Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 801.2

John P. Bigelow and Bigelow family papers


Letters, diaries, and papers of American politician John P. (John Prescott) Bigelow.


  • Creation: 1723-1896
  • Creation: 1723-1896

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


4.5 linear feet (10 boxes)
4.5 linear feet (10 boxes)
4.5 linear feet (10 boxes)

The collection, which consists primarily of letters to Bigelow, is both personal and professional in nature, covering his family life and student days as well as his political career. While the major correspondent is Governor of Massachusetts Edward Everett (391 letters), there is also much correspondence with family members and friends, including Andrew Bigelow and Bigelow's brother-in-law Abbott Lawrence while Lawrence was ambassador to England. Includes Bigelow's diaries and notes on his trips, addresses and articles, a memoir about his sister Anna, and documents reflecting his public career. Also contains the following: a few journals of other family members; miscellaneous pamphlets and clippings; 57 letters and other documents from the American colonial period related to the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, and Shays' Rebellion. Correspondents represented in the latter group include governors of the colony and commonwealth of Massachusetts, military leaders, and other public figures both British and American.

Biographical / Historical

Bigelow was secretary of state of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and mayor of Boston from 1849 to 1851.


John P. Bigelow papers: arranged alphabetically by author. Bigelow family papers: arranged chronologically.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Prescott Bigelow; received: 1927.

Bigelow, John P. (John Prescott), 1797-1872. John P. Bigelow and Bigelow family papers, 1805-1896: 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.

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2440