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William Dean Howells Correspondence

 Collection — Container: MS Acc 586
Call Number: MS Acc 586

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 20 letters written by the American novelist and literary critic William Dean Howells, 1837-1920.  The majority of the letters, dated between 1869 and 1888, are to James Ripley Osgood (1836-1892) the editor of the Atlantic Monthly in which Howells critiques manuscripts submitted to the magazine while he was assistant editor. In other letters to Osgood, Howells discusses his plans for and progress of his own work. In addition, Howells recommendations publications of articles of unknown authors and talks about his own work, particularly the sketches he is writing about Venice.


  • 1863-1898


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.


20.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Method of Acquisition

The letters in this collection were purchased in 1939 with Josiah Benton funds and in 1941 with J. H. Whitney funds.

Related Materials

“Execution by Electricity”, 1887, MS Acc 362

Letter to Mr. Sanborn, 8 Mar 1864, MS 3375

Letter to [   ] Holland, 27 Feb 1869, Ch. D. 13.47

Letter to Miss Field, 25 Oct 1870, MS KF, vol. 3, no. 320

Letter to Miss Field, 13 Nov 1870, MS KF, vol. 3, no. 321

Letter to John S. Dwight, 19 Nov 1873, Ms E.4.1

Letter to Miss Field, 31 Dec 1870, MS KF, vol. 3, no. 322

Letter to Miss Field, 10 Dec 1874, MS KF, vol. 3, no. 323

Letter to Justin Winsor, 9 Jun 1876, M. Cab. 1.14

Letter to Isabella Mack, 12 Feb 1871, MS Am. 1067 (20)

Letter to Isabella Mack, 28 Dec 1873, MS Am. 1067 (21)

Letter to Justin Winsor, 3 Mar 1878, MS Am. 977

Letter to Eps Sargent, 21 Feb 1897, MS Acc 2565

Letter to Miss Field, 15 Nov 1884, MS KF, vol. 3, no. 324

Letter to B. H. Ticknor, 19 Nov 1885, MS Am. 137 (8)

Letter to [George William] Curtis, 27 Feb 1887, MS Acc 1006

Leter to Mrs. Charles Fairchild, 24 Jul 1890, MS Am. 627

Letter to Daniel Lathrop, 10 Nov 1891, MS Am. 1491 (66)

Letter to Thomas Augustus Watson, 24-27 Apr 1900, MS D.1.3, vol.12 (35)

Letter to Elizabeth Porter Gould, 22 Feb 1903, Artz Cab. 15.1, p. 264

Letter to [David Alexander? ] Munro, 9 Sep 1903, A.4301.70

Letter to Hugo Munsterberg, 15 Jan 1904, MS Am. 132

Letter to S. W. Bassett, 20 Feb 1917, MS Am. 1133 (51)

Letter to Aldine Club, New York, 14 Dec 1897, MS Am. 2042

Letter from Melin Chamberlain, 1873, MS Am. 1400 (1341)

Letter from John Hay, 10 Oct 1901, MS Am. 632

Letter from Edward Jarvis, 23 Jun 1872, MS Am. 1072 (164)

Letter from Belton O. Townsend, 5 Nov 1877, MS 4.1.2, vol. 39, p. 151

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Kimberly Reynolds, March 2011.

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.

William Dean Howells Correspondence
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