Ralph Waldo Emerson journals and notebooks
Collection includes the autograph manuscript journals and notebooks of the American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Also includes items by others in the Emerson family.
- 1820-1880 and undated
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
Conditions Governing Use
Images linked to the finding aid describing this collection are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.
Extent18.2 linear feet (252 items in 194 containers)
This collection includes items by others in the Emerson family, with annotations by Ralph Waldo Emerson and annotations by Emerson's descendents and editors throughout.
Titles follow the usage in: JMN, The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks I-XVI (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1960-1982: see ETL, the Editorial Title List, I, 403-415, Appendix I. XVI, 537-541, and passim); PN, The Poetry Notebooks, (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986); and TN, The Topical Notebooks I-III (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1990- 1994). The first title in the first line of each entry is the editors' title from ETL or the printed edition, with the date assigned by them. Following the practice of the editors, the "designation [of the manuscript] by Emerson or others" is noted under "Earlier title[s]" in the second line of the entry, with "Cabot A" etc. referring to labels (stamped letters or numbers cut and pasted to the manuscripts) by James Elliot Cabot.
Readers may consult in the editions cited detailed physical descriptions of the notebooks whose texts have been published; any variations from those descriptions are noted below. The designation "Not published" (noted here for manuscripts by Ralph Waldo Emerson only) means that the text does not appear in these editions: no attempt has been made to track publication elsewhere. For the "not published" items by Emerson and others, a brief description is given; dates supplied by this catalogue (rather than by Emerson's editors) are given in brackets in the first line.
Listed are all the items in the original deposit as well as journals and miscellaneous notebooks added to the sequence later and not catalogued elsewhere; for items accessioned later the Houghton accessions number is noted. The arrangement and order follows that in the ETL, which follows the original "Houghton numbers": see ETL, 403 for an analysis of the arrangement. Following the editorial practice, point numbers (16 and 16.1, etc.) indicate items that include more than one text in a single volume: "double enders" written at different times or for different purposes from both ends of the codex, or separate leaves or fascicles found by the editors within another volume. Alphabetical suffixes to numbers follow the original Houghton numbers and generally reflect distinct physical items.
Since 1956 the manuscripts have been shelved in roughly chronological order with some items cased together out of numerical order, as follows: (2,5,7-13), (14-15), (17-19,93a-95), (22-26), (27-30), (112 and 112.1), (164,166), (165,182-187), (167-174), (175-181), (188-193).
Organized into the following series:
- I. Journals, notebooks, and account books
- II. Manuscripts by others
- III. Pocket diaries
- IV. Miscellany
Immediate Source of Acquisition
91M-94. Manuscripts presented by The Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association in honor of the fiftieth birthday of the Houghton Library; deposit: 1942; gift: 1991.
This collection also includes the following accessions deposited by the R.W. Emerson Memorial Association: 43-2124 (env. only), 43M-271, 43M-272, and 43M-273 (all received 9 Nov. 1943); and 51M-29 (received Aug. 1951).
Also includes item (201): No accession number. Found with: MS Storage 281. Collection materials assembled by Carolyn Jakeman.
Processed by: Elizabeth A. Falsey
- Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882. Ralph Waldo Emerson journals and notebooks, 1820-1880: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
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