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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1081-1081.3

William Roscoe Thayer papers


Letters, compositions, and other papers of the American historian William Roscoe Thayer. Also includes miscellaneous papers of the American writer William Warland Clapp and the American abolitionist and writer Thomas Wentworth Higginson.


  • 1762-1927
  • Majority of material found within 1872-1921

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


48 linear feet (96 boxes)

Correspondence (chiefly letters received), articles, poems, speeches, book reviews, diaries and journals, miscellaneous notebooks, scrapbooks, clippings, and other printed material. Correspondence concerns Thayer's writings, particularly in the area of Italian history, and his connections with Harvard as editor of the Harvard Graduates' Magazine and later as an overseer. Also included are some miscellaneous papers of William Warland Clapp, a Boston journalist; and some papers of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, chiefly from a European trip made by Higginson in 1872.

Biographical / Historical

Thayer was a biographer and historian. From 1892 to 1915 he was editor of the Harvard Graduates' Magazine.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. bMS Am 1081: Letters addressed to William Roscoe Thayer and to others
  2. II. bMS Am 1081: Letters by William Roscoe Thayer
  3. III. bMS Am 1081: Compositions by William Roscoe Thayer
  4. IV. bMS Am 1081: Compositions by others
  5. V. bMS Am 1081.1: Bound MSS by William Roscoe Thayer and miscellanea
  6. VI. bMS Am 1081.2: Miscellaneous papers of William Warland Clapp
  7. ___A. Correspondence
  8. ___B. Compositions
  9. VII. bMS Am 1081.3: Miscellaneous papers of Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Immediate Source of Acquisition

*77M-80. Gift of Mrs. William Roscoe Thayer and Mrs. Southworth Lancaster; received: 1936 and 1947, respectively.

Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923. William Roscoe Thayer papers: 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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