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COLLECTION Identifier: HEW 16.3.16

Abigail Adams collection of Victorian autographs


Autographs of British nobility and ecclesiastical, literary, scientific and artistic figures, assembled by Abigail Adams in 1864 for sale at the New York Metropolitan Fair.


  • 1837-1864

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

These volumes are shelved in Widener Library in the Harry Elkins Widener Room. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine retrieval policies and times.


.05 linear feet (1 volume)

The 128 autographs were assembled by Abigail Adams in 1864 for sale at the New York Metropolitan Fair in that year. Some of the autographs are marked "written for this collection." The autographs are of British (and a few French) nobility, and ecclesiastical, literary, scientific and artistic figures. The earliest dated item is 1837.


Arranged alphabetically by author.

Physical Location

Widener Memorial Room

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bookplate of A. Hamilton Rice and Eleanor Elkins (Widener) Rice. From the Harry Elkins Widener Collection.

Processing Information

The items are foldered, the folder edges gilt, within a false book covered in full red leather.

Adams, Abigail, 1808-1899, collector. Abigail Adams collection of Victorian autographs, 1837-1864: 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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