Home of the Week: Doris Kearns Goodwin lists her Concord house for $1.9 million

Home of the Week Concord
Renovations to the home include the conversion of a barn into a great room and a garage into a library. Richard Pasley Photography

1640 Monument St., Concord

Style: Colonial farmhouse
Year built: 1850
Square feet: 6,794
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 3 full, 1 half
Sewer/water: Private/public
Taxes: $25,824 (2019)

Doris Kearns Goodwin has a wish as she decamps from the Concord home she shared for some 20 years with Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt — and the love of her life, the late Richard N. Goodwin.

“It’s been a happy house. . . . It’s hard to leave,’’ Kearns Goodwin told the Globe. “There’s a lot of love that can come into this house. Houses tell stories, and I want the house to have a good story like we did here.’’

Kearns Goodwin said she and her husband spent the first 20 of their 40 years in Concord in a house on Main Street. But their passion for books required more space. “The books have taken us a lot of places,’’ she said. She has since purged the collection from 10,000 to 5,000 books.

The presidential historian wrote her three most recent books in this 6,794-square-foot house, where nearly every room, including the formal dining room, has bookshelves. The move does not mean she is giving up writing, but with the passing last year of her husband, she finds the house is now too large for her to call home. (A Boston condo beckons.)

The main entry opens to an expansive hallway with black and white flooring and a series of French doors that connect two wings. But just inside and behind a pocket door is a sitting room with a gas fireplace where Kearns Goodwin said she spent early mornings working. Bookshelves, of course, flank the fireplace. “It’s such a cozy room,’’ she said.

Toward the rear of the house, a doorway on the right leads into an eat-in kitchen that she kept intimate so the cook was still part of the gathering. The space has a C-shaped island, white cabinets, granite counters, undermount lighting, a breakfast nook, and a tile backsplash.

The kitchen is an annex to a family room with its own gas fireplace, multiple bookshelves and French doors leading to a landscaped backyard (more on that in a bit). Both rooms have hardwood flooring, as does most of the first level. The formal dining room, accessed from the kitchen, has a tea paper ceiling and multiple French doors.

The hallway ends at what was once a barn but is now called the great room because of its size. It features a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and a wagon wheel chandelier that hangs form a vaulted ceiling. Kearns Goodwin said she often spent time writing here. There are, of course, bookshelves — which are filled with books, organized alphabetically.

The other half of the barn has retained its post-and-beam construction and is now set up as a workout area.

Back out in the foyer, there is a wing that holds a half bath, the laundry room, an office, a mudroom, and a must-have in any home of a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Democratic theorist, and speechwriter: a massive library, one that was once a three-car garage. The space has a gas fireplace, mahogany bookshelves, an adjoining card room, a TV screen that lowers from the ceiling, and a barn-like silo with a corkscrew stairwell that ends in a viewing platform.

The house sits on a 1.85-acre lot that Kearns Goodwin said her husband transformed from a mundane lawn into an arboreal refuge. An irregularly shaped patio is flanked by a bubbling fountain that flows, river-like, into a koi pond. A crushed stone walkway leads to benches.

“The reason we love this house so much is that the outdoor grounds are just beautiful. They are part of the house,’’ she said.

The second floor houses the home’s five bedrooms. The right wing includes a master suite with hardwood flooring, narrow crown molding, and walk-in closets with custom shelving. The master bath was updated recently and now has a single white vanity with a marble counter, marble flooring, a soaking tub, and a separate shower.

There are three more bedrooms in this wing, and a full bath with a double vanity and shower.

The left wing, which holds the fifth bedroom, can be reached by a second stairway and what used to be Goodwin’s office. The flooring here is hardwood, and there is also access to the silo in one corner of the room.

The basement is unfinished, and there is a Bocce court and a horseshoe pit on the front lawn.

Brigitte Senkler, Amy Pasley, and Peggy Dowcett of Coldwell Banker in Concord have the listing.

See more photos of the home below:

Follow John R. Ellement on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Send listings to [email protected]. Please note: We do not feature unfurnished homes and will not respond to submissions we won’t pursue. Subscribe to our newsletter at