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Authors collection

Collection MS-1986-087: Authors collection


  • Creation: 1665 - 2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1790 - 1900

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents written by or regarding prominent literary and historical figures between the years 1665 and 2005. The bulk of this collection dates from 1790 to 1900, and consists of primarily of letters and lithographs. Items from a disassembled nineteenth century autograph book include letters, lithographs, biographical sketches, and autographs. Items from a survey done by bibliographer and indexer William Maccrillis Griswold include completed questionnaires and letters. Other items in the collection include letters, postcards, and photographs.

Though figures represented in this collection are predominantly American or European, they are otherwise extremely varied. Items taken from the autograph book chiefly relate to British historical figures, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Humphrey Davy, and Lord Byron. Items from Griswold’s survey cover American authors, journalists, and academics active during the mid- to late- nineteenth century. Items from other sources include materials from New England authors, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Sarah Orne Jewett, as well as Alfred Lord Tennyson and twentieth century Irish author Mary Lavin. Prominent individuals in American history include General John Burgoyne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Dorothea Dix, and several presidents. Materials created by and regarding religious figures, including Popes Pius X and XII, make up a significant portion of this collection and include both the oldest document - a letter penned in 1665 by Antonio Cardinal Bichi, a member of the College of Cardinals under Pope Alexander the VII - and the most recent document, a 2005 letter from J. LeFarge to Mother Marie Lufkin of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut.


Language of Materials

Most materials in this collection are in English, with some materials in Italian, Latin, French, and Romanian.

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

The Authors collection comprises various manuscripts created by notable historical figures between 1665 and 2005. Many items in this collection were originally bound in an early nineteenth century autograph book. In addition, a large number of items originate from a survey of American authors conducted by bibliographer and indexer William Maccrillis Griswold (1853-1899) in the 1880s. As this is primarily an autograph collection, material by any one author is limited. Transcriptions and additional information regarding individual items may be available in the control files. Please consult the Archivist concerning those files.


7 Linear Feet (14 containers)


The Authors collection comprises various manuscripts created by notable historical figures between 1665 and 2005. The bulk of this collection dates from 1790 to 1900, and consists primarily of letters and lithographs. Notable correspondents represented in this collection include Charles Darwin, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Edward Everett Hale, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Florence Nightingale, Walker Percy, Wendell Phillips, John Ruskin, Alec Waugh, and William Wordsworth.


This collection is arranged alphabetically by the author's or subject's last name. Some folders contain materials concerning more than one individual.

Authors Collection
1665-2005 (bulk 1790-1900)
Alexandra Bisio
October 2012
Description rules
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024 February: Incorporated William Wordsworth accrual.

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