Longfellow National Historic Site boasts an impressive archival collection, comprised of over 750,000 individual items ranging from George Washington letters to pamphlets on Soviet theatre. The archival material provides context for much of the house's furnishings and other objects in the museum collections. Park staff, independent scholars, writers and others make use of the archives to research a diverse array of topics ranging from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's views on slavery to early twentieth century garden design.
Each archival collection has its own finding aid, which is used to help researchers locate material related to their topic of interest. These finding aids have been placed online on our web site, and are accessible by clicking on the thumbnail images or text links found below.
Research in the archives is by appointment. Please call (617) 491-1054 to make arrangements with the park archivist for research sessions.
This collection includes some papers of the poet (exclusive of his manuscripts, correspondence and journals which are held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University), his son Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow (1845-1921), daughters Edith Longfellow Dana (1853-1915) and Anne Longfellow Thorp (1855-1934), as well as his sisters Anne Longfellow Pierce (1810-1901) and Mary Longfellow Greenleaf (1816-1902), and his brother Stephen Longfellow (1805-1850) and their families. They provide insights into their youth, travels, and marriages as well as the transformation of Longfellow’s two homes into public memorials.
The papers of Fanny Longfellow, second wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, show her to be an insightful commentator on 19th century Boston literary culture. Her correspondence, diaries and journals also document her educational philosophy on raising her children, her travels and her interaction with intellectuals of the day, including Julia Ward Howe and Charles Sumner.
The Charles Appleton Longfellow Papers document the life of the oldest child of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They are comprised primarily of letters and journals created by Charles during his service in the Civil War and subsequent travel throughout the world, as well as extensive documentation of his yachting expeditions. Several hundred photographs of India, Southeast Asia and the south Pacific are of special interest, as are rare photographs of Meiji-era Japan, including photographs of the Ainu people.
The eldest daughter of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Alice’s papers reveal her interest in preservation and education. Correspondence documents her support of women’s education and Native American and African-American students, including work with Radcliffe College and the Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes. In addition, Alice served on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Also included are her numerous articles, logbooks of travels abroad, photographs, and personal correspondence documenting her work to preserve her family’s home as a museum.
The Reverend Samuel Longfellow Papers reveal the life of a “second generation” Transcendentalist thinker. Sam Longfellow’s writings, including his sermons and the hymns he wrote and compiled, reveal the religious philosophy typical of a small but influential group active in the mid-nineteenth century. An advocate of abolition, women’s suffrage and temperance, his correspondents include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Amos Bronson Alcott. His papers also document the time he spent living with his brother Henry’s family in their Cambridge home, as well as the year spent as tutor to the Dabney children in the Azores.
The papers of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s younger brother, his wife and three of their children are comprised mainly of correspondence among themselves and other family members. Topics include family life in Portland, Maine, his famous brother, and research into his family history and that of his wife, Elizabeth Clapp Porter Longfellow. Alexander was a surveyor for the U.S. Coast Survey for twenty-five years and his papers record much information about that work. Also included are a journal and letters documenting his trip to South America as secretary to his uncle, Captain (later Commodore) Alexander Scammell Wadsworth in 1833-1834.
The Mary King Longfellow (1852-1945) Papers document the personal life of a prolific artist active in Portland, Maine who specialized in watercolors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The diaries which she kept faithfully for over seventy years comprise the heart of the collection. They relate her daily activities including lessons with prominent painters in Boston and lengthy trips to "Craigie House," her uncle Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, to visit her cousins. They complement the extensive holdings of her artwork in the Longfellow Family Art Collection.
Noted Colonial Revival architect and partner in the firm of Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, Alexander Wadsworth (“Waddy”) Longfellow Jr. was one of the founders of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts. His papers describe his formative years as a Harvard undergraduate and young architect as well as his lifelong love of yachting and the coast of Maine. They consist of correspondence and scrapbooks with a number of photographs, including some of European architecture and of his own commissions as well as sailing logs. Only one full set of project files remains from his long architectural career.
The Wadsworth-Longfellow Family Papers represent the papers of two New England families who were united by the marriage of Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah Wadsworth, the parents of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Family groups represented include those of William Longfellow (1650-1690) “the Emigrant,” Stephen Longfellow (1685-1764), Peleg Wadsworth (1748-1829), and Stephen Longfellow (1776-1849). They include the journals and letters written by Longfellow’s uncle, Henry Wadsworth, while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Barbary Wars, and the letters of his grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, while a member of congress during Washington’s presidency, as well as the correspondence of his father, Stephen Longfellow, a Portland, Maine lawyer and member of Congress, and his mother Zilpah Wadsworth Longfellow.
This collection consists of personal materials, correspondence, official and legal documents of twenty-six members of the Appleton family, beginning with the papers of Nathan Appleton (1779-1861). Nathan Appleton was a prominent businessman and politician associated with the development of the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, and father of Frances Appleton Longfellow, the wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Also included is a section of research material compiled by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana on his Appleton relatives, including genealogies.
The Dana Family Papers is a collection of papers amassed by Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939) [EED] and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950) [HWLD] through the course of their researching and writing about the Dana family. The collection was most likely initiated by EED, who first began writing The Dana Family in America. HWLD, author of The Dana Saga: Three Centuries of Danas in Cambridge (1941) was also interested in the history of the Dana family, and the two collaborated in their research.
This finding aid describes the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana Papers. The collection is comprised of correspondence, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and booklets, photographs, published and unpublished manuscripts, and various other items produced or collected by H.W.L. Dana, grandson of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This document describes the letters of the extended Dana-Watson family. The primary force behind the accumulation of this collection was Elizabeth Ellery "Lily" Dana (1846-1939), the sister of Richard Henry Dana III (the husband of Edith Longfellow, daughter of Henry W. Longfellow).
This is a collection of papers amassed by Richard Henry Dana III (1851-1931) [RHD III] and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950) [HWLD]. The majority of these papers were accumulated by RHD III during his life time, and posthumously by HWLD; several items were collected by RHD III's sister Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939). These papers were removed from the Dana Family Papers because of their organic nature. Estate records of many Dana family members are present in this collection since RHD III was the executor of their estates.
These papers are a collection amassed by Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950). Miss Dana accumulated her own papers during her lifetime, and they were collected posthumously by H.W.L. Dana. Included in the collection are letter, photographs, financial and estate records, and other materials.
This finding aid describes the Washington Allston (1779-1843) Materials, as compiled by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950). The collections consists of various items amassed by H.W.L. Dana in the course of researching the life and works of Washington Allston, considered to be America's first romantic artist. There are also a few notes and correspondence of H.W.L. Dana's father, Richard Henry Dana III, and of his aunt, Elizabeth Ellery Dana, as well as a small amount of material added after H.W.L. Dana's death.
These papers document the grounds of the Longfellow House before, during, and after restoration by the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club in 1969-1972, ongoing maintenance of the garden, and preservation and renovation of Longfellow Park. The papers were assembled by Mrs. Pratt while a member of the club. Over the years she served as President of the club and Chairman of the Longfellow House Garden Committee. The papers include a plan prepared in January 1969 by landscape architect Diane Kostial McGuire entitled “The Garden Book for the Longfellow House - 1969” and numerous photographs. (All items dated prior to 1966 are copies of original documents.)
These papers were generated as a result of the research conducted by Frederick Haven Pratt, M.D. which culminated in the publication of The Craigies in 1942. His son, Stephen D. Pratt, conducted additional research and published a new edition entitled The Craigies: A Footnote to the Medical History of the Revolution in 1996. The materials focus on Andrew Craigie, Jr. (1754-1819), the first Apothecary General of the United States and a former owner/resident of the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House. They consist of primary 18th and early 19th century documents as well as 20th century secondary materials.
A collection of letters to Andrew Craigie, the first Apothecary General of the United States and an owner of the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House (now the Longfellow National Historic Site), from his daughter born out of wedlock, Mary Allen. The letters were written in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries, and lay hidden in the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House's basement staircase, where they were discovered by Henry W. Longfellow decades later.
This collection of architectural drawings is composed of drawings and blueprints created by twelve different architectural firms. The subject matter of the plans varies, but all have to do with alterations made to the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House and surrounding land. The drawings cover many topics, including: the Longfellow estate, the city of Cambridge, the house exterior, and the flower garden.
This finding aid describes photographic copies of works of art and scenery of landscapes and buildings in the archives of Longfellow National Historic Site. The collection consists mostly of nineteenth century professional stock photography of European scenery, paintings, and sculpture purchased by the Longfellow, Dana, and possibly Appleton families.
This finding aid describes the Longfellow House Trust (1913-1974) Records, 1852-1973. The records document the efforts of the Longfellow House Trust to manage as a museum the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House which had served as home and headquarters for George Washington during the siege of Boston, 1775-1776, and as the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), known as the "People’s Poet."
This document describes the assembled photographic materials depicting the interior and exterior views of the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House. The collection is divided into five series: Exteriors of the House, Interiors of the House, the Grounds, the Objects, and Related Photographs.
A collection of approximately 2700 items, these postcards were collected by various members of the extended Longfellow family. Included are postcards from the United States, France, Switzerland, and China.
Did You Know?
Henry W. Longfellow grew his beard to hide scars received as a result of a fire in 1861 that killed his wife Fanny and burned his neck and face.