Tag Archives: Authors

The Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers Are Now Available

A draft of a title page of Hodges’ book, The Three Princes of Serendip, which can be found in the Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers in the Cambridge Room.

We are pleased to announce that the Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers, 1908-1999 are now available for research.

Elizabeth Jamison Hodges was born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1908 to William Lemmon Hodges and Elizabeth Jamison Hodges (1884-1980), the oldest of three children. Schooled in the Boston and New York areas, she graduated from Radcliffe College (A.B. 1931) and Simmons College (B.S. 1937). She was a librarian at the Boston Public Library (1937-1941), the Detroit Public Library (1941-1943), and at public libraries in Arlington, Watertown, Leominster, and Belmont, Mass. After World War II, following in her father’s footsteps (who was a major in the army), she was the Command Librarian for the Third Army in Germany, establishing libraries for American occupation troops. In the 1960s she travelled to Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) to collect material for two of her children’s books: The Three Princes of Serendip (New York 1964, illustrated by Joan Berg) and Serendipity Tales (New York, 1966, illustrated by June Atkin Corwin). She published two other children’s books: A Song for Gilgamesh (New York, 1971, illustrated by David Omar White), and Free as a Frog (New York, 1971, illustrated by Paul Giovanopoulos). She was also a New York Times Children’s book reviewer. She taught creative writing at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement for 20 years. She died on October 21, 1999 in New London, NH.


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William Corbett Papers Now Available

Poster for poetry reading celebrating John Wieners, representing many from the Cambridge poetry community, William Corbett Papers (068).

The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the William Corbett Papers, 1993-2004 are now available to research.

William Corbett–a poet, professor, and central figure in Boston’s literary scene–was born on October 11, 1942. He grew up in Pennsylvania and Connecticut and developed an interest in literature in his youth. He studied literature and history at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1964. Corbett and his wife, Beverly Mitchell, lived in Boston, Massachusetts, from the 1960s-2012. During their time in Boston, their home at 9 Columbus Square in the South End served as a valuable salon for Boston’s literary scene. The couple welcomed both established and emerging writers into their home, frequently hosting dinners where writers could read poetry and connect with other artists.

Corbett has published collections of poetry and prose, as well as editing books and journals. His poetry bears the influence of modernist poetry and the Black Mountain College community; it is also influenced by the landscapes of New England and the people in Corbett’s life. In 1999 Corbett, along with Daniel Bouchard and Joseph Torra, founded Pressed Wafer. Originally based at 9 Columbus Square, Pressed Wafer publishes poetry, art, and fiction and nonfiction writing. He taught writing at institutions such as Harvard University, Emerson College, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a professor for over twenty years. In 2012, the Corbetts relocated to Brooklyn, New York, to be nearer their children and grandchildren.

Collection Overview
This collection contains broadsides printed by Pressed Wafer, many of which commemorate poetry readings at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Some of these broadsides have been signed by the poet. The collection also includes several posters advertising poetry readings in Boston and Cambridge.

Cambridge Book and Author War Bond Rally Manuscripts Now Available

Preface to the chapter “Cambridge: 1815-1915” from The Flowering of New England and New England:  Indian Summer, handwritten by Van Wyck Brooks, from the Cambridge Book and Author War Bond Rally Manuscripts (094).

The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Cambridge Book and Author War Bond Rally Manuscripts, ca. 1940-1943 are now available to research.

During the Second World War, cities around America hosted Book and Author War Bond Rallies at which authors spoke and donated works to encourage the public to purchase war bonds. The city of Cambridge hosted one such rally on September 28, 1943. Several prominent authors spoke and donated manuscripts to the Cambridge Public Library. Local organizations raised money for war bonds to sponsor these donations. The event raised $1,125,163 in bonds for the war effort. The organizations that bought the greatest amount of war bonds were the Jewish Community of Cambridge ($122,461), the Cambridge Rotary Club ($53,852), and the American Legion Auxiliary ($35,065). The authors who spoke at the event were Roy Chapman Andrews, Van Wyck Brooks, Edna Ferber, and John Roy Carlson (also known as Arthur Derounian). This collection includes the manuscripts of Andrews, Brooks, and Ferber, as well as manuscripts of a poem by Robert Nathan.

Van Wyck Brooks (February 16, 1886-May 2, 1963) was a critic and historian who wrote extensively on the literary history of America. He won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1937 for his book The Flowering of New England. Edna Ferber (August 15, 1885-April 16, 1968) was a writer of fiction and theater, as well as autobiographies. Often focusing on diverse American workers, several of Ferber’s works were adapted into musicals or films. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1925 for her novel So Big. Roy Chapman Andrews (January 26, 1884-March 11, 1960) was an explorer and naturalist who became the director of the American Museum of Natural History. In addition to scientific articles, Andrews wrote popular accounts of his expeditions, including his work with dinosaur fossils in the Gobi Desert. Robert Nathan (January 2, 1894-May 25, 1985) was a writer of both fiction and poetry. Of the more than fifty books he published, the most well known if Portrait of Jennie.

Collection Overview
This collection contains four manuscripts donated to the Cambridge Public Library as part of a Book and Author War Bond Rally. The first three manuscripts are for the following books: Under a Lucky Star (1943) by Roy Chapman Andrews; Cambridge 1815-1915 (1943) by Van Wyck Brooks, made up of passages of his books The Flowering of New England (1936) and New England: Indian Summer (1940); and Saratoga Trunk (1941) by Edna Ferber. The fourth is of the poem Winter Tide (ca. 1940) by Robert Nathan.

Samuel Atkins Eliot Manuscript Now Available

A page from Samuel Atkins Eliot’s Manuscript, A History of Cambridge, 1630-1913, from the Samuel Atkins Eliot Manuscript  (102).

The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Samuel Atkins Eliot Manuscript, circa 1912 is now available to research.

Samuel Atkins Eliot was born on August 24, 1862, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His parents were Ellen Derby Peabody and Charles William Eliot, a chemist who went on to become the president of Harvard University. Eliot received his education at Harvard College, graduating in 1884. He then studied at Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1889. He married Frances Hopkinson the same year. The couple had seven children, including the author Samuel Atkins Eliot Jr.

Eliot worked as a missionary in Seattle before completing his divinity school studies. After graduating, he preached at Denver, Colorado’s Unity Church. He also established the National Conference of Churches’ Rocky Mountain Conference. From there he moved on to Church of the Saviour in Brooklyn, New York, also becoming active in the American Unitarian Association. Eliot served as the executive of the American Unitarian Association for nearly thirty years, first as secretary beginning in 1898, then as president from 1900-1927. Eliot’s leadership saw the National Conference of Churches merge with the American Unitarian Association. After stepping down from his position of leadership, Eliot became a minister at the Arlington Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1913, Eliot published A History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1913. This work built upon the histories of Cambridge written Abiel Holmes (1801) and Lucius Paige (1877) by recounting the city’s history through the early twentieth century. Eliot died on October 15, 1950.

Collection Overview
This collection contains one manuscript, that of A History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1913. The manuscript includes drafts of chapters 2-11, as well as chapter headings and other writings that were not included in the final publication.

James Russell Lowell Papers Now Available


Handwritten letter from James Russell Lowell to Miss Gilder, September 11, 1885 , from the James Russell Lowell Papers, 1885-1886 (104). 

The  Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the James Russell Lowell Papers, 1885-1886 are now available to research. A curated selection of the papers have been digitized and made available here.

James Russell Lowell–born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1819–was a poet, essayist, editor, professor, and diplomat. The child of Reverend Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. and Harriet Spence Lowell, James Russell Lowell was a member of the prominent Massachusetts Lowell family. He completed his studies at Harvard College in 1838 and  Harvard Law School in 1840, though he soon devoted himself to writing rather than law. Lowell would become one of the Fireside Poets, so named for their popularity and suitability for families to enjoy around the fire.

Among Lowell’s best-known works are three published in 1848. The Biglow Papers (of which a second volume was published in 1862) compiled works featuring the Yankee character Hosea Biglow, whom Lowell used to critique political events. The Vision of Sir Launfal was his take on Arthurian legend. In A Fable for Critics, he presented clever verse portraits of literary figures of the day. Lowell also played a large role in the early days of The Atlantic Monthly, writing for and editing the magazine he helped found. In 1885, Lowell was granted a professorship at Harvard, where he taught for approximately twenty years, during which time he continued to write. He was later appointed to diplomatic positions in Spain in 1877 and Great Britain in 1880.

Lowell married the poet Maria White in 1844. Three of the couple’s four children died in childhood, and Maria herself passed away soon after, in 1853. Lowell remarried in 1857, to Frances Dunlap. He died in Cambridge on August 12, 1891. Lowell is buried in Cambridge’s Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Collection Overview
This collection contains one letter and one manuscript, both written by James Russell Lowell. The letter includes a list of selected works by Lowell. The manuscript comprises a draft of Lowell’s essay The Progress of the World.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson Papers Now Available


Handwritten postcard from Thomas Wentworth Higginson to Etta Russell, June 1, 1897, from the Thomas Wentworth Higginson Papers, 1850-1907.

The  Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Thomas Wentworth Higginson Papers, 1850-1907 are now available to research. A curated selection of the papers have been digitized and made available here.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson was a writer, minister, colonel, abolitionist, and activist. He was born on December 23, 1823 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Louisa Storrow Higginson and Stephen Higginson Jr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson graduated from Harvard College in 1841 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1847. He then served as a preacher, first in Newburyport, where he was deemed too radical, and later at the Free Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. During this time, Higginson became increasingly active in abolitionist activity. He wrote and preached against slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War and was active in the Boston Vigilance Committee and the Underground Railroad. After supporting abolitionist settlers in Kansas following the Kansas-Nebraska Act, he provided financial support to John Brown’s raid of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. During the Civil War, Higginson led the Higginson, Thomas Wentworth (Thomas Wentworth Higginson Papers, 1850-1907) Union’s first African-American regiment. He described his military service in the memoir Army Life in a Black Regiment.

After the Civil War, Higginson focused on writing, editing, and activism, living in Newport, Rhode Island, for about two decades before returning to Cambridge. As a writer, he published fiction, memoirs, and essays, working with publications such as the Atlantic Monthly and the Woman’s Journal. He wrote on issues such as women’s suffrage, temperance, and Reconstruction. Higginson was also an editor; he corresponded with Emily Dickinson and co-edited her poetry for publication after her death. Higginson served as a trustee of the Cambridge Public Library and was instrumental in establishing the collections of the Cambridge Room, the library’s archives and special collections. Higginson married Mary Channing in 1847. After her death in 1877, he married Mary Thacher in 1879. They had two daughters, Louisa, who died in infancy in 1880, and Margaret, born in 1881. Higginson died on May 9, 1911 in Cambridge and was buried in Cambridge Cemetery.

Collection Overview
This collection comprises letters written to and by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a manuscript of a portion of his book Cheerful Yesterdays, and pamphlets written by Higginson. The letters include discussion of Higginson’s time in England and work with the Cambridge Public Library. The manuscript contains the second chapter of Higginson’s memoir, Cheerful Yesterdays, “A Child of the College.” The pamphlets include speeches, sermons, reminiscences, and essays; topics covered include slavery and women’s suffrage.