Eliot, Andrew, 1718-1778. Papers of Andrew Eliot, 1734-1777: an inventory
©President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Call No.: HUM 32
Creator: Eliot, Andrew, 1718-1778
Title: Papers of Andrew Eliot, 1734-1777
Quantity: .06 cubic feet (3 volumes and 4 folders)
Abstract: Andrew Eliot (1718-1778) was a respected minister of Boston's New North Church, and
member of the Harvard Corporation. He graduated from Harvard with an AB in 1737 and
received an AM in 1740. This collection of Eliot's papers consists of two interleaved
almanacs from 1734 and 1739, correspondence, an annotated Harvard Triennial Catalogue,
and an essay that highlights aspects of Eliot's life from his days as a Harvard undergraduate
through his final years as a Boston minister during the Revolutionary War. The papers
offer information about the daily life of a Harvard student, and the evolution of
Eliot's religious beliefs from an early undated personal essay to his later viewpoints
on the role of Providence in the Revolutionary War. In his correspondence, Eliot conveyed
information about Harvard, as well as news about the Revolutionary War.
Note: This document last updated 2015 December 15.
All of the papers have been digitized and are available online. Links accompany detailed
Specific acquisition information is noted at the series or item level. The provenance
of the diaries is unknown.
The Papers of Andrew Eliot are open for research.
Copying of fragile materials may be limited.
In the Harvard University Archives
In other libraries
- Andrew Eliot Diaries, 1740-1777, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- Andrew Eliot Papers, 1742-1778, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- Eliot, Andrew. Letters, 1767-1776 and undated. MS AM 882.5, Houghton Library.
Eliot, Andrew, 1718-1778. Papers of Andrew Eliot, 1734-1777. HUM 32, Harvard University
The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives
shelflist prior to 1980 as individual items. The correspondence and undated essay
were removed from the HUG 300 Quinquennial File for Andrew Eliot. The material was
re-processed in 2010 and formed into the Papers of Andrew Eliot. Re-processing involved
a collection survey, rehousing, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in June 2010.
Preservation and description of the Papers of Andrew Eliot was supported by the Arcadia-funded
project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
The collection is arranged into four series:
Andrew Eliot was born in Boston on December 21, 1718. He received from Harvard
an AB in 1737 and an AM in 1740. He was ordained the pastor of the New North Church
of Boston on April 14, 1742, and began a lifelong career as a respected and well-known
minister. In 1758 he was appointed the clerk of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, and
was elected to the Corporation in 1765. Eliot weathered the Revolutionary War in Boston,
and at the request of General Washington made the official thanksgiving sermon on
March 28, 1776. He died on September 13, 1778. The first of his eleven children
shared his name, and graduated from Harvard in the Class of 1762.
- Shipton, Clifford K. Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts,
Volume X 1736-1740. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1958.
The Papers of Andrew Eliot highlight aspects of Eliot's life from his days as a Harvard
undergraduate through his final years as a Boston minister during the Revolutionary
War. The papers offer information about the daily life of a Harvard student, and the
evolution of Eliot's religious beliefs from an early undated personal essay to his
viewpoints on the role of Providence in the Revolutionary War.
The records are arranged in four series: diaries, correspondence, Triennial Catalogue,
and an undated essay. The diaries, written in 1734 and 1739 while Eliot was a student
at Harvard, hold short, sporadic entries about Eliot's daily activities. The undated
essay explores Eliot's personal religious beliefs, and also appears to have been written
while Eliot was a student. The Harvard Triennial Catalogue includes occasional biographical
annotations by Eliot. The three pieces of correspondence written by Eliot between
1769 and 1777 offer information about his involvement with Harvard and the Revolutionary
War. In the two later letters, written in 1774 and 1777, Eliot provides both news
and personal perspectives on the War.
- Series: I. Diaries, 1734-1739 .02 cubic feet (2 volumes)
Scope and Content: The series contains two diaries kept by Eliot in interleaved almanacs for the years
1734 and 1739, while an undergraduate and graduate student, respectively, at Harvard.
The entries are brief notes. Topics pertain to daily life including the weather, visits
to Boston, local burials, etc. The 1739 diary provides a regular log of lecturers
Eliot heard in Cambridge and Boston.
Arrangement: The diaries are arranged chronologically.
- Diary, 1734 HUM 32 Volume 1 Click here for online access.
Scope and Content
: The diary is interleaved in Nathaniel Ames’ An Astronomical Diary: or, An Almanack for the Year of our Lord Christ, 1734 ... (Boston,
The thin soft-cover book is handsewn in marbled paper, and holds single-line entries
about Eliot’s daily life. The entries are brief and irregular and include mention
of the weather, visits to Boston, occasional birth and death notices, and in the later
months, church attendance (often to hear the Rev. Nathaniel Appleton). Eliot intermittently
mentions his studies.
An inscription on the inside cover of the 1734 almanac reads: "Rev. Andrew Eliot’s
Almanac 1734,- Memoranda in his hand writing, while he was in Harvard College." An
inscription on the title page reads: "John Eliot 1818."
- Diary, 1739 HUM 32 Volume 2 Click here for online access.
Scope and Content: The diary is interleaved in an unbound copy of Ames’ An astronomical diary, or, An almanack for the year of our Lord Christ, 1739 ... (Boston, 1738). The entries, covering only the months of February through November,
are written on blank pages and followed by the almanac calendar pages for January
through August 1739. Each page holds a month of single-line entries that focus on
Eliot’s lecture and sermon attendance. The entries also occasionally mention traveling
to Boston and community news such as burials.
- Series: II. Correspondence, 1769-1777 .01 cubic feet (3 letters)
Acquisition Information: The letters in this series were likely purchased in the 20th century.
Scope and Content: This series consists of three letters written by Eliot during the Revolutionary War
period. The earliest letter, a brief note from 1769 and the letter written in 1774
discuss Harvard affairs; the 1774 and 1777 letters discuss the Revolutionary War.
Arrangement: The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
- [Letter from Andrew Eliot to the Revd Mr. Appleton in Cambridge, 3 June 1769] HUM 32 Box 1, Folder 1 Click here for online access.
Historical Note: Nathaniel Appleton (1693-1784) graduated from Harvard in 1712 and was ordained the
minister of the Cambridge church on October 9, 1717. He was actively involved in the
College's leadership and a longtime member of the Harvard Corporation. He died on
February 9, 1784.
Scope and Content: Short one-paragraph letter declining to write "in the paper" of the recent death of
President Edward Holyoke, and suggesting Mr. Winthrop as the "most proper person."
- [Letter from Andrew Eliot to "My Dear Sir," 14 September 1774] HUM 32 Box 1, Folder 2 Click here for online access.
Scope and Content: Two-page letter to an unknown recipient discussing the effects of the Revolutionary
War on Boston ("at present it's situation is melancholy"). The letter acknowledges
the work of the Continental Congress and that its decisions "will be Law to America,"
and thanks the "munificence of our Friends in the Southern Colonies." In local news,
Eliot mentions that Dr. Samuel Langdon will likely be appointed Harvard's next President,
and notes the death of Thomas Hollis, a Harvard benefactor.
- [Letter from Andrew Eliot to Alexander Hill, Newbury, November-December 1777] HUM 32 Box 1, Folder 3 Click here for online access.
Scope and Content: One-page letter providing news about the Revolutionary War, including General John
Burgoyne's arrival in Watertown, Mass., rumors of General Howe's army being taken
prisoner, the success of General Stark, and the failed Rhode-Island expedition of
1777. Eliot also mentions the role of divine direction in the war.
- Series: III. Triennial Catalogue, 1776 .02 cubic feet (1 volume)
Historical Note: The Triennial Catalogues are chronological and cumulative lists of Harvard graduates
published every three years from 1674 to 1875. The Catalogues represent Harvard’s
first efforts to comprehensively document its graduates and were considered the official
record of degree recipients.
Scope and Content: This series contains a Triennial Catalogue annotated by Eliot with limited biographical
notes. The addition of asterisks next to the names of alumni who died into the early
1800s (after Eliot's death in 1778), suggests a second annotator.
- 1776, Catalogus eorum qui in Collegio Harvardino, quod est Cantabrigiae Nov-Anglorum, ab
anno MDCXLII, ad annum MDCCLXXVI, alicujus gradûs laureâ donati sunt. HUM 32 Volume 3 Click here for online access.
Acquisition Information: Harvard bookplate: "The gift of Professor B. Peirce of Harvard University, Rec. July
20th, 1846." "A. Eliot Donum Domi Fleet 1776"--note on flyleaf.
Scope and Content: Octavo pamphlet with sporadic annotations including occasional notes of residence,
notes of graduates who became physicians, and asterisks next to the names of some
alumni who died after the Catalogue's publication, generally between 1777 and 1782,
but also including additions added in the early 1800s. Most heavily annotated with
residences and death dates for earliest classes on first page of catalog.
The call number for all material in the Papers of Andrew Eliot is now HUM 32. To
assist researchers in identifying materials noted in previous citations, the list
below provides references from obsolete call numbers to new box numbers. Please use
the current call number, HUM 32, with the appropriate box number in place of the superseded
call number when citing material from this collection.
Formerly HUD 734.23, 1734 Diary.
Formerly HUD 734.32, 1739 Diary.
Formerly HUG 300, correspondence in the Quinquennial File on Andrew Eliot.
HUM 32, Box 1, Folders 1-4.
Formerly HUG 2145.176, 1776 annotated Triennial Catalogue.