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Lemon and Mary Hine Papers

 Collection — external hard drive: DIG_00027
Identifier: 076
Lemon and Mary Hine Correspondence Collection in Dig DC
Lemon and Mary Hine Correspondence Collection in Dig DC

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of both Lemon and Mary Hine. Correspondence begins in the 1850s and continues into the late 1880s. Most of the letters are matched to their individual envelopes. Includes letters to and from their children and descendants of the Hine family. Additional materials include financial records, photographs, publications, articles, and invitations. The materials are divided into three series: Correspondence, Photographs, and Ephemera.


  • Creation: 1855-1914, 1993

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Lemon Galpin Hine was born in Berlin Heights, Ohio on April 14, 1833. Mary Tillinghast was born in 1838. It is not known how the couple met, but their correspondence indicates they courted for more than five years. During their courtship in the late 1850s, Lemon moved to Iowa to establish a town, which he named Lawrence. Publications prepared by Lemon suggest that the lumber trade would make the town profitable. He offered affordable plots of land, and assisted in building structures on these plots. By the early 1860s, Lemon was no longer living in Iowa, and it is assumed that the venture failed. Lemon married Mary Tillinghast in 1861 and they moved to Coldwater, Michigan. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Lemon joined the 44th Illinois Infantry, Company B, in 1861. In 1862, after participating in western campaigns in Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi, Lemon resigned from the Army with the rank of Lieutenant. Later accounts of Lemon’s life state that it was the loss of his voice that led him to resign. However, a close inspection of his correspondence shows that it was his belief that the war would soon be over, coupled with his desire to return to his wife, that were the actual reasons for his resignation. In late 1862, after spending time with Mary and their new son Charles L. Hine, Lemon moved to Washington, DC to work on Army pension cases. He worked with local judges and studied for the Bar Exam, all the while sharing a rooming house with other lawyers and writing letters home to his wife. In 1863, Mary moved to Washington, DC, and the Hine family made the city their permanent home. Lemon and Mary had five children: Oliver, Charles, Blanche, Mary, and Mollie. Oliver Cromwell Hine studied law at Columbian School (George Washington University) and served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. He retired as a Major. Charles L. Hine was a lawyer and publisher in Washington, DC. Charles Hine is not mentioned in DC City Directories after 1889. It is unclear where he moved. Blanche Hine grew up in Washington, DC and later married Frederick A. Fenning, a prominent lawyer and DC Commissioner. She stayed in Washington until 1949, when she moved to Princeton, New Jersey to move in with her daughter. She had five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mary lived in Washington as well. She married James Ramsey Nevitt in 1894. Nevitt was District Coroner from 1900 to 1931. He was on the scene to rescue the injured after the Knickerbocker Theatre disaster and was known for combating a smallpox epidemic in the early 1890s. Mary and James had a son and a daughter. Mollie Hine lived in Washington and married J. Milton Boone. She left Washington with her husband and settled in Sweet Briar, Virginia. Shortly after the Civil War, Lemon began his career as a man of distinction in Washington, DC. He became a member of the common council of Washington, DC and served from July 1, 1868 to June 30, 1869. Next, he was selected as a member of the board of aldermen and served from July 1, 1870 to June 30, 1871. During this time, Lemon continued to practice law. He was elected president of the bar association and served for two years. He did not abandon his practice until 1883, when his voice began to fail. Lemon’s failing health did not, however, stop him from serving as a DC Commissioner from May 21, 1889 to September 30, 1890. In the late 1800s, Lemon joined a local Linotype company. The company established a Linotype system that was used almost exclusively by the Washington Star. Eventually, Lemon was sued by his partner, and the stock and the company was split up. Later in his life, Lemon’s health began to deteriorate and he began to make frequent trips to Florida health resorts. Lemon died in Battle Creek, Michigan on January 19, 1914, and was interred in Rock Creek Cemetery. Mary passed away in 1923 and is buried alongside her husband.


4 Linear feet (6 boxes)


Series I: Correspondence This series consists almost entirely of the correspondence to and from Lemon and Mary Hine. Additionally, there are letters to and from their children and one postcard from their descendant, the author Richard Wright. Correspondence contains items sent to the recipient and remain inside the envelope. These items include ephemera, such as an 1883 dime, swatches of fabric, and locks of hair. Series II: Ephemera This series contains financial records, calling cards, articles, and Lemon Hine’s Last Will and Testament. Series III: Photographs This series consists of images of both Lemon and Mary Hine, as well as a photograph of their Washington, DC home “Prospect Hill.” There is also a photograph encased in a frame that is decorated with the image of the Monitor and the Merrimac. The case is made of an early form of plastic, during the Victorian era. The man in the image is unidentified, though it may be Lemon Hine or a relative of his.

Custodial History

Frederick F. Wright, a descendant of Lemon and Mary Hine, donated the collection to the DC Community Archives. The donation was originally made in 2004, with subsequent additions made in 2005 and 2006.

Related Materials

Karl Fenning Collection (Collection 047)

Processing Information

Standard archival procedures were followed at the time of processing.

Lemon ad Mary Hine 076
An inventory of the Lemon and Mary Hine Papers at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Ryan P. Semmes. Updated by Ray Barker.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001