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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS13131972

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. addenda


The Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Addenda consists of items regarding Holmes’s life, family, and work, which were donated to the library by various parties after the primary collection of his papers was made available to the public. The collection includes correspondence, scrapbooks and diaries, clippings, reprints, and family papers dating to the mid-nineteenth century.


  • 1818-1978

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Historical and Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Historical and Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


8 boxes (3.3 linear feet)

The Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Addenda spans the years 1818 to 1978 with the bulk of the materials falling between 1881 and 1940. The collection includes personal correspondence, biographical materials about Holmes and his family, including his wife’s family the Dixwells, some judicial materials from both the U. S. Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and photocopies and reprints of items to and about Holmes.

Series List/Description

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1866-19651866-1965
  2. Series II. Biographical Materials re: OWH, 1848-19781848-1978
  3. Series III. Biographical Materials re: Holmes and DixwellFamilies, 1818-19401818-1940
  4. Series IV. Judicial Papers, 1887-19201887-1920
  5. Series V. Photocopied items and miscellany, 1880-19671880-1967

    Within eachseries and/or subseries individual items or folders are identified bybox and folder number. For example, the number 5-12 corresponds tobox 5, folder 12.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Please contact Curator of Modern Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

The entirety of the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Addenda has been digitized. To access individual folders, please click the appropriate link in the container list below. This collection also comprises part of the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite , which brings together all of the digitized holdings of the Harvard Law School Library by or about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Processing Information

In 2011 the collection known as the Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), Papers 1637-1967, was reprocessed by Margaret Peachy. Five new collections were created from this one collection:

  1. The John G. Palfrey (1875-1945)Collection of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Papers, 1715-1938;
  2. The Mark DeWolfe Howe Research Materials On Oliver WendellHolmes, Jr., 1858-1968;
  3. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.,Addenda, 1818-1978;
  4. The Edward J. Holmes Collection ofOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Materials, 1853-1944;
  5. Letters from Holmes to Lady Castleton Small ManuscriptCollection.

The decision to reprocess the original Holmes papers was based primarily on two factors. First, the original Holmes donation (i.e. the material gathered by his executor John G. Palfrey) had been corrupted by the inclusion of additional material over many years from various sources, which combined to create a collection that misrepresented the original donation. Second, this practice of adding to the original collection resulted in a complex and difficult to use finding aid.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr., Addenda, 1818-1978
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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