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Jane Langton Papers

 Collection — Container: MS 3963
Call Number: MS 3963

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the research, writing and publication process of nineteen novels by Jane Langton, the Boston mystery writer who is also known for the children’s series the Hall Family Chronicles. The material in this collection covers all eighteen books in the Homer Kelly mystery series and Langton’s introduction to Acts of Light, a collection of Emily Dickinson poems. The correspondence includes letters between Langton and her agents, editors, and publishers and letters with authors and artists concerning quotes for texts. In addition, there is correspondence with WGBH Boston for on-air readings, research inquiries, permissions letters, notes on illustrations and text, and fan mail. Publicity material – including book reviews, press releases, catalog listings, potential publicity targets, author readings, and information on book signings, tours and speaking engagements – are scattered throughout the correspondence. Publicity includes book covers, listings from publishers’ catalogs, press releases, reviews, articles, flyers, and pamphlets and brochures related to speaking engagements and book signings. The bulk of material pertains to three titles: The Dante Game, Divine Inspiration, and Dead as a Dodo.  There is no publicity material for The Transcendental Murder or Acts of Light. The illustrations in the Homer Kelly series were done by Jane Langton.


  • 1970-2007


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Chronology: 1922 - Born December 30 in Boston, Massachusetts. 1943 - Marries William Langton. 1944-1948 - Receives Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy from the University of Michigan. Earns Master of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Michigan. Completes masters program in Art History at Radcliffe College. 1958-1959 - Attends the Boston Museum School of Art graduate program. 1961 - Publishes first novel, The Majesty of Grace. 1962 - Edgar Award nomination for The Diamond in the Window, Book 1 of the children’s series the Hall Family Chronicles. 1964-2005 - Publishes eighteen Homer Kelly mysteries. 1980 - Writes introduction for Acts of Light, a collection of Emily Dickinson poems. Wins Newbery Honor Book Award for The Fledging, Book 4 of the Hall Family Chronicles. 1984 - Edgar Award nomination for Emily Dickinson is Dead. Wins Nero Award for Emily Dickinson is Dead. 2005-2008 - Continues to write and publish Hall Family Chronicles. 2008 - The Transcendental Murder re-issued by Felony & Mayhem Press. 2008-2009 - Writes and publishes The Thurber Murder.


1.50 Cubic Feet (3 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically into two sections: 1. Correspondence and 2. Publicity.

Method of Acquisition

Gift of the author to the Boston Public Library, September 2007.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Melissa Hulse, March 2009.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.
Jane Langton Papers
Melissa Hulse, March 2009
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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