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MS Am 1953

Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884. Wendell Phillips papers, 1555-1882: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b, pf
Call No.: MS Am 1953
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Wendell Phillips papers
Date(s): 1555-1882
Date(s): 1833-1881
Quantity: 17.3 linear feet (52 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, compositions, and other papers of American abolitionist Wendell Phillips.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

78M-8. Gift of Crawford Blagden; received: 1978.
The Crawford Blagden Collection of the Papers of Wendell Phillips was presented to this Library in October 1977. Early that year Mr. Blagden, a descendant of the abolitionist, discovered the papers in the basement of his house and contacted Irving Bartlett, Phillips's biographer, who then brought the papers to Harvard where he was to do research on them.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Wendell Phillips Papers, 1555-1882 (MS Am 1953). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Phillips, an American orator, reformer, and lawyer, best known for his work in the abolitionist movement, advocated many causes including prohibition, prison reform, women's suffrage, labor organization, and the rights of native Americans.


Arranged into the following series: Please note that item numbers 101, 781, and 1520 were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection is letters, 1855-1875, to Phillips concerning his work in reform movements. The letters are from many prominent Americans, as well as from less well known abolitionists, fugitive slaves, and others petitioning him for aid. Also much correspondence between Phillips and his wife, Ann Terry Greene Phillips, and many personal letters to her from friends and relatives that provide intimate details of 19th century domestic life. Includes approximately 250 letters to the Phillipses from Phoebe Garnaut Smalley, an adopted "niece", and over 150 letters from George Washburn Smalley, foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune, many of which concern political and social life in London and Paris in the 1860s and 1870s. Compositions contain speeches by Phillips and drafts, notes, and clippings for his lectures. The collection contains correspondence, legal notebooks, and business records of John Phillips, father of Wendell and first mayor of Boston. These papers include letters and records pertaining to the Federalist Party in Massachusetts. Early papers also include genealogies of the Phillips, Walley, Wendell, and Greene families, 17th century sermon fragments, and 16th century indentures. Collection also contains miscellaneous manuscripts relating to abolition and the women's movement, photographs, accounts, broadsides, and other printed material.

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