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COLLECTION Identifier: A/A217

Papers of Sarah Holland Adams, 1880-1915


Correspondence, photographs, medal of honor, etc. of book translator Sarah Holland Adams.


  • Creation: 1880-1915

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sarah Holland Adams, as well as copyright in other papers in the collection, may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The papers include letters from Adams to her sister Annie Adams Fields, and to her niece Ida DeForce Beal with the inscription "To my beloved niece..." written on a carte de visite portrait of Goethe's Charlotte. Also included is a medal of honor from the Grand Duke and Duchess of Saxony, and a photograph of Adams at age ninety.


Sarah Holland Adams was the oldest of six children born to Sarah May (Holland) and Zabdiel Boylston Adams ca. 1823, in Boston, Massachusetts. The Adams family was active in the sciences, art, literature, and politics. Adams' father and brother, Zabdiel Boylston Adams, Jr. (1829-1902) were both physcians. Her sister, Annie Adams Fields (1834-1915), was a published author and diarist who married James T. Fields (1817-1881), a Boston publisher, editor, and poet. The youngest sister Elizabeth studied art in Paris, France and Florence, Italy, and became a well-known portrait painter. Close relatives included President John Adams on her father's side, and author Louisa May Alcott on her mother's side of the family.

While living in Berlin, Germany, Adams worked as an English translator of German literature. Her translated works include The Life and Times of Goethe (1880) and The Life of Raphael (ca.1889), both written by Herman Friedrich Grimm, an art critic and biographer. She also transcribed the lectures of Andrew D. White, an American historian, co-founder and first president of Cornell University, and a diplomat to Germany and Russia. In 1892, Adams was presented with a medal of honor as a token of remembrance and thanks from the Grand Duke and Dutchess of Saxony for her interest and support of the Goethe and Schiller Archives; the oldest literature archive in Germany.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 82-M56

The is collection was purchased by the Schlesinger Library in March 1982 from John J. Walsh, with proceeds from the Benjamin Allen Miller Fund.

Related Material:

There is related material at Houghton Library; see the Adams Diary: manuscript, 1877-1895 (MS Am 1264) and the Sarah Holland Adam letter, 1863MS Am 1, (45), in the Charles Sumner Correspondence, 1829-1874 MS AM 1

Processing Information

Processed: January 1983

By: Susan Noz

Updated and additional description added: May 2021

By: Emilyn Brown

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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