William James papers
Papers of American philosopher and psychologist William James.
- Majority of material found within 1862-1910
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
A small portion of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times. This only includes: bMS Am 1092.9 (4604) 39 empty cases formerly housing James papers.
Conditions Governing Use
Images linked to this finding aid 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.
Extent57 linear feet (50 boxes, 39 volumes)
Contains personal and professional correspondence of William James, mostly letters written by him, including over 1300 to his wife Alice and over 400 to his brother Henry; and compositions including manuscripts, drafts, and notes on psychology, philosophy, religion, and Herbert Spencer; as well as addresses, lectures, articles, diaries, 1865-1910 (with gaps), address books and notebooks with reading lists, sketches, and notes James took as a student.
Collection also contains correspondence of James's parents and wife, early James family papers, daguerreotypes and photographs of the James family, an account book, scrapbooks, clippings, and miscellaneous material. Also includes manuscripts by others including student notes from his classes, and articles on his work; letters to Ralph Barton Perry from James's students and correspondence concerning Perry's The Thought and Character of William James; correspondence of Henry James III in his search for William James letters; and printed material about William James.
Also includes letters from Mary Temple to John Chipman Gray.
Biographical / Historical
James was an American philosopher and psychologist.
- I. bMS Am 1092.9: Correspondence
- ___A. Letters to William James
- ___B. Letters from William James
- ___C. Letters to Henry James Sr.
- ___D. Letters from Henry James Sr.
- ___E. Letters to Alice Howe (Gibbens) James
- ___F. Other letters
- ___G. Early James family letters
- II. bMS Am 1092.9: Compositions
- ___A. Boxed manuscripts
- ______i. Papers on psychology
- ______ii. Papers on philosophy
- ______iii. Papers on religion
- ______iv. Notes and papers on Herbert Spencer
- ______v. Notebooks
- ______vi. Miscellaneous papers
- ___B. Bound manuscripts
- ______i. Compositions
- ______ii. Diaries, etc.
- ______iii. Newspaper clippings, reprints of articles and drawings by William James, diplomas, degrees, etc.
- ___C. Other papers
- ______i. Printed matter concerning William James
- ______ii. Miscellaneous material concerning William James
- ______iii. Other compositions
- ______iv. James family photographs
- ______v. Miscellaneous papers
- III. bMS Am 1092.10: Papers concerning William James
- ___A. Letters to Ralph Barton Perry from students of William James
- ___B. Letters to Henry James 3rd
- ___C. Letters from Henry James 3rd
- ___D. Letters to Ralph Barton Perry
- ___E. Letters from Ralph Barton Perry
- ___F. Letters to Alice Howe (Gibbens) James
- ___G. Other letters
- ___H. Miscellaneous
- IV. bMS Am 1092.11: Letters from Alice Howe (Gibbens) James
- V. bMS Am 1092.11: Other letters
- VI. bMS Am 1092.12: Mary Temple letters to John Chipman Gray
b, MS, pf, Harvard Depository
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry James III.
Some materials formerly housed in bound volumes. When collection was reorganized the materials were removed and the empty volumes saved as: bMS Am 1092.9 (4604). They were later sent to the Harvard Depository. Consult Houghton Reading Room staff for access.
A small portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.
Processed by: Patrick K. Miehe.
With the exception of the notebooks and bound compositions, which have been grouped separately and arranged in chronological order, the compositions of William James have been separated according to subject matter (papers on psychology, philosophy, religion, etc.) and arranged in alphabetical order by title. Notations (e.g. N5 or B3) to the far right of the individual entries refer to call numbers given the compositions prior to the completion of this catalogue.
- James, William, 1842-1910. William James papers: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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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