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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1938

William James Jr. papers

Papers of American painter William James.


  • 1857-1960
  • Majority of material found in 1911-1959

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


3.5 linear feet (7 boxes)

The bulk of the collection consists of personal letters to William or Alice James from friends in their large social/intellectual/artistic circle. Includes letters to William concerning his portrait painting and articles, his illustrious father and uncle, and Alice's death in 1957. Compositions consist of poems by poet friends and William James's manuscript on Langdon Warner, curator of Oriental art at the Fogg Museum. Third party correspondence is mostly of earlier family members.

Daniel Lewis Gibbens' papers contain correspondence, including 15 letters to his daughter Alice Howe (Gibbens) James written during the Civil War when he was employed by the U.S. military government in the South as secretary to the New Orleans mayor and assistant supervising special agent of the Treasury Department in Mobile, Ala. Also includes his commonplace book, 1857-1859, and notes on his life and suicide compiled by his grandson Henry James III.

Biographical / Historical

James, an American painter, was associated with the school at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts as critic of painting (1913-1925) and acting director (1930-1937). He was son of the psychologist William James. Alice Rutherford Runnells James was his wife.


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Letters to William James, Jr.
  2. II. Letters to Alice (Runnells) James
  3. III. Other letters
  4. IV. Compositions
  5. V. Daniel Lewis Gibbens papers

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*76M-51. Deposited by Mrs. John S. R. James, Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262; received: 1977.
James, William, 1882-1961. William James Jr. papers: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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