Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection 1821-1995 (bulk 1821-1909).

5.00 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M112

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882; Bowdoin 1825) was born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine. Educated chiefly in private schools, he was already a published poet when he entered Bowdoin College as a sophomore in 1822. He graduated in 1825 and soon after was offered the professorship of modern languages at his alma mater. In 1826 he went to Europe to master the necessary languages, and in 1829 he returned and assumed the professorship and the librarianship of the College. In 1835, Longfellow became Harvard's Professor of French and Spanish. Although he had been publishing steadily throughout his teaching career, he resigned from Harvard in 1854 to concentrate on his writing.

Longfellow is best remembered for such poems as "The Song of Hiawatha," "Paul Revere's Ride" and "The Courtship of Miles Standish," yet his work was diverse. He wrote "Morituri Salutamus" in 1875 for his fiftieth reunion at Bowdoin. He translated Dante's Divine Comedy and Lhomond's Elements of French Grammar into English; edited Poems of Places and The Poets and Poetry of Europe; and wrote prose works such as Kavanagh and Hyperion. His works have been widely translated and are still in print throughout the world.

In 1835, his life took a tragic turn with the sudden death of his wife, the former Mary Storer Potter of Portland. In 1843, he was remarried to Frances Appleton of Boston. Longfellow died on March 24, 1882.

Scope and Content:
The collection consists of correspondence, literary manuscripts and fair copies, portraits, clippings and other ephemera. It includes correspondence with Gorham D. Abbott, Thomas B. Aldrich, William D. Howells, Samuel Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Walt Whitman. Major correspondents (9 or more letters) are Edward Abbott, Jacob C. Chamberlain, and George T. Little. The manuscript material is supplemented by collections of Longfellow's published works and of musical settings for his poems, and by the manuscript and galleys of George T. Little's "Longfellow's Boyhood Poems."


Cite as: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: Use of original materials is restricted, with exceptions determined on an individual basis.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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