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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1845-1845.9

Papers of John Hay and Abraham Lincoln


Speeches and legal briefs of the American president Abraham Lincoln, and compositions by his assistant secretary John Hay.


  • Creation: 1840-1911

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.


.33 linear feet (10 volumes)

Collection consists of papers of John Hay and papers of Abraham Lincoln collected by Hay. Includes autograph manuscript of Hay's novel The bread-winners, the 1911 edition with manuscript revisions, and a reader's report in French for the publisher Hachette. Includes portions of the manuscript biography in Hay's hand of his joint work with John G. Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln: A History. Autograph manuscripts in Lincoln's hand include a Thanksgiving proclamation (1863); speech on the abolition of slavery in Maryland (1864); letters to B. F. James; two briefs relating to legal cases (1840-1842); and a facsimile copy of the Emancipation Proclamation with manuscript additions. Includes a copy of a letter (1865) from Mary Todd Lincoln to Queen Victoria concerning the death of Lincoln. Also contains a typescript letter with manuscript revisions from Theodore Roosevelt to John Hay recounting his western trip in the summer of 1903.

Biographical / Historical

John Hay was an American author and statesman. He was assistant secretary to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and secretary of state under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.


Arranged in call number order.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*69M-11, *69M-17. Bequest of Clarence Leonard Hay; received: 1969 July; 1970 Jan.

Formerly accessioned as *44-674, *44M-263, *44M-262.

Hay, John, 1838-1905. Papers of John Hay and Abraham Lincoln: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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