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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1060

Letters of Katharine Butler Hathaway, 1937-1942


Letters of writer Katharine Butler Hathaway to her friend Elizabeth P. Warner.


  • 1937-1942

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Katharine Butler Hathaway 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.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Collection consists of letters from Hathaway to her friend, Elizabeth "Betsy" P. Warner, who lived in Vinalhaven, Maine. Topics include Hathaway's autobiographical book The Little Locksmith, which she referred to as "Obma"; life in Blue Hill, Maine; Warner's poetry; and mutual friends.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Katharine Butler Hathaway was born on October 2, 1890, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Frank and Helen (Almy) Butler. She spent her childhood in Salem, Massachusetts, where she contracted tuberculosis of the spine and had to lie flat on her back for ten years. Her education consisted of one year at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and another year at Miss McClintock's School in Boston. Hathaway entered Radcliffe College in the fall of 1910 as a special student. She attended Radcliffe from 1910 to 1912 and although she did not graduate, she was made a member of the class of 1914.

In 1921, Katharine Butler Hathaway purchased her own house in Castine, Maine. In 1930, Hathaway traveled to Paris to write and draw. She returned to Massachusetts in 1932, and met Daniel Rugg Hathaway of Marblehead, Massachusetts; they were married soon after. Katharine Butler Hathaway sold her house in Castine, Maine, and the couple moved to Paris, France, were she wrote her first book, Mr. Muffet's Cat and Her Trip to Paris (Harper & Brothers 1934). In 1934, the Hathaways returned to the United States, and bought a house in Blue Hill, Maine.

Katharine Butler Hathaway wrote many short stories and poems, including "The Black Pearl, A Gossamer Tale" (The Atlantic Monthly, June 1918); "To an Ancient Head of Aphrodite" (The Atlantic Monthly, January 1915); "No Strange Land" (The Atlantic Monthly, March 1915); "Hallowe'en Birth" (The Atlantic Monthly, October 1918). Her autobiographical book, The Little Locksmith, was first serialized in The Atlantic Monthly between 1942 and 1943. In 1943, it was published posthumously by her brother, Warren Butler, along with its sequel, The Journals and Letters of the Little Locksmith (Coward-McCann, 1946). The Little Locksmith was later republished in 2000, by The Feminist Press.

Katharine Butler Hathaway died on December 24, 1942.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: R2000-37

These letters of Katharine Butler Hathaway were given to the Schlesinger Library by Elizabeth P. Warner in September 2000.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Katharine Butler Hathaway, 1911-1956 (SC 2); Drawings of Katharine Butler Hathaway, ca.1928, 1997 (RA.A/H363); Papers of Katharine Butler Hathaway, 1912-1953 (A/H363).

Processing Information

Processed: March 2020

By: Cat Lea Holbrook.

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.
Link to catalog
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Zetlin Sisters Fund and the Jane Rainie Opel '50 Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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