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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 1876.xx

Papers of Barrett Wendell


Barrett Wendell (1855-1921), educator and scholar of English literature, taught at Harvard University from 1880 until his retirement in 1917. His papers contain manuscripts of published works, including fiction, essays, plays, and translations, as well as correspondence and teaching materials, such as lecture notes and notes on student themes from the Harvard Annex, which later became Radcliffe College.


  • 1872-1926 and [undated]


Researcher Access

The Papers of Barrett Wendell are open for research.


6.83 cubic feet (34 volumes, 13 accordion folders, 6 pamphlet binders, 4 half-document boxes, 3 document boxes, 2 microfilm reels, 1 card box)

The Papers of Barrett Wendell document his teaching and publishing activities. The collection contains manuscripts of published works of fiction, essays, plays, and translations. It includes notes, manuscripts, and a scrapbook relating to Wendell's books, Cotton Mather and Duchess Emilia, as well as copies of his stories. The papers have essays, including one on the study of composition; manuscripts containing Harvard recollections; and short stories about student life at Harvard.

Wendell’s teaching materials include notebooks containing notes on student themes from the Harvard Annex, data on students, and lecture notes for his course, Comparative Literature I. It also includes lectures at the Lowell Institute; for a Shakespeare course at Radcliffe; and other lecture notes on American literature and Shakespeare. Additionally, there are article reprints, speeches, a commencement address from 1909 at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and correspondence to Charles H. Barrows.

Biographical note on Barrett Wendell

Barrett Wendell (1855-1921), educator and scholar of English literature, taught at Harvard University from 1880 until his retirement in 1917. He graduated from Harvard in 1877 and was appointed instructor in English at Harvard College in 1880. He was made Assistant Professor in 1888; in 1898, Wendell was named Professor of English, a position he maintained until his retirement in 1917. He was also a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers. Wendell married Edith Greenough in 1880; the couple had four children.

In addition to his teaching at Harvard, Wendell also guest lectured at Trinity College in Cambridge, England in 1902 to 1903, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, France from 1904 to 1905. He published many books throughout his career, including novels, nonfiction, and a popular textbook, entitled, "English Composition." Wendell was involved with several professional organizations, including the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wendell died in 1921.


This collection is arranged in ten series:

  1. [General materials], 1872-1926 and [undated] (HUG 1876, HUG 1876.2, HUG 1876.4, HUG 1876.6, HUG 1876.6.1 mfN, HUG 1876.6.2 mfp, HUG 1876.8, HUG 1876.10, HUG 1876.12, HUG 1876.14, HUG 1876.16, HUG 1876.18)
  2. Major works, [undated] (HUG 1876.20, HUG 1876.22)
  3. Minor fiction, 1880-1881 and [undated] (HUG 1876.50.2, HUG 1876.50.4, HUG 1876.50.6, HUG 1876.50.8, HUG 1876.50.10, HUG 1876.50.12, HUG 1876.50.14)
  4. Essays, circa 1740-1920 and [undated] (HUG 1876.52.2, HUG 1876.52.4, HUG 1876.52.6, HUG 1876.52.8, HUG 1876.52.9, HUG 1876.52.10, HUG 1876.52.12)
  5. Lectures, [1886-1916 and undated] (HUG 1876.54, HUG 1876.54.2, HUG 1876.54.3, HUG 1876.54.4, HUG 1876.54.6, HUG 1876.54.8, HUG 1876.54.10, HUG 1876.54.12, HUG 1876.54.14, HUG 1876.54.18)
  6. Plays, [1873-1892 and undated] (HUG 1876.56, HUG 1876.56.2, HUG 1876.56.4, HUG 1876.56.6, HUG 1876.56.8, HUG 1876.56.10, HUG 1876.56.12, HUG 1876.56.14, HUG 1876.56.16, HUG 1876.56.18)
  7. Translations, 1886 (HUG 1876.58, HUG 1876.58.2)
  8. Notebooks, 1882-1891 (HUG 1876.60, HUG 1876.60.4, HUG 1876.60.8, HUG 1876.60.12, HUG 1876.60.24, HUG 1876.60.32, HUG 1876.60.36, HUG 1876.64, HUG 1876.80)
  9. Reprints of articles, etc. (HUG 1876.64)
  10. Lecture notes for Comparative Literature I, 1906-1916 (HUG 1876.80)


The Papers of Barrett Wendell were acquired in several accessions. Specific acquisition information, when available, is noted at the series level:

  1. Gift of Edith Greenough Wendell, received 1939
  2. Received from Harvard University Press, 1926
  3. Received from Richardson, 1933
  4. Received gratis, 1943
  5. Transferred from the Boston Athenaeum, received May 23, 2002; Accession 14564

Related Materials

The Harvard University Archives also holds:

  1. Lecture notes in Comparative Literature 1, 1905-1917 (HUC 8905.214.1)
In Houghton Library:
  1. Wendell family papers, circa 1620-1921 (MS Am 1907-1907.1)
  2. Letters : from various correspondents, 1917 (MS Am 1392)

Inventory Update

The document last updated on 2022 April 22.

Processing Information

This finding aid was created by Olivia Mandica-Hart in April-May 2021. Information in this finding aid was assembled from legacy paper inventories and container management data. The collection was not re-examined by the archivist.

Wendell, Barrett, 1855-1921. Papers of Barrett Wendell, 1872-1926 and [undated] : an inventory
Harvard University Archives
April 22, 2021
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.

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