Letter written by John Brown in his jail cell a few days before his execution. The original letter was given to Mary Ann Brown at the time of her visit to her husband December 1, 1859. After his execution, Mrs. Brown sent the letter to Mrs. Stearns in a Bible. The letter reads: "Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Va., 29th Nov. 1859. Mrs George L Stearns, Boston, Mass. My Dear friend, No letter I have received since my imprisonment here, has given me more satisfaction, or comfort: than yours of the 8th inst. I am quite cheerful: & was never more happy. Have only time [to] write you a word. May God forever reward you & all yours. My love to All who love their neighbours. I have asked to be spared from having any mock; or hypocritical prayers made over me, when I am publicly murdered: & that my only religious attendants be poor little, dirty, ragged, bare headed & barefooted, Slave Boys; & Girls; Led by some old greyheaded, Slave Mother. Farewell. Farewell. Your Friend, John Brown."
Image courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives, John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection
Lock of John Brown's hair. The tags read "Hair of John Brown of Ossawatomie, given to me by Mrs. Stearns, 1869 -L. Alexander," "John Brown's hair, cut off of his funeral by his daughter, given by her to Mrs. G.L. Stearns, by Mrs. Stearns to me, L.G.A."
Courtesy of the Medford Historical Society & Museum
Photograph of the view towards Medford from East Hall, Tufts College. The Stearns Estate mansion is located in the trees to the middle right. The caption reads, "View toward Medford from East Hall, 1875. The railroad cut is in front of the stonewall in the foreground. The farm house of the Stearns estate is seen in the lower left corner, and the mansion house in the right center. The end chimneys of the Royall House are seen in the center of the picture and, to the left of the house, the pointed object is the summer house that at one time stood on a mound in the Royall garden."
Article titled "The Stearns Estate" by Justin Wyner, describing the 'Stearns Estate, 1899' painting by William Hauk. This article was published on pages 10-11 of the Spring 1945 edition of the Tuftonian. A black and white copy of the painting was featured on the front cover.
View of the Stearns Estate and beyond that Medford from College Hill. The Stearns Estate mansion is located in among the trees in the lower left quadrant. The caption reads, "The Medford view in '74. This is somewhat to the east of the one above which brings the Stearns house near the left of the picture. The Royall House is the building with four end chimneys near the center of the picture. In the lower right hand corner the tower of the old Stearns windmill is barely visible."
Program for the dedication ceremonies of the Stearns Estate marker in front of Cousens Gymnasium, held April 8, 1987. The dedication consisted of several speakers and a performance of "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" ("Battle Hymn of the Republic," sung to the tune of "John Brown's Body") by Julia Ward Howe of Medford.
Cabinet card featuring the John Brown bust owned by Mary E. Stearns. This cabinet card was printed by Litchfield Studios in Arlington, MA. A handwritten note on the back of the card reads, "John Brown. From the Bust taken while awaiting Execution in the Virginia Prison, by order of Mrs. George L. Stearns, October 1859. This is the only marble Bust of the Martyr, at present writing - 1919 - in the world. It was only secured by the earnest entreaty of Mrs. Stearns, for whom, and his faithful friend Mr. Stearns, he cherished warm regard. E. A. Brackett, Sculptor."
Excerpt from the will of Mary E. Stearns, 1901. She dictates that a third part each of her remaining estate holdings should be given to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Berea College, and Tuskegee College, for "The George L. Stearns Memorial Fund of [that College]" for the purpose of "promoting in those several institutions the education and elevation of the youth of the South, and especially of the youth of the colored race, in whose interest and welfare my deceased husband George L. Stearns ever felt such a profound interest and to which he gave such devoted service."
Grandfather clock belonging to the Stearns Estate. It was bequeathed to Tufts University by Mary E. Stearns and has long been a decorative feature of the President's Office in Ballou Hall. This photograph was taken in August 2017.
This painting shows the Stearns mansion in the center right and the farmhouse to the far right. In the distance on the hill are the buildings of Tufts College, with the tower of Goddard Chapel, East Hall, and West Hall visible through the trees. The road to the left is College Avenue; at the time it was known as the Willows because of the trees on either side. At the corner of College Avenue and the railroad tracks is College Hill train station. The Boston & Lowell Railroad operated on the tracks that separated Tufts College from the Stearns Estate's orchards.
Image courtesy of the Tufts University Permanent Collection
Snippet of the executor's inventory (dated July 14, 1913) of the will of Mary E. Stearns, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The typewritten document gives a list of items donated to Tufts College and their assessed value ($100.00).
Excerpts from the handwritten will of Mary E. Stearns, who died in December 1901. The excepts itemize a number of specific objects in her house that she would like to be donated to Tufts College after her sons are finished with them. The text reads, "Also to hold for the use and enjoyment of the said Henry during his life the following described articles of personal property situated in the house where I now reside namely: my tall "grandfather's clock" on the front stairway, the "highboy," the cabinet, the tripod table, the old English mirror, all the old-fashioned chairs which belonged to my deceased husband, the bust of John Brown, the bust of George L. Stearns, the bust of Beethoven, the bust of Emerson, the bust of Clytie, the Venus of Milo, and the several paintings painted by my old friend Christopher P. Cranch, excepting only the one hereinbefore given to Lenora Cranch Scott, said articles all to be kept, preserved and used by him during his life in the house where I now live and not elsewhere."