Can I Have Your Autograph?

The Authors Collection here at Burns Library is one of the most wide ranging – subject wise as well as timeframe. It covers 340 years (ranging from 1665-2005), though the bulk of the collection dates from 1790 to 1900. The collection contains documents written by or regarding prominent literary and historical figures. Though figures represented in this collection are predominantly American and European, they are otherwise extremely varied. A large part of the collection are from a disassembled nineteenth century autograph book as well as items from a survey done by bibliographer and indexer William Maccrillis Griswold.

With over 1,000 entries, it would be impossible to mention every interesting person represented in the collection. This post will focus on the five American Presidents and two early American political figures in the collection. Be sure to click on the images in order to read the full descriptions of the items.

If United States political history isn’t your cup of tea, there are many, many other persons of interest in the collection, including scientists like Charles Darwin, activists like Dorothea Dix, and authors such as Robert Frost and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Materials created by and regarding religious figures, including Popes Pius X and XII, make up a significant portion of the collection and include both the oldest document – a letter penned in 1665 by Antonio Cardinal Bichi, a member of the College of Cardinals under Pope Alexander VII – and the most recent document, a 2005 letter to Mother Marie Lufkin of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut.

If you are interested in viewing these items or any other collection in Burns Library, please contact us to set up an appointment.

-Andrew Isidoro, Public Services Specialist

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