1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wellesley

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WELLESLEY, a township of Norfolk county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 14 m. S.W. of Boston. Pop. (1800) 3600, (1900) 5072, of whom 1306 were foreign-born and 17 were negroes, (1910 census) 5413. Area, 10.4 sq. m. Wellesley is served by the Boston & Albany railway, and is connected with Natick (3 m. W.), Newton, Needham, Boston and Worcester by electric lines. The north-eastern boundary of the township is the Charles river, which divides it from the city of Newton. The surface of the township is hilly and abundantly wooded, with many small streams and lakes; the two principal villages are Wellesley Hills and Wellesley, and smaller villages are Wellesley Falls, Wellesley Farms and Wellesley Fells. The highest point is Maugus Hill (416 ft.), near Wellesley Hills village. In the northern part of Wellesley and extending into Weston is a large forest tract known as “The Hundreds.” Within the township are parts of two of the reservations of the Metropolitan Park system, 66.07 acres of the Charles river reservation, and 4.58 acres of Hemlock Gorge. Hunnewell Park is the former home of Dr W. T. G. Morton, who discovered the anaesthetic properties of sulphuric ether. West of Wellesley village, among the hills, lie Morses Pond and Lake Waban, on which are beautiful Italian gardens and (on the north side) the buildings and extensive grounds (350 acres) of Wellesley College (undenominational, 1875) for women, which was established by Henry Towle Durant (1822-1881), a prominent Boston lawyer. In 1910 the college had 130 instructors and 1319 students. The library (65,200 volumes in 1910) was endowed by Eben N. Horsford, the chemist and ethnologist; it contains a library of American linguistics collected by Major J. W. Powell and Mr Horsford, and the Frances Pearson Plimpton library of early Italian literature. There are about 30 buildings, of which twelve are residential halls or cottages. Instruction is in classical, literary and scientific branches, and the degrees of A.B. and A.M. are awarded.

Wellesley was settled about 1640, being then within the limits of Dedham. When the township of Needham was set off from Dedham in 1711, Wellesley was included within the new territory, and in 1774 was organized as the west parish of Needham or West Needham. In 1881 it was incorporated under its present name.

See J. E. Fiske in D. H. Hurd's History of Norfolk County (Boston, 1884).