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Horace Howard Furness autograph collection


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Howard Furness (1833-1912) was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Harvard in 1854. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 but soon began to focus on studying and collecting Shakespearean texts. In 1871 he produced the first volume of the New Variorum Shakespeare, an edition of Romeo and Juliet. The series was designed to bring together all known information about the plays' textual variants, sources, and critical reception. Furness was a member of several scholarly societies, including the Shakespeare Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1851. He died in Wallingford, Pennsylvania in 1912.

This collection consists of autographs of 18th- and 19th- century notables, primarily of American and British extraction (along with three Frenchmen, a Prussian and a Piedmontese aristocrat). These figures include abolitionists, artists, clergymen, journalists, merchants, military officers, scholars, poets and politicians (among them presidents, vice-presidents, governors, cabinet members and U.S. congressmen). Researchers will find letters (53 items), promissory notes and bonds (11 items), poems (4 items), autographs (3 items), a state resolution and a military commission. The bulk of the items span from the time of the American revolution through the mid-19th century, although the collection extends from the earlier 18th century to the later 19th century. Two items are addressed directly to Horace Howard Furness, the collector.

Gift of Horace Howard Furness, Jr.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel (collection processed before 2013)
Finding Aid Date
2020 June 17
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

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Adams, John, 1735-1826, invitation to John Jenks with his response written on the reverse and a letter (possibly a reproduction of a manuscript) to Mathew Carey in which Adams deplores the torpor of post-1783 New England (2 items), 1786, 1813.
Box 1 Folder 1
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907, letter addressed to a Mr. Davis, and a copy of Aldrich's poem "Identity," inscribed to Horace Howard Furness (1833-1912) (2 items), 1893.
Box 1 Folder 2
Amherst, Jeffery Amherst, 1717-1797, letter (1 item), 1761.
Box 1 Folder 3
Bancroft, George, 1800-1891, letter addressed to George W. Richards of Philadelphia, concerning the U.S.S. Preble and letter from Bancroft to Horace Howard Furness, thanking him for the gift of an annotated Hamlet (2 items), 1845, 1877.
Box 1 Folder 4
Bank of the United States (Pennsylvania : 1836-1841) , two printed promissory notes from the Bank of the United States of Philadelphia, signed by the bank's president, Nicholas Biddle (2 items), 1837-1838.
Box 1 Folder 5
Barry, Elizabeth, circa 1658-1713, letter and a typed transcript of its contents (which consist mainly of local news and gossip) addressed to "Lady Lisburne at her house at Troscod in Cardiganshire," probably Malet Wilmot Vaughan (circa 1675-1709), the wife of John Vaughan of Trawsgoed, first Viscount Lisburne (circa 1670-1721) (1 item), [between 1692 and 1709].
Box 1 Folder 6
Boutwell, George S. (George Sewall), 1818-1905, letter (1 item), 1852?.
Box 1 Folder 7
Bowring, John, 1792-1872, letter (1 item), 1833.
Box 1 Folder 8
Boylston, Ward Nicholas, 1749-1828, two separate letters written on the same leaf, both by Boylston (1 item), 1793.
Box 1 Folder 9
Brace, Charles Loring, 1826-1890, short note, or possibly the severed end of a longer letter, written in Worcester, but giving a Staten Island address within its contents (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 10
Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836, letter to Andrew Weiants, landlord of a building behind Burr's home (addressed to "Andrew Weiants, near Caldwell, Rockland County") (1 item), 1818.
Box 1 Folder 11
Cleveland, Frances Folsom, 1864-1947, letter addressed to "Dick," written from 12 West Fifty-first Street in New York City (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
Clinton, DeWitt, 1769-1828, letter (1 item), 1826.
Box 1 Folder 13
Clinton, George, 1739-1812, a 1793 resolution signed by Clinton in his capacity as governor of New York, passing "An act for building a court house and gaol in the county of Rensselaer" into law (1 item), 1793.
Box 1 Folder 15
Colquhoun, Patrick, 1745-1820, letter (1 item), 1792.
Box 1 Folder 15
Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849, letter, appears to have been cut from a larger letter (1 item), 1844.
Box 1 Folder 16
Ellsworth, Oliver, 1745-1807, handwritten promissory note for the Hartford bank, addressed to Ezekial Williams (1 item), 1799.
Box 1 Folder 17
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865, one undated note to Everett's nephew, Edward Everett Hale, and one 1832 letter addressed to a Professor Felton of Harvard, probably Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) (2 items), 1832.
Box 1 Folder 18
Farrar, F. W. (Frederic William), 1831-1903, letter addressed to a Mr. Davis, regarding a prospective visit to "the Abbey" (quite possibly Westminster Abbey, where Farrar served as canon and archdeacon 1875-1895) (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 19
Fechter, Charles, 1824-1879, letter addressed to a Mr. Everly regarding Fechter's farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania (1 item), 1877.
Box 1 Folder 20
Felton, C. C. (Cornelius Conway), 1807-1862, letter containing an analysis of paintings on an Etruscan vase (1 item), 1834.
Box 1 Folder 21
Field, Eugene, 1850-1895, letter addressed to a Mr. Childs of Philadelphia discussing columns this man has written (1 item), 1889.
Box 1 Folder 22
Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909, letter addressed to "my dear Davis," written on stationary from the Albany in Piccadilly, London, regarding a lunch engagement with Oscar Wilde, whom Fitch met in 1890 (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 23
Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790, letter to the Reverend Ezra Stiles in Newport, Rhode Island, and a block of four signatures (including Franklin, John Ewing, Samuel Vaughan and William White) with an accompanying note indicating that the signatures may have been cut from a certificate of membership from the American Philosophical Society, where all four men were officers (2 items), 1757, undated.
Box 1 Folder 24
Gage, Thomas, 1721-1787, letter ordering the closure of an unidentified island fort and the dispersal of remaining stock to Niagara (1 item), 1765.
Box 1 Folder 25
Garrett, Thomas, 1789-1871, letter regarding Garrett's work for the Underground Railroad, and advising William Still of the imminent arrival of several escaped slaves (1 item), 1856.
Box 1 Folder 26
Genet, Edmond Charles, 1763-1834, letter (1 item), 1829.
Box 1 Folder 27
George 1738-1820, military commission, printed on parchment, for James Wemys, gentleman, to serve as an ensign in the 40th Foot Regiment; cosigned by the Marquess of Hertford, who was lord lieutenant of Ireland at the time of the commission, Henry Meredyth, and Richard Robinson, Meredyth's deputy; names, dates, titles and other particulars filled in by hand (1 item), 1766.
Box 1 Folder 28
Gibson, Charles Dana, 1867-1944, letter addressed to "Dick," regretfully declining an invitation to illustrate a weekly published by Harper and Bros. (1 item), 1891.
Box 1 Folder 29
Hallam, Henry, 1777-1859, letter responding to an invitation issued by a Mrs. Butler (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 30
Hancock, John, 1737-1793, letter addressed to a Mr. Farmer, consigning one itinerant John Penrose to an almshouse; cosigned by both Hancock and Joseph Jackson, in their capacity as selectmen of Boston (1 item), 1796.
Box 1 Folder 31
Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876, cover letter for a piece by Howe, founder of a school for the mentally disabled in 1848, intended for publication in Nathan Hale's paper (the Boston Daily Advertiser), regarding the insane in Massachusetts (1 item), circa 1848.
Box 1 Folder 32
Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920, letter addressed to "Alden," serving as a cover letter for a piece by an unidentified author and letter addressed to a Mr. Garrison, declining an invitation (2 items), 1891.
Box 1 Folder 33
Kirkland, Caroline M. (Caroline Matilda), 1801-1864, letter to an unidentified artist, concerning a portrait Kirkland commissioned of herself (1 item), 1827.
Box 1 Folder 34
Livingston, Brockholst, 1757-1823, letter (1 item), 1794.
Box 1 Folder 35
Livingston, Edward, 1764-1836, letter (1 item), 1826.
Box 1 Folder 36
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882, signed stanza from Longfellow's poem "A Psalm of Life" (possibly a reproduction of a manuscript) and Longfellow's signature severed from the end of an unidentified letter (2 items), 1850, undated.
Box 1 Folder 37
Manhattan Branch Bank (Utica, N.Y.) , promissory note for twenty-five cents at the Manhattan Branch Bank (Utica, New York), printed by the Oneida Glass Factory, with crossed-out signature of the Oneida Glass Factory's superintendent (1 item), 1815.
Box 1 Folder 38
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806, printed bond, with names, dates and amount filled in by hand, signed by Morris in his capacity as Superintendent of Finance under the Articles of Confederation, in French (1 item), 1782.
Box 1 Folder 39
Mount, William Sidney, 1807-1868, letter addressed to C. L. Carey regarding the sale of a painting (1 item), 1844.
Box 1 Folder 40
Norris, W. E. (William Edward), 1847-1925, letter responding to praise for his novel No new thing (1 item), 1883.
Box 1 Folder 41
Norton, Andrews, 1786-1853, letter regarding the plight of one Mr. D'Israel (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 42
Otis, Harrison Gray, 1765-1848, letter (1 item), 1842.
Box 1 Folder 43
Priestley, Joseph, 1733-1804, letters addressed to John Vaughan, regarding business (Priestley and Vaughan, amongst others, founded the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia (see Ms. Coll. 167)) (3 items), 1795-1797.
Box 1 Folder 44
Quincy, Josiah, 1772-1864, letter addressed to a Mr. Longfellow, a proctor at Harvard (1 item), circa 1829-1846.
Box 1 Folder 45
Rodney, Caesar, 1728-1784, letter to Thomas Rodney, younger brother of Caesar Rodney (1 item), 1782.
Box 1 Folder 46
Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813, letter regarding the publication of two of Rush's pieces in Carey's American museum (which ran from 1787 to 1792); written entirely in the third person. (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 47
Rush, Richard, 1780-1859, letter (1 item), 1826.
Box 1 Folder 48
Schuyler, Philip John, 1733-1804, letter relating to Stringer's appointment (by Major General Schuyler) to the northern division of the Continental army and the procuring of medical supplies (1 item), 1775.
Box 1 Folder 49
Staël, (Anne-Louise-Germaine), 1766-1817, letter clarifying several business transactions carried out with the New York shipping and banking firm LeRoy, Bayard and McEvers, in French (1 item), 1813.
Box 1 Folder 50
Staël-Holstein, Auguste Louis, 1790-1827, business letter to the prominent New York shipping and banking firm Le Roy, Bayard and Co., in French (1 item), 1825.
Box 1 Folder 51
Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, 1730-1794, handwritten draft for the sum of ninety-eight pounds, eighteen shillings in "Pensilvania monney" to a Mr. de Halles, signed by Steuben at his Manhattan farm, called the Louvre (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 52
Stoddard, Richard Henry, 1825-1903, autograph and signed copy of Stoddard's poem "The flight of youth," which appeared in Poems of Richard Henry Stoddard (1880) (possibly a reproduction of a manuscript) (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 53
Story, Joseph, 1779-1845, letter relating to Story's subscriptions to Hale's newspapers, including the triweekly turned semiweekly edition and the Weekly Messenger (1 item), 1832.
Box 1 Folder 54
Sullivan, William, 1774-1839, son of James Sullivan (1744-1808) who served as governor of Massachusetts, letter recommending a Dr. Leiber of Germany, especially on subjects relating to "the empire of intellect" (1 item), 1828.
Box 1 Folder 55
Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863, poem fragment, written out in Thackeray's autograph hand, consisting of most of his poem "A credo" from his series "Five German ditties" in his Ballads (1856), with some of the wording different from the printed text (1 item), undated.
Box 1 Folder 56
Toulmin, Harry, 1766-1823, letter, with typed transcript, regarding Toulmin's involvement in the creation of an unspecified treaty or law, his views on the partisans of his day, and his life in Kentucky (1 item), 1796.
Box 1 Folder 57
United States. Continental Loan Office , printed notes, with manuscript names and dates, for interest on bonds from the Continental Loan Office, from the Connecticut (for twelve dollars, written out to Simon Cotton (possibly Simon Cotton, 1739-1819, Connecticut deacon) and signed by Michael Hillegas, treasurer of the Continental Congress, and William Imlay, Connecticut commissioner); Massachusetts (one for thirty dollars, written out to Thomas Branch and one for twenty-four dollars, written out to Joseph Jackson, Esq. (possibly Joseph Jackson 1707-1790, the Boston politician), both these notes are signed by Nathaniel Appleton, Massachusetts commissioner, and Francis Hopkinson, Continental Congress Treasurer of Loans); New Jersey (for twenty-four dollars, written out to Mary Vredenburgh, and signed by Hillegas and Joseph Borden, New Jersey commissioner for the Continental Loan Office); and Pennsylvania (for twenty-four dollars, written out to Andrew Bowsman and signed by Hillegas and Thomas Smith, Pennsylvania commissioner) branches (5 items), 1778-1782, undated.
Box 1 Folder 58
Vìdua, Carlo, 1785-1830, letter, written from Mexican city of Tepic, outlining some matters of business with Vaughan and a Mr. Gandolfi, describing Vidua's intended journey to Peru (which he aborted when his father fell ill), and soliciting help in finding contacts in Calcutta for another proposed trip, which he later carried out in 1827, in French (1 item), 1826.
Box 1 Folder 59
Washington, George, 1732-1799, autograph cut from a larger, printed parchment document, containing the signatures of Washington; his secretary of state, Timothy Pickering; and collector of Boston, Benjamin Lincoln (1 item), between 1795 and 1797.
Box 1 Folder 60
Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852, invitation to Webster's friend (or possibly relation) Miss Cordelia Fletcher; written at the Boston hotel Tremont House (1 item), after 1829.
Box 1 Folder 61
Wollstonecroft, Charles, 1770-1817, younger brother of Mary Wollstonecraft, letter commenting on business matters (1 item), 1795.
Box 1 Folder 62

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