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MS Am 2368

Peirce, Benjamin, 1809-1880. Benjamin Peirce correspondence, circa 1835-1880: 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 2368
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Peirce, Benjamin, 1809-1880.
Title: Benjamin Peirce correspondence
Date(s): 1835-1880
Quantity: 1 collection (18 linear feet (35 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Correspondence of the American mathematician and Harvard professor Benjamin Peirce concerning astronomy, coastal surveys and other topics.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

54M-264 [in part] (for portion from American Academy of Arts and Sciences only).
Deposited by American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and by the Harvard University Archives. received: 1955.
Papers deposited by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences were combined with those kept at the Harvard University Archives in the summer and fall of 1966.

Processing Information:

In the summer and fall of 1966, the two collections of Benjamin Peirce Papers held by the Harvard University Archives and the Houghton Library, which were on deposit from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, were united. A preliminary organization of the correspondence from both collections was carried out by Max H. and Ruth B. Fisch; this re-organization incorporated the results of a partial previous organization of the correspondence in the Houghton collection.
The finding aid lists names of persons and institutions, each represented by a folder, containing one or more letters or other communications from the person or institution named to Benjamin Peirce, or one or more letters or drafts of letters or other communications from Benjamin Peirce to the person or institution named, or both. In a few cases that are not indicated in this preliminary list, the communications are both from and to persons other than Benjamin Peirce, and are included in folders bearing their authors' names; and with the further exception of a few reference entries.
At the beginning of the first box of correspondence are two folders, marked A and B. Folder A contains indexes to the correspondence and other materials relating to the acquisition and listing of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences collection mentioned above.
A considerable number of letters had been removed from the scrapbooks before the collection was received. All the remaining letters have now been removed and distributed into folders. However, one volume of Bache letters has been preserved as mounted by Benjamin Peirce (Box 2). The other scrapbook covers are preserved in Boxes 14-18. Finally, a single subject-matter folder has been retained concerning the Dudley Observatory.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Benjamin Peirce Correspondence, ca. 1835-1880 (MS Am 2368). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Peirce (A.B. 1829), mathematician and astronomer, was a tutor (1831-1833) and professor (1833-1880) at Harvard University, where he established the Harvard Observatory.


Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Scope and Contents

Chiefly manuscript letters to Benjamin Peirce from various correspondents, including Louis Agassiz, A. D. Bache, Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, Joseph Henry, Charles S. Peirce, and James Mills Peirce, among others. Letters concern the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Dudley Observatory, and U.S. coastal surveys. Also includes empty scrapbook covers that formerly housed letters.

Container List

List of correspondents