Tag Archives: Clergy

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.


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.