Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Scope and Content

SLV/13 contains four holograph letters written by Ralph Waldo Emerson to his publisher John Chapman. SLV/105/13 is a first edition of Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson including a manuscript copy of the poem Concord Monument , 1844-1867.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston on 25 May 1803. Emerson was educated at Boston Latin School, 1812-1817 and at Harvard College, 1821-1825. In 1822 he published his first article in The Christian Disciple . Emerson was admitted to Harvard Divinity School in 1825 and was ordained minister of a Unitarian Church in Boston in 1829, where he remained until October 1832.

On resigning his only pastoral post, because of doctrinal disputes, Emerson embarked upon the first of three trips to Europe in December 1832, during which time meetings with other writers developed his notions of the transcendent. On returning to the United States in 1834, Emerson settled in Concord, Massachusetts, which became a centre of Transcendentalism. The following year Emerson published Nature , which stated the movement's main principles. Throughout his life Emerson lectured and wrote on philosophy, literature, slavery and religion. Emerson died in Concord, age 78, on 27 April 1882


See full catalogue available in Special Collections, Senate House Library.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Sir Louis Sterling.

Other Finding Aids

University of London Library, The Sterling library: a catalogue of the printed books and literary manuscripts collected by Sir Louis Sterling and presented by him to the University of London , Cambridge, (1954)

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

The National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, holds letters to Emerson (Ref: Forster Collection).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.