Skip to main content

Seymour Adelman Letters and Documents Collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: BMC-M144

Scope and Contents

Seymour Adelman was an enthusiastic collector with wide-ranging interests. His incredibly generous donations to the Library brought us important collections of A.E. Housman, Laurence Housman, Ralph Hodgson, Claud Lovat Fraser, and Thomas and Susan Eakins documents and ephemera, as well as a striking collection of boxiana. The Letters and Documents Collection represents additional interests, spanning the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries. The major components of this collections are 19th and 20th-century literary and artistic figures and documents relating to local history.

The literary and artistic figures whose correspondence Adelman chose to collect range from the world-famous to the obscure. Many letters and miscellaneous documents relate to the poet John Keats and others in his circle, such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and the painter Joseph Severn. Other poets and authors Adelman collected extensively include Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, James Flecker, James Stephens, Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke, Thomas Hardy, Francis Thompson, Haldane Macfall, Holbrook Jackson, and John Lemprière. Artists who figure prominently in the collection include Benjamin Robert Haydon, Sir William Rothenstein, and Sir Edward Poynter. In addition, Adelman amassed a collection of the correspondence of art critic Sadakichi Hartmann and prominent editors Leigh Hunt (The Examiner), Wilfrid Meynell (Merry England), J.M. Stoddard (Lippincott's), and John Scott (London Magazine).

Many items in the collection relate to Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia area, and local Friends. There are many documents to and from the Bettles, prominent Philadelphia Quakers whose sons attended Haverford College. Some are family letters, but other correspondents include bookseller Charles Coffin, Ministers Jesse Kersey, Elizabeth Robson, and Joseph John Gurney, and abolitionist Sarah Moore Grimke. The collections also includes documents from the Philadelphia Monthly and Yearly Meetings of Friends. Additional material includes letters and documents relating to Samuel Coates and the Pennsylvania Hospital just before 1800, documents printed by Benjamin Franklin's business, and deeds for land in and around Philadelphia.

Also contained in the Adelman Collection, but not falling under any larger category, are individual cards, letters, and documents, as well as manuscripts, autographs, and other small ephemera. There are letters from Winston Churchill - and additionally photographs and other memorabilia of Churchill. There are letters from Benjamin Disraeli, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Albert Einstein. A collection of over forty letters from Colonel Jonathan LaFausille and his wife to her sister were written from various British camps during the Seven Years War. Many other letters from prominent - and ordinary - Americans and Britons are contained in the collection, covering topics from society gossip to ornithology.


  • Creation: 1667 - 1984


Copyright and Rights Information

The Letters and Documents Collection is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of each document or their legal heirs and assigns. Majority of material has moved into the Public Domain.


21 Linear Feet (27 boxes)




Letters and documents are listed alphabetically by the author of the letter or the subject of the document. Where the author of a letter could not be determined, the letter has been filed by the name of the recipient. Other documents are listed by their signers or the institutions which produced them.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Seymour Adelman.

Abbreviations Used in Guide

ADS: Autograph Document Signed (entirely in the hand of the author)

AL: Autograph Letter Unsigned (in the hand of the author)

ALS: Autograph Letter Signed (entirely in the hand of the author)

AMs: Autograph Manuscript Unsigned (in the hand of the author)

AMsS: Autograph Manuscript Signed (entirely in the hand of the author)

ANS: Autograph Note Signed (a very brief message entirely in the hand of the author)

APcS: Autograph Postcard Signed (entirely in the hand of the author)

DS: Document Signed (text in the hand of another person; signature in the hand of the author)

LS: Letter Signed (text in the hand of another person; signature in the hand of the author)

MsS: Manuscript Signed (text in the hand of another person; signature in the hand of the author)

n.d.: No date

n.y.: No year

TDS: Typed Document Signed (signature in the hand of the author)

TL: Typed Letter Unsigned

TLS: Typed Letter Signed (signature in the hand of the author)

TMs: Typed Manuscript Unsigned

TMsS: Typed Manuscript Signed (signature in the hand of the author)

Processing Information

Original processing and description by Leo Dolenski, Marianne Hansen, Elizabeth McCown, Kimberley Pelkey, Katherine Schwalbe, Samantha Varma, Kathleen Whalen. Guide transferred to ArchivesSpace by Special Collections Student Workers.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting reproductions from Bryn Mawr College Library

Bryn Mawr College Library
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr 19010 USA US