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COLLECTION Identifier: UAI 15.890

Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton, 1841-1877.

Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) was President of Harvard University from February 16, 1860 to February 26, 1862. He was also the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature from 1834 to 1860.

Dates

  • 1841-1877.

Creator

Conditions on Use and Access

Open for research.

Extent

1.2 cubic feet (4 document boxes, 2 microfilm reels)

The Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton include Felton's correspondence with notable people in both the United States and Europe, his travel journals describing his trips to Europe, in particularly to Greece, and some lecture materials illustrating the depth of his classical studies. Felton's college letters and meeting minutes touch upon his activities as President of Harvard University.

All documents are handwritten originals unless otherwise indicated.

Biographical Information

IntroductionCornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) was the President of Harvard University from February 16, 1860 to February 26, 1862. He was also the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature from 1834 to 1860. A classical scholar, Felton became one of the most influential leaders in the development of classical education and learning in America.

Early Life and EducationCornelius Conway Felton was born to Cornelius Conway Felton and Anna (Morse) Felton on November 6, 1807 in Newbury, Massachusetts. His father was a chaise maker by trade and a toll collector. After Anna died in 1825, Felton's father remarried to Lucy (Torrey) Boynton in 1825. Felton had nine brothers and sisters.

Felton showed an early inclination for learning, especially for the study of classics. He attended Harvard University (A.B. 1827, A.M. 1830) where his studious habits, love of knowledge, and thorough scholarship gave him a high rank as a scholar. Due to his family's modest means, Felton taught school to fund his college education. After graduation, Felton taught for two years at Livingston County High School in Geneseo, New York.

Harvard UniversityFelton returned to Harvard University as a Tutor in 1829. He was appointed Professor of Greek in 1832 and elected the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in 1834. Serving as an educator at Harvard University for the next three decades, Felton dedicated his efforts to the study of Greco-Roman culture. Moving beyond just teachinggrammar and philology, Felton's studies included an examination of a people's history,geography,philosophy,political structure, and artistic expression.

Over his teaching career, Felton developed many textbooks and general translations for college students to facilitate the teaching of antiquity. These works include: A Greek Reader for the Use of Schools (1840), Clouds of Aristophanes (1841), Iliad of Homer (1846), Panegyricus of Isocrates (1847), Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1847), Birds of Aristophanes (1849), and Selections from the Greek Historians (1852).

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Felton also served as University Regent from 1849 to 1857. In this administrative role, Felton was accountable for academic discipline and the wise regulation of student life.

Considered one of the most eminent scholars in the country, Felton was elected President of Harvard University on February 16, 1860 after the resignation of James Walker. Felton's administration was short-lived. Suffering from a heart aliment, Felton died in Chester, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1862.

FamilyCornelius C. Felton married Mary Whitney in 1838. They had two children, Mary (1839) and Julia (1842). After Mary Whitney Felton died in 1845, Felton married Mary Louisa Cary in 1846. Together they had three children, Louisa (1849), Cornelius (1851), and Thomas (1855).

ConclusionFelton was described by his peers as a warm and genial person and a sound scholar. As an author, Felton was primarily an editor of classical texts. His most popular work consisted of a series of lectures presented at the Lowell Institute in Boston during the 1850s and published after his death in 1867 under the title Greece, Ancient and Modern. Another posthumous volume was Familiar Letters from Europe (1866), which recounted his tour of Europe, including Greece. Felton's writings, along with his numerous contributions to various periodicals about Greek literature,history, language, and art, leave a legacy of his love for and study of ancient Greek life and culture.

References
  • Emerton, Ephraim.Cornelius Conway Felton. In Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. VI, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1933.
  • Felton, Cyrus.A Genealogical History of the Felton Family; descendants of Lieutenant Nathaniel Felton, who came to Salem, Mass., in 1633; with few supplements and appendices of the names of some of the ancestors of the families that have intermarried with them.Marlborough, Massachusetts:Pratt Brothers, printers and publishers, 1886.
  • Goodwin, William Watson.Address of William Watson Goodwin. In The Cambridge Historical Society: Proceedings, October 23, 1906 to October 22, 1907,Cambridge, Massachusetts:The Society, 1907.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot.Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936.Cambridge,Massachusetts:Harvard University Press, 1936.
Introduction Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) was the President of Harvard University from February 16, 1860 to February 26, 1862. He was also the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature from 1834 to 1860. A classical scholar, Felton became one of the most influential leaders in the development of classical education and learning in America.
Early Life and Education Cornelius Conway Felton was born to Cornelius Conway Felton and Anna (Morse) Felton on November 6, 1807 in Newbury, Massachusetts. His father was a chaise maker by trade and a toll collector. After Anna died in 1825, Felton's father remarried to Lucy (Torrey) Boynton in 1825. Felton had nine brothers and sisters.

Felton showed an early inclination for learning, especially for the study of classics. He attended Harvard University (A.B. 1827, A.M. 1830) where his studious habits, love of knowledge, and thorough scholarship gave him a high rank as a scholar. Due to his family's modest means, Felton taught school to fund his college education. After graduation, Felton taught for two years at Livingston County High School in Geneseo, New York.
Harvard University Felton returned to Harvard University as a Tutor in 1829. He was appointed Professor of Greek in 1832 and elected the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in 1834. Serving as an educator at Harvard University for the next three decades, Felton dedicated his efforts to the study of Greco-Roman culture. Moving beyond just teachinggrammar and philology, Felton's studies included an examination of a people's history,geography,philosophy,political structure, and artistic expression.

Over his teaching career, Felton developed many textbooks and general translations for college students to facilitate the teaching of antiquity. These works include: A Greek Reader for the Use of Schools (1840), Clouds of Aristophanes (1841), Iliad of Homer (1846), Panegyricus of Isocrates (1847), Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1847), Birds of Aristophanes (1849), and Selections from the Greek Historians (1852).

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Felton also served as University Regent from 1849 to 1857. In this administrative role, Felton was accountable for academic discipline and the wise regulation of student life.

Considered one of the most eminent scholars in the country, Felton was elected President of Harvard University on February 16, 1860 after the resignation of James Walker. Felton's administration was short-lived. Suffering from a heart aliment, Felton died in Chester, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1862.
Family Cornelius C. Felton married Mary Whitney in 1838. They had two children, Mary (1839) and Julia (1842). After Mary Whitney Felton died in 1845, Felton married Mary Louisa Cary in 1846. Together they had three children, Louisa (1849), Cornelius (1851), and Thomas (1855).
Conclusion Felton was described by his peers as a warm and genial person and a sound scholar. As an author, Felton was primarily an editor of classical texts. His most popular work consisted of a series of lectures presented at the Lowell Institute in Boston during the 1850s and published after his death in 1867 under the title Greece, Ancient and Modern. Another posthumous volume was Familiar Letters from Europe (1866), which recounted his tour of Europe, including Greece. Felton's writings, along with his numerous contributions to various periodicals about Greek literature,history, language, and art, leave a legacy of his love for and study of ancient Greek life and culture.
References
  1. Emerton, Ephraim.Cornelius Conway Felton. In Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. VI, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1933.
  2. Felton, Cyrus.A Genealogical History of the Felton Family; descendants of Lieutenant Nathaniel Felton, who came to Salem, Mass., in 1633; with few supplements and appendices of the names of some of the ancestors of the families that have intermarried with them.Marlborough, Massachusetts:Pratt Brothers, printers and publishers, 1886.
  3. Goodwin, William Watson.Address of William Watson Goodwin. In The Cambridge Historical Society: Proceedings, October 23, 1906 to October 22, 1907,Cambridge, Massachusetts:The Society, 1907.
  4. Morison, Samuel Eliot.Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936.Cambridge,Massachusetts:Harvard University Press, 1936.

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton were acquired by the Harvard University Archives through donation and purchase. Whenever possible the archivist noted the terms of acquisition in the folder list below. The acquisitions are as follows:
  1. 1928 Charles H. Taylor
  2. 1936 Philip Spaulding
  3. 1938 Martha C.F. Bent
  4. 1939 Bella C. Landauer
  5. 1950 Estate of Christine Farley
  6. 1950 Frank Farley
  7. 1950 Amelia Tyler
  8. 1953 Charles F. Adams
  9. 1953 Law School Library
  10. 1965 T. Roland Berner
  11. 1972 Gregory Wilson
  12. Accession number: 08576; 1979 January 31
  13. Accession number: 08848; 1980 March 10
  14. Accession number: 13745; 1998 April 21
  15. Accession number: 18341; 2011 August 4

Related Materials

At Harvard:
  1. Houghton Library, Harvard College Library. Felton, Cornelius Conway, 1807-1862, recipient. Letters from various correspondents (MS Am 1172) Guide
  2. Houghton Library, Harvard College Library. Felton family. Papers (MS Am 1714) Guide
Search HOLLIS (Harvard's online library system) for works by and about Cornelius Conway Felton.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
  1. [Cornelius Conway Felton with His Hat and Coat], daguerreotypes, circa early 1850s by John Adams Whipple. (1997.382.41): http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/282046 (accessed 05/20/2014)

Inventory update

This document last updated 2018 February 2.

Processing Information

Most of this material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. In 2005, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed these papers. Re-processing included the rehousing of materials in the appropriate containers, establishment of a folder list, and the creation of this finding aid. The archivist placed the documents into acid-free folders, rehoused the materials into archival document boxes, and examined the folder contents to establish the date of the material.
Link to catalog
Title
Felton, C.C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862. Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua14005

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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