Arthur Dehon Hill Papers, 1906-1941 – MS005

Arthur Dehon Hill Papers, 1906-1941 – MS005

Source: Gift of Joseph W. P. Frost. Frost acquired the papers from the Hill House in Portsmouth. Hill’s will was found in the Athenaeum’s collection and added to the Hill Papers in April 1990.

Citation: Arthur D. Hill Papers, MS005, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 1 linear foot

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Carolyn Eastman in 1990; Finding Aid Revised by Susan Stowe Kindstedt in 2007


Correspondence, speeches, essays, journal entries, newspaper clippings, European maps, and photographs. Subjects include Hill’s experiences as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Dept., of the U.S. Army in France during World War I and his activities as a law professor at Harvard.

Scope and Content

Collection includes correspondence, speeches, essays, journal entries, newspaper clippings, European maps, material from Hill’s experience as a member of the Judge Advocate Department of the U.S. Army in World War I, and photographs which have been separated to the photograph collection.

Papers consist mostly of correspondence and speeches. Arthur wrote his wife Henrietta (“Hen,” “Betty,” and “Betsy”) nearly every day during his term in France from 1917-1919. The letters are numbered to 133. These letters reflect his interest in the difference between French and American cultures, his daily routine, and the people with whom he spends time. He discusses his work processing claims of damages to French civilians by the US Army. He also tells of the time he spends with their son Adams Sherman, who drove an ambulance for the Red Cross in France and was slightly gasses, which caused bronchitis and laryngitis; he asks for news of his daughter Mary’s (Mollie) wedding to James Gardiner Coolidge in 1918. There is a gap in this collection of letters, from October 1918 to April 1919. Arthur also writes to his children.

Many letters span the period 1937-1941, when Arthur corresponded with Henri Le Goasguen, his son Charles Le Goasgurn (described by another correspondent as Arthur’s “young French protégé”), and his daughter Annie and her husband Jean Queffelec. He also corresponded with Albert Legrand, a Frenchman whom he met in the office of the Judge Advocate Department. These letters (in French) often discuss the world situation. Other correspondents include George R. Farnum, Assistant Attorney General; the American Russian Institute (New England Branch), and the Secretary of the Communist Party of Massachusetts. In these letters, legal cases are sometimes mentioned.

The second grouping of papers is Arthur’s speeches, made between 1906 and 1918. Some of these are his own campaign speeches, though most are supportive speeches for the Progressive Party during 1912. Subjects include law ethics, graft cases, jury watching, the tariff, trust regulation, tax dodging, and the railroad situation.

The following papers are a miscellany. There are a few journal notes, poetry and quotes, essays, photographs of Europe in the 1880s, newspaper clippings, and some material from his term in France processing French claims. There are two charge sheets of violation and military law, one of which is against Arthur himself for leaving his post without giving notice.

The material is divided into five series: Correspondence, Speeches, Writings, Military and Miscellaneous. There are two archival boxes containing material, as well as one oversized folder containing maps of Europe.

Biographical Note

Arthur Dehon Hill was born in 1869 in Paris to Adams Sherman Hill, a professor of English at Harvard, and Caroline Inches Dehon Hill. The Hill family returned to Cambridge in 1872. Two siblings, Henderson Inches Hill (1879-1891) and Constance Carey Hill (1883-1894), died young. Arthur attended the Brown and Nichols School in Cambridge from 1888-1890, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1894, at which time he was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.

Arthur married Henrietta Post McLean of Bellport, Rhode Island in 1894, and the couple had three children: Adams Sherman Hill (1897), Mary Louise Hill (1899), and Arthur Dehon Hill Jr. (1910).

Arthur worked at the firm of Hill, Barlow, and Homans in Boston, at 53 State Street. In 1908-1909, he acted as District Attorney for Suffolk County, a post for which he ran again and was defeated by J. C. Pelletier. He taught law at Harvard until 1919. A Republican, in the election of 1912 he supported Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Part. Arthur joined the US Army in 1917 as a member of the Judge Advocate Department and went to France, where he worked processing claims of French civilians against the American Army until 1919. Arthur’s parents owned “The Barns” in Portsmouth, NH a home which was used often by Arthur’s family during WWI and during the 1930s and 1940s.

After the War, he acted as corporation counsel for the city of Boston, and work as senior member of the law firm Hill, Barlow, Goodale, and Wiswall in Boston. During the Sacco and Vanzetti case, which lasted from 1920-1927, he accepted a post as the last counsel for Sacco and Vanzetti.

Arthur and Henrietta Hill traveled to Europe in 1937. Arthur died in 1947, and Henrietta in 1963.

Biographical Timeline

1896 Arthur Dehon Hill is born to Adams Sherman and Caroline Inches Dehon Hill in Paris

1872 Hill family returns to live in Cambridge, Massachusetts

1890 Hill family purchases “The Barns” in Portsmouth, NH

1894 Arthur Hill graduates from Harvard Law School, LL. B.

1895 Arthur Hill marries Henrietta Post McLean of Bellport, Rhode Island

1897 Birth of son, Adams Sherman Hill

1899 Birth of daughter, Mary Louise Hill

1904 Member of Hill, Barlow and Homans law firm

1908-9 District Attorney, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

1910 Birth of son, Arthur Dehon Hill, Jr.

1912 Supports Theodore Roosevelt and Progressive Party in election

1917-19 Major in the US Army, Judge Advocate Department

1918 Marriage of Mary L. Hill to James Gardiner Coolidge

1918-19 Son Adams Sherman Hill is gassed and France and returns to Boston

1919-23 Acts as Corporation Counsel for the city of Boston

1920-27 Sacco and Vanzetti trial in Boston, in which Hill acts as counsel

1947 Hill dies

1963 Henrietta Hill dies

Series List

I. Correspondence, 1909-1941

II. Speeches, 1906-1918

III. Writings, 1909-1938

IV. Military, 1918

V. Miscellaneous, 1917-1940

I. Correspondence, 1909-1941

These are primarily personal letters, though some discuss politics and business; letters from 1937-1941 often discuss the war situation in Europe. Correspondents include Henrietta Hill, Adams Sherman Hill, Arthur D. Hill Jr., Mary Louise Hill, Albert Legrand, Charles LeGoasguen, Henri LeGoasguen, and Annie and Jean Queffelec.

Box 1

Folder 1 To and From Adams Sherman Hill, 1917-1918

Folder 2 Arthur D. Hill Sr. to Arthur D. Hill Jr., 1917-1919

Folder 3-10 Henrietta Hill, 1917-1919

Folder 11 Mary Louise Hill (Coolidge), 1917-1939

Folder 12 Charles LeGoasguen, 1940

Folder 13-14 Henri LeGoasguen, 1937-1940

Folder 15 Albert Legrand, 1937-1940

Folder 16 Annie and Jean Queffelec, 1940-1941

Folder 17-21 Correspondence, 1909-1944

II. Speeches, 1906-1918

The earlier speeches are often Hill’s campaign speeches for the position of District Attorney; later speeches are primarily in support of the Progressive Party and Theodore Roosevelt. Subjects include law ethics, graft cases, jury watching, the tariff, trust regulation, tax dodging, and the railroad situation.

Box 1

Folder 22-23 Speeches, 1906-1909

Box 2

Folder 1-5 Speeches, 1910-1918

Folder 6 Notes for Speech, Dec. 1916

Folder 7 “Legal Ethics” Notes for lecture

Folder 8 Speeches Delivered by other Candidates

III. Writings, 1909-1938

In this group are journal notes, quotes and poetry, Hill’s essays on pioneers, “What I Saw in France,” and a memorial of Henry F. Hurlburt.

Box 2

Folder 9 Political Journal, 1909

Folder 10 Diary pages

Folder 11 Notes, 1909-1938

Folder 12 Quotations and Quotables

Folder 13 Poetry

Folder 14A “Pioneers” Essay by Arthur Dehon Hill

Folder 14B “Two on a Tour” Essay by Arthur Dehon Hill

Folder 15 Memorial of Henry F. Hurlburt by Arthur Dehon Hill

IV. Military, 1918

Claims of French civilians against the US Army; charge sheets of violation of military law (on e of these is against Hill), and miscellaneous notes of conferences, payrolls, etc.

Box 2

Folder 16 Charge Sheets for Violation of Military Law, 1918

Folder 17 Claims to U. S. Army by French Civilians, 1918

Folder 18A Military Miscellaneous, 1918

Folder 18B Military Correspondence by Arthur Dehon Hill, 1918-1919

Folder 18C Military Correspondence to Arthur Dehon Hill

Folder 18D Military Miscellaneous

Folder 18E Military R.R. & C. Forms

V. Miscellaneous, 1917-1940

Newspaper clippings, printed material, calling cards, and postcards, photographs, maps of Europe, “The American in France” (a phrase book), and a printed pamphlet of the Massachusetts case Butler v. Layton.

Box 2

Folder 19 “What I Saw in France” by Arthur Dehon Hill, Harvard University Bulletin, 1917

Folder 20 “The American in France” pamphlet

Folder 21 Will of Arthur Dehon Hill, 1944

Folder 22 Butler vs. Layton ( Massachusetts) pamphlet

Folder 23 Printed materials

Folder 24 Calling cards and postcards

Folder 25-26 Photographs

Folder 27 Miscellaneous

Folder 28 Newsclippings (see also oversize)


Oversize Box 16 Folder 6


Harvard Bulletin June 19, 1907

Stars and Stripes France March 29, 1918

La Victoire April 2, 1918, October 16, 1918 (front page only), February 21, 1919 (front page only)

Excelsior November 7, 1918, February 12, 1919 (front page only), February 21, 1919 (front page only)

New York Herald February 11, 1919 (front page only)

La Vie Sportive February 27, 1938

Oversize Box 2 Folder 7

Map of Europe with hand colored areas showing battles of World War I

Plan of 66 and Rannes Barracks

Map showing bombing of Padua, Italy, 1916-1917.