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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 78

Holmes, John Haynes. Correspondence and phonograph recordings, 1928-1978.


Papers of John Haynes Holmes, consisting of correspodence with Mortimer Smith, Robert Henry Holmes, and Alfred Storer Cole, as well as phonograph recordings between Holmes and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The papers span 1928-1978.


  • 1928-1978.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


2 boxes

This collection is divided into five series. Series I consists of correspondence with Mortimer Smith. Series II is correspondence with Robert Henry Holmes. Series III contains letters to Alfred S. Cole. These three series are arranged chronologically. Series IV is personal material which includes obituary notices of Holmes, letters by Alice Smith, who was Holmes's secretary, and a sermon on Holmes by Alfred S. Cole. Series V consists of phonograph recordings of Holmes and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Holmes recording, A Letter to Gandhi has been digitized and can be accessed through the links below. Real Player is required to play the digitized content and it can be downloaded for free from their website.

Biographical / Historical

John Haynes Homes (1879-1964) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1902 and Harvard Divinity School in 1904. He received honorary doctorates from Benares Hindu University, Rollins College, and Meadville Theological School. He served as minister of the Third Religious Society (Unitarian) in Dorchester, Massachusetts, from 1904 to 1907; and as minister of the Community Church in New York City, New York, from 1907 to 1949. Holmes was a founder and board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); a founder and chairman (1940-1950) of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union; a founder of the India League of America; and editor of Unity magazine. He authored many books, including Marriage and Divorce (1913), Heroes in Peace (1920), Out of Darkness (1942), My Gandhi (1953), and I Speak for Myself: The Autobiography of John Haynes Holmes (1959).


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence with Mortimer Smith
  2. Series II. Correspondence with Robert Henry Holmes
  3. Series III. Correspondence with Alfred S. Cole
  4. Series IV. Personal material
  5. Series V. Phonograph recordings

Acquisition Information

The correspondence represents gifts from Robert Henry Holmes, 1970; Alfred S. Cole, 1971; and Mortimer Smith, 1978. The four phonograph recordings were a gift from John Haynes Holmes to the Harvard Libraries.

Holmes, John Haynes. Correspondence and phonograph recordings, 1928-1978: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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