Craigie Estate Papers, 1792-1855

Administrative Information

Historical Sketch


Related Collections

Scope and Content Note

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Box and Folder List

1 file box
0.42 linear feet
Processor: Bruce Vencill
Date: November 2011

Acquisition: Andrew Craigie’s account book was donated by Miss A. M. Longfellow on May 10, 1917. The remainder of the records were donated by Miss Josephine M. Shaw on April 1, 1918 and July 15, 1919.

There are no restrictions on items in this collection.

Permission to Publish: Requests for permission to publish from the collection should be made to the Executive Director.

Copyright: The copyright is expired on items in this collection.

Historical Sketch:

Andrew Craigie Jr. (1754-1819) was a doctor who served as a surgeon in the United States military during the Revolutionary War. He was Apothecary General of the Northern Department of the Revolutionary Army. He is best known as a land speculator, and during his time with the army he amassed a large fortune through speculation.

In 1792, Craigie purchased the Vassall House and farm, comprising approximately 150 acres, which had served as Washington’s headquarters during the war. The house came to be known as the “Craigie Mansion,” and served as a social center of Cambridge, with Craigie installing gardens, a greenhouse, and an icehouse, and holding numerous parties and dances. On January 10, 1793, Andrew Craigie was married to Elizabeth “Betsy” Nancy Shaw.

Andrew Craigie continued to buy property around East Cambridge, eventually owning over 300 acres of land. As time went on, however, Craigie become involved in debt and secluded himself in his house for fear of arrest. He died suddenly and without a will on September 18, 1819. The Craigie estate was divided between his nephews and nieces, and Elizabeth Craigie received the house and the land immediately surrounding it.

Elizabeth Craigie sold many effects of the mansion. She took lodgers, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who bought the house in 1843 from whom it took its current name, the Longfellow house. Elizabeth Craigie died on May 5, 1841. Lemuel Shaw was executor of her will.


Pratt, Frederick Haven. The Craigies: A Footnote to the Medical History of the Revolution. Cambridge, MA: The Cambridge Historical Society. 1996.

Related Collections:

Additional papers concerning the Craigie family and the history of the estate can be found at the Longfellow House, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content Note:

The records of the Craigie Estate document the years 1792-1855. The bulk of the collection consists of financial records of the estate, including account books and cancelled notes. Andrew Craigie’s account book contains financial records of the Craigie estate from 1792-1794. Postdating these financial records (within the volume), an unidentified writer (possibly A. M. Longfellow) has appended written notes about the life of Andrew Craigie, and pasted in a newspaper clipping regarding Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s connection to the Craigie Mansion.

Also included are inventories of the Craigie estate completed following the death of Andrew Craigie; papers, including those of the Craigie’s lawyer, Asahel Stearns, documenting the division of the estate and naming of Elizabeth Craigie as administrator. Papers documenting the estate under the ownership of Elizabeth Craigie include her account book for the years 1829-1835; a notice of the purchase of her burial plot in Mount Auburn Cemetary; a copy of her will; and inventories of the Craigie Estate following her death in 1841. Papers from Lemuel Shaw concern the settlement of the estate following the death of Elizabeth Craigie (1841-1855).

Library of Congress Subject Headings:

  • Craigie, Andrew, 1744-1819
  • Craigie, Elizabeth Nancy Shaw, d. 1841
  • Shaw, Lemuel, 1781-1861
  • Stearns, Asahel, 1774-1839
  • Longfellow House (Cambridge, Mass.)

Craigie Estate Papers, 1792-1855

[table colwidth=”5%|5%|90%”]
Box|Folder|Series I. Papers (1792-1855)

1|1|Andrew Craigie’s account book, 1792-1794

1|2|Andrew Craigie estate papers, ca.1815-1826

1|3|Inventories of Andrew Craigie estate, 1820

1|4|Elizabeth Craigie estate papers, ca.1820-1835
||See OS.1 for additional documents

1|5|Inventories of Elizabeth Craigie estate, 1841

1|6|Elizabeth Craigie estate papers, ca. 1841-1855
||See OS.1 for additional documents

T1||Map of Craigie Estate, 1841

OS.1||Oversized documents removed from #1.4 and 1.6.