estate dealer Thomas J. Diab’s Baid Realty Corporation (Baid being the reverse spelling of Diab). At the same time, he also acquired 92 Marlborough, 151 Commonwealth, 135 Commonwealth, and 303 Dartmouth from the school. The school retained 21-23 Marlborough, converting them from dormitories to classrooms.
On December 6, 1954, 90 Marlborough was acquired from Baid Realty by the Chamberlain School of Retailing. It continued to be located there in the 1980s.
On September 8, 1989, 90 Marlborough was purchased from Chamberlain School by Mark J. Connaughton, trustee of the 90 Marlborough Street Realty Trust. In October of 1989, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 90 Marlborough from a school into seven apartments.
On August 31, 1990, Mark Connaughton converted the property into seven condominium units, the 90 Marlborough Street Condominium.