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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2066-2066.10

Oliver Wendell Holmes papers


Papers of essayist, poet, and teacher of anatomy Oliver Wendell Holmes.


  • Creation: 1745-1916


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.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


3.6 linear feet (12 boxes)

Papers include awards, clippings, correspondence, daguerreotypes, drawings of gravestones, engagement calendars, family papers, financial records, genealogies, legal records, letters of condolence, various lists, manuscripts, notebooks, notes, photographic prints, speeches, and wet and dry collodion negatives. Correspondents include: Charles William Eliot, John Holmes, Sarah Wendell Holmes, William Dean Howells, John Jay, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Jay, Wendell Phillips and many others.

Beaman papers are largely unsorted and consist of mostly correspondence and family letters and papers.

Biographical / Historical

Homes was an essayist, poet, and teacher of anatomy.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. bMS Am 2066: Letters, manuscripts, and notebooks
  2. II. bMS Am 2066.1: Papers concerning sale of land to Harvard
  3. III. bMS Am 2066.2: Business papers, bills, cancelled checks
  4. IV. bMS Am 2066.3: Early family papers and genealogical notes
  5. V. bMS Am 2066.4: Abiel Holmes materials
  6. VI. bMS Am 2066.5: Material collected for Oliver Wendell Holmes's memoir of John Lothrop Motley
  7. VII. bMS Am 2066.6: Letters to Holmes from John and Sarah Wendell Holmes
  8. VIII. bMS Am 2066.7: Letters from various persons
  9. IX. bMS Am 2066.8: Photographic prints and glass negatives, mostly by Holmes
  10. X. bMS Am 2066.9: Letters of condolence to Oliver Wendell Holmes on the death of his father
  11. XI. bMS Am 2066.10: Correspondence and family papers of Charles Cotesworth Beaman, Jr.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

54M-272 - 54M-282. Gift of Mary Stacy (Beaman) Holmes, Topsfield, Massachusetts; received: Summer 1955.

Separated Materials

Some materials have been transferred to the Harvard Medical School Library. See Accessions Records 1954-1955, under *54M-272.

Processing Information

In 2020-2021, as part of a conscious and inclusive re-description effort, entries ) were updated to include a woman’s first name when identified.

Mary Stacy (Beaman) Holmes formerly listed as Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes

Link to catalog
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894. Oliver Wendell Holmes papers, 1745-1916: 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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