1833-1917; bulk: 1855-1909

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of teacher, orator, and Massachusetts congressman William Everett, and includes personal, political, and family correspondence; writings; and printed material.

Biographical Sketch

Born on 10 October 1839 in Watertown, Mass., William Everett was the youngest of six children of Mass. governor Edward Everett (1794-1865) and Charlotte Gray Brooks Everett. He graduated from Harvard University in 1859 and from Trinity College, Cambridge, England in 1863. In 1865 he graduated from Harvard University's law school and was admitted to the bar in 1866. In 1872 he was licensed to preach by the Suffolk Association of Unitarian Ministers. He tutored at Harvard from 1870 to 1873 when he became an assistant professor of Latin. He became the master of Adams Academy in Quincy in 1878.

Everett became active in politics in 1882 with civil service and tariff reforms. In 1893 he left Adams Academy when he was elected to fill Henry Cabot Lodge's position as a Democrat representing Massachusetts' 7th District in the 53rd United States Congress, a position he held until 3 March 1895. Following in his father's footsteps, he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 1897 but he lost the election to incumbent Roger Wolcott. Everett returned to Quincy and resumed his post as master of Adams Academy in 1897, remaining there until his death on 16 February 1910. He was interred with his parents in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass.

Collection Description

This collection consists of the papers of teacher, orator, and Massachusetts congressman William Everett, including family, personal, and professional correspondence; professional papers; writings; and printed material. The collection includes personal correspondence related to Everett's studies at Harvard University and Trinity College; his travels in Europe; and his work as a teacher, historian, and orator. It includes a number of letters of condolence on the death of his father Edward Everett in 1865. The collection does not contain any personal letters between Everett and his father. Many of the papers in this collection are political correspondence, referring to speeches Everett gave and his political opinions on a variety of subjects. Also included are over thirty essays or reports written or copied by Everett while in school; clippings concerning his writings; school journals including a Greek exercise book; and a volume of handwritten lectures entitled, "Talks on Colonial History" by Everett.

Of particular significance is a series of typescripts of correspondence concerning Edward Everett's speech at Gettysburg at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. Copies of letters from Edward Everett to President Abraham Lincoln and others regarding a manuscript of Everett's speech containing notes by President Lincoln, as well as his impressions of the day, are the focus of the series.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Charlotte Everett Hopkins, 1914-1933. Essays were a gift of Grenville H. Norcross, 1918. "Talks on Colonial History" was a gift of Henry P. Binney, 1945.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1844-1910

A. Family correspondence, 1844-1909

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries consists primarily of letters to William Everett from his older sister Charlotte "Charlie" Brooks Everett Wise (1825-1879). It describes her travels, family life, and friends. There are also letters written by Everett to his niece, Charlie's daughter, Charlotte "Lotie" Everett Wise Hopkins on family and everyday life.

Box 1Folders 1-10

B. Personal correspondence, 1847-1910

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains letters to Everett from friends about life at Harvard, Cambridge, and Trinity College, as well as daily life and travel. Letters written during the Civil War include mentions of his father's 1863 Gettysburg speech and mutual friends who joined the Army or Navy. A large number of letters in 1865 are condolences on the death of his father on 16 January 1865. The majority of letters were written by Alexander McKenzie, James Fay, Clement Fay, Henry Jackson, John H. Ricketson, Arthur Sidgwick, Edwin Seaver, Frank E. Abbot, and Frank E. Anderson. Also included in this series are letters written to Everett regarding his research over the years into his family's genealogy and history.

Box 1Folders 11-45
Box 2

C. Professional correspondence, 1853-1910

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries consists of letters written to Everett regarding his work at Adams Academy and Harvard University as a Latin teacher; his sermons; his involvement with the Harvard alumni association; and politics. The majority of letters involve requests for Everett to give lectures or sermons; thanks for lectures and sermons delivered; requests for articles by publishers; letters regarding his views on Latin translations, teaching, religion, and history; and letters regarding his students. Political correspondence mainly dates from 1882-1897 and includes letters regarding civil service reform; tariff reform; congratulations on his congressional nomination; and political support. Correspondents include Arthur Foote, Rufus Ellis, Charles W. Eliot, M. H. Morgan, Winslow Warren, and Josiah P. Cooke.

Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
Box 7
Box 8Folders 1-44

II. Certificates and appointments, 1858-1907

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains certificates of commendation; an 1875 certificate appointing Everett as a justice of the peace; and Everett's 1868 Harvard University law degree. The majority are certificates recognizing donations of books to libraries including the Boston Public Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Harvard College. Two certificates from 1864 recognizing Everett's donation of books to the library of the Union Club are signed by his father Edward Everett as the president of the organization.

Box 8Folders 45-47

III. Writings, 1833-1909

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains over thirty bound books, journals and essays from Everett's school days, handwritten essays on Latin, Italian and Greek poetry, and English poets from Everett's university days, and drafts of speeches. Several of the earliest bound books are copies of writings dated before Everett's birth, the dates when Everett copied them are not always known. There are three undated volumes of "Walks to and from Church;" an undated Greek exercise book from Cambridge; and six undated volumes of "Everett's Journal of Science and Art" from Everett's university days. There is also an undated, handwritten, bound volume of lectures entitled "Talks on Colonial History" written by William Everett.

Box 9
Box 10
Box 11Folders 1-7

IV. Gettysburg correspondence, 1864-1909

Arranged chronologically.

This series of letters contains copies of letters made by Everett and sent to his niece, Charlotte Everett Hopkins. They consist of letters written by Edward Everett to President Lincoln about sending Lincoln a bound manuscript of Everett's Gettysburg speech that included remarks made by Lincoln and other material connected to the Gettysburg ceremony. Other correspondence includes a letter from Lincoln's private secretary John Nicolay regarding the manuscript; and letters from Edward Everett to Julia Fish about sending her a copy of the manuscript. Additional letters are from Henry S. Burrage to William Everett in 1905 requesting information on William and Edward's impressions of the day at Gettysburg, of Lincoln and their thoughts on his speech, as well as where Edward Everett's manuscript could be found; and a 1909 letter from William Everett to Charlotte Hopkins briefly describing the experience the family had meeting Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Box 11Folder 8

V. Printed material, 1864-1917

Arranged chronologically.

The bulk of this series are memorials and obituaries of William Everett. There is also a newspaper clipping about the 100th and 123rd anniversaries of Edward Everett's birth, and a copy of the poem "Our Returned Conquerors," written by Everett and read at the 25 June 1885 Phi Beta Kappa dinner at Harvard.

Box 11Folders 9-10

Preferred Citation

William Everett papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Everett family.
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865.
Wise, Charlotte Everett, 1825-1879.


Adams Academy (Quincy, Mass).
Harvard University-- Faculty.
Harvard University-- Students.
Trinity College (University of Cambridge)--Students.


Soldiers' National Cemetery (Gettysburg, Pa.)