Skip to main content

Ballou Family Papers

Call Number: MS037

Scope and Contents

This collection contains artifacts, including Hosea Ballou's death mask; books written by, or about, members of the Ballou family; correspondence; framed photographs; newspaper clippings; and receipts. The bulk of this collection's materials are dated from 1851 to 1915. This correspondence collection focuses primarily on the ancestors and descendants of Hosea Ballou 2nd, who became the first president of Tufts College in 1853. Maturin Ballou, Hosea Starr Ballou, and William Ballou figure prominently in the later correspondence, much of which was collected by Elvira Goodell Ballou.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1851 -- 1915
  • Creation: 1801 -- 1980



This collection is open for research. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Biographical / Historical

Hosea Ballou 2nd was born October 18, 1796, the son of Asahel and Martha Starr Ballou of Guilford, Vermont. At the time of his birth the family lived with Hosea's paternal grandparents, Benjamin and Lydia Ballou of Guilford, where they were engaged in farming and small-scale trade and manufacturing. Benjamin and his three brothers Maturin, David, and Hosea were also well known as Baptist preachers. Asahel was born the same year as his uncle Hosea, for whom Hosea 2nd would be named.

Asahel and Martha Ballou moved to Halifax, Vermont soon after Hosea 2nd's birth, where the young family became Universalists. Asahel was a country squire and justice of the peace. Asahel and Martha went on to have eight more sons: Pearley, Levi, William Starr, twins Reuben and Martin, and twins Alvin and Almon.

Hosea Ballou 2nd studied theology under his great-uncle Hosea senior as a young man, and attained his first pastorate in 1817 at 20 years of age in Stafford, Connecticut. He married Clarissa Hatch in 1820 and had five children who lived to adulthood: Giddings, Charles, Julia, Harriet, and Mary Jane. Hosea 2nd would become a well known Universalist clergyman, theologian, and historian. He presided over the parishes of Roxbury and Medford, Massachusetts, from 1821-1852, published the "Ancient History of Universalism" in 1829, and received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from, and became an Overseer of Harvard University in 1845.

Having been one of the most significant influences in the establishment of the College, Hosea Ballou 2nd became the first president of Tufts College in 1853. He was its first professor of History and Intellectual Philosophy. It would be thirty years after his death before another professor at Tufts was able to match his scholarly and teaching ability in that field. Hosea Ballou 2nd established the college's first curriculum, which led to the Bachelor of Arts degree. He died in office in 1861. His children all died childless, so the direct line of Hosea 2nd ended in 1886.


6.3 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into one series, Ballou family papers.

Processing status

This collection is partially processed.


Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States