Richards Manuscript Collection
Scope:
The Richards Collection, a gift of Paul C. Richards, Boston University, Class of 1960, consists of more than 4000 manuscripts, 1500 etchings and engravings, hundreds of signed photographs and documents of state from American and European sources, and historical recordings. The Richards Collection encompasses literature, science, music, religion, social reform, politics, statecraft, travel, exploration, and journalism.

The gallery of English writers contains materials by virtually all major literary figures. Among these are: letters of Carlyle, Hardy, Coleridge, Tennyson, Stevenson, Yeats and Lawrence; prose manuscripts by DeQuincey and Kipling; fiction manuscripts by Coppard, Maugham and John Cowper Powys; and holograph verse by Wordsworth and Wilde.

American literary personalities are equally well represented. Scholars will find manuscripts of poems by Longfellow and Whittier, original reminiscences by Eugene Field and Booth Tarkington, the typescript of Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill, fiction in manuscript by Louisa May Alcott, reportage by John Steinbeck, and letters of Thoreau, Emerson, Cather, Poe and Hemingway. Balzac, Baudelaire, Dumas, Proust, and Strindberg are some of the Continental writers whose letters and manuscripts are available in the Richards Collection.

Holdings of manuscripts in other fields are equally fine. Among scientists, there are revealing letters by Einstein, Agassiz, Edison and Pasteur. John James Audubon solicits funds in 1838 for his renowned Birds of America. William Penn writes from England in 1691 to his followers in the New World; Nehru comments on “these last five years of horror” from prison in 1941.

Philosophers and reformers, religious leaders, American Presidents from Washington to Ford, musical manuscripts of Donizetti, Liszt, Karl Maria von Weber and Mendelssohn, and letters by Prokofiev, Richard Strauss and Franck are present in the collection. Other figures are represented by a wealth of material, such as the fifty letters and manuscripts of the Unitarian minister Edward Everett, the twenty-year correspondence (as well as literary manuscripts and notebooks) of the psychologist Havelock Ellis, and the large archive of the American poet Diane DiPrima.

The scholarly content of practically all of the items in the Richards Collection is of great significance. Many are eyewitness accounts by the principal participants of major historical events, or reflective evaluations by artists and thinkers of their intentions, methods and achievements and those of their contemporaries.
Notable Figures
1. Richards, Paul C. [collector]
Associated Subjects
1. Music Collections Subject Guide