Raymond Emerson

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Raymond Emerson
BornNovember 28, 1886
Concord, Massachusetts
ResidenceConcord, Massachusetts
Alma materHarvard University (1906-1911)
Parent(s)Edward Waldo Emerson
Annie Shepard Keyes
RelativesRalph Waldo Emerson
Lidian Jackson Emerson
William Emerson
William Cameron Forbes
Francis Blackwell Forbes
John Malcolm Forbes

Raymond Emerson (November 28, 1886 - 1977) was a civil engineer, an investment banker, and faculty at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He is known for his large donations of personal Ralph Waldo Emerson letters and other documents for educational purposes. He was part of the Emerson family, Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandson.[1] In addition to his marriage to Amelia Forbes, he was also connected to the Forbes family through other marriages in his parents' and his own generations.

Early life[edit]

Raymond Emerson was born to Dr. Edward Waldo Emerson and Annie Shepard Keyes on November 28, 1886 in Concord, Massachusetts. He was the youngest of seven children born to the couple, and one of only four that survived to adulthood.[2] Raymond's father, Edward, was the son of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lidian Jackson Emerson.


Raymond worked as a civil engineer after graduating from Harvard in 1910. His surveying and engineering work took him across the United States and also to Canada and Brazil.[1] In 1927, he joined J.M. Forbes & Co. in Boston as an investment banker and partner in the company. He continued as partner until 1958. His son David was also a partner in the same firm from 1956-1986, which gave the two a two-year overlap of being partners at the same time.[3]

Raymond worked closely and was good friends with William Henry Claflin, Jr., both of whom were faculty at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. In 1938 Raymond replaced Ingersoll Bowditch as a member of the museum faculty, and was part of the museum oversight body until he retired in 1956.[4] In 1924, Raymond and Claflin funded an expedition into Southern Utah for survey and excavation work performed by John Otis Brew and others. This expedition became known as the Claflin-Emerson Expedition, which lasted four years.[5] While at the museum, Raymond was "particularly involved" with Alfred V. Kidder under the latter's mentorship at the museum.[6]


After his death, Ralph Waldo Emerson's papers and works got passed down through the next generations, and Raymond allowed publications to use some of those works. He was considered the closest kin of Ralph Waldo Emerson after Ralph Waldo Emerson's children died.[7][8]

Some of the works that Raymond let benefit from Ralph's work by waiving copyrights include:

  • After Walden: Thoreau's Changing Views on Economic Man by Leo Stoller.[9]
  • The Days of Henry Thoreau by Walter Harding.[10]
  • The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson Volume One.[11]
  • The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson Volume Five.[12]
  • The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 10.[13]

Raymond also donated generously to the Peabody Museum, including funding some of its archaeological expeditions.[14]


On April 12, 1913, Raymond married the heiress Amelia Forbes, daughter of the yachtsman and capitalist John Malcolm Forbes and Sarah Coffin Jones.[15] Forbes was the granddaughter of railroad magnate John Murray Forbes and grew up in the mansion he built, called Fredonia, which had passed to Amelia's father.[16] The Emerson and Forbes families were intermarried many times over.[17]

Together, Emerson and his wife had six children: Ellen, born in 1914; David, born in 1916; Annie, born in 1918; Edward Waldo, born in 1920; William, born in 1923; and Hope, born in 1926.[18][19][20][21][22]

Joseph Emerson
William Emerson, Sr.
William Emerson
Mary Moody Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lidian Jackson Emerson
John Murray Forbes
Edward Waldo Emerson
John Malcolm Forbes
Raymond Emerson
Amelia Forbes


  1. ^ a b "Raymond Emerson, essayist's grandson". St. Petersburg Times. 31 Oct 1977. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. ^ "2. A. Marshall (Boston). Annie Keyes Emerson and daughter Ellen Tucker Emerson , 1880. From a carte de visite (source undiscovered)". Concord Library. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Our People". J.M. Forbes & Co. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  4. ^ Browman, David L. (2013). Anthropology at Harvard. Harvard University Press. p. 376. ISBN 9780873659130. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  5. ^ Browman, p. 375
  6. ^ Browman, p. 368
  7. ^ "Emerson Books". Concord Library. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  8. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries. New Series: 1937. Library of Congress.
  9. ^ Stoller, Leo (1957). After Walden: Thoreau's Changing Views on Economic Man. Stanford University Press. pp. 53, 135. ISBN 9780804705004.
  10. ^ Harding, Walter (2013). The Days of Henry Thoreau. Courier Dover Publications. pp. xviii, 9, 90, 96, 477. ISBN 9780486144641.
  11. ^ The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson Volume One. Columbia University Press. p. vi.
  12. ^ The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson Volume Five. Columbia University Press. pp. 250, 274, 278, 283, 292, 293, 379, 458, 460, 473, 479, 508, 524, 546.
  13. ^ The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 10. pp. 55, 76, 80, 109, 127, 141, 186.
  14. ^ Cosgrove, Harriet S. (2012). The Swarts Ruin: A Typical Mimbres Site in Southwestern New Mexico. Harvard University Press. p. xiii. ISBN 9780873652148.
  15. ^ "Leaves Labrador to Wed". New York Times. 6 Aug 1912. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  16. ^ Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (2000). Milton Architecture. Arcadia Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 9780738504964.
  17. ^ Engel, Mary Miller (1941). I Remember the Emersons. Times-mirror. p. 86.
  18. ^ Harvard College Class of 1910 Fourth Report. Crimson Printing Company. 1921. p. 111.
  19. ^ "ROBERT M. DELANEY COLLECTION". Sydney Music Library. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Jennifer Pennoyer Weds Raymond Emerson 2d". New York Times. 18 Jun 1989. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Obituaries". Associated Press. 26 Sep 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  22. ^ Cutter, William Richard (1913). New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2. Lewis historical publishing Company. p. 521.