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MC 272; M-133

Howe family. Papers of the Julia Ward Howe family, 1787-1984 (inclusive), 1787-1944 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 272; M-133
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Howe family
Title: Papers of the Julia Ward Howe family, 1787-1984 (inclusive), 1787-1944 (bulk)
Date(s): 1787-1984
Date(s): 1787-1944
Quantity: 2.29 linear feet (5+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, speeches, etc., by Julia Ward Howe, author and reformer, and members of her family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 1588, 1610, 1689, 69-36, 71-86, 71-107, 85-M185, 85-M206, 85-M274, 85-M286, 89-M220, 90-M5
The Julia (Ward) Howe Family papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in 1969, 1971, 1985, 1989, and 1990 by Julia Ward Howe's great-granddaughter, Margaret Hall McRory.

Processing Information:

Processed: 1978
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez
Reprocessed: January 1990
By: Bert Hartry
The 1969 and 1971 accessions were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987). The 1985-1990 accessions were integrated into the collection and it was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access. Originals are closed; use microfilm M-133.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Howe family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Howe family Papers, 1787-1984; item description, dates. MC 272, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library. See Julia Ward Howe Papers, 1857-1961 (A-24), and Howe family Additional papers, 1758-1984 (MC 730).


Author and reformer, Julia (Ward) Howe was descended, on both sides of her family, from illustrious American ancestors. Her maternal grandmother, Sarah (Mitchell) Cutler, was a niece of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the Revolution. The first American Ward (John) settled in Newport, R.I. in the 1660s; his son, Richard, became the Royal Governor of Rhode Island, and his son, the first Samuel, became the Revolutionary Governor and one of the framers of the Constitution.
An additional Julia Ward Howe collection (A-24), which provides more information about Julia Ward Howe, her family, and her activities, is also included in the Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project. See also Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), Deborah Clifford, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, (Boston: Little Brown, 1979), and numerous other published sources.


The collection is arranged in three series:


This collection contains mainly correspondence, and writings and speeches by Julia Ward Howe and various members of her family. The papers have been divided into three series: Cutler, Ward, and related families; Julia Ward Howe; Children of Julia Ward Howe.
The correspondence provides information about Julia Ward Howe's maternal grandmother, Sarah (Mitchell) Cutler, and her children (Julia Ward Howe's aunts and uncles); Julia Ward Howe's brother, Samuel Ward; Julia Ward Howe, her children and grandchildren; writings and speeches of Julia Ward Howe and her daughters, particularly Florence (Howe) Hall; and some information about related families.
Information about travel in Europe, particularly Italy, can be found mainly in #20, 23, 72-78, 85 and 111. Correspondence between parents and children of various generations documents domestic and social life. Many of Maud Howe Elliott's letters reflect her growing concern over her mother's health.
There is correspondence of Julia Ward Howe's husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, including 19 letters from him to Dorothea Dix; there are few documents from his family.
Many items in the collection have notes written on or attached to them. Some are by Julia Ward Howe, some by Laura Howe Richards and Maud Howe Elliott, presumably written during the preparation of their book, Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916). Notes by the donor, Margaret Hall McRory, are identified by the notation: [MHM].
Most correspondence is arranged by recipient, and within each person's section chronologically, with undated items last.
Series I, Cutler, Ward, and related families, consists mostly of correspondence and is arranged in birth order, by generations, and chronologically within each person's section; related families and miscellaneous are at the end.
Series II, Julia Ward Howe, is divided into three sections: correspondence, writings and speeches, and material about Julia Ward Howe. Each section is arranged chronologically. The correspondence includes letters from and to Samuel Gridley Howe.
Series III, Children of Julia Ward Howe, is arranged according to the Howe children's birth order and includes papers of one son-in-law and several grandchildren. Each section is divided into correspondence and, where necessary, other material, and each is arranged chronologically. The Florence Howe Hall section includes her diary and the correspondence of four of her children.
Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.


Dates and/or other information have been written on some items by a number of people. In organizing the material, the processor accepted dates added by others and left undated material that was grouped with dated items where it was. All dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.
The pages of some items were numbered to aid the microfilmer, the proofreaders, and researchers. These numbers are in square brackets.
The film was proofread by University Publications of America.
Some of the material in the collection was difficult to film due to such problems as see-through text, faded or smudged writing, faint pencil notations, brittle clippings, fragile items, and stained paper. The film was carefully produced to insure that these items are as legible as possible.
Some clippings are incomplete and some of the more brittle ones have lost text due to broken edges.
The reverse sides of envelopes were microfilmed only if they contained a return address or notes.
The reverse sides of outdated letterhead and form letters were sometimes used by Julia Ward Howe for drafts or notes; print may show through. The letterhead/printed sides were filmed only if they are not represented elsewhere in the collection, or if they contain unique text.
In many cases, the enclosures referred to in letters are missing.
Letters of one or more pages with either the salutation or the signature missing, as well as portions of letters, have been marked as fragments.


N.B. Initials and names are arranged alphabetically by last name. Parentheses following each name indicate relationship to Julia Ward Howe.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

American literature--19th century
Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Brothers and sisters
Children's stories
Europe--Description and travel
Mothers and daughters
Mothers and sons
Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot Cary, 1822-1907
Anagnos, Julia R. (Julia Romana Howe), 1844-1886
Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906
Blackwell, Antoinette Louisa Brown, 1825-1921
Booth, Edwin, 1833-1893
Bridgman, Laura Dewey, 1829-1889
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947
Cheney, Ednah Dow Littlehale, 1824-1904
Cutler family
Diaz, Abby Morton, 1821-1904
Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887
Elliott, Maud Howe, 1854-1948
Felton, C. C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862
Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850
Hale, Edward Everett, Sr., 1822-1909
Hall family
Hall, Ann, 1792-1863
Hall, Florence Howe, 1845-1922
Howe, Henry Marion, 1848-1922
Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910
Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876
Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920
James, William, 1842-1910
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882
Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940
McAllister, Ward, 1827-1895
Minturn family
Moulton, Louise Chandler, 1835-1908
Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910
Prescott family
Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe, 1850-1943
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917
Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908
Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874
Ward family
Ward, Samuel, 1814-1884