Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 553

Tennessee Williams family photographs and other materials


Collection of photographs, primarily of American playwright, Tennessee Williams, his family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances.


  • Creation: 1885-1964

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


Copyright in the works of Tennessee Williams is held by the University of the South.


1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)

Collection of photographs, primarily of Tennessee Williams, his family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances. Taken various places ca. 1890-1965. Photographs, various sizes, mostly snapshots, but also formal studio portraits, mounted or inserted into scrapbook-type albums or stored loose. Images include historical family photographs of Williams' grandparents and parents, as well as many family snapshots of himself, his sister, brother, and other family members. There are also some photographs relating to his professional life such as his agent Aubrey Wood and Hollywood personalities such as Elvis Presley and Laurence Olivier. Includes some images of locations and events and also a few family memorabilia such as passports, clippings, notes, and other material.

Format of images includes photographs, cabinet photographs, snapshots, carte-de-visite, and negatives.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Lanier Williams III (1911-1983), who published as Tennessee Williams, has often been called America's most prominent playwright. He was also a prolific author of essays, poetry, and short stories.

Includes photographs of the following family members, as well as many other persons:

  1. Rev. Walter Edwin Dakin, 1857-1955 (TW's grandfather)
  2. Rosina Otte Dakin, 1863-1944 (TW's grandmother)
  3. Cornelius Coffin Williams, 1880-1957 (TW's father)
  4. Edwina Dakin Williams, 1884-1980 (TW's mother)
  5. Rose Isabel Williams, 1909-1996 (TW's sister)
  6. Walter Dakin Williams, 1919-2008 (TW's brother)


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Williams family photograph albums, ca. 1890s-1930s
  2. II. Williams family loose photographs
  3. ___A. Tennessee Williams portrait photographs
  4. ___B. Tennessee Williams photographs with others
  5. ___C. Photographs of other persons
  6. ___D. Images of places, events, and miscellaneous
  7. III. Other materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Gift of unknown donor; purchased from Sotheby's #402; received: 1986 September 29. See curatorial file for additional information.

All these materials appear to be former property of the Williams family and many images are annotated by family members, especially Williams' mother and brother Dakin.

Related Materials

See HOLLIS and OASIS for additional collections of Tennessee Williams papers held by the Houghton Library.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983. Tennessee Williams family photographs and other materials, 1885-1964: 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.

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2440