1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Grosvenor Family Correspondence

(part of the Grosvenor Family Papers)

 Family, of Providence, R.I.

 Papers, 1867-1868

 Size: 1.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1 sg 6, ser D

 Processed by: Harold Kemble, December 1976

Finding aid by Rick Stattler, January 2000

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Rosa Anne Mason (1817-1872) was the daughter of James Brown Mason and Alice (Brown) Mason. She married Dr. William Grosvenor, a physician and textile manufacturer, and had several children including William Grosvenor Jr. and Alice M. (Grosvenor) Mason. (1843-1886).

            William Grosvenor Jr. (1838-1906) was born in Providence, R.I., the eldest son of Dr. William Grosvenor and Rosa A. (Mason) Grosvenor. He graduated from Brown University in 1860 and began work as a manager in the Grosvenor Dale Company, a Connecticut textile mill owned by his father. He served as treasurer and as the effective leader of the company from 1883 to 1905.

            Rose Dimond Phinney (1857-1923) was born in Bristol, R.I. to Theodore W. and Rose (Dimond) Phinney. She had a younger sister, Anita Alice (Phinney) Robinson. Rose married William Grosvenor Jr. in 1882, and had seven children by him: Alice M. Davis, Caroline R. Congdon, William Grosvenor, Rose Gardner, Robert Grosvenor, Anita Curtis, and Theodore P. Grosvenor. The family resided at 51 Prospect Street in Providence. Her first husband died in 1906, and circa 1921, she married Gen. Wilbur E. Wilder. They summered in Newport, R.I. and also resided in Washington, D.C. She died on June 26, 1923 and was buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

             Her son William Grosvenor (1886-1972) became president of the Grosvenor Dale Company while still a student at Harvard University, after the death of his father in 1906. He served as an officer in the Army during the First World War. In 1920, he entered the partnership of Grosvenor & Grosvenor with his brother Theodore. They sold cotton to various New England mills until the dissolution of the partnership in 1924. William then moved to Boston and continued the brokerage business in his own name. The Grosvenor-Dale Company was sold in 1941, and William then became involved with the life insurance industry. He married Mary Burnett (1895-1976), and had six children: William Grosvenor, Charles D. Grosvenor, Richard G. Grosvenor, Mrs. William P. Hazard, Rosa A. Touret, and Mrs. Clarkson C. Collins. He died in Newport, R.I. in 1972.

            The pronunciation of Grosvenor is not phonetic; it is generally pronounced "GROVE-ner."


Bicknell, Thomas W. The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (New York: 1920), 4:25.

Finney, Howard. Finney-Phinney Families in America (Richmond, Va.: William Byrd Press, 1957), 113.

Touret, Rosa Anne (Grosvenor), compiler. An American Family in the Nineteenth Century (published by compiler, 1973).

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Newport directories, 1921-1924

Obituary of William Grosvenor, Providence Journal, May 3 1972, page 21.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists of family correspondence, mostly of William and Rose D. (Phinney) Grosvenor, and their children William and Theodore. The letters cover both personal and financial topics, and include interfiled bills and receipts.

            Rose D. (Phinney) Grosvenor kept diaries for much of her life. These diaries were never donated to the R.I. Historical Society, but the diaries from 1870 through 1883 were transcribed and indexed, and comprise the bulk of her grand-daughter Rosa Touret's An American Family in the Nineteenth Century (1973).

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            This correspondence was part of a large gift of Grosvenor family papers donated in 1972 by Mrs. William Grosvenor.

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Processing note:

            The Grosvenor Family Papers were processed in 1976 by Harold Kemble and an assistant with the initials B.M.Z. It was the first collection processed under a grant to organize the Society's business-related manuscripts. It was also the first collection given an "MSS" number, which is now the standard cataloging prefix for all record groups at the R.I.H.S. In 2000, the correspondence series was slightly re-arranged by Rick Stattler, and this finding aid was written.

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Subgroup 6, series D: Correspondence, 1867-1927

(see typescript inventory for related family business records)

Box 11:

            Subseries 1: William Grosvenor Jr.

Correspondence with family members and others regarding business, investments, commercial property in Providence, residences, and other family news. Frequent correspondents include his brother John B.M. Grosvenor.

Folder 1. 1867, from Edward Broadhead and Coleman Benedict, NY stockbrokers

                        Folder 2. 1868, from Coleman Benedict

                        Folder 3. 1879, 1883-1884, 1891-1899

                        Folder 4. 1900

                        Folder 5. 1901, January - April

                        Folder 6. 1901, May - July

Box 12:           Folder 7. 1901, August - December

                        Folder 8. 1902, January - April

                        Folder 9. 1902, May - July

                        Folder 10. 1902, August - October

                        Folder 11. 1902, November - December

                        Folder 12. 1903, January - March

                        Folder 13. 1903, April - June

                        Folder 14. 1903, July - September

                        Folder 15. 1903, October - December

                        Folder 16. 1904, January - April

                        Folder 17. 1904, May - September

                        Folder 18. 1904, October - December

                        Oversized volume: Letter copy book, Dec.1895 - Oct.1896

            Subseries 2: William Grosvenor and Theodore P. Grosvenor letters

This subseries contains some business correspondence of the firm of Grosvenor & Grosvenor, but mostly the personal letters and accounts of both partners. Topics of particular interest include Theodore P. Grosvenor's 1921 involvement with the American Relief Administration, and three courtship letters to William Grosvenor in 1915.

                        Folder 1. 1908-1920

                        Folder 2. 1921

                        Folder 3. 1922

                        Folder 4. 1923

                        Folder 5. 1924

                        Folder 6. 1925

                        Folder 7. 1926

                        Folder 8. 1927

            Subseries 3: Rose D. (Phinney) Grosvenor letters

The bulk of these letters are from her parents (including some addressed jointly to both sisters, Rose and Alice), courtship letters circa 1881-1882 from her future husband William Grosvenor, and her daughters. The few twentieth century letters deal exclusively with family portraits and heirlooms.

                        Folder 1. Undated letters and fragments

                        Folder 2. Undated letters from daughters, and satirical legal documents

                        Folder 3. 1871

                        Folder 4. 1873-1877

                        Folder 5. 1878

                        Folder 6. 1879

                        Folder 7. 1880-1881

                        Folder 8. 1882

                        Folder 9. 1883-1884

                        Folder 10. 1885-1886

                        Folder 11. 1892

                        Folder 12. 1893

                        Folder 13. 1894

                        Folder 14. 1913-1916

                        Folder 15. 1918-1920

Box 13:

            Subseries 4: "Hilltop"

Correspondence, leases, inventories and bills relating to repairs, rentals and decorating of private residence, 1913-1925. The house was on Ruggles Street in Newport, R.I., and had been the property of T.W. Phinney. By 1913, it was inherited by his daughter Rose D. (Phinney) Grosvenor, and these records generally pertain to her or to real estate agents working on her behalf.

                        Folder 1. 1913

                        Folder 2. 1914

                        Folder 3. 1915

                        Folder 4. 1916

                        Folder 5. 1917

                        Folder 6. 1918

                        Folder 7. 1919

                        Folder 8. 1920

                        Folder 9. 1921

                        Folder 10. 1922

                        Folder 11. 1923

                        Folder 12. 1924

                        Folder 13. 1925

            Subseries 5. Alice M. (Grosvenor) Mason

            Consists solely of five letters from her mother, Rose A. (Mason) Grosvenor.

                        Folder 1. 1868-1871

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Grosvenor, Rose D. (Phinney) (1857-1923)

Grosvenor, Theodore P.

Grosvenor, William (1886-1972)

Grosvenor, William Jr. (1838-1906)

Mason, Alice Mason (Grosvenor)

x Phinney, Rose D.

x Wilder, Rose D. (Phinney) (Grosvenor)

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