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Chauncey Brewster Tinker papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 354

Scope and Contents

The Chauncey Brewster Tinker Papers document the life and career of Chauncey Brewster Tinker. The Papers include correspondence, writings, personal papers, financial records, photographs, and other papers including subject files, newspaper clippings and printed material. They have been arranged into six series; Correspondence, Writings, Personal Papers, Financial Records, Photographs, and Additional Materials. The Papers span the years of 1869-1963, with the bulk between 1920-1955.

Series I, Correspondence , consists primarily of letters written to Tinker and third-party correspondence. Where copies or originals of letters written by Tinker exist, a note has been made in the box-and-folder list. Many letters in this series were originally found laid into items in Tinker's rare book and manuscript collection. Where this is the case, a note is enclosed in the folder with the letter. The correspondence generally concerns personal matters, book collecting, and Tinker's research into James Boswell. Also included are four folders of letters from Yale University officials to Tinker, the vast majority of which are acknowledgements for his gifts to the library.

Series II, Writings , contains holographs, printed versions, clippings, legal agreements and reviews of writings by Tinker and others. The writings by Tinker include articles and addresses, as well as several poems, many of which are not signed, but which are most likely written by Tinker. Also included are articles and poems by others, including Leonard Bacon, Stephen Vincent Benét, and Lewis M. Knapp.

Series III, Personal Papers , contains personal papers and memorabilia belonging to Chauncey Brewster Tinker. Included are genealogical materials related to the Tinker family, and other personal papers including bookplates, an original engraved printing plate for one of his bookplates, as well as several prints, a copper printing plate with Tinker's name, probably used for printing stationary or calling cards, appointment calendars, Tinker's curriculum vitæ, his degrees from Yale, various honorary degrees, and a box of postcards of examples of art and architecture in Europe and Britain.

Series IV, Financial Records , includes bills and receipts to Tinker for book purchases, as well as medical bills, bills for living expenses from Yale, and royalty statements from Oxford University Press.

Series V, Photographs , contains photographs of Tinker, with other photographs of his acquaintances, including A. Edward Newton, and other subjects.

Series VI, Additional Materials , consists of subject files containing notes and newspaper clippings about various subjects, printed material, and other papers. Included in this series are eight boxes of catalog cards for books and manuscripts in Tinker's personal collection and in the Rare Book Room, Sterling Memorial Library.


  • 1898-1963


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Materials in Restricted Fragile in boxes 23-24 and box 26 may only be consulted with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies or photographic prints for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Conditions Governing Use

The Chauncey Brewster Tinker Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift and Bequest of Chauncey Brewster Tinker, 1935-1963.

Associated Materials

Chauncey Brewster Tinker Letters and Manuscripts (GEN MSS 359), Chauncey Brewster Tinker Manuscript Collection (GEN MSS 310), and various printed books donated to the Library by Tinker, cataloged separately.


11.57 Linear Feet ((28 boxes) + 9 broadside folders)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Collection contains correspondence, writings, personal papers,financial records, photographs, subject files, clippings, printed material, and other papers by or relating to Chauncey Brewster Tinker.
Correspondence consists primarily of letters to Tinker, including letters from Leonard Bacon, Charles Montgomery Hathaway, Jr., Sinclair Lewis, A. Edward Newton, Thornton Wilder, and the Yale University Library, along with several third-party letters, and a few copies and drafts of letters by Tinker. Writings include holographs, printed versions, and clippings of writings by Tinker and others, including Leonard Bacon, Stephen Vincent Benét, and Lewis M. Knapp. Personal papers consist of genealogical papers and other personal items, including an original engraved printing plate for one of Tinker's bookplates, along with several prints, and a copper printing plate for calling cards or stationary.
Financial records contain primarily bills for book purchases. Photographs include photographs of Tinker, A. Edward Newton and others. Other papers include subject files, clippings and printed materials related to Tinker, his research and his interests in literature, book collecting, and other subjects, including eight boxes of catalog cards describing his rare book and manuscript collection.


Chauncey Brewster Tinker was born on October 22, 1876 in Auburn, Maine, the son of Rev. Anson Phelps Tinker, Yale class of 1868, and Martha Jane White Tinker. After losing his mother at age three and his father at age twelve, he was raised by his stepmother in Denver, Colorado. She persuaded him to attend Yale, where he earned all of his academic degrees: B.A. in 1899, M.A. in 1901 and Ph.D. in 1902.

After teaching for one year at Bryn Mawr College, he joined the faculty at Yale. There, he taught in the English Department as one of the University's most popular and acclaimed professors, from 1903 until his retirement in 1945, leaving only to serve in the Red Cross and military intelligence during World War I. He also served as Senior Fellow of Davenport College, where he lived for many years, and was instrumental in establishing the Yale Library Associates, founded in 1930. In 1931, he was appointed the first Keeper of Rare Books in the Rare Book Room in Sterling Memorial Library at Yale.

During his lengthy career, Tinker published many works of his own scholarship, including several books on James Boswell. In 1925 he was the first to view a previously unknown collection of Boswell papers at Malahide Castle in Ireland. This collection was later acquired by Colonel Ralph Heyward Isham and subsequently came to Yale. Tinker was also one of the foremost collectors of his age in the field of English literature, and his collection is now at Yale.

Guide to the Chauncey Brewster Tinker Papers
Under Revision
by Kathryn Rawdon
July 1998
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
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New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.