Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1579

Mary Kathleen Weld Kingdon papers


Papers of Henry James's secretary, Mary Kathleen Weld Kingdon, primarily relating to James.


  • 1901-1969

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)

Primarily letters from Henry James to Mary Kathleen Weld Kingdon (MKWK) 1901-1908 and correspondence between MKWK and others concerning James. Also includes MKWK's pocket diaries for 1901-1904, kept during the years she worked with James and annotated with her comments about the work they did together and his activities at the time. All other materials are about Henry James including: fliers, leaflets, pamphlets, clippings, obituaries, and photographs. Materials dated after Kingdon's death, were assembled by her family.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Kathleen Weld Kingdon, also known as "May" (1874-1953), was a professional typist, one of the principal secretaries to American-born author and literary critic Henry James (1843-1916). She worked for James from 1901 April 16 through the summer of 1904 when she left to be married (1905 Feb. 14). Kingdon was his secretary during the period between secretaries William MacAlpine and Theodora Bosanquet. James dictated his literary works of this period to Kingdon, who typed them as he spoke, including his novels: Wings of the dove (1902), The golden bowl (1904), and the last part of The ambassadors (1903). Kingdon was also a bookbinder.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Compositions
  3. III. Printed materials

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003M-38. Purchased with the Louis J. Appell Junior Fund for British Civilization in the Harvard College Library and the Bayard Livingston and Kate Gray Kilgour Fund; received: 2003 December 17 and 2004 January 13.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Kingdon, Mary Kathleen Weld, 1874-1953. Mary Kathleen Weld Kingdon papers, 1901-1969: 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