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UAI 15.890

Felton, C.C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862. Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

©President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2007

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Harvard University Archives
Call No.: UAI 15.890
Creator: Felton, C. C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862.
Title: Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton, 1841-1877.
Quantity: 1.2 cubic feet (4 document boxes, 2 microfilm reels)
Abstract: Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) was President of Harvard University from February 16, 1860 to February 26, 1862. He was also the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature from 1834 to 1860.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 September 14.

Acquisition Information :

The Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton were acquired by the Harvard University Archives through donation and purchase. Whenever possible the archivist noted the terms of acquisition in the folder list below. The acquisitions are as follows:
  • 1928 Charles H. Taylor
  • 1936 Philip Spaulding
  • 1938 Martha C.F. Bent
  • 1939 Bella C. Landauer
  • 1950 Estate of Christine Farley
  • 1950 Frank Farley
  • 1950 Amelia Tyler
  • 1953 Charles F. Adams
  • 1953 Law School Library
  • 1965 T. Roland Berner
  • 1972 Gregory Wilson
  • Accession number: 08576; 1979 January 31
  • Accession number: 08848; 1980 March 10
  • Accession number: 13745; 1998 April 21
  • Accession number: 18341; 2011 August 4
  • Conditions on Use and Access:

    Open for research.

    Preferred citation for publication:

    Felton, C.C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862. Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton, 1841-1877. UAI 15.890, Harvard University Archives.

    Related Material

    At Harvard:

    Search HOLLIS (Harvard's online library system) for works by and about Cornelius Conway Felton.

    At the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

    Processing Information:

    Most of this material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. In 2005, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed these papers. Re-processing included the rehousing of materials in the appropriate containers, establishment of a folder list, and the creation of this finding aid. The archivist placed the documents into acid-free folders, rehoused the materials into archival document boxes, and examined the folder contents to establish the date of the material.

    Series in the collection

    The collection is arranged into seven categories:

    Biographical Information

    Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) was the President of Harvard University from February 16, 1860 to February 26, 1862. He was also the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature from 1834 to 1860. A classical scholar, Felton became one of the most influential leaders in the development of classical education and learning in America.
    Early Life and Education
    Cornelius Conway Felton was born to Cornelius Conway Felton and Anna (Morse) Felton on November 6, 1807 in Newbury, Massachusetts. His father was a chaise maker by trade and a toll collector. After Anna died in 1825, Felton's father remarried to Lucy (Torrey) Boynton in 1825. Felton had nine brothers and sisters.
    Felton showed an early inclination for learning, especially for the study of classics. He attended Harvard University (A.B. 1827, A.M. 1830) where his studious habits, love of knowledge, and thorough scholarship gave him a high rank as a scholar. Due to his family's modest means, Felton taught school to fund his college education. After graduation, Felton taught for two years at Livingston County High School in Geneseo, New York.
    Harvard University
    Felton returned to Harvard University as a Tutor in 1829. He was appointed Professor of Greek in 1832 and elected the Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in 1834. Serving as an educator at Harvard University for the next three decades, Felton dedicated his efforts to the study of Greco-Roman culture. Moving beyond just teachinggrammar and philology, Felton's studies included an examination of a people's history,geography,philosophy,political structure, and artistic expression.
    Over his teaching career, Felton developed many textbooks and general translations for college students to facilitate the teaching of antiquity. These works include: A Greek Reader for the Use of Schools (1840), Clouds of Aristophanes (1841), Iliad of Homer (1846), Panegyricus of Isocrates (1847), Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1847), Birds of Aristophanes (1849), and Selections from the Greek Historians (1852).
    In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Felton also served as University Regent from 1849 to 1857. In this administrative role, Felton was accountable for academic discipline and the wise regulation of student life.
    Considered one of the most eminent scholars in the country, Felton was elected President of Harvard University on February 16, 1860 after the resignation of James Walker. Felton's administration was short-lived. Suffering from a heart aliment, Felton died in Chester, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1862.
    Cornelius C. Felton married Mary Whitney in 1838. They had two children, Mary (1839) and Julia (1842). After Mary Whitney Felton died in 1845, Felton married Mary Louisa Cary in 1846. Together they had three children, Louisa (1849), Cornelius (1851), and Thomas (1855).
    Felton was described by his peers as a warm and genial person and a sound scholar. As an author, Felton was primarily an editor of classical texts. His most popular work consisted of a series of lectures presented at the Lowell Institute in Boston during the 1850s and published after his death in 1867 under the title Greece, Ancient and Modern. Another posthumous volume was Familiar Letters from Europe (1866), which recounted his tour of Europe, including Greece. Felton's writings, along with his numerous contributions to various periodicals about Greek literature,history, language, and art, leave a legacy of his love for and study of ancient Greek life and culture.

    Scope of the Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton

    The Papers of Cornelius Conway Felton include Felton's correspondence with notable people in both the United States and Europe, his travel journals describing his trips to Europe, in particularly to Greece, and some lecture materials illustrating the depth of his classical studies. Felton's college letters and meeting minutes touch upon his activities as President of Harvard University.
    All documents are handwritten originals unless otherwise indicated.

    Series Descriptions and Item Lists