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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2283

Francis James Child collection of letters and papers relating to the Harris ballad manuscript

Papers, collected by American scholar Francis James Child, concerning the manuscript of Scottish ballads, assembled by Amelia and Jane Harris.


  • 1859-1913

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.1 linear feet (1 volume)

The title, introduction, and notes are by Professor George Lyman Kittredge.

This material is sometimes called the "Harris letters."

Biographical / Historical

The materials in this bound volume were generated due to a manuscript called the "Harris manuscript." The Harris manuscript was written down by the sisters Amelia Harris (1815-1891) and Jane Harris (1823-1897). They compiled a family repertoire of Scottish ballads, mainly passed on orally to the sisters by their mother, Grace Dow Harris (Mrs. David Harris) (b.1782). This manuscript and some correspondence was purchased in 1873 by Professor Francis James Child of Harvard University who was a scholar of ballads, in order to help make these songs known. Other correspondents involved with the Harris manuscript include: William Edmondstoune Aytoune, Norval Clyne, and others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Professor Francis James Child; received: 1913 Dec. 26. Recataloged from 25241.41*

These items were found with the papers of Francis James Child and were assembled, bound, and annotated by Harvard Professor George Lyman Kittredge at a later date.

Related Materials

See also "Harris manuscript" under MS Eng 1444.

For a detailed description of this manuscript see: Harris, Amelia. The song repertoire of Amelia and Jane Harris, edited by Emily Lyle, Kaye McAlpine, Anne Dhu McLucas. Edinburgh: The Scottish Text Society, 2002.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt
Link to catalog
Child, Francis James, 1825-1896, collector. Francis James Child collection of letters and papers relating to the Harris ballad manuscript: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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