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Eleanor Early papers

Collection MS-1995-005: Eleanor Early papers


  • Creation: 1902 - 1969
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1937 - 1969

Scope and Contents

These papers document Eleanor Early’s travels, writing, and personal life. Her travel writings describe destinations on the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean, the West Indies, Europe, and South Africa; other article topics cover culture, fashion, marriage, shopping, and personal reflection. In addition to her articles, Early wrote quizzes for magazine publication, short stories, and biographies. Of note are drafts of two uncompleted biography projects - "Boy's and Girls' Life of Mark Twain" and a proposed work on Theodosia Burr Alston - and of her published advice book She Knew What He Wanted. Early's writing materials include typescripts, published works, and planners with notes related to her articles and books, as well as publicity materials and transcripts of her radio broadcasts. Some of her personal documents are also included, such as her passport and International News Service identification card. Extensive photographs document both her personal life and her travels.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical / Historical

Eleanor Early was born the second of six children in Newton, Massachusetts, on April 27, 1895, to James A. Early and Sarah (Dolan) Early. Her mother worked in advertising before raising the children. Early grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts. After high school she attended Miss Wheelock's Kindergarten Training School in Boston. Upon graduating in 1917, Early started teaching kindergarten in her hometown.

Early began her career as a writer by working as a reporter and feature writer for three Boston newspapers, the Boston American, The Herald, and The Sunday Advertiser. In 1926 Early left her reporting jobs to travel, and in the next year she visited Egypt, Jerusalem, France, and Cuba. Following her travels, she published three novels, Orchid (1929), The Shining Talent (1929), and Whirlwind (1930), as serial stories with the Newspaper Enterprise Association. She then combined her reporting and love of travel by working for the International News Service (INS). As a correspondent Early traveled to the West Indies, Africa, New York City, and Washington, D.C. From the INS, Early moved into freelancing, selling stories about her travels while living abroad in Dominica, Haiti, and Tortola.

Early wrote prolifically during the 1930s and early 1940s, and published ten books, mostly about travel: And This is Boston (1930), And This is Washington (1934), Behold the White Mountains (1935), And This is Cape Cod (1936), Ports of the Sun (1937), Adirondack Tales (1939), Lands of Delight (1939), A New England Sampler (1940), She Knew What He Wanted (1941), and An Island Patchwork (1941).

World War II impacted her ability to travel, and in 1942, she hosted a weekly radio show, in which she addressed news from Washington of interest to women. Her topics ranged from rationing, shortages, and prices to education, entertainment, and the effects of war on fashion.

After the war Early resumed her travels and writing. She subsequently published her most successful travel books: New Orleans Holiday (1947) and New York Holiday (1950). During this period she also wrote Cape Cod Summer (1949), the New England Cookbook (1954), and Washington Holiday (1955). In the 1960s Early shifted her focus to magazine articles, and she covered locals as diverse as Kentucky and South Africa. She died in 1969.


"Biography of Eleanor Early." Rinehart & Company Incorporated Publishers News, [195-].

"Bostonians in Profile: Eleanor Early." What's New in Town, 1942: 8.

"Wellesley Girl Wins Fame as Novelist." The Townsman, 13 September 13, 1929.


9.5 Linear Feet (19 containers)

Language of Materials



These papers document the life and career of author Eleanor Early, who was best known for her travel articles and books. Additional materials included her magazine quizzes; short stories; chapters for her advice book She Knew What He Wanted; and World War II era radio broadcast transcripts. Her papers also contain extensive photographs of her travels.


Arranged in five series: I. Correspondence; II. Writing; III. Publicity and Publishing; IV. Personal Materials; and V. Photographs.

Series I. Correspondence is divided into two subseries: A. Incoming and B. Outgoing.

Series II. Writing is divided into seven subseries: A. School Notes; B. Travel Writing; C. Other Articles and Stories; D. Quizzes; E. Books; F. Radio and Television Broadcasts; and G. Planners and Scrapbooks.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time. Additional materials gift of Eleanor Early's nephew James E. Gately (2007 and 2010).

Eleanor Early Papers
1902-1969 (bulk 1937-1969)
Sarah K. Nytroe, 2004; and Stephanie Hall
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States