Skip to main content

Edward Bliss Reed papers

Call Number: MS 412

Scope and Contents

The Edward Bliss Reed Papers fall into three parts. The first is devoted primarily to correspondence, writings, printed materials, and notes on carols of various eras and nationalities. Also among these papers is the manuscript of Lyra Levis by Reed, as prepared for the Yale University Press, containing poems on Yale and other subjects; correspondence, minutes, treasurers' and secretaries' reports, and printed matter of the Carol Society of New Haven; and sheet music and words, both printed and manuscript, for carols. The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order; the remaining papers have been roughly sorted but are otherwise unprocessed.

The second part of the Edward Bliss Reed Papers consists of papers relating to Yale University's R.O.T.C. program during World War I. There is a small amount of correspondence, some printed matter, and assorted course materials. All of these items are in extremely fragile condition and difficult to handle without causing them further damage.

Issues of the Zionist journal The New Palestine for the years 1921-1931 make up the final portion of the Edward Bliss Reed Papers. Several of the issues contain marginalia by Reed.

These papers were donated to Yale University in 1965-1966 by Mrs. Lyall Dean, Mrs. Bordon Helmer, and by the estate of Bliss Reed Crocker in connection with Reed's collection of several hundred books and periodicals on carols. The latter were given to Sterling Memorial Library and to Beinecke Rare Book Library; a description written by Alfred R. Bellinger may be found in the Yale University Library Gazette, January 1941.


  • 1905-1962


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. L. Dean, B. Helmer, and the estate of Bliss Reed Crocker, 1967.


The materials are arranged in three broad groupings: correspondence, writings, printed materials, and notes on carols of various eras and nationalities; Yale R.O.T.C. program materials; and issues of the Zionist journal The New Palestine.


5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, research notes, texts of songs, sheet music, catalogues, programs, and pamphlets relating to Christmas carols, which were Reed's main scholarly interest. Included also are his texts for a series of annual lectures on carols (1913-1939) and records of the New Haven Carol Society (1921-1944). Other items in the papers are the manuscript for Lyra Levis (published in 1922), records relating to the Yale ROTC program, and a run of the New Palestine (1921-1931).

Biographical / Historical

Edward Bliss Reed, B.A. (1894-1940)

Born August 19, 1872, in Lansingburgh, N.Y.

Died February 15, 1940, in Springfield, Mass.

Father Rev. Edward Allen Reed, D.D. (graduate Auburn Theological Seminary 1871), minister Second Congregational Church, Holyoke, Mass.; son of Orville and Elizabeth (Allen) Reed of Lansingburgh. Mother, Mary Ann (Bliss) Reed; daughter of Peletiah and Mary Eleanor (Parmelee) Bliss of lansingburgh. Yale relatives include: William Parmelee (B.S. 1826) and Charles C. Parmelee (B.S. 1827) (great-uncles); Orville Reed, '77 (uncle); Lansing P. Reed, '04 (brother); William C. Hammond, Jr., '25, and Lansing V. Hammond, '30 (nephews); and Robert H. Cory, '02, David U. Cory, '03, John Chapin Reed ex -'10 S., Theodore B. Reed, '12 S., Linn V. Reed, '13, and Eliphalet Wickes, ex-'27(cousins).

Holyoke (Mass.) High School. Philosophical oration appointment Junior and Senior years; second College prize in English composition Sophomore year; second Henry James TenEyck Prize Junior year; winner of a Townsend Premium and DeForest Prize speaker Senior year; fence orator Freshman and Sophomore years; on board Yale Record four years (chairman Senior year); editor Yale Literary Magazine Senior year; Class poet and historian; member Senior Promenade Committee, Yale Union, Psi Upsilon, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Registered Yale Graduate School 1894-1897 (Ph.D. 1896); studied in Paris and Munich on McLaughlin Fellowship 1896-1897; tutor in English, Yale University, 1897-1900, instructor 1900-1902, assistant professor 1902-1926, and associate professor 1926-1929; lecturer in music (associate professor rank) since 1932; director division of education The Commonwealth Fund 1927 until January 1, 1940, when he became director emeritus; had been closely identified with Yale-in-China since its foundation (executive secretary 1902-1909, member council 1909-1910, trustee 1910-1930, honorary trustee 1930-1940, and president 1928-1932); for twenty-six years did research on old Christmas carols, searching for, translating, and publishing eight new ones each year, and was responsible for the revival of many songs of medieval Europe; since 1913 had arranged the annual Phi Beta Kappa Christmas concerts held in Battell Chapel; secretary New Haven Carol Society 1923-1940, and, with David Stanley Smith ('00), editor of its Publications; author: English Lyrical Poetry from its Origins to the Present Time (1912), Lyra Yalensis (1913), Sea Moods, and Other Poems (1917), Seven Hundred French Terms for American Field Artillerymen (1917), Lyra Levis (1922); editor: Selections from the Poetry of Alexander Pope (1901), Selections from the Works of Joseph Addison (1906), The Poems of Thomas, Third Lord Fairfax (1909), Shakespeare's Sonnets (1923), Songs from the British Drama (1925), Christmas Carols Printed in the Sixteenth Century (1932), and The Commonwealth Fund Fellows and Their Impressions of America (1932); assistant editor, Yale Review, 1911-1928; translator: Drill Regulations for the 75 mm. Gun (1917); contributed to a number of reviews and journals; regimental sergeant major 10th Field Artillery, Connecticut National Guard, July-September 15, 1916; attended School of Fire, Fort Sill, in first civilian class summers 1917 and 1918; active in organization and direction of Reserve Officers' Training Corp at Yale; deputy commissioner (with rank of major) American Red Cross Commission in Palestine January-July, 1919; trustee Mount Holyoke College 1913-1929; Daniel S. Lamont Memorial Lecturer at Yale 1914-1915 and 1924-1925; associate fellow Jonathan Edwards College 1933-1940; member advisory board Yale famatic Association; secretary Class of 1894 from 1904 to 1909 and on reunion and dinner committees; member New Haven Civil Service Board 1906-1909 (president 1908-1909); commissioner New Haven Public Library 1916-1918; president Alliance Française, New Haven, 1919-1921; member Modern Language Association, Elizabethan Club, and Center Church (Congregational), New Haven.

Married June 17, 1905, in Sparkill, N.Y., Elizabeth Burd Thompson (B.A. Vassar 1903), daughter of William Reed and Mary (Thaw) Thompson (B.A. Vassar 1877). Children Elizabeth Burd (B.A. Vassar 1927), the wife of Borden Helmer (Dartmouth 1921); William Thompson (of the Yale Class of 1933; died September 1929); Mary Bliss (B.A. Vassar 1935), the wife of David Crocker (B.A. Harvard 1933, M.B.A. 1935; M.D. Yale 1940); and Anne Parmelee (Vassar 1943).

Death due to coronary thrombosis. Ashes interred in Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven. Survived by wife, daughters, mother, two grandchildren, and a sister, Fanny R. Hammond, the wife of William Churchill Hammond (Mus.D. Mount Holyoke 1924) of Holyoke, Mass.

The Edward Bliss Reed collection of carols in the University Library was his gift.

Yale Obituary Record, pages 59-60.

Guide to the Edward Bliss Reed Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
January 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours