Edwin C. Bolles Papers, 1000 -- 1962


Title: Edwin C. Bolles Papers
Dates: 1000 -- 1962
Bulk Dates: 1780 -- 1890
Creator: Bolles, Edwin Courtlandt
Call Number: MS004
Size: 110.8 Linear Feet, 62 oversize boxes, 25 record cartons, 24 letter size document boxes, 1 half letter size document box, 1 half legal size document box, and 34 volumes, 54 Volumes, 7150 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): English.  
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/003562
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


Edwin Bolles assembled a substantial focused collection of materials consisting of 35 "full-size" and 320 more specialized maps, 400 books (284 linear feet of shelf space), 1,000 pamphlets, and a print "hypertext" linking Walter Thornbury's 3,000 page Old and new London, a narrative of its history, its people, and its places (London, New York, Cassell, Peter & Galpin [1872]) to approximately 8,000 background images that illustrate the history and topography of Victorian London. These materials include not only conventional print sources but also many pieces that are unique or quite rare: folio descriptions of the city are from limited print runs while the contemporary 19th century maps not only come in various shapes and formats but capture a precious (and now largely forgotten) record of how the British represented this city. This collection also includes photographs of Tufts College.


This collection is organized into sixteen series: Maps and guidebooks; Books about London and England; Extra-illustrations for Old and New London; London street views by John Tallis; Pamphlets on collecting; Pamphlets on London places; Pamphlets of various authors; Pamphlets of illustrated poems; Historical pamphlets; Pamphlets on England; Photos, prints and artifacts; Correspondence; Assorted clippings and pamphlets; Photographs of Tufts; Writings; and Unprocessed accessions.


Biographical / Historical

Edwin Courtlandt Bolles (1836-1920), Dickson Professor of English and American History, was born in Hartford, Connecticut on September 19, 1836. He attended Trinity College, graduating in 1855. As a result of his strong religious convictions, he aligned himself with the Universalist faith and was ordained as one of its ministers at the age of 19. He continued his studies, receiving his M.A. and LL.D., also from Trinity, in 1859 and 1905 respectively. He obtained a doctorate in 1860 from St. Lawrence University, and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Tufts in 1880. At that time, he began a nine-year term as a trustee of the college. He served as pastor of congregations in New England, New York, and Louisiana, leaving the South following the outbreak of the Civil War.

Bolles' involvement with Tufts increased in 1889, when he began lecturing in the Divinity School. An entertaining lecturer, he presented a series of talks on London when he first joined the faculty. He also lectured on microscopy at the Society for Natural History in Boston and associated with the Peabody Academy of Science in Salem. While preaching in Salem, Bolles befriended Walter Scott Dickson, who founded the Dickson Professorship in English and American History at Tufts for Bolles in 1900. Bolles was appointed the first chaplain of the university in 1905.

Bolles died at his home on College Avenue on January 11, 1920. He had twice married, and was survived by two daughters, Margaret Bolles and Eleanor K. Hoit. His son, Courtlandt Kimball Bolles, a Lieutenant in the US Navy, predeceased him in Germany in 1902.

Bolles established a private collection of materials, including rare books, pamphlets, and maps, pertaining to the history of London. He amassed much of his collection while living in London during the 1870s. His interest in London may have partially stemmed from his unbroken ancestral lineage to William the Conqueror. He took on the task of illustrating Walter Thornbury's Old and New London with more than 8,000 pictures he had collected.

Instead of cutting the six volumes to insert the additional illustrations, Bolles devised a plan for underlining the passages to be illustrated and making marginal notes that referred to numbered illustrations in the vast files he maintained, organized by volume, chapter and page. Most of this work, considered to be a precursor to modern hypertext, was carried out with help from,assistants after Bolles had lost his sight. He completed the work one year before he died. The collection was purchased by the trustees in 1921 for $1,400 and was given to the college's library as a memorial to the late professor.

Bolles' residence on College Avenue, now used by the university for administrative offices, is named in his honor.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Preferred Citation

Edwin C. Bolles Papers, 1000 -- 1962. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is partially processed.

Custodial History

The collection was purchased by the trustees in 1921 for $1,400 and was given to the college's library as a memorial to the late professor.

Subjects and Genre Terms

Series Description

  1. Maps and guidebooks, 1762 -- 1915

    This series consists of approximately 350 maps and guidebooks of London. Some of these maps and guidebooks have been digitized and are part of the Tufts Digital Library collection.

  2. Books about London and England, 1673 -- 1921

    This series consists of more than 300 books on England in general and London in particular collected by Edwin Bolles. All of the books are cataloged in the Tufts University library's online catalog. Many of these books have been digitized and are part of the Tufts Digtial Library collection.

  3. Extra illustrations for Old and New London, 1000 -- 1962

    This series consists of approximately 8,000 images (prints and engravings mounted on 12.25 x11.75 boards). All of the images have been digitized and individually catalogued.

  4. London street views by John Tallis, 1838 -- 1840

    This series consists of 75 of a set of 86 maps of London published by John Tallis around 1845. These London Street Views were last century's equivalent of modern street directories, in that they listed streets and the people and businesses in them. They also included maps, and line drawings which depicted streets, shop and building fronts, just as they looked at the time.

    The set is complete except for maps # 26, 39, 48, 51, 77, 80, 82, 83, 84, and 85.

  5. Pamphlets on collecting, 1785 -- 1904

    This series consists of Bolles' collection of pamphlets, newsclippings, auction catalogs and publisher's lists on books and collecting. The pamphlets are bound into cardboard pamphlet covers and numbered by Bolles #1-248, although only 35 items exist. Catalogs and lists include publishers and booksellers in England and the United States.

  6. Pamphlets on London places, 1880 -- 1900

    This series consists of pamphlets, newsclippings, chapters of books, and magazine articles on London places. Each cardboard-bound pamphlet is devoted to a different place or subject about London and its history and people. The items were numbered by Bolles #1-927, although only about 150 items exist numbered 11-342 and 922-927.

  7. Pamphlets of various authors, 1885

    This series consists of unnumbered pamphlets in gray pamphlet covers, 53 items in total. Each pamphlet contains excerpts from the works of the author written on the cover. The excerpts are clippings from newspapers and periodicals. Most are well-known 19th-century literary figures.

  8. Pamphlets of illustrated poems, 1880 -- 1900

    This series consists of a collection of poems, generally clipped from periodicals, most of which have illustrations. All are bound into cardboard pamphlet binders. The binders are unnumbered. There are approximately 300 items.

  9. Historical pamphlets, 1794 -- 1900

    This series consists of Bolles' collection of pamphlets on topics concerning English history. Bound in blue cardboard binders, there are 36 items numbered 5-41, 295, 869-912. The items are separately printed pamphlets or articles cut from periodicals.

  10. Pamphlets on England, 1880 -- 1900

    This series consists of pamphlets that are bound into brown pamphlet covers, numbered 1-900, and labelled "England" along with the title of the document within. The pamphlets contain mostly printed works from books and periodicals.

  11. Photographs, prints, and artifacts, 1066 -- 1920

    This series consists of seven boxes of photographs and artifacts, including a wax "Great Seal" of England from the 17th century. The photos are of the type often sold in the late 19th century depicting famous locations in the world (this collection has images mostly of England and Oxford) that would interest the Victorian middle-class.

  12. Correspondence, 1898 -- 1900

    This series consists of correspondence received by Bolles, pertaining to the publication and sales of his book, Collectors and Collecting (1898).

  13. Assorted clippings and pamphlets, undated

    This series consists of two boxes of unsorted clippings and other material left by Bolles. It may be that he meant to include them in the collection, but never had the opportunity. One of these boxes has a folder of what appears to be Bolles' collection of John Greenleaf Whittier materials. A Whittier autograph, poem, and cutouts of his portraits are included. The provenance of these materials is unclear.

  14. Photographs of Tufts, 1901 -- 1902

    This series consists of photographs by Bolles of the Tufts College campus, formerly part of the University Image collection. Each photo is individually mounted.

  15. Writings, 1898 -- 1901

    Writings consist of a ledger, copyright correspondence, drafts, and copies of Bolles' book, Collectors and Collecting (1898).

  16. Additional accessions