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MS Can 90

Morse, William Inglis, b. 1874. William Inglis Morse papers, 1780-1949: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Location: b
Call No.: MS Can 90
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Morse, William Inglis, b. 1874.
Title: William Inglis Morse papers,
Date(s): 1780-1949, (bulk) 1938-1949.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 box (.5 linear feet)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English and French.
Abstract: Letters to and research materials of philanthropist and Canadiana collector William Inglis Morse.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

49M-26. Gift of Dr. William Inglis Morse, 17 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cambridge, Massachusetts; received: 1944 October.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
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.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

William Inglis Morse Papers, 1780-1949 (MS Can 90). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

William Inglis Morse (1874-1952) was an author, historian, minister, collector of Canadiana, and philanthropist. He taught in a rural school near his home in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia for one year, then at the age of 18, spent a year at Horton Academy and then entered Acadia University in Wolfville. He completed his BA in 1897, and then enrolled in the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating three years later with a Bachelor of Divinity. Within a few years he was appointed rector at the Church of the Incarnation in Lynn, Massachusetts, where he served for the next twenty-five years.
Morse also pursued literary and scholarly interests and in 1908 published his first book, Acadian Lays and Other Verse. As his interest in Acadia expanded, Morse began to research the early decades of Acadian settlement in Nova Scotia. His research took him to England and France and soon he began collecting in his areas of interest. He published a number of travelogues chronicling his travel adventures and also edited and published the contents of the significant Acadian documents he had acquired: Gravestones of Acadie (1929), The land of the new adventure (1932), Acadiensia Nova (2 volumes, 1935), and Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts (1939).
Morse and his wife, Susan Alice Ensign Morse, were active collectors and philanthropists, and their daughter, Susan Morse Hilles, was later known as an avid art collector and philanthropist as well. Between 1926 and 1942, Morse collected and donated major groups of Canadiana to Acadia University and to Dalhousie University. In 1943, Morse was appointed Honorary Curator of Canadian Literature and History at Harvard University where he donated a major collection of Canadiana; he also donated significant collections to Yale University and the University of King's College (Halifax).
Source: Web page of the Dalhousie University Archives & Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Includes some photographs, a few letters to Morse from colleagues and friends, research notes, draft articles, and transcripts of historical documents. Most concern Acadian subjects. Research materials were probably assembled for Morse's The Chronicle, and Bulletin of the Canadian collection at Harvard University. Also with collection materials such as bank notes (paper money), a bookplate, a broadside program, and others.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

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