[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.Hough:hou00070View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 16, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.
MS Am 1091

Reed, John, 1887-1920. John Reed papers, 1903-1967 (MS Am 1091): Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Am 1091
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Reed, John, 1887-1920.
Title: John Reed papers
Date(s): 1903-1967
Quantity: 10.5 linear feet (31 boxes, 2 volumes)
Language of materials: Collection materials in English, French, Russian, Spanish, German, and Italian.
Abstract: The papers of John Reed, the American journalist and revolutionary, including papers relating to his wife, writer Louise Bryant.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The John Silas Reed Papers were originally assembled by John Reed's widow, Louise Bryant, who turned them over to the Harvard Alumni John Reed Committee. In 1936 the committee voted to present this collection to the Harvard College Library.
No accession number. Gift of the Harvard Alumni John Reed Committee, Corliss Lamont, Secretary-Treasurer; received: 1936 Oct. 8.
bMS Am 1091 (1260). Purchased with Bemis Fund received: 1940 Mar. 6.
41-7720; bMS Am 1091 (1234). Gift of Granville Hicks, Grafton, New York; received: 1942 Feb. 26.
42M-198; bMS Am 1091 (145-166). Gift of Corliss Lamont, 450 Riverside Drive, New York, New York; received: 1942 Sept. 22.
bMS Am 1091 (1395). Gift of Abel Startsev; received: 1967. MS Am 1091 (1390a); 2018M-36. Purchased from Charles Agvent with funds from the Harmand Teplow Class of 1920 Book Fund; received: 2017 July 21.
MS Am 1091 (1410a); 2018M-35. Purchased from Charles Agvent with funds from the Harmand Teplow Class of 1920 Book Fund; received: 2017 July 21.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Original inventory by Granville Hicks; recataloged in 1988 by Bonnie B. Salt
A first catalog of the collection was prepared and shipped with the papers by Granville Hicks, Reed's biographer. The Hicks listing was the major bibliographic source for the collection until this recataloging was undertaken in 1988. At some time between the original accessioning of the papers and this recataloging, the correspondence sections had been cataloged into the new bMS Am 1091 classification system. Consequently, these numbers have been retained with only small changes in sequence; they now form the first series of this finding aid. The original classification number of MS Am 9045 has been changed to bMS Am 1091 and a concordance of the old and new numbers appears at the end of this index. The old classification number also appears following each item entry. It should be noted, however, that many items were not clearly marked with old classification numbers and a ? appears in such an instance.

Conditions Governing Access:

Correspondence between John Reed and Louise Bryant, items 24-123 and 237-305 are fragile; use positive microfilm shelved with the originals.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

John Reed Papers, 1903-1967 (MS Am 1091). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

The Houghton Library has other John Reed accessions. The reader should check HOLLIS for additional material.

Separated Materials

Much of the printed material in Russian in this collection was given to the New York Public Library.

Biographical / Historical

John Silas Reed was an American poet, journalist, revolutionary writer, and political activist. He graduated from Harvard College in 1910 and soon joined the staff of "The Masses", a Socialist newspaper. He was a war correspondent in Mexico and Europe for "Metropolitan Magazine" and a publicist for the Russian Revolution. During his years in New York City, he became part of the literary and radical circle of intellectuals surrounding Max Eastman, Emma Goldman, and others, and during this period he married Louise Bryant, a fellow journalist and writer. He was frequently arrested for organizing and defending labor strikes, and he became known as a radical leader who went on to help form the American Communist Party. He is most famous for his book, "Ten Days that Shook the World" (1919), where he recorded his eyewitness account of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. He became head of the U.S. Communist Labor Party in 1919, was indicted for treason, and escaped to the Soviet Union where he continued working with Lenin and others in the Soviet government. He died of typhus in 1920 and was buried beside the Kremlin wall.


Arranged into the following series: Please note that item numbers 433, 551, 960, and 1149 were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid.

Scope and Contents

The papers of John Silas Reed, poet, journalist, and revolutionary, include his correspondence, personal miscellany, letters to and from his wife (Louise Bryant), notes, and drafts and final manuscripts for his writings. His writings include: poetry, songs, prose, books, pamphlets, plays, newspaper reports, speeches, and revolutionary writings. There are letters and compositions relating to his family and his diverse group of friends and colleagues such as: William Jennings Bryan, Louise Bryant, Charles Townsend Copeland, Max and Crystal Eastman, Emma Goldman, Robert Canby Hallowell, Morris Hillquit, Carl Hovey, Edward Eyre Hunt, Vladimir Il'ich Lenin, Walter Lippman, Eugene O'Neill, Boardman Robinson, Alan Seeger, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Julian Street, and many others. One section of particular note is the photographs that record Reed's journalistic days covering Francisco Villa in Mexico, the 1912 Industrial Workers of the World strike in Paterson, New Jersey, the 1914 United Mine Workers' strike in Ludlow, Colorado, and the voluminous section of photographs of the Russian Revolution. There are materials throughout documenting radical left-wing movements in the United States for the period ca.1912-1920, particularly the extensive pamphlet, magazine, and newspaper sections. Reed's years in Russia are extensively chronicled in his notes for "Ten Days that Shook the World", his many Russian notebooks and scrapbooks, and the series titled, Documents of the Russian revolution.


Old numbers (MS Am 9045); New numbers (bMS Am1091)

New numbers that have been changed:

Container List