The manuscript collection of the Boston Athenæum grew steadily from the founding of the institution, but it was not until the stewardship of Librarian Charles Knowles Bolton (ca. 1900) that efforts were first made to develop and organize this material.
Today the Athenæum is interested in donations of unpublished material that in some way relate to the history of the institution, its founders, members, and its Beacon Hill neighborhood, or manuscripts which help document the influence of the Athenæum on the literary, social, political, and artistic culture of Boston.
The collection includes personal and family papers, genealogical records, organizational and business records, literary manuscripts and sketchbooks, as well as merchants’ records and ships’ logbooks. Significant manuscripts in the collection include the papers of Athenæum Trustee Samuel Eliot; the Revolutionary War-era papers of Ezekiel Price; the William Tudor papers; papers of Commodore Isaac Hull; and papers of architects Charles Bulfinch, Alexander Parris, George Minot Dexter, Nathaniel Bradlee, John H. Sturgis, Ogden Codman, and Richard Clipston Sturgis.