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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Sparks 44

Jared Sparks collection of letters relating to the Stamp Act; Colonial papers


American documents chiefly concerning the American colonies and the original thirteen states, collected by the historian and Harvard president Jared Sparks.


  • undated

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.2 linear feet (1 volume)

The Jared Sparks Collection of American Manuscripts taken as a whole consists of original and transcribed historical documents and correspondence, chiefly concerning the American colonies and the original thirteen states, collected or transcribed beginning in 1819 by Jared Sparks. The collection includes the papers of Sir Francis Bernard and George Chalmers, letters of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, and George Washington, the journals of Thomas Ainslie, the Board of Trade, the New York Provincial Congress and Conventions, as well as the papers and records from state public offices, among many others.

Biographical / Historical

Jared Sparks (Harvard, AB 1815, AM 1818) was an American historian and editor, the McClean Professor of Ancient and Modern History at Harvard University (1839-1849), and its president (1849-1853).


A list of the larger collection of Jared Sparks American manuscripts, comprised of call numbers MS Sparks 1-105, is as follows:

  1. Journal of Thomas Ainslie, 1775 (MS Sparks 1)
  2. Joseph Bennett Abstracted historical account of New England, 1740 (MS Sparks 2)
  3. Journal of Board of Trade 1766-1767 (MS Sparks 3)
  4. Francis Bernard Papers, 1758-1773 (MS Sparks 4)
  5. George Chalmers American Papers, 1793-1805 (MS Sparks 5)
  6. George Chalmers Annals of the United Colonies. Part Second, undated (MS Sparks 6)
  7. George Chalmers Letter to Lord Mansfield on the History of the American Colonies, 1780 (MS Sparks 7)
  8. George Chalmers Notes and extracts relating to Maryland and Virginia, 1727-1761 (MS Sparks 8)
  9. George Chalmers Papers relating to Massachusetts and Plymouth, undated (MS Sparks 9)
  10. George Chalmers Papers relating to New England, 1635-1686 (MS Sparks 10)
  11. George Chalmers Papers relating to New Jersey, 1683-1775 (MS Sparks 11)
  12. George Clinton Papers, with others, undated (MS Sparks 12)
  13. George Clinton Correspondence between Sir Henry Clinton and General Haldimand, 1779-1781 (MS Sparks 13)
  14. George ClintoNotes on Stedman's History of the American War (MS Sparks 14)
  15. Papers from the public offices of Delaware (MS Sparks 15)
  16. Benjamin Franklin Letters from various correspondents (MS Sparks 16)
  17. Benjamin Franklin Memorial by Franklin and Samuel Wharton concerning a grant of western lands, and a letter from Richard Biddle concerning Franklin's writings (MS Sparks 17)
  18. Benjamin Franklin Notes and memoranda, 1836-1840 (MS Sparks 18)
  19. Benjamin Franklin Papers relating chiefly to Franklin and to the Washington family (MS Sparks 19)
  20. Benjamin Franklin Selected manuscript notes; General Sullivan papers; Trumbull papers (MS Sparks 20)
  21. Persifer Frazer Letters, 1776-1778 (MS Sparks 21)
  22. Gates Selected papers; papers from the Public Offices in Massachusetts; Major Wemy paper; diary of Lieut. Obadiah Gore (MS Sparks 22)
  23. Lord Grantham Correspondence, 1776-1779 (MS Sparks 23)
  24. Alexander Hamilton Official letters to William Short, 1789-1795 (MS Sparks 24)
  25. Henry Knox Selected Papers, 1765-1780 (MS Sparks 25)
  26. Charles Lee Letters to his sister, 1756-1781 (MS Sparks 26)
  27. Jacob Leisler Papers, 1690-1696 (MS Sparks 27)
  28. Maps of Gen. Braddock's march; of the Battle of the Monongahela; etc. (MS Sparks 28)
  29. Selected papers of the public offices of Maryland and New York (MS Sparks 29)
  30. Miscellaneous manuscripts (MS Sparks 30)
  31. Miscellaneous papers (MS Sparks 31)
  32. Miscellaneous particulars, and copies from manuscripts examined in London and Paris, 1778-1798 (MS Sparks 32)
  33. Miscellanies [commonplace book] (MS Sparks 33)
  34. Papers of Gouverneur Morris (MS Sparks 34)
  35. Papers of the Office of the Secretary of State of New Jersey (MS Sparks 35)
  36. Papers of the Public Offices of New Jersey and South Carolina, 1768-1885 (MS Sparks 36)
  37. Extracts from the Journals of New York Provincial Congress and Conventions, 1775-1778 (MS Sparks 37)
  38. Papers of New York and Virginia, 1740-1776 (MS Sparks 38)
  39. New York Historical Society. Papers from the New York Historical Society concerning the Revolution (MS Sparks 39)
  40. Oswald Correspondence concerning the negociation of the Peace of 1782 with the American commissioners in Paris. Correspondence of Mr. Grenville and Fitzherbert (MS Sparks 40)
  41. Oliver Pollock Correspondence at New Orleans; papers relating to the Revolution; Col. Bland papers; miscellaneous papers, 1776-1793 (MS Sparks 41)
  42. Journal of the Seige of Quebec, 1775 (MS Sparks 42)
  43. British papers relating to the American Revolution, 1764-1774 (MS Sparks 43)
  44. Letters relating to the Stamp Act; Colonial papers (MS Sparks 44)
  45. British papers relating to the American Revolution, selected from the correspondence of the British commanders-in-chief, 1775-1783 (MS Sparks 45)
  46. Dates of the principal events during the Revolution (MS Sparks 46)
  47. Diaries and letters relating to the Revolution, 1773-1778 (MS Sparks 47)
  48. Journals and papers relating to the Revolution, 1755-1782 (MS Sparks 48)
  49. Documents concerning the American Revolution, 1740-1866 (MS Sparks 49.1-49.3, 132.6)
  50. Letters and other papers relating to the Revolution (MS Sparks 50)
  51. Memoranda relating to the Revolution (MS Sparks 51)
  52. Miscellaneous papers relating to the Revolution (MS Sparks 52)
  53. Miscellaneous papers relating to the Revolution, 1752-1779 (MS Sparks 53)
  54. Miscellaneous papers relating to the Revolution, 1777-1782 (MS Sparks 54)
  55. Papers relating to the attempted negotiations between England and the United States during the War of the Revolution, 1776-1779 (MS Sparks 55)
  56. Selections and memoranda made in the Public Offices of London and Paris and in the British Museum (MS Sparks 56)
  57. Selections from the manuscript papers of Gen. Lincoln, Gen. Washington, Dr. Franklin, and others; Letters from John Bartram to Jared Eliot; also papers on colonial trade, 1733-1787 (MS Sparks 57)
  58. Selections from the military correspondence during the American Revolution (MS Sparks 58)
  59. Papers in Public Offices, 1752-1779(MS Sparks 59)
  60. Philip Schuyler Papers; Col. Peter Gansevoort papers; Papers concerning the Affairs at Ticonderoga, 1775-1781 (MS Sparks 60)
  61. Lord Stormont Correspondence, 1776-1778 (MS Sparks 61)
  62. Charles Thomson Papers, 1775-1793 (MS Sparks 62)
  63. George Washington Addresses, 1782-1797 (MS Sparks 63)
  64. George Washington Cabinet papers, 1789-1796 (MS Sparks 64)
  65. George Washington Letters to various correspondents, 1754-1789 (MS Sparks 65)
  66. Letters to George Washington, 1775-1799 (MS Sparks 66)
  67. Letters to George Washington, 1777-1783 (MS Sparks 67)
  68. George Washington Diplomatic papers concerning the origin of the French War of 1756; Operations on the frontier of Virginia; Operations in Virginia, 1754-1757 (MS Sparks 68)
  69. George Washington Letters to General Lafayette, 1777-1798 (MS Sparks 69)
  70. Papers relating to the intercourse between the inhabitants ofVermont and the British authorities in Canada, 1780-1782 (MS Sparks 70)
  71. Papers in the Council Chamber of Virginia, 1773-1796 (MS Sparks 71)
  72. Sir Joseph Yorke Letters and extracts from his correspondence in Holland, 1776-1780 (MS Sparks 72)
  73. Correspondence chiefly between the French and Spanish ministers concerning the American Revolution, 1776-1778 (MS Sparks 73)
  74. Charles W. F. Dumas Correspondence, 1777-1783 (MS Sparks 74)
  75. Jean Louis Favier Papers concerning the American Revolution, 1778-1780 (MS Sparks 75)
  76. [-----] de Fancy Letters to Caron Beaumarchais, 1778-1779 (MS Sparks 76)
  77. Frederic the Great, king of Prussia Correspondence with his ambassadors in London and Paris, on American affairs, 1776 (MS Sparks 77)
  78. French papers on the American Revolution (MS Sparks 78)
  79. French papers relating to the American colonies, 1766-1769 (MS Sparks 79)
  80. French papers relating to the American Revolution, 1776-1782 (MS Sparks 80)
  81. Gerard Papers, 1778-1779 (MS Sparks 81)
  82. comte de Vergennes Correspondence with the French minister in Holland concerning the American Revolution; and three letters to the French ambassador in Russian, 1781; 1776-1782 (MS Sparks 82)
  83. comte de Vergennes Translated correspondence with the Abbé Desnoyers concerning the American Revolution and the attitude of Holland, 1776-1781 (MS Sparks 83)
  84. Lafayette Copies of letters to Washington and to other persons during the American Revolution (MS Sparks 84)
  85. Lafayette Correspondence and other papers relating to the American and French Revolutions, 1777-1792 (MS Sparks 85)
  86. Lafayette Papers, 1776-1815 (MS Sparks 86)
  87. Lafayette Letters to General Washington during the American Revolution (MS Sparks 87)
  88. Lafayette Letters to General Washington, 1782-1792 (MS Sparks 88)
  89. Letters from, to, and about Lafayette, 1792-1799 (MS Sparks 89)
  90. La Luzerne Papers, 1778-1783 (MS Sparks 90)
  91. La Salle Papers relating to the discoveries of Cavelier de la Salle in America (MS Sparks 91)
  92. Comte de Montmorin Correspondence with Comte de Vergennes, 1778-1782 (MS Sparks 92)
  93. Jules de Wallenstein Sketches of a diplomatic history of the American Revolution; and other manuscripts, 1778-1830 (MS Sparks 93)
  94. Voyage au continent américain par un français en 1777, et Réflexions philosophiques sur ces nouveaux républicains (MS Sparks 94)
  95. Marquis de Grimaldi Correspondence during the American Revolution, 1776-1782 (MS Sparks 95)
  96. Marquis de Grimaldi Correspondence during the American Revolution, 1776-1780 (MS Sparks 96)
  97. Juan de Miralles Letters to the Governor of Havana, 1778-1780 (MS Sparks 97)
  98. Papeles varios de America, 1743-1797 (MS Sparks 98)
  99. Papers relating to the early settlements of Louisiana, 1697-1764 (MS Sparks 99)
  100. Francisco Rendon Letters, 1778-1780 (MS Sparks 100)
  101. Spanish operations in Louisiana, 1781-1783 (MS Sparks 101)
  102. Spanish papers; letters of Count de Aranda and the Count de Floridablanca, 1776-1780 (MS Sparks 102)
  103. Historische documenten betreffende de Amerikaansche zaken van de jaren 1775-1783 (MS Sparks 103)
  104. Giovanni de Verrazzano Letter to the king of France, 1524; J. F. Bahr, Extrait historique sur la colonie Nova Suecia, 1835 (MS Sparks 104)
  105. Vita Iohannis Fabricii Warton, militis Angli, scripta Anno 1685 (MS Sparks 105)

This finding provides a detailed index of:

  1. Jared Sparks collection of letters relating to the Stamp Act; Colonial papers (MS Sparks 44)

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Bequest of Jared Sparks; received: 1866 July 2.

Under his will, the manuscripts passed to his son, William Eliot Sparks (d. Sept. 1886), with a conditional reversion to Harvard University. However, on 2 July 1866, the Harvard College Library received the manuscripts in advance of the deaths of the legatees.

Related Materials

Each MS Sparks call number from 1-105 has a separate finding aid.

See the Jared Sparks papers comprised of call numbers MS Sparks 106-162.

Additional letters and papers of Jared Sparks are found in the Harvard University Archives, UAI15.886, UAI15.886.3, UAI15.886.10, UAI15.886.x, and HUA 734.


For the most complete general description of the Sparks collection, see: Justin Winsor, Calendar of the Sparks manuscripts in Harvard College Library, with an appendix showing other manuscripts (Library of Harvard University Bibliographical Contributions, no. 22) (Cambridge: Library of Harvard University, 1889). See also:
  • Catalogue of the library of Jared Sparks: with a list of the historical manuscripts collected by him and now deposited in the library of Harvard University (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1871).

Processing Information

A project was undertaken in 2016 to describe the various titles that comprise the Jared Sparks Collection of American Manuscripts (MS Sparks 1-105) with individual finding aids for each.

Similarly, the Jared Sparks Personal Papers (MS Sparks 106-162) have been described in a separate finding aid.

Sparks's original organization, in bound volumes has been retained. Prior to this finding aid, access to the collection was through an online index, printed and manuscript lists, and a card index.

Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866, collector. Jared Sparks collection of letters relating to the Stamp Act; Colonial papers, undated: 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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