Skip to main content
SERIES — unspecified: HUM 9 Box 2 Identifier: HUM 9

Commonplace book, October 29, 1728-January 15, 1735 Digital

Scope and Contents

The small hardcover volume contains excerpts copied by John Winthrop beginning at the age of thirteen as a freshman at Harvard College. Winthrop’s own description of this book as “a book of Extracts from many Authors” is accurate, as it includes neither personal information about Winthrop nor reflections on what he read. With the exception of occasional notations indicating the date he finished reading particular books, the volume consists of passages he copied from a wide range of sources. It begins with an index of the various sections of the book (History, Poetry, Miscellanies, Geography, Divinity, History, Philosophy, Philosophy, Miscellanies, Poetry, Divinity, Philosophy) and ends with an index of the extracts' authors.

Winthrop’s “extracts” suggest the breadth of his intellectual interests. He copied extracts of works by authors including Plutarch, John Eachard, Basil Kennett, Alexander Pope (including his translation of Homer’s Iliad), Marcus Aurelius (Emperor of Rome), Sir Richard Steele, Tanaquil Faber, John Clarke, William Symson, William Dampier, Richard Mead, M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras, Henry Clarke Wright, Ebenezer Pemberton, John Flavel, Robert Pool Finch, Simon Patrick, Richard Knolles, Theophilus Dorrington, Cotton Mather, David Jones' A Compleat History of Europe, John Ray, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Tobias Swinden, Joseph Addison, Ezekiel Hopkins, Thomas Burnett, and William Whiston.


  • October 29, 1728-January 15, 1735

Researcher Access

The Papers of John and Hannah Winthrop are open for research.


.03 cubic feet (1 volumes)

Former call number

Formerly classified as HUC 8728.394 Commonplace book

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frederick L. Gay, Oct. 15, 1913.

General note

The back cover is unattached.

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461