Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 4448

Papers of Albert Bushnell Hart.


Albert Bushnell Hart (1854-1943), American historian, writer, and editor, taught history and government at Harvard University and Radcliffe College from 1883 to 1926. The Papers of Albert Bushnell Hart document the professional and personal life of A. B. Hart from the 1870s to 1943. The collection also documents the personal lives of Hart’s family members from 1832 to 1943.


  • Creation: 1832-1990s
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1870-1943

Language of Materials

Collection materials are primarily in English. There are also materials in Czech, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Researcher Access

Open for research.


39.4 cubic feet (108 document boxes, 35 portfolio folders, 16 folders, 4 pamphlet folders, 2 flat boxes, 1 accordion folder, and 1 card box)

The Papers of Albert Bushnell Hart document the professional and personal life of A. B. Hart from the 1870s to 1943. The collection also documents the personal lives of Hart’s family members from 1832 to 1943.

The bulk of the collection details Hart’s career and professional activities from 1883 to 1943, including research and writing, lecturing, and teaching. Correspondence with colleagues and friends demonstrates Hart’s influence in the fields of history, government, and higher education, while meeting records, notes, and correspondence reflect his membership in professional organizations and boards.

Much of the collection consists of correspondence and subject files regarding Hart’s scholarship on American history and government and international current events. These records include correspondence with colleagues and publishers, travel plans for lectures, manuscripts, research notes, bibliographies, and newspaper clippings about Hart’s academic endeavors and public lectures. Hart wrote and edited many books and articles, and his close collaboration with other scholars is also evidenced in his correspondence and subject files.

Hart’s involvement in numerous professional organizations is revealed in the files he kept from the societies to which he belonged such as the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the National Security League, and many others. Also included in these files are correspondence and meeting minutes documenting his membership on the Howard University Board of Trustees.

Documenting his teaching career, the collection contains student papers and other materials from history and government courses Hart taught at Harvard and Radcliffe as well as records relating to Hart’s administrative responsibilities at Harvard, including Department of Government records and correspondence about student statistics Hart gathered in 1921. Also included are correspondence and subject files relating to Harvard colleagues and administrators, student groups and publications, and former students and doctoral advisees like W. E. B. Du Bois and Oswald Garrison Villard.

Hart’s personal life is documented in the collection through family correspondence, real estate records, household accounts, and school notes Hart took during his graduate studies in Europe in 1881-1883. Family members represented in the correspondence include Hart’s wife, Mary; sons Albert Bushnell Hart, Jr. and Adrian Putnam Hart; parents; siblings; cousins; nieces and nephews; and distant relatives. Much of this correspondence reflects Hart’s keen interest in genealogy as Hart frequently corresponded with close and distant family members about the histories of the Hart and Hornell families. Other personal papers in the collection include correspondence with friends, such as Harvard classmates, former students, and others, as well as invitations to social occasions.

Hart’s friendship and political affiliation with Theodore Roosevelt are documented in the collection through correspondence between the two, Hart’s records as delegate to the 1912 Republican National Convention, and correspondence and other materials regarding Hart’s membership in the Roosevelt Memorial Association.

The collection also contains materials related to Hart’s legacy and personal papers after his death. These include materials compiled by Lester J. Cappon for an article he wrote about Hart and Edward Channing, such as Hart and Channing’s correspondence and Cappon’s notes. The materials also include Hart’s and Channing’s papers that Cappon gathered and curated for an exhibit at Duke University in 1955. The collection also contains references to other archival collections that relate to Hart, including an inventory for the Thomas N. Hoover Papers at the Ohio University Archives which includes letters from Hart to Hoover and a copy of a letter from the Charles Culp Burlingham Papers at the Harvard Law School Library, in which Burlingham mentions Hart.

Biographical Note on Albert Bushnell Hart

Albert Bushnell Hart (1854-1943), American historian, writer, and editor, taught history and government at Harvard University and Radcliffe College from 1883 to 1926.

Hart was born on July 1, 1854 in Clarksville, Pennsylvania to physician Albert Gaillard Hart and Mary Crosby Hornell Hart. He had a brother, Hastings Hornell Hart, and two sisters, Helen Marcia Hart and Jeannette M. Hart. The family moved to Ohio in 1860, eventually settling in Cleveland, where Hart graduated from West High School in 1871 and worked for several years as a bookkeeper. He attended Harvard College 1876-1880, receiving his B.A. in 1880, and spent a year studying modern constitutional history in the Graduate Department of Arts and Sciences. Hart moved to Germany for further postgraduate work in 1881, studying at University of Berlin and École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and receiving a Ph.D. in history from the University of Freiburg in 1883.

Hart returned to Harvard as an instructor of American history in 1883, where he established the political and constitutional history course known as History 13. In 1887, Hart was promoted to assistant professor of history, and he earned tenure in 1897. In 1910, he was appointed Eaton Professor of the Science of Government and was the Department of Government’s first chair following its split from the Department of History (formerly the Department of History and Government). Hart was dissertation advisor to W. E. B. Du Bois (Ph.D. 1895) and Carter G. Woodson (Ph.D. 1912), the first two Black students to receive doctorates at Harvard. Hart retired from teaching in 1926 but maintained an office on campus in Widener Library where he continued to write and publish.

Hart studied, lectured, and published on the teaching of American history in high school and college, particularly early in his career. His works include Guide to the Study of American History (1896; second edition, 1912), co-authored with Harvard colleagues Edward Channing and Frederick Jackson Turner; Essentials in American History (1905); and the five-volume series American History Told by Contemporaries (1897-1929).

Hart edited and contributed to historical anthologies and series such as Epochs of American History (three volumes; 1891-1893); American Nation (28 volumes; 1904-1918); and the five-volume Commonwealth History of Massachusetts (1927-1930). Hart also was editor of the American Historical Review and founder and editor of The American Year Book, and he helped launch the Dictionary of American Biography. He also frequently wrote for newspapers and magazines, including Current History.

Hart traveled and lectured extensively about history and current events. He was a popular speaker at universities, alumni clubs, social clubs, high schools, professional organizations, historical societies, teachers’ associations, and churches. Hart traveled to the South to research slavery and race relations, presenting his studies in a series of lectures at the Lowell Institute in 1908 which were later published as The Southern South in 1910.

He served as president of the American Historical Association in 1908-1909 and the American Political Science Association in 1910-1911. Hart additionally was a member of the Association for the Study of Negro Life & History, National Security League, and Massachusetts Historical Society, among other groups, and a trustee of Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, DC. He was a commissioner and official historian of the George Washington Bicentennial Commission in the 1930s. He was also a governor of Mooseheart, a school run by the Loyal Order of the Moose.

Hart met Theodore Roosevelt, who became a lifelong friend, when they were Harvard freshmen. He supported Roosevelt’s 1912 and 1916 presidential campaigns and later was involved in the Roosevelt Memorial Association.

Hart married Mary Hurd Putnam Hart on July 11, 1889 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The couple adopted twin sons, Albert Bushnell, Jr. and Adrian Putnam (born January 26, 1897) in December 1897. The family split their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and their summer house in Dublin, New Hampshire. Mary died on October 28, 1924. Hart died on June 16, 1943.


The collection is arranged in 29 series:

  1. General folder, circa 1990s and undated (HUG 4448)
  2. Newspaper clippings, 1891-1906 and undated (HUG 4448.1)
  3. Notes on files, biographical material, lists of publications, 1870-1945 (HUG 4448.2)
  4. Periodical publications, A-Z (HUG 4448.3)
  5. Periodical articles, by subject (HUG 4448.4)
  6. Correspondence, personal, mostly to family, 1838-1942 (HUG 4448.5)
  7. Personal and personal business papers, 1876-1926 (HUG 4448.5.5)
  8. Correspondence, subject files, alphabetical, 1832-1943 (HUG 4448.6)
  9. Department of Government records, miscellaneous course records, 1893-1920 and undated (HUG 4448.7)
  10. Records of students, 1883-1926 (HUG 4448.8)
  11. Alphabetical list of students, 1887-1910 (HUG 4448.9)
  12. Sample bibliography. Source book - cards (HUG 4448.10)
  13. The guilds of Florence as social and trade organizations, Harvard College, January 1879 (HUG 4448.12)
  14. Introduction by A. B. Hart for "As a Man Speaketh", by J. G. Brin, 1940 (HUG 4448.15)
  15. Correspondence with Milton Conover, 1925-1935 (HUG 4448.16)
  16. General correspondence, 1881-1930 (HUG 4448.17)
  17. Letter from A. B. Hart to George A. Plimpton, May 12, 1928 (HUG 4448.21)
  18. Special topics, 1886-1927 (HUG 4448.22)
  19. Miscellaneous correspondence and other papers, 1841-1936 (HUG 4448.22.1)
  20. Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party campaign of 1912, 1911-1923 (HUG 4448.25)
  21. Southern question and slavery, 1892-1921 (HUG 4448.27)
  22. Correspondence with publishers, 1886-1923 (HUG 4448.29)
  23. Channing and Hart, 1893-1956 (HUG 4448.29.2)
  24. Salmon P. Chase, circa 1892-1911 (HUG 4448.29.3)
  25. Lecture notes taken by Hart while a student in Europe, 1881-1883 (HUG 4448.35)
  26. Samples of Hart’s "working library", circa 1882-1929 (HUG 4448.45)
  27. Students’ papers from History and Government courses taught by Hart, 1884-1924 (HUG 4448.65)
  28. Printed material written or edited by A. B. Hart, circa 1887-1927 (HUG 4448.72)
  29. Addresses, lectures and articles, 1883-1928 (HUG 4448.85)


The Albert Bushnell Hart papers were acquired by the Harvard University Archives from different sources. Details of the acquisition of specific groups of records are located at the series level.

Related Materials

Listed below is a selection of archival collections related to Albert Bushnell Hart. See the SNAC record for Albert Bushnell Hart for other related materials:

In the Harvard University Archives
  1. Bancroft, Frederic. Why the American historical association needs thorough reorganization (HUG 4448.20):
  2. Hart, Albert Bushnell, AB 1880. Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits (HUP Hart, Albert Bushnell, AB 1880):
  3. Hart, Albert Bushnell, 1854-1943. Albert Bushnell Hart account book, 1874-1880 (HUD 1876.36):
  4. Program for dinner tendered to Albert Bushnell Hart, President of the American Historical Association, by former students, 1909 (HUG 300 Hart, Albert Bushnell):
  5. Kellner, Maximilian Lindsay, 1861-1935. Scrapbook attributed to Maximilian Kellner, 1839-1934, chiefly 1877-1934 (HUA 885.44):
  6. Lecture notes, syllabi, and handbooks by Hart for courses he taught, in various call numbers. See HUC 8xxx.
  7. Lowell, A. Lawrence (Abbott Lawrence), 1856-1943. Letter from President A. Lawrence Lowell to Professor Albert Bushnell Hart thanking him for a copy of a recent book by Hart, 1918 April 5 (Accession 15014):
  8. Morison, Samuel Eliot. A memoir and estimate of Albert Bushnell Hart (HUG 4448.56):
  9. Notes from students in Hart courses, in various call numbers. See HUC 8887.338.13.92, HUC 8890.338.2, HUC 8894.338.13.2, HUC 8899.338.12, and HUM 193.
  10. Records of the Department of Government (UAV 434.10):
  11. Suttell, Elizabeth Louise. The papers of Albert Bushnell Hart in the Harvard University Archives (HUG 4448.83):
  12. Writings by Hart, in various call numbers. See HUA 660.61, HUA 887.36, HUA 890.36, HUA 890.36.2, HUA 900.36, and HUD 280.20.36.
In the Schlesinger Library
  1. Helen Marcia Hart Diary, 1861-1865. A/H325.
In the Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives
  1. Milton Conover Papers (MS 807). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Inventory Update

This document last updated 2024 January 24.

Processing Information

The finding aid was created by Brooke McManus in April-May 2020. Titles were transcribed from existing paper inventories. Information in brackets was added by the archivist. The collection was not re-examined at this time.

The collection was re-examined and finding aid updated by Erin Clauss from 2020-2023.

Online access

The majority of this collection has been digitized and is available online, or is in the process of being digitized, as of December 2022. Links accompany descriptions.

Two series have not been digitized because they could not be located at the time of digitization: periodical articles, by subject (HUG 4448.4) and alphabetical list of students, 1887-1910 (HUG 4448.9).

Hart, Albert Bushnell, 1854-1943. Papers of Albert Bushnell Hart, 1832-1990s (inclusive), 1870-1943 (bulk) : an inventory
Description rules
Language of description

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