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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1092.4

William James letters to his son Henry James and others


A scrapbook of letters from philosopher William James to his son Henry James, with transcripts of letters from William James to his daughter Margaret and other related papers.


  • 1882-1910

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.2 linear feet (1 volume and 4 folders)
Consists primarily of letters written by philosopher William James to his son Henry James (1879-1947), some of them illustrated with pen and ink drawings. Some letters are written jointly by William James and his wife Alice Howe Gibbens James; some letters are addressed jointly to Henry James and his siblings. The collection also includes clippings and ephemera inserted into letters, as well as related letters written by William James to Charles William Eliot, item (46), James Hazen Hyde, item (63), and Lee, Higginson & Co., item (74), and an autograph poem by William James, item (12). One letter includes a postscript by daughter Margaret Mary James Porter, item (15); another is addressed jointly to son Henry James and his uncle, the novelist Henry James (1843-1916), item (78).

Inserted at the end of the scrapbook are a series of typescript transcripts of William James letters, apparently intended for publication in a book of his letters to children. One of these transcripts is directed to brother Henry James the novelist, item (91); and the other 23 are addressed to William James's daughter Margaret Mary James Porter, 1895-1910, item (92).

Biographical / Historical

Philosopher William James and his wife Alice Howe Gibbens James had four children who survived past infancy: Henry James (1879-1947), William James (1882-1961), Margaret Mary James Porter (1887-1950), and Alexander Robertson James (1890-1946).


Arranged chronologically in a scrapbook. Four items have become detached from the scrapbook, and are numbered separately in folders at the end of the group.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

46M-285 Gift of Henry James, 522 Fifth Ave., New York, New York; received: 1947 May 5.

General note

Collection materials are in English.

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler
Link to catalog
James, William, 1842-1910. William James letters to his son Henry James and others, 1882-1910: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

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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