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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1906

Garrison family papers


Papers of American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his family.


  • 1801-1948
  • Majority of material found in 1840-1907

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


7.5 linear feet (15 boxes)

The collection focuses on the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his descendants, especially his son Wendell Phillips Garrison, literary editor of The Nation (1865-1906). Contains family correspondence including the courtship letters, 1834, of W. L. Garrison Sr. and Helen Benson Garrison; correspondence on his anti-slavery work and his periodical the Liberator; condolence letters on the death of his wife; and a scrapbook of his obituaries.

Many letters to the Garrison children are about their father. W. L. Garrison Jr.'s correspondence is both personal and professional, including 201 letters to his sister Fanny Garrison Villard and 90 to his brother-in-law Henry Villard on business matters. The largest body of correspondence, that of Wendell Phillips Garrison, contains personal correspondence with family and friends and professional correspondence concerning The Nation.

Letters to Fanny are mostly condolence letters on the death of her brother Wendell. Much of the third party correspondence concerns the celebration honoring Wendell's forty years at The Nation, or consists of letters to Elizabeth Pease Nichol, an English abolitionist. Manuscripts are mostly lectures by Wendell or notes of W. L. Garrison Sr. Also contains legal documents, photographs, genealogies, clippings, ephemera, and printed material including books and pamphlets by or about W. L. Garrison Sr. or Wendell Phillips Garrison.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Letters to William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879)
  2. II. Letters from William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879)
  3. III. Letters to William Lloyd Garrison (1838-1909)
  4. IV. Letters from William Lloyd Garrison (1838-1909)
  5. V. Letters to Wendell Phillips Garrison
  6. VI. Letters from Wendell Phillips Garrison
  7. VII. Letters to Fanny (Garrison) Villard
  8. VIII. Letters to Francis Jackson Garrison
  9. IX. Other letters
  10. X. Notes and compositions
  11. XI. Miscellaneous

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*72M-101. Bequest of Oswald Garrison Villard; received: 1949.

Processing Information

Items (90) and (382) were missing at the time of end processing.

Garrison family. Garrison family 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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