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HUC 8799.386.10

Buckminster, J. S. (Joseph Stevens), 1784-1812. Student essays of Joseph Stevens Buckminster, 1798-1799: an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUC 8799.386.10
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Buckminster, J. S. (Joseph Stevens), 1784-1812.
Title: Student essays of Joseph Stevens Buckminster, 1798-1799
Date(s): 1798-1799
Quantity: .17 cubic feet (1 half dcoument box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection contains five handwritten essays composed by Joseph Stevens Buckminster (1784-1812; Harvard AB 1800) when he was an undergraduate at Harvard College in 1798 and 1799. Buckminster, an influential Unitarian minister of the Brattle Street Church in Cambridge, was instrumental in disseminating German biblical criticism in New England. Buckminster's student essays follow a format typical for late 18th century Harvard undergraduate essays and delve into themes of greed, the role of the arts in human refinement, conscience, and the ills of procrastination. The compositions provide a resource for studying the academic life of Harvard undergraduates in the 18th century, and they offer information on the subjects and styles of student themes and orations.

Acquisition information:

The essays were received on January 19, 1923 from the library of Professor Charles Eliot Norton.

Processing Information:

The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was re-processed in 2011. Re-processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in February 2011.
Preservation and description of the Student essays of Joseph Stevens Buckminster was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Researcher Access:

The student essays are open for research.

Copying Restriction:

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Online access:

All of the papers have been digitized and are available online. Links accompany detailed descriptions.

Preferred Citation:

Buckminster, J. S. (Joseph Stevens), 1784-1812. Student essays of Joseph Stevens Buckminister, 1798-1799. HUC 8799.386.10, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives similar student essays donated by Charles Eliot Norton include:
In the Boston Athenaeum

Biographical Note

Joseph Stevens Buckminster (1784-1812) was an influential Unitarian minister of the Brattle Street Church in Cambridge, Mass. He was instrumental in disseminating German biblical criticism in New England.
Buckminster was born on May 26, 1784 in Portsmouth, NH. He entered Harvard College at the age of thirteen and received an AB in 1800 at the age of sixteen; he received an AM in 1803. Buckminster was ordained as the pastor of Cambridge's Brattle Street Church on January 20, 1805. In 1806 and 1807, he traveled through Europe and collected a library of 3,000 volumes that would become the foundation of the library of the Boston Athenaeum. As a member of the Anthology Club, Buckminster helped found the Boston Athenaeum and also edited and contributed to the Club's Monthly Anthology, one of America's earliest literary magazines. In 1811, Buckminster was appointed the Dexter Lecturer of biblical criticism at Harvard, but died before he could begin teaching. Buckminster died on June 9, 1812 in Boston. Buckminster was the son of Joseph Buckminster (Yale AB 1770), and the grandson of Joseph Buckminster (Harvard AB 1734).

References

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Scope and Content

This collection contains five handwritten essays composed by Joseph Stevens Buckminster when he was an undergraduate at Harvard College in 1798 and 1799. The essays follow a format typical for late 18th century Harvard undergraduate essays beginning with a relevant quote, often from Virgil or Ovid, and following with a short discussion of a moral issue. Buckminster's essays delve into themes of greed, the role of the arts in human refinement, conscience, and the ills of procrastination. The essays range from three to four pages and are written on folded unruled sheets. The compositions provide a resource for studying the academic life of Harvard undergraduates in the 18th century, and they offer information on the subjects and styles of student themes and orations.

General

This document last updated 2015 June 2.

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