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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2644

Curson-Marquand family papers


Family papers of the Curson and Marquand families related to the American writer, John Phillips Marquand. Also with Campbell family papers and other items.


  • Creation: 1683-1943

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to most of this material. Item (1) is restricted due to fragile condition. See curator for access.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)

Includes family correspondence, diaries, genealogical materials, deeds (especially one of 1683? for Kents Island, Massachusetts), wills, a sketchbook, a draft of a novel by Samuel Curson and his travel journal from Peru, papers of Thomas Wentworth Higginson as a suitor of Margaret "Margie" Curson, topics relating to Curzon Mill, Massachusetts, and other materials.

Some items appear to have been saved by or given to the family that have no obvious connection to them: one 1714 letter from William Brattle, a letter from Rudyard Kipling to Harvard professor Charles Eliot Norton, and papers concerning Alexander Campbell and his family at Duntroon Castle, Scotland given to JPM by Elizabeth Gaskill Norton.

Biographical / Historical

Family papers of the Curson family [sometimes spelled Curzon family] and the Marquand family, ancestors of the American writer, John Phillips Marquand (1893-1960). Marquand was born in Wilmington, Delaware on November 10, 1893, to Philip Marquand, a civil engineer, and Margaret Fuller Marquand. He lived in Rye, New York, until 1907 when his father lost his money in the panic of 1907 and took a job in Panama. John was sent to Newburyport, Massachusetts to live with his two unmarried Marquand aunts at the family homestead at Curzon Mill. He graduated from Harvard College with an AB in 1915. Between 1915 and 1921 he was assistant magazine editor of the Boston Transcript, worked at the New York Tribune, and was an advertising copywriter. In 1922 he published The unspeakable gentleman. He contributed numerous short stories to many popular magazines of the day, most notably The Saturday evening post, Cosmopolitan, Collier's, and Good housekeeping. Many of his novels were also serialized in these magazines. He is especially known for creating Mr. Moto spy series and for winning the Pulitzer Prize for The late George Apley in 1938.

Family members represented in this collection include: John Phillips Marquand (grandfather), Margaret Searle Curson Marquand (grandmother), Philip Marquand (father), Margaret Fuller Marquand (mother), Mary Russell Curson, Samuel Curson, Elizabeth Marquand, George Searle, Mary Russell Atkins Searle, and others.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Diaries, journals, and compositions
  3. III. Other papers

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

60M-227. Gift of John Phillips Marquand; received: 1960 January 1.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Part of the MS Storage project, 2008-2009. Reprocessed for CNA digitization project, 2015.

Curson-Marquand family papers, 1683-1943: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
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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