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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Sparks 106-162

Jared Sparks personal papers


Jared Spark's personal papers.


  • Creation: 1808-1866


Language of Materials

Materials are in English,

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


50 linear feet (86 volumes, 57 boxes, 11 envelopes, 3 cases, 2 folders)

The Jared Sparks papers contain Spark's historical essays and compositions, published articles, letter books, diaries, account books related to his college days, professional research, and his tenure as College president.

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).


Arranged into the following series:

  1. Series I: Correspondence
  2. Subseries I.A: Outgoing
  3. Subsubseries I.A.1: Letter books
  4. Subsubseries I.A.2: Copies of letters sent
  5. Subsubseries I.A.3: Letters to Ansel Young
  6. Subseries I.B: Record of Letters Sent
  7. Subseries I.C: Miscellaneous Letters and Papers
  8. Series II: Compositions and Works
  9. Subseries II.A. Lives of
  10. Subseries II.B. Articles, Reports, and Essays
  11. Series III: Research
  12. Series IV: Harvard College
  13. Series V: Business and Financial
  14. Series VI: Material about Jared Sparks
  15. Series VII: Personal and Miscellaneous
  16. Subseries VII.A: Journals and Diaries
  17. Subseries VII.B: Commonplace Books
  18. Subseries VII.C: Diplomas
  19. Subseries VII.D: Maps
  20. Subseries VII.E: Translations

Physical Location

b, f

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.

The Jared Sparks letterbooks (MS Sparks 153) has a separate finding aid. Provided in this finding aid is a rough box level description.

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.

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in April 2024 to address outdated and harmful descriptive language. During that revision, contextualizing processing notes were added to the description of two items. For more information on reparative archival description at Harvard, see Harvard Library’s Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.

Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks personal papers, 1808-1866: 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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