Motley, John Lothrop

Scope and Content

Thirteen letters, 1854-1857, by John Lothrop Motley to his publisher John Chapman concerning the first edition of The Rise of the Dutch Republic .

Administrative / Biographical History

John Lothrop Motley was born on 15 April 1814 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA. He was educated at Harvard College, 1827-1831. After graduating from Harvard, Motley spent two years as a student at the universities of Berlin and Göttingen. He returned to Boston in 1835, where he began a career as a novelist. His first work Morton's Hope was published in 1839. Motley was appointed secretary of legation in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1841. He returned to Boston in 1842, where he began taking an interest in historical writing. Motley's first piece of historical writing was an essay on Peter the Great, which he contributed to the North American Review in 1845. In 1851 Motley took his family to Europe, where he undertook historical research in many archives and libraries in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Motley published three works on Dutch history including The Rise of the Dutch Republic , (1856). Motley served as minister to Austria between 1861-1867 and to England, 1869-1870. After 1874 he undertook no further literary work. He died at the house of one of his daughters in England on 29 May 1877.

Access Information

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Archivist's Note

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Geographical Names