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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1322

Henry Villard papers


Personal and professional papers, as well as family papers of Henry Villard, the German-born American journalist, financier and railway promoter.


  • Creation: 1604-1948
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1863-1900

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


6.25 linear feet (15 boxes)

Chiefly correspondence, including long runs of letters to his wife, Fanny Garrison Villard, to his son Oswald Garrison Villard, and to other members of the Garrison family. Also includes one box of material on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; one box of German letters and documents; and several boxes of pamphlets, clippings, photographs, and other ephemera, including material relating to the Northern Pacific Railroad. Genealogical material includes documents relating to the Benson family dating from 1604.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Villard was a journalist, railway promoter, and financier. Born in Bavaria, he came to the United States in 1853. He worked as journalist for a variety of newspapers and was a Civil War correspondent for the New York Herald and New York Tribune. In 1873 Villard became a representative for a group of German bondholders of the Oregon and California Railroad, and his career as a railroad promoter in the Northwest was launched. He was president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, 1881-1884. Villard also served as representative of the Deutsche Bank in New York City.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Letters to Villard
  2. II. Letters from Villard to others
  3. III. Letters to Fanny Garrison Villard
  4. IV. German letters and documents
  5. V. Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
  6. VI. Villard family material
  7. VII. Family genealogy, records, and photographs
  8. VIII. Family books
  9. IX. Miscellaneous materials
  10. X. Additions to collection

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

52M-228 (part), 52M-228A (part), 52M-228B. Bequest of Oswald Garrison Villard; received: 1949.

Item (644): No accession number. Gift of Oswald Garrison Villard, 20 Vesey Street, New York , New York; received: 1944 January 12.

Related Materials

There are related papers on Henry Villard in the Historical Collections, Baker Library, Harvard Business School.

Processing Information

Series IV, VI, VII, VIII, and IX below are mostly unsorted.

Villard, Henry, 1835-1900. Henry Villard papers, 1604-1948: 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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