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MS Am 2560

Eliot, Henry Ware, 1879-1947, collector. Henry Ware Eliot T. S. Eliot collection,1881-1994: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository, pf, b, Vault
Call No.: MS Am 2560
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Eliot, Henry Ware, 1879-1947, collector. Henry Ware Eliot T. S. Eliot collection,
Date(s): 1881-1994.
Quantity: 1 collection (15 linear feet (39 boxes (including 1 portfolio box))
Language of materials: Collection materials are mostly in English, but also include some in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and other languages.
Abstract: Collection of materials by and about the American-born, British poet T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot. Materials were collected by his immediate family, especially by his brother, Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. Includes: original T. S. Eliot autograph manuscripts, correspondence, and biographical memorabilia; Eliot family papers; approximately 600 images; items concerning the history of the collection; and extensive printed materials and ephemera about the poet's life and work.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Recataloged from: *AC9.Eℓ464.Zzx and *AC9.Eℓ464.Zzy in the fall of 2007.
No accession number. Original gift to Houghton Library by Henry Ware Eliot Jr. and Theresa Garrett Eliot; received: 1951.


This collection was begun by Charlotte Eliot, the mother of T. S. Eliot. It was added to by various family members, but especially by TSE and his brother, Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. In April of 1932, HWE, Jr. began sending Eliot House various TSE printed material that were bookplated: "Given to Eliot House in memory of Charlotte C. Eliot 1843-1929" or "Given to Eliot House on behalf of Charlotte Eliot's children, by Henry Ware Eliot, Jr." HWE, Jr. made an elaborate typed index for this material and continued to increase the collection until his death in 1947. After his death, his wife, Mrs. Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. (Theresa Garrett Eliot), kept up the cataloging and augmented the collection. The collection was moved to the Houghton Library in 1942 (when the library was built) for safety during World War II. In 1951 the collection was gifted to the Houghton Library. Members of the Eliot family have continued to add to this collection since that time.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt
The original arrangement and index to this collection was created by Henry Ware Eliot Jr. and his wife, Theresa Garrett Eliot, brother and sister-in-law of T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot. The collection was partially redescribed and resorted in 2007 August-November; then entirely rehoused. The original index was turned into digital-text and used as the basis for the new description of the collection. When possible, the original descriptive text, written by the Eliot family, has been preserved.
It is not Houghton's usual practice to item-describe news clippings, but the Eliot family did so in their original index, so we have retained their unedited item description under series VI: "Printed materials."

Conditions Governing Access:

Most of the material in this collection is open for research use, however manuscripts of unpublished T. S. Eliot material may be consulted only with the permission of the Eliot estate.
The majority of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

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:

Henry Ware Eliot T. S. Eliot Collection, 1881-1994 (MS Am 2560). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

For a full listing of Houghton Library's holdings of TSE and Eliot family materials, readers should consult HOLLIS and OASIS.
Some, but not all, of Houghton TSE materials relating directly to this collection are:

Biographical / Historical

Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1888–1965) was an American-born, British-naturalized literary critic, publisher, essayist, playwright, and one of the twentieth century's major poets.
Some of the major dates in the life of T.S. Eliot:
A few of the primary family names associated with this collection are listed below, with relationship to T. S. Eliot, and the abbreviation used in this guide:


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

The focus of these materials is the life and work of the poet, T.S. Eliot, collected by members of his immediate family. Also included are Eliot family papers, especially concerning his immediate family, but also documenting their ancestors. These papers include: correspondence (by TSE and others), autograph compositions (by TSE and others), genealogies, biographical miscellany, images, clippings, pamphlets, theatrical programs, scrapbooks, and ephemera.
I. Correspondence: Most TSE and "Other correspondence" has been grouped into this series by the repository. Scrapbooks in other series have been left intact, and some still contain postcards and letters. The "Other correspondence" is primarily concerned with the assembling and donation of the collection.
II. Compositions: Most original compositions have been grouped here (by the repository) having been removed from other series in the collection. There are very few materials by TSE. "Other compositions" include writings by family members, especially Charlotte Eliot, Henry Ware Eliot, Jr., and Theresa Garrett Eliot.
III. Biographical and genealogical miscellany: This series contains sub-series groupings of manuscript materials, memorabilia, and printed ephemera relating to TSE, other individuals, and families. Some of these groups were established by the Eliot family and some established in the repository. The TSE sub-series includes report cards, clippings, Harvard College miscellany, financial records, a lease, theatrical programs, Vivienne Eliot miscellany, postcards, palm readings, Valerie Eliot miscellany, a bookplate, and other materials. The "family name" sub-series includes miscellany on the Chauncy family, Cranch family, Eliot family, and others. The sub-series by "Individual name" is mainly Eliot family members, such as Charlotte Eliot (1843-1929), Henry Ware Eliot (1843-1919), Henry Ware Eliot (1879-1947), Theresa Garrett Eliot (1884-1981), William Greenleaf Eliot (1811-1887), but does include others.
IV. Images: Includes approximately 600 images. All format types of images found in this collection were gathered and arranged into five sub-series: TSE, family name, individuals, buildings and locations, and images concerning TSE's writings. The series includes: photographs, cartes-de-visite, cabinet photographs, negatives, photograph albums, a film, a glass negative, photostats, drawings, and scrapbooks that primarily contain photographs. Images contained in news clippings were not moved to this series. Photographs are from TSE's childhood through his late adult years, and document all aspects of his life. Series includes photographs of TSE's immediate family, some ancestors, buildings and locations important in his life, and images from various productions of his plays, especially Murder in the cathedral.
V. Materials concerning the collection: Includes the typescript of the original index to this collection, compiled by Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. and Theresa Garrett Eliot, and the "Guest book" containing signatures of some readers of the collection from 1937-1969.
VI. Printed materials on TSE: This final series comprises the largest bulk of the collection, and is composed mostly of news clippings, especially reviews, concerning TSE's life and work. The description and arrangement was left in the order in which it was set-up by the Eliot family. It also contains ephemera such as theater programs, invitations, tickets, posters, obituaries, and many other items, some of which have autograph annotations by TSE, HWE, Jr., or TGE.


The majority of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.
Items (1) - (184), (186) - (221), (223) - (302) shelved at Houghton. Item (185) in Vault. Items (303) - (450) at Harvard Depository. Item (222) at Harvard Depository in cold storage.

Container List