BOOKS FROM THE LIBRARIES OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON AND OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EMERSON FAMILY, OR OTHERWISE ASSOCIATED WITH THE EMERSONS, 1780-1899
A finding aid including volumes from the “Emerson Books” section of the CFPL’s Concord Authors Collection.
EXTENT: Thirty-seven titles, totaling forty-one volumes/items.
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT: Titles are listed in a single file, arranged alphabetically by author or title, as appropriate.
BIOGRAPHY: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)—American Transcendental philosopher, essayist, poet, lecturer, and resident of Concord, Mass.—was born in Boston, May 25, 1803. He died in Concord, April 27, 1882. His father was William Emerson, pastor of the First Church in Boston (d. 1811). A graduate of Harvard College in 1821, Emerson subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School and was approved as a candidate for the Unitarian ministry in 1826. In 1829, he married Ellen Louisa Tucker, who died in 1831. He became the colleague of the Rev. Henry Ware at the Second Church in Boston in 1829, and left his ministry in 1832. 1n 1834, he settled in Concord, the home of his ancestors Peter Bulkeley (a founder of the town) and William Emerson (Revolutionary minister; RWE’s grandfather). He bought a home on the Cambridge Turnpike in Concord and married Lydia Jackson of Plymouth (called Lidian after their marriage) in 1835. Ralph Waldo Emerson was closely associated with the libraries of Concord throughout his residence here. In 1873, at the time of the dedication of the Concord Free Public Library, he was on the local Library Committee.
The children of Ralph Waldo and Lidian Emerson were: Waldo (1836-1842); Ellen Tucker (1839-1909; named for her father’s first wife); Edith, later Mrs. William H. Forbes (1841-1929); and Edward Waldo (1844-1930). Daughter Ellen Tucker Emerson never married. She lived in Concord throughout her life, devoting herself to family, community, and religion. As her father aged, she served as his assistant and traveling companion. In 1874, Edward Waldo Emerson married Annie Shepard Keyes, daughter of John Shepard Keyes and Martha Lawrence Prescott Keyes of Concord. Raymond Emerson (1886-1977), the youngest child of Edward and Annie Emerson, married Amelia Forbes in 1913. Their children included Ellen Emerson Delaney Cotton (1914-2005).
George Barrell Emerson (1797-1881) was an educator (he kept a school for young women in Boston between 1823 and 1855) and the author of A Report on the Trees and Shrubs Growing Naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts (1846). Like his distant cousin Ralph Waldo Emerson, he descended from Thomas Emerson of Ipswich and from Thomas’s son Joseph.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Titles primarily in English (some in translation into English from foreign languages), two in Italian, and one in German, representing literature, drama, essays, literary criticism, philosophy (particularly Neoplatonic philosophy), religion, and biography. The collection also includes an 1871 travel guide to San Francisco, a history of cotton manufacture, a title by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins on the grievances of the Piute Indians, a dictionary, and Edward Waldo Emerson’s copy of a volume by Charles Darwin. It consists of both American and European imprints (books published at Boston, Cambridge, Hartford, New York, San Francisco, Gütersloh, London, and Paris). Many volumes came from the library of Ralph Waldo Emerson; some belonged to his wife Lidian, daughter Ellen, and son Edward. The collection includes four titles (six volumes) originally from the library of English mystic, reformer, and educator James Pierrepont Greaves, brought from England by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane in 1842; two titles (three volumes) by Thomas Carlyle; and several presentation volumes—among them one inscribed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for RWE, one by Edwin Percy Whipple for him, and one by Herman Grimm for Edward Waldo Emerson. Several volumes were presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson to the Religious Library of the First Parish Church, from which they passed into the Concord Town Library and later into the Concord Free Public Library. One apparently passed from Lidian Emerson’s possession to the Concord Social Library, later into the Concord Town Library, and eventually the Concord Free Public Library. Also included are three books—a copy of the first edition of Nature inscribed by Barzillai Frost, the copy of the first edition of Walden presented by Henry David Thoreau to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a copy of the first edition of Thoreau’s posthumously published Excursions that belonged to RWE—that were handed down through the Emerson family before donation to the library. A one-leaf fragment of an unidentified title shows visible evidence of having survived the 1872 fire at the Emerson House. In addition, one book by Alessandro Manzoni bears an inscription revealing that it belonged to a student at George Barrell Emerson’s Boston school.
SOURCES OF ACQUISITION: Most volumes in the collection came to the CFPL through donation (most of the donors are identified); one volume (the Sa’di) was purchased. Close to half the titles were given directly to the library by Ralph Waldo Emerson; several came from Lidian Emerson and Edward Waldo Emerson. Some were simply absorbed into the Concord Free Public Library collection from that of its predecessor, the Concord Town Library. Mary Keyes gave the book associated with George Barrell Emerson’s school, Harriet Tolman the singed, unidentified fragment. In 1982, Ellen Emerson Delaney Cotton presented the copy of Nature inscribed by Barzillai Frost, the presentation copy of Walden given by Thoreau to Emerson, and Emerson’s copy of Thoreau’s Excursions. For further details, see the item list. Note: Ralph Waldo Emerson also presented several volumes of his own work as author or editor to the Concord Free Public Library—Letters and Social Aims (1876), Parnassus (1875), and Sa’di’s The Gulistan or Rose Garden (1876). Because these bear no evidence of having been personal copies, they are included in the “Books by Emerson” section rather than the “Emerson Books” section of the library’s R.W. Emerson Collection.
RESTRICTIONS ON USE: No photocopy permitted from this collection.
ASSOCIATED MATERIALS: In the 1930s, the contents of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study—books included—were moved from the Emerson House and deposited in the Concord Museum by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association. Subsequently, those among Emerson’s books deemed the most valuable for purposes of scholarship were transferred to the Houghton Library at Harvard, and duplicate copies of equivalent editions substituted on the shelves of the Museum’s study display. Some books from Emerson’s library are held in other libraries and private collections as well.
PUBLICATION BASED ON USE OF THE COLLECTION: Walter Harding, Emerson’s Library (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1967). Note: The usefulness of this work in tracking down volumes from Emerson’s library is limited. For further information and guidance, contact the curatorial staff of the Houghton Library, the Concord Museum, or the Concord Free Public Library.
PROCESSING NOTE: The Emerson Books in the Concord Authors Collection were cataloged individually through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980-1983, this finding aid adapted in 2006 from the cataloging by Bette Aschaffenburg (preliminary preparation) and LPW.
Alamanni, Luigi (1495-1556). La coltivazione[:] poema di Luigi Alamanni (London: Gio. Tomo. Masi è Comp., 1780). xxxxiii, 238 pages; plates.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on front free endpaper. Inscribed in ink on front lining leaf: “R. Waldo Emerson.” Presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1874. Bound in full sprinkled calf. Accession no. 9934.
Andronicus Rhodius (attributed). The paraphrase of an anonymous Greek writer, (hitherto published under the name of Andronicus Rhodius) on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Translated from the Greek, by William Bridgman … (London: Printed by C. Whittingham, 1807). xviii, 478 pages.
Signature of Charles Lane (dated 1842) on t.p. Extensive marginal notes and markings in the text throughout the volume (those on front free endpaper and half-title dated 1837 May 20 and May 26). Inscribed in ink on front paste-down endpaper (the library bookplate pasted over the inscription): “Greaves Library.” Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1873. Bound in brown paper boards. Accession no. 9061.
Arnold, Matthew (1822-1888). Discourses in
Inscribed on half-title: “Ellen T. Emerson. / June 1901 / J.S.K. [John Shepard Keyes] / M.K.” Pages unopened except for those on which is printed the discourse “Emerson” (pages -207). Gift, 2005. Bound in dark red cloth.
Arnold, Matthew (1822-1888). God & the Bible: A review of objections to ‘Literature & dogma’ … (New York: Macmillan, 1898). xli, 343 pages.
Inscribed on half-title: “Ellen T. Emerson / June 1901 / J.SK [John Shepard Keyes] / MK.” Pages unopened throughout. Gift, 2005. Bound in dark red cloth.
Arnold, Matthew (1822-1888). Literature & dogma: An essay towards a better apprehension of the Bible … (New York: Macmillan, 1899). xxviii, 351 pages.
Inscribed on half-title: “Ellen T. Emerson / June 1901 / J.S.K. [John Shepard Keyes] / MK.” Pages unopened throughout. Gift, 2005. Bound in dark red cloth.
Arnold, Matthew (1822-1888). St. Paul & Protestantism[.] With an essay on Puritanism & the Church of England[,] and Last essays on church & religion … (New York: Macmillan, 1897). xxxvii, 378 pages.
Inscribed on half-title: “Ellen T. Emerson / June 1901 / JSK [John Shepard Keyes] / MK.” Pages largely unopened. Gift, 2005. Bound in dark red cloth.
Bancroft’s tourist’s guide. Yosemite. San Francisco and around the bay (south) (San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft & Company, 1871). 256, lviii pages (“Index to Advertisers” and “Tourist’s Guide Advertiser,” lviii pages following text).
Presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1874. Bound in tan paper boards printed in black and red. Accession no. 9933.
[Boltwood, Lucius Manlius]. A sketch of the life and character of Lucius Boltwood, who died at Amherst, Mass., July 10, 1872 … (Hartford. Conn.: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1878). 11 pages; plate. “From the Genealogy and History of the Noble Family.” – t.p.
Inscribed on wrapper: “Ralph W. Emerson / With regards of / Lucius M. Boltwood, / of Hartford, Conn.” Source unidentified. Printed tan paper wrapper. No accession no.
Cameron, John. Phases of thought … (London: Simkpin, Marshall, & Co.; Manchester: A. Ireland & Co., 1870). 208 pages.
Inscribed for Ralph Waldo Emerson by Alexander Ireland (1872 April). Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in purple cloth. Accession no. 9942.
Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881). Critical and miscellaneous essays … Volume III [-IV] (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1839). Two volumes of four, published 1838-1839.
Myerson F1; BAL 5187.
Emerson is identified as the donor only on the library bookplate in each of the two volumes. Accession records identify the source as the early Concord Town Library. Copies of Vols. 1 and 2 came into the Concord Free Public Library simultaneously with 3 and 4 (1873), but are no longer present in the collection. Bound in blue-green cloth. Accession nos. 651, 652.
Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881). The life of John Sterling … (Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Company, 1851). iv, 344 pages.
Signature of R. W. Emerson on front free endpaper. Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1873. Bound in brown cloth. Accession no. 9713.
Channing, William Ellery (1780-1842). The perfect life. In twelve discourses. By William Ellery Channing, D.D. Edited from his manuscripts, by his nephew, William Henry Channing (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1873). xxi, 311 pages.
Presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1873. Bound in green cloth. Accession no. 7801.
Cummings, Asa (1791-1856). A memoir of the Rev. Edward Payson … late pastor of the Second Church in Portland … Third edition (Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1830). viii, 400 pages.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on front lining leaf, and beneath it, in another hand: “to the / Religious Library / F.P.C. [First Parish Church].” Early Concord Town Library volume, with earlier bookplates (including that of the Religious Library of the First Parish Church) covered by that of the Concord Free Public Library on front paste-down endpaper. Quarter-bound in light brown cloth, tan paper boards, printed green spine label. Accession no. 2716.
Darwin, Charles (1809-1882). The expression of the emotions in man and animals … with photographic and other illustrations (New York: D. Appleton, 1886). v, 374 pages; plates.
Inscribed in pencil on t.p.: “E.W. Emerson / Concord.” Presented by Edward Waldo Emerson to the Fowler Branch of the Concord Free Public Library, 1919. Library binding (blue cloth). Fowler accession no. 485.
Dewey, Orville (1794-1882). Lowell lectures. The problem of human destiny; or, The end of providence in the world and man … (New York: James Miller, 1864). viii, 275 pages.
A few pencil notes on back paste-down endpaper. Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in purple cloth. Accession no. 9944.
Donnell, Ezekiel J. Chronological and statistical history of cotton … (New York: James Sutton & Co., Printers, 1872). xviii, 650 pages; plate.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on front free endpaper. Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1873. Bound in purple cloth. Accession no. 9046.
[Emerson, Ralph Waldo] (1803-1882). Nature … (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1836). 95 pages.
Myerson A3.1.a (second state); BAL 5181 (second state).
Inscribed on front free endpaper: “T.W. Stone / from his friend / B. Frost.” Inscribed beneath this, in another hand: “Ellen Emerson Delaney / from / RE [Raymond Emerson] / Jan. 27, 1937.” Scattered marginal notes and markings in pencil. Presented by Ellen Emerson Delaney Cotton, 1982. Bound in reddish brown cloth. No accession no.
Fuller, Thomas (1608-1661). The holy and profane states … With some account of the author and his writings (Cambridge [Mass.]: Hilliard and Brown, 1831). xxxix, 293 pages.
Signature of R.W. Emerson (in pencil) on front free endpaper. Below it, in another hand: “to the / Religious Library / F.P.C. [First Parish Church].” Emerson’s signature (in ink) also on front lining leaf. Early Concord Town Library volume, with bookplate of the Religious Library of the First Parish Church (partially covered by library plate) on front paste-down endpaper. Bound in purple cloth; printed spine label. Accession no. 2179.
Grimm, Herman Friedrich (1828-1901). Aus den letzten fünf Jahren. Fünfzehn Essays …(Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1890). xxii, 363 pages.
Inscribed on wrapper by the author for Edward Waldo Emerson. Presented by Edward Waldo Emerson, 1891. In printed pale green wrapper. Accession no. 24201.
Hinton, James (1822-1875). Man and his dwelling place. An essay towards the interpretation of nature … Second edition (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1861). xxiv, 416 pages.
Inscribed on half title: “Ralph Waldo Emerson / with J. Hinton’s best regards.” Presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1873. Bound in dark brown cloth. Accession no. 8043.
Hopkins, Sarah Winnemucca (1844?-1891). Life among the Piutes: their wrongs and claims … Edited by Mrs. Horace Mann, and printed for the author (Boston: For sale by Cupples, Upham & Co., 1883). 268 pages.
Presented by Mrs. R.W. Emerson (Lidian Jackson Emerson), 1883. Bound in blue cloth. Accession no. 17922.
Locke, John (1632-1704). A treatise on the conduct of the understanding … (Boston: Timothy Bedlington, 1828). 132 pages. Bound in following this: Bacon, Francis (1561-1626). Essays, moral, economical, and political …(Boston: T. Bedlington, 1828). 218 pages.
Signature of Lidian Emerson on front lining leaf, and beneath it, in another hand, “Presented.” Early Concord Town Library volume, and, before that, a Concord Social Library volume (Concord Social Library bookplate on front paste-down endpaper). Bound in leather, black spine label. Accession no. 2342.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth (1807-1882). Kavanagh, a tale … (Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1849). 188 pages.
BAL 12096 (first printing, altered state).
Inscribed on front free endpaper: “”R.W. Emerson / with the regards / of the Author. / May.19.1849.” Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in brown cloth. Accession no. 9946.
Manzoni, Alessandro (1785-1873). I promessi sposi[:] storia Milanese del secolo XVII … Edizione fatta su quella riveduta dall’autore. Volume unico (Parigi [Paris]: Baudry, Libreria Europea; New York: Roe Lockwood & Son, 1845). iv, 470 pages (missing final printed leaf or leaves); plate.
Inscribed on blank reverse of frontispiece: “Helen M. Maynard / Mr. Emerson’s School / No. 2 Pemberton Sq.” (referring to George Barrell Emerson’s school). Some marginal annotations in pencil. TLS concerning the volume (W.H. Bond to Edward J. Diffley, Cambridge, Mass., 1967 Jan. 3, on Houghton Library letterhead) laid in. Presented by Miss Mary Keyes, 1894. Quarter bound in green leather, marbled paper boards (spine repaired with tan adhesive tape). Accession no. 26328.
Newton, Thomas (1704-1782). Dissertations on the prophecies, Which have remarkably been fulfilled, and at this time are fulfilling in the world . . . In three volumes. Volume the first. The fourth edition (London: Printed for John and Francis Rivington, 1771).
Inscribed on front lining leaf (in two manuscript hands): “John Haskins’s book / 1775 to / R. W. Emerson / to / S. Chandler / 1856.” (John Haskins was R. W. Emerson’s maternal grandfather; Seth Chandler was a Universalist minister, for many years in Shirley, Massachusetts). Inscribed on front free endpaper: “S. Chandler / Oct. 8. / 1869.” Printed bookplate of Seth Chandler pasted to front paste-down endpaper.Purchased at online auction, March 2012.
Oehlenschläger, Adam Gottlob (1779-1850). Correggio: a tragedy, by Oehlenschlager. Sappho: a tragedy, by Grillparzer. With a sketch of the autobiography of Oehlenschlager. Translated from the German (Boston: Phillips and Sampson, 1846). xxxix, 303 pages.
Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in dark brown cloth. Accession no. 9938.
Proclus (ca. 410-485). The commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus of Plato, in five books; containing a treasury of Pythagoric and Platonic physiology. Translated from the Greek, by Thomas Taylor… (London: Printed for and sold by the author, 1820). Two volumes.
Signature of Charles Lane (dated 1842) on t.p. of each volume. Some marginal notes and underlining in Vol. 1. Inscribed on front paste-down endpaper of each volume (the library bookplate pasted over the inscription): “Greaves Library.” Pages unopened in Vol. 2. Presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1873. Bound in green cloth. Accession nos. 9058, 9059.
Proclus (ca. 410-485). The six books of Proclus the Platonic successor, on the theology of Plato, translated from the Greek; to which a seventh book is added, in order to supply the deficiency of another book on this subject, which was written by Proclus, but since lost. Also, a translation from the Greek of Proclus’ Elements of theology. To which are added a translation of the treatise of Proclus, on providence and fate; a translation of extracts from his treatise, entitled, Ten doubts concerning providence; and a translation of extracts from his treatise on the subsistence of evil; as preserved in the Bibliotheca Gr. of Fabricius. By Thomas Taylor … (London: Printed for the author, 1816). Two volumes.
Signature of Charles Lane (dated 1842) on t.p. of each volume. Some underlining and marginal markings in pencil. Inscribed on front paste-down endpaper of each volume (the library bookplate pasted over the inscription in each volume): “Greaves Library.” Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1873. Bound in blue-green cloth. Accession nos. 9056, 9057.
Sa’di. The Gulistan or Rose garden. By Musle-Huddeen Sheik Saadi, of Shiraz. Translated from the original by Francis Gladwin. With an essay on Saadi’s life and genius, by James Ross, and a preface, by R.W. Emerson (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865). 379 pages.
Myerson D55; BAL 5247.
Signature of Edward Waldo Emerson on front free endpaper. Pencil notes on page vii and on back free endpaper. Bound in rust cloth, top edge gilt. Purchased from Malcolm Ferguson, 1999. No accession no.
Scott, John (1777-1834). Luther, and the Lutheran Reformation … (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833). Two volumes; plates. At head of title: Harper’s stereotype edition.
Inscribed on front free endpaper of each volume: “R.W. Emerson / [in another hand] to the / Religious Library / F.P.C. [First Parish Church].” Notes in pencil on back paste-down endpaper of Vol. 1. Remnants of Religious Library of the First Parish Church bookplate on front paste-down endpaper of each volume. Early Concord Town Library volumes. Bound in plum cloth, printed spine labels. Accession nos. 3312, 3313.
[Single leaf or plate (botanical image—“Belle de Choisy”) detached from an unidentified book once belonging to R.W. Emerson].
Accompanied by typed note reading: “Leaf of book given to Miss Harriet Tolman by Mr. Emerson after the fire at the Emerson House. Mr. Emerson told Miss Tolman that that was all that was left of the book.” Edges of piece singed by fire. Inscribed in pencil on blank verso of piece: “From Emerson’s House. Aug. 1872.” Presented by Harriet Tolman, 1922. Housed in blue portfolio. No accession no.
Story, William Wetmore (1819-1895). Poems … (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856). vii, 307 pages.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on front free endpaper. Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in tan cloth. Accession no. 9941.
Taylor, Thomas (1758-1835). A dissertation on the philosophy of Aristotle, in four books. In which his principal physical and metaphysical dogmas are unfolded; and it is shown, from indubitable evidence, that his philosophy has not been accurately known since the destruction of the Greeks. The insufficiency also of the philosophy that has been substituted by the moderns for that of Aristotle, is demonstrated … (London: Printed for the author, 1812). xxviii, 577 pages.
Signature of Charles Lane (dated 1842) on t.p. Inscribed on front paste-down endpaper (the library bookplate pasted over the inscription): “Greaves Library.” Presented by R. W. Emerson, 1873. Bound in blue-green cloth. Accession no. 9060.
Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862). Excursions … (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863). 319 pages; plate.
Borst A3.1.a; Myerson F5; BAL 20111.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on front lining leaf. Pencil notes on back lining leaf and back free endpaper. A few manuscript emendations in the text. Presented by Ellen Emerson Delaney Cotton, 1982. Bound in blue-green cloth. No accession no.
Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862). Walden; or, Life in the woods … (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854). 357 pages; plate.
Borst.A2.1.a; BAL 20106.
Inscribed on front free endpaper: “R.W. Emerson / from / H.D.T. [Henry David Thoreau].” Manuscript notes in pencil on back paste-down endpaper and opposite page; some pencil notes and markings in text. Presented by Ellen Emerson Delaney Cotton, 1982. Bound in brown cloth; housed in blue case. No accession no.
Whipple, Edwin Percy (1819-1886). Character and characteristic men … (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866). vi, 324 pages.
Inscribed on front free endpaper: “R.W. Emerson / With the Author’s / respects & regards / Oct. 3d 1866.” Presented by R.W. Emerson, 1874. Bound in purple cloth. Accession no. 9947.
Worcester, Joseph E. (1784-1865). A Dictionary of the English Language … (Boston: Hickling, Swan and Brewer, 1860). lxviii, 1786 pages.
Signature of R.W. Emerson on t.p. Inscribed in pencil on front lining leaf: “Property of Grace E. Tuttle / 36 Walden St. / Concord.” Several items laid in (pressed leaves and flower; page of financial notes in pencil). Source unidentified. Bound in leather; black leather gold-tooled spine label. No accession no.
c2006-c2015Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.
Not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the Curator of Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library.
Finding aid mounted 12th July 2006. Latest edit 4 March 2015 rcwh.