Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters 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. PDF copies of these finding aids are accessible below.
Make an Appointment
Research in the archives is by appointment. Please call (617) 491-1054 or email the park archivist to make arrangements for research sessions. We will respond to remote research inquiries as quickly as possible, but please be aware it may take up to three weeks.
Selected digitized content from these archival collections are available on our NPGallery Digital Archives website.
Statement on Harmful Language
Some material in these collections contains content that may be harmful or difficult to view. Legacy descriptions of the material may also contain outdated and harmful language.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) Family Papers, 1768-1975 (bulk dates: 1825-1950)
30 linear feet
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), 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.
Selected Digitized Content
A portion of Erica (Thorp) de Berry's correspondence to the Thorp family is available with scans and full-text transcriptions on our Digital Archive Portal: Erica Thorp deBerry Papers (1006/004.006)
Several hundred glass plate negatives taken by Joseph Gilbert Thorp, the majority of that group, are available on our Digital Archive Portal: Glass Plate Negatives (1006/004.002.010). These scans were created from a set of modern positive prints.
Frances Elizabeth Appleton Longfellow (1817-1861) Papers, 1825-1961 (bulk dates: 1832-1861)
5.88 linear feet
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.
Selected Digitized Content
The majority of the outgoing correspondence series, about 1832 to 1861, is available with scans and full-text transcriptions on our Digital Archives Portal: Frances Appleton Longfellow Papers (1011)
Longfellow Family Photograph Collection, 1845-1972 (bulk dates 1860-1920)
The Longfellow Family Photograph Collection holds photograph albums and loose photographs owned by or associated with members of the Longfellow family including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Sr. and their children. Professional portrait photographs in the carte-de-visite and cabinet card format comprise a large portion of the collection. Some photographs from this collection, including portraits of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Fanny (Appleton) Longfellow, and their children, can be found on the NPGallery Portal: Longfellow Family Photograph Collection (3007). Links to specific content are available on the Abbreviated Finding Aid page.
Charles Appleton Longfellow (1844-1893) Papers, 1842-1996 (bulk dates: 1862-1891)
8.5 linear feet
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.
Selected Digitized Content
Selected photographs are available in our Digital Archive Portal: Charles Appleton Longfellow Papers (1008). Highlights of content available includes a portion of Charles Longfellow's photographs "Not in Albums (1008.002/002)" and the complete contents of five of his collected albums:
Alice Mary Longfellow (1850-1928) Papers, 1855-1965 (bulk dates: 1873-1928)
20 linear feet
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 Indigenous and Black 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.
Selected Digitized Content
A portion of the collection is digitized and available on our Digital Archives Portal: Alice Mary Longfellow Papers (1007). This material includes correspondence with scholarship students at Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes and a scrapbook album of Civil War cachets.
Reverend Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892) Papers, 1792-1963 (bulk dates: 1835-1894)
12.75 linear feet
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.
Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Sr. (1814-1901) Family Papers, 1730-1950 (bulk dates: 1825-1940)
11.75 linear feet
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.
Mary King Longfellow (1852-1945) Papers, 1855-1946 (bulk dates: 1866-1939)
5.5 linear feet
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.
Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Jr. (1854-1934) Papers, 1864-1979 (bulk dates: 1872-1934)
6.5 linear feet
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.
Wadsworth-Longfellow Family (1610-1971) Papers, 1610-1971 (bulk dates: 1745-1950)
28 linear feet
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 “the Emigrant” William Longfellow (1650-1690), 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, the letters of Longfellow's grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, while a member of congress during Washington’s presidency, and the correspondence of Longfellow's parents, Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow and Stephen Longfellow, a Portland, Maine lawyer and member of Congress.
Appleton Family Papers, 1752-1962 (bulk dates: 1831-1885)
9.3 linear feet
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.
Dana Family Papers: Collected Manuscripts, Genealogies, and Research Material, 1661-1960 (bulk dates: 1750-1940)
72 linear feet
The Dana Family Papers is a collection of papers amassed by Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950) through the course of their researching and writing about the Dana family. The collection was most likely initiated by Elizabeth Dana, who first began writing The Dana Family in America. H.W.L. Dana, 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.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950) Papers, 1744-1972 (bulk dates: 1850-1950)
114 linear feet
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.
Dana Collected Correspondence, 1808-1938 (bulk dates: 1857-1934)
43 linear feet
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).
Richard Henry Dana III (1851-1931) Papers, 1797-1947 (bulk dates: 1860-1915)
32.7 linear feet
This is a collection of papers amassed by Richard Henry Dana III (1851-1931) and his son, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950). The majority of these papers were accumulated by Richard Henry Dana III during his life time, and posthumously by H.W.L. Dana; several items were collected by Richard Henry Dana 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 Richard Henry Dana III was the executor of their estates.
Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939) Personal Papers, 1829-1940 (bulk dates: 1860-1939)
10.1 linear feet and 258 photographs
These papers are a collection amassed by Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1846-1939) and her nephew, 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.
Washington Allston (1779-1843) Materials, 1798-1966 (bulk dates: 1939-1949)
10.75 linear feet
The Washington Allston Materials collection consists of various items amassed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana (1881-1950) 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.
Patricia R. Pratt Papers, 1759-1994 (bulk dates: 1968-1986)
4.8 linear feet
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.)
Frederick Haven Pratt & Steven D. Pratt Research Papers, 1783-1996
2.5 linear feet
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.
Mary Allen (1779-1849) - Andrew Craigie (1754-1819) Correspondence, 1797-c. 1941 (bulk dates: 1797-1816)
0.5 linear feet
A collection of letters to Andrew Craigie, the first Apothecary General of the United States and an owner of the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House, 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.
Architectural Drawings and Blueprints Collection, 1847-1936
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.
The majority of the plans and drawings in this collection are digitized and available on our Digital Archives Portal: Architectural Drawings and Blueprints Collection, 1847-1936 (3002).
Art Reproduction and Travel Photograph Collection, 1856-1920 (bulk dates: 1870-1885)
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.
Longfellow House Trust (1913-1974) Records, 1852-1973
14.5 linear feet
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." The records include the Trust finances, guest books, and documentation of the transfer of the House to the National Park Service.
Hill & Barlow Records of the Longfellow House Trust and Longfellow Family, 1913-1992 (bulk dates 1940-1974)
4.5 linear feet
The Hill & Barlow Records of the Longfellow House Trust and Longfellow Family consist of legal records and correspondence held by Hill & Barlow, the law firm that represented both the Longfellow House Trust and members of the Longfellow Family. Highlights include case files related to the acquisition of the Longfellow House by the National Park Service. The records include wills, deeds, reports, financial accounts, maps, research notes, newspaper clippings, bills, memorandums, and correspondence related to the use and maintenance of the Longfellow House, title examination, garden restoration, transfer processes for the house to NPS and the Henry W. Longfellow manuscripts to Harvard, and the passage of legislation to create the Longfellow National Historic Site.
LONG Buildings and Grounds Photograph Collection, 1855-1970 (bulk dates: 1870-1920)
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.
The entire colllection is digitized, and all of the public domain images are available on our Digital Archive Portal: LONG Buildings and Grounds Photograph Collection (3008).
Longfellow Family Postcard Collection, c. 1870-1970
approximately 2,700 items
Last updated: October 27, 2023