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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1480

Charles Sumner letters to Francis William Bird


Letters of the American abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner to the antislavery activist Francis William Bird.


  • 1847-1907

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.5 linear feet (1 box)
Includes 50 letters from Charles Sumner to Francis William Bird (including one dated the day before Sumner died) sent from Washington while serving as a Senator and while on two trips to Europe. The letters primarily concern the Whig party, the civil war, the rights of African Americans, and American politics. Several are marked "private" or "confidential". Other correspondence includes letters purporting to come from slaves in defense of slavery. Also includes statements about Sumner's marriage by Bird and funeral notice, program and newspapers clippings about Sumner, among other items.

Biographical / Historical

Sumner was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1851-1874) and noted abolitionist. Francis William Bird was a radical reformer and antislavery activist in Massachusetts.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

56M-165. Gift of Charles Sumner Bird,Endean, East Walpole, Mass.; received: 1957 February.
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Charles Sumner letters to Francis William Bird, 1847-1907: 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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