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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 272: M-133

Papers of the Julia Ward Howe family, 1787-1984 (inclusive), 1787-1944 (bulk)


Correspondence, writings, speeches, etc., by Julia Ward Howe, author and reformer, and members of her family.


  • Creation: 1787-1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1787-1944

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access. Originals are closed; use microfilm M-133.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Howe family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


2.09 linear feet ((5 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)

This collection contains mainly correspondence, and writings and speeches by Julia Ward Howe and various members of her family. The papers have been divided into three series: Cutler, Ward, and related families; Julia Ward Howe; Children of Julia Ward Howe.

The correspondence provides information about Julia Ward Howe's maternal grandmother, Sarah (Mitchell) Cutler, and her children (Julia Ward Howe's aunts and uncles); Julia Ward Howe's brother, Samuel Ward; Julia Ward Howe, her children and grandchildren; writings and speeches of Julia Ward Howe and her daughters, particularly Florence (Howe) Hall; and some information about related families.

Information about travel in Europe, particularly Italy, can be found mainly in #20, 23, 72-78, 85 and 111. Correspondence between parents and children of various generations documents domestic and social life. Many of Maud Howe Elliott's letters reflect her growing concern over her mother's health.

There is correspondence of Julia Ward Howe's husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, including 19 letters from him to Dorothea Dix; there are few documents from his family.

Many items in the collection have notes written on or attached to them. Some are by Julia Ward Howe, some by Laura Howe Richards and Maud Howe Elliott, presumably written during the preparation of their book, Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916). Notes by the donor, Margaret Hall McRory, are identified by the notation: [MHM].

Most correspondence is arranged by recipient, and within each person's section chronologically, with undated items last.

Series I, Cutler, Ward, and related families, consists mostly of correspondence and is arranged in birth order, by generations, and chronologically within each person's section; related families and miscellaneous are at the end.

Series II, Julia Ward Howe, is divided into three sections: correspondence, writings and speeches, and material about Julia Ward Howe. Each section is arranged chronologically. The correspondence includes letters from and to Samuel Gridley Howe.

Series III, Children of Julia Ward Howe, is arranged according to the Howe children's birth order and includes papers of one son-in-law and several grandchildren. Each section is divided into correspondence and, where necessary, other material, and each is arranged chronologically. The Florence Howe Hall section includes her diary and the correspondence of four of her children.

Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.


Author and reformer, Julia (Ward) Howe was descended, on both sides of her family, from illustrious American ancestors. Her maternal grandmother, Sarah (Mitchell) Cutler, was a niece of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the Revolution. The first American Ward (John) settled in Newport, Rhode Island in the 1660s; his son, Richard, became the Royal Governor of Rhode Island, and his son, the first Samuel, became the Revolutionary Governor and one of the framers of the Constitution.

An additional Julia Ward Howe collection (A-24), which provides more information about Julia Ward Howe, her family, and her activities, is also included in the Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project. See also Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), Deborah Clifford, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, (Boston: Little Brown, 1979), and numerous other published sources.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Cutler, Ward, and related families
  2. Series II. Julia Ward Howe
  3. Series III. Children of Julia Ward Howe

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 1588, 1610, 1689, 69-36, 71-86, 71-107, 85-M185, 85-M206, 85-M274, 85-M286, 89-M220, 90-M5

The Julia (Ward) Howe Family papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in 1969, 1971, 1985, 1989, and 1990 by Julia Ward Howe's great-granddaughter, Margaret Hall McRory.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library. See Julia Ward Howe Papers, 1857-1961 (A-24), and Howe family Additional papers, 1758-1984 (MC 730).


Dates and/or other information have been written on some items by a number of people. In organizing the material, the processor accepted dates added by others and left undated material that was grouped with dated items where it was. All dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.

The pages of some items were numbered to aid the microfilmer, the proofreaders, and researchers. These numbers are in square brackets.

The film was proofread by University Publications of America.

Some of the material in the collection was difficult to film due to such problems as see-through text, faded or smudged writing, faint pencil notations, brittle clippings, fragile items, and stained paper. The film was carefully produced to insure that these items are as legible as possible.

Some clippings are incomplete and some of the more brittle ones have lost text due to broken edges.

The reverse sides of envelopes were microfilmed only if they contained a return address or notes.

The reverse sides of outdated letterhead and form letters were sometimes used by Julia Ward Howe for drafts or notes; print may show through. The letterhead/printed sides were filmed only if they are not represented elsewhere in the collection, or if they contain unique text.

In many cases, the enclosures referred to in letters are missing.

Letters of one or more pages with either the salutation or the signature missing, as well as portions of letters, have been marked as fragments.


N.B. Initials and names are arranged alphabetically by last name. Parentheses following each name indicate relationship to Julia Ward Howe.

  1. JWH = Julia (Ward) Howe
  2. JHA = Julia (Howe) Anagnos (daughter)
  3. CHB = Caroline Minturn (Hall) Birckhead (granddaughter)
  4. FMC = Francis Marion Cutler (uncle)
  5. SMC = Sarah (Mitchell) Cutler (grandmother)
  6. MHE = Maud (Howe) Elliott (daughter)
  7. ECF = Eliza (Cutler) Francis (aunt)
  8. JWF = John Wakefield Francis (uncle)
  9. FHH = Florence (Howe) Hall (daughter)
  10. DPH = David Prescott Hall (son-in-law)
  11. JHH = John Howe Hall (grandson)
  12. SPH = Samuel Prescott Hall (grandson)
  13. HMH = Henry Marion Howe (son)
  14. SGH = Samuel Gridley Howe (husband)
  15. LCM = Louisa (Cutler) McAllister (aunt)
  16. MHM = Margaret (Hall) McRory (great-granddaughter)
  17. LHR = Laura (Howe) Richards (daughter)
  18. JCW = Julia (Cutler) Ward (mother)
  19. SW (1) = Samuel Ward, Jr. (grandfather)
  20. SW (2) = Samuel Ward, III (father)
  21. SW (3) = Samuel Cutler Ward (brother)

General note

Container List

Container List
  1. Box 1: Folders 1-22
  2. Box 2: Folders 23-44
  3. Box 3: Folders 45-68v
  4. Box 4: 69v-92
  5. Box 5: Folders 93, 96-116

Processing Information

Processed: 1978

By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Reprocessed: January 1990

By: Bert Hartry

The 1969 and 1971 accessions were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987). The 1985-1990 accessions were integrated into the collection and it was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

Howe family. Papers of the Julia Ward Howe family, 1787-1984 (inclusive), 1787-1944 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
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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