The Nathaniel Pope Russell House at 34 Beacon Street was built in 1825 from designs by Cornelius Coolidge, the relatively unsung architect and developer of much of the South Slope of Beacon Hill during the 1820s and 1830s. The first owner, Nathaniel Russell was a leading Federal period China Trade merchant in Boston who specialized with marine insurance for trading companies, much like his mentor Peter Chardon Brooks. Nathaniel Russell later retired and moved to Nahant to live out his final days with his younger wife. It is believed that Russell suffered from severe depression and eventually took his own life by jumping from a pier near his home in Nahant. Much later, the home became the offices of Little, Brown and Company, a publishing company who established their headquarters at 34 Beacon Street in 1909. The building is now owned by Northeastern University as the President’s House.
Architecturally, the home is an expression of the transition of Federal to Greek Revival architectural styles and along with its neighbor, are very sophisticated for their time. Features such as the rusticated granite walls of the first stories and the roofed iron balconies of the second floor acknowledge the architect Coolidge’s familiarity with Regency-style architecture in England.