Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1577-1577.6

William Dean Howells literary manuscripts


Manuscripts by American novelist and editor William Dean Howells.


  • 1880-1919

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.


3 linear feet (8 volumes, 2 boxes)

Manuscripts of novels, autobiographical works, short stories, and essays by Howells. Includes complete manuscripts of The Undiscovered Country, Doctor Breen's Practice, and The Quality of Mercy; chapters 1-15 of A Modern Instance; a nearly complete manuscript of A Boy's Town; and an incomplete manuscript, together with galley and page proofs, of Years of My Youth. Also includes several pieces written for the Editor's Easy Chair section of Harper's Magazine.

Biographical / Historical

William Dean Howells: novelist and man of letters; United States consul in Venice (1861-1865); editor of The Atlantic Monthly (1871-1881) and of Cosmopolitan (1881-1892); a champion of realism in literature.


  1. I. MS Am 1577-1577.5: Literary manuscripts
  2. II. MS Am 1577.6: Additional literary manuscripts

Immediate Source of Acquisition

59M-33. Purchased with the Amy Lowell fund from Mildred Howells; received: 1959.

Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920. William Dean Howells literary manuscripts, 1880-1919: 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