Boston Brahmins or Boston elite are members of Boston's traditional upper class. They are often associated with  Harvard University; Anglicanism; upper-class clubs such as the Somerset in Boston, the Knickerbocker in New York City, the Metropolitan in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific-Union Club in San Francisco; and traditional Anglo-American customs and clothing. Descendants of the earliest English colonists are typically considered to be the most representative of the Boston Brahmins.  They are considered  White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
The doctor and writer
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. coined the term "Brahmin Caste of New England" in an 1860 story in . The Atlantic Monthly The term  refers to the highest-ranking Brahmin caste of people in the traditional Hindu caste system in India. By extension, it was applied in the United States to the old wealthy New England families of British Protestant origin that became influential in the development of American institutions and culture. The influence of the old gentry has been reduced in modern times, but some vestiges remain, primarily in the institutions and the ideals that they championed in their heyday.
Typical dress of the Boston elite
The nature of the Brahmins is hinted at by the doggerel "Boston Toast" by
Holy Cross alumnus John Collins Bossidy:
And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God. 
While some 19th-century Brahmin families of large fortune were of bourgeois origin, still fewer were of a somewhat aristocratic origin. The new families were often the first to seek, in typically British fashion, suitable marriage alliances with those old aristocratic New England families that were descended from landowners in England to elevate and cement their social standing. The Winthrops, Dudleys, Saltonstalls, Winslows, and Lymans (descended from English magistrates, gentry, and aristocracy) were, by and large, happy with this arrangement. All of Boston's "Brahmin elite", therefore, maintained the received culture of the old English gentry, including cultivating the personal excellence that they imagined maintained the distinction between gentlemen and freemen, and between ladies and women. They saw it as their duty to maintain what they defined as high standards of excellence, duty, and restraint. Cultivated, urbane, and dignified, a Boston Brahmin was supposed to be the very essence of enlightened
aristocracy.  The ideal Brahmin was not only wealthy, but displayed what was considered suitable personal virtues and character traits.
The Brahmin was expected to maintain the customary English reserve in his dress, manner, and deportment, cultivate the arts, support charities such as hospitals and colleges, and assume the role of community leader.
Although the ideal called on him to transcend commonplace business values, in practice many found the thrill of economic success quite attractive. The Brahmins warned each other against  avarice and insisted upon personal responsibility. Scandal and divorce were unacceptable. The total system was buttressed by the strong extended family ties present in Boston society. Young men attended the same prep schools, colleges, and private clubs, and heirs married heiresses. Family not only served as an economic asset, but also as a means of moral restraint. Most belonged to the  Unitarian or Episcopal churches, although some were Congregationalists or Methodists. Politically they were successively Federalists, Whigs, and Republicans. They were marked by their manners and once distinctive elocution. Their distinctive Anglo-American manner of dress has been much imitated and is the foundation of the style now informally known as preppy. Many of the Brahmin families trace their ancestry back to the original 17th- and 18th-century colonial ruling class consisting of Massachusetts governors and magistrates, Harvard presidents, distinguished clergy, and fellows of the Royal Society of London (a leading scientific body), while others entered New England aristocratic society during the 19th century with their profits from commerce and trade, often marrying into established Brahmin families.
List of families
Selected Boston Brahmin
American statesman, Governor of Massachusetts, and founding father,
Philanthropist, business magnate, namesake of Bates College,
Railroad executive and son of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge,
Entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the House of Morgan and the Peabody Institute,
Other notable relatives:
Boston and Britain:
Bradlee Bradlee Family
Nathan Bradley I: earliest known member born in America, in
Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1631 Samuel Bradlee: constable of Dorchester, Massachusetts
Boston Tea Party participant, member of Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association Josiah Bradlee I: Boston Tea Party participant; m. Hannah Putnam
Josiah Bradlee III (Harvard): m. Alice Crowninsheld
Frederick Josiah Bradlee I (Harvard): Director of the Boston Bank
Joseph Putnam Bradlee (1783-1838), Commander of the New England Guards, chairman of the State Central Committee, Director and then President of the Boston City Council
Samuel Bradlee, Jr.: lieutenant colonel during the American Revolutionary War
Thomas Bradlee: Boston Tea Party participant; member of Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association; Member of the St. Andrews Lodge of Freemasons
David Bradlee: Boston Tea Party participant; Captain in the
Continental Army, member of the St. Andrews Lodge of Freemasons Sarah Bradlee: "Mother of the Boston Tea Party"
Francis Brinley, Esq.(1632-1719): arrived from England in 1651 after the
English Civil War, with his two sisters, children of Thomas Brinley, auditor to King Charles I& II, his original home became Newport's White Horse Tavern, Judge, book collector, landowner (RI, MA, NJ), Governor's assistant, m: Hannah Carr (niece of RI Gov. Caleb Carr). Boston estate at Hanover and Elm, current site of Government Center.
William Brinley, Esq (1656-1704): first son of Francis, Judge in Newport, co-founder of
Trinity Church, Newport, first Anglican church in RI
William Brinley, Esq. (1677-1753): only child of Wm. Brinley, Judge in Monmouth, NJ
John Brinley (1713-1775): Brinley grist mill owner in Oakhurst, NJ
William Brinley (1754-1840): Major in Revolutionary War
Sylvester C. Brinley (1816-1905): founded Brinley, Ohio (aka Brinley Station) in 1855. Thomas Brinley (1661-1693): second son of Francis, Boston/London merchant, co-founder of King's Chapel, Boston, first Anglican church in colonial New England.
Eliakim Hutchinson (1711-1775): Judge, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County, and one of Boston's richest men, owner of Shirley Place (now
Shirley-Eustis House) m:Elizabeth Shirley (daughter of MA Gov William Shirley)
Colonel Francis Brinley (1690-1765): Colonel in Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company, merchant, landowner (Datchet House/Brinley Place-Roxbury, Brinley Place-Framingham), one of the richest Bostonians of the 18th century, grandfather's heir, m: Deborah Lyde, granddaughter of Judge Nathaniel Byfield
Francis Brinley Fogg Sr. Esq. (1795-1880): m. Mary Middleton Rutledge of
Middleton Place, TN state senator, started Nashville public schools, school board president, namesake Fogg School opened in 1875, a founder of Sewanee University of the South. and Christ Church Cathedral Nashville
Catherine Grace Frances Moody Nevinson Gore (1798-1861): English writer Francis William Brinley (1796-1859): merchant, mayor of
Perth Amboy, NJ, Surveyor of NJ state. Francis Brinley Jr., Esq. (1800-1880): Harvard 1818-
Porcellian Club, President of Boston Common Council, MA state legislator (House and Senate), clerk to Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, delegate to state constitutional convention, commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.
Edward Brinley (1809-1868): Importer for Edward Brinley & Co., Old Faneuil Hall, Boston George Brinley (1817-1875): noted book collector, pioneer of the Americanist movement
Emily Malbone Morgan (1862-1939): founder of the Colonel Daniel Putnam Association and the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross
Godfrey Malbone Brinley (1864-1939): top 10 US tennis pro, later master at St. Paul's school Edward Brinley Faneuil Adams (1871-1922): Harvard 1892/Law 1897, Harvard Law librarian
Daniel Putnam Brinley (1873-1963): artist (painter, muralist, impressionist) Charles Henry Brinley Esq (1825-1907): Judge in AZ, involved in early CA/AZ politics, int'l merchant, appointed Vice Consul to Mexico by Pres Theo. Roosevelt
Emily Borie Ryerson (1863-1939): Titanic survivor, suffragette, philanthropist Anne Brinley Coddington (1628-1708): third wife of Governor
William Coddington, who arrived with the Winthrop fleet in 1630 and became an early MA magistrate, the first Governor of Rhode Island/founder of Portsmouth and Newport, RI, and mother and grandmother of subsequent Governors.
Grisell Brinley Sylvester (1635-1687): wife of Nathaniel Sylvester, together they became the first white settlers and owners of all of Shelter Island, NY. She is credited with bringing boxwoods to the colonies.
Brinley Sylvester (1690-1752): built
Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, which was made a non-profit educational farm by the 11th generation heir. Charles Ward Apthorp Jr. (1729-1797): owner of Manhattan's
Apthorp Farm, merchant, NY Governor's Council 1763-83
Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton (1759-1846): poet, wife of Perez Morton, MA Speaker and AG.
Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844): Harvard 1781/4, architect in Boston and of the US Capitol building
Sen. James Lloyd (1769-1831): Harvard 1787/90, US Senator from MA, merchant, businessman
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945): Harvard 1904, 32nd and longest serving President of the United States Benjamin Crowinshield Bradlee (1921-2014): Harvard 1942, Executive Editor of The Washington Post
Thomas Chaffee (1610-1683), businessman and landowner
Jonathon Chaffee (1678-1766), businessman and landowner
Matthew Chaffee (1657-1723), Boston landowner
Adna Romanza Chaffee (1842-1914): U.S. general
Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. (1884-1941): U.S. general
Zechariah Chafee (1885-1957): philosopher, civil libertarian
John Chafee (1922-1999): U.S. senator Lincoln Chafee (b. 1953): former U.S. senator, former Rhode Island governor, 2016 U.S. presidential candidate for the Democratic party
Newbury and Nantucket:
Descendants by marriage:
Descendant by marriage:
Marblehead and Salem:
William Fabens (1810-1883): lawyer, member of Assembly,
 Samuel Augustus Fabens (1813-1899): master mariner in the East India and California trade
 Francis Alfred Fabens (1814-1872): mercantile businessman, San Francisco judge, attorney
 Joseph Warren Fabens (1821-1875): U.S. Consul at
Cayenne, businessman, Envoy Extraordinary of the Dominican Republic  George Wilson Fabens (1857-1939): attorney, land commissioner and superintendent of Southern Pacific Railroad, namesake of Fabens, Texas 
Jonathan Gillett (1609-1677): colonist
Edward Bates Gillett (1817-1899): attorney
Frederick Huntington Gillett (1851-1935): 37th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Arthur Lincoln Gillett (1859-1938): clergyman
Mark Healey (1791-1872): originally of New Hampshire, merchant and first president of the Merchant's Bank
Descendant by marriage:
Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856-1943): president of Harvard University
John Ellerton Lodge, husband of Anna Cabot
Theodore Lyman (1753-1839): China trade merchant, commissioned Samuel McIntire to build one of New England's finest country houses, The Vale
Theodore Lyman II (1792-1849): brigadier general of militia, Massachusetts state representative, mayor of Boston
Theodore Lyman III (1833-1897): natural scientist, aide-de-camp to Major General Meade during the American Civil War, and United States congressman from Massachusetts Theodore Lyman IV (1874-1954): director of Jefferson Physics Lab, Harvard. The Lyman series of spectral lines, the crater Lyman on the far side of the Moon, and the Lyman Physics Building at Harvard are named after him.
Peter Palfrey (1611-1663): one of the founders of Salem, Salem representative to the first General Court of
Massachusetts Bay Colony   
William Palfrey (1741-1780): American patriot, Aide-de-camp to George Washington, chief clerk to John Hancock, successful merchant 
John G. Palfrey I (1796-1881): played a leading role in the creation of Harvard Divinity School, first Dean of Harvard Divinity School, U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts, Unitarian minister, historian 
Francis Winthrop Palfrey (1831-1889): historian, decorated Union officer
Sarah Palfrey Danzig (1912-1996): won 18 national tennis championship titles (singles, doubles, mixed doubles) John G. Palfrey V (1919-1979): member of
President Kennedy's Atomic Energy Commission, Dean of Columbia University    John G. "Sean" Palfrey VI (b. 1945): pediatrician and advocate, Harvard Faculty Dean of
Adams House with Judy Palfrey  John G. Palfrey VII (b. 1972): educator and author, historian, Headmaster of Phillips Andover 
Other notable relatives:
Edmund Rice (1594-1663): colonist
Alexander Hamilton Rice (1818-1895): industrialist, mayor of Boston, governor of Massachusetts, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
Brigadier General Americus Vespucius Rice (1835-1904): U.S. general, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio, banker
Brigadier General Edmund Rice (1842-1906): U.S. general, Medal of Honor recipient
Edmund Rice (1819-1889): U.S. senator, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota
Henry Mower Rice (1816-1894): U.S. senator
Luther Rice (1783-1836): Baptist clergyman, missionary to India
Thomas Rice (1768-1854): member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
William Marsh Rice (1816-1900): businessman, founder of Rice University
William North Rice (1845-1928): geologist, educator
William Whitney Rice (1826-1896): member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts William B. Rice (1840-1909): industrialist, philanthropist
Colonel Epes Sargent (1690-1762): colonel of militia before the Revolution and a justice of the general session court for more than 30 years
Paul Dudley Sargent (1745-1828): Revolutionary officer, one of the founding overseers of Bowdoin College
John Sargent (1750-1824): Loyalist officer during the American Revolution
Daniel Sargent, Sr. (1730-1806): merchant, owned Sargent's Wharf in Boston
Daniel Sargent (1764-1842): merchant, politician
Henry Sargent (1770-1845): painter, military man
Henry Winthrop Sargent (1810-1882): horticulturist, landscape gardener
Lucius Manlius Sargent (1786-1867): author, antiquarian, temperance advocate
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925): artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation"
Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927): botanist, first director of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum
Winthrop Sargent Gilman (1808-1884): head of the banking house of Gilman, Son & Co. in New York City
Epes Sargent (1813-1880): editor, poet, playwright
Francis W. Sargent (1915-1998): 64th governor of Massachusetts
Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee (1921-2014) (Harvard, 1942): editor of The Washington Post
Frances Sargent Osgood (1811-1850): poet, one of the most popular women writers during her time Anna Maria Wells (née Foster; ca. 1794-1868): early American poet, children's author
Major General Robert Sedgwick (1611-1656): immigrant, Commander of the Massachusetts Bay Colony forces
Hon. Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813): 4th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; major in U.S. Continental Army
Major General John Sedgwick (1813-1864): U.S. Civil War general (Union Army)
Theodore Sedgwick, Jr. (1780-1839): lawyer, author; politician
Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1876): one of the first noted female writers in the United States Henry Dwight Sedgwick (1785-1831): father of
Henry Dwight Sedgwick II (1824-1903): father of
Ellery Sedgwick (1872-1960): magazine editor; father of
Ellery Sedgwick, Jr. (1908-1991): father of
Henry Dwight Sedgwick III (1861-1957): lawyer, author; father of
Henry Dwight Sedgwick IV (1896-1914)
Francis Minturn Sedgwick (1904-1967): father of
Robert Minturn Sedgwick (1899-1976): father of
Henry Dwight Sedgwick V (1928-2018): venture capitalist; husband of Helen Stern (1930-2019) and Patricia Rosenwald Sedgwick (b. 1933); father of
John Tarbox (1645-1674): colonist
John K. Tarbox (1838-1887): lawyer, U.S. senator, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts Increase N. Tarbox (1815-1888): author
Brevet Brigadier General Sylvanus Thayer (1785-1872:, U.S. general (Army), Father of West Point
Nathaniel Thayer (1769-1840): Unitarian minister; father of
Nathaniel Thayer, Jr. (1808-1883): financier, philanthropist; partner in John E. Thayer and brother firm which he left to clerks Kidder and Peabody after his retirement. One of the most generous citizens of Boston donating Thayer Hall to Harvard University; an overseer of Harvard, 1866-1868, and a fellow, 1868-1875; father of
Bayard Thayer (1862-1916): millionaire sportsman, horticulturist
Eugene Van Rensselaer Thayer (1855-1907): financier, capitalist; father of
Eugene Van Rensselaer Thayer, Jr. (1881-1937): Harvard class of 1904; President of Merchants and Chase National Banks; Chairman of Stutz motorcars
James Bradley Thayer (1831-1902): American legal writer, educationist
Ernest Thayer (1863-1940): American poet, author of "Casey at the Bat", and uncle of Scofield Thayer
Scofield Thayer (1889-1982): American poet, publisher
Eli Thayer (1819-1899): member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
John A. Thayer (1857-1917): member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
John R. Thayer (1845-1916): member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
Brevet Major General John Milton Thayer (1820-1906): U.S. senator, U.S. Civil War general (Union Army); governor of Nebraska
Webster Thayer (1857-1933): judge at the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti
William Greenough Thayer (1863-1934), American educator; father of
Tommy Thayer (b. 1960): lead guitarist for the rock band Kiss
Richard Warren (1578-1628): London merchant, Mayflower passenger
Taylor Swift (b. 1989): singer, songwriter; 9th great-grandchild of Richard Warren 
James Warren (1726-1808): paymaster general of Continental Army, major general in Massachusetts colony militia, president of Massachusetts Congress
Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814): playwright, historian, revolutionary
Joseph Warren (1741-1775): major general in Massachusetts colony militia, hero/martyr of Bunker Hill, president of Massachusetts Congress; sent Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride John Warren (1753-1815): founder of
Harvard Medical School, surgeon at Bunker Hill, co-founder of the Massachusetts Medical Society
John Collins Warren (1778-1856): surgeon, president of the American Medical Association, founding dean of Harvard Medical School, a founder of Massachusetts General Hospital; gave first public demonstration of surgical anesthesia, a founder of The New England Journal of Medicine
Winslow Warren (1838-1930): American attorney who served as Collector of Customs for the Port of Boston during the second administration of Grover Cleveland
John Collins Warren Jr. (1842-1927): surgeon, president of the American Surgical Association Charles Warren (1868-1954): lawyer, author, legal scholar who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book The Supreme Court in United States History
Winthrop Winthrop Family
Lucy Winthrop Downing: mother of diplomat
Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet, founder of New York, of Downing Street, London, and ultimately of Downing College, Cambridge, UK; Lucy's letter to her brother Governor Winthrop provided the impetus for the founding of Harvard College; sister of
John Winthrop (1588-1649): founding governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony; father of
 John Winthrop: husband of Anne Dudley, granddaughter of
John Winthrop (1714-1779): acting president of Harvard, pioneer of American science
Thomas Lindall Winthrop (1760-1841): lieutenant governor of Massachusetts Robert Charles Winthrop (1809-1894): lawyer, politician, philanthropist
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John G. Palfrey V
John G. "Sean" Palfrey VI
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