Historic Library

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Italian books bound in white vellum from Henry W. Longfellow's library

Miniature volume of Dante
Florence, Italy


Historic Library
The historic books represent the largest single collection of objects at the site. It numbers approximately 14,000 volumes dating from the fifteenth to the mid-twentieth century and consists of the combined libraries of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Fanny Appleton Longfellow, their five children, grandson Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana and fifty volumes once owned by the American artist Washington Allston.

The collection illustrates Longfellow’s international academic interests, and includes leisure reading and presentation copies from admiring authors and friends as well as family books. Of note are the books in many languages, including Finnish, Danish, German, Latin, Greek, Spanish, French, Russian, Dutch, Italian, Flemish, Swedish, Portuguese, Provençal, Welsh, Japanese, Chinese, and Armenian.

Subjects include foreign language dictionaries and grammars, novels, collections of poetry and folktales, drama, ancient culture, mythology, biographies, published letters and histories.

Significant volumes include:

  • Numerous folios printed by Giambattista Bodoni
  • Illustrated atlases of China, Africa, and Asia from the 1670s
  • Gustave Dore’s illustrated works of Dante
  • 1496 Venetian edition of Plutarch
  • Danish book about the Greenland Eskimo dialect
  • Music books including ballads and songs, opera, and hymns from around the world
  • Childrens' books from the Longfellow family collection
  • 380 books in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic including books in translation.




© 2004 Longfellow National Historic Site