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Loomis Havemeyer papers

Call Number: MS 632

Scope and Contents

The papers of Loomis Havemeyer document his personal life and, to a lesser extent, his professional career at Yale University. His autobiographical writings and diaries provide the most comprehensive sources regarding Havemeyer's personal life. Information relating to his writings on Yale history and traditions is mostly found in his autobiographical writing, "The Years Since My Retirement, 1954-?." Correspondence between Albert Galloway Keller and Havemeyer documents some of Keller's ideas regarding curriculum within the anthropology department and gives insight into the manner in which Keller interacted with students and colleagues. Both Loomis Havemeyer's and Julia Loomis Havemeyer's [sister] travel diaries provide descriptions of countries, people, and customs encountered during their summer travels to Eastern and Western Europe, the Orient, the Middle East, North Africa, the Northern United States, Alaska, and Hawaii, in the years of 1901-1914 and 1936. Julia Loomis Havemeyer's diaries, in particular, furnish detailed descriptions and views of other cultures through the perspective of an educated New England woman traveling during the early 20th century. Official records created during Havemeyer's administrative career at Yale have been transferred to the Yale University Archives.


  • 1899-1971


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for 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 Loomis Havemeyer and his estate, 1966-1972; and George Vaill, 1972; and transfer from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1998.


Arranged in four series: I. Correspondence. II. Writings and Speeches. III. Personal Papers and Photographs. IV. Julia Loomis Havemeyer.


8.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, writings, personal papers, diaries and journals, photographs, and scrapbooks relating to the life and career of Loomis Havemeyer. The collection documents Havemeyer's childhood, his experiences at Hill School, undergraduate and graduate studies at Yale University, as well as his lengthy career as an instructor and an administrator at the university. Details regarding Havemeyer's personal life are recorded primarily in his diaries and in his autobiographical writings. An audiotape of his memorial service is included. The papers also include travel diaries of Loomis Havemeyer's sister, Julia Loomis Havemeyer, which record in detail her summer travels abroad.

Biographical / Historical

Loomis Havemeyer was born in Rye, New York on June 7, 1886 to Charles W. Havemeyer and Julia Ida Loomis Havemeyer. Havemeyer's paternal great-grandfather, William Havemeyer, established the sugar refining business in North America (1807), and his grandfather, William Frederick Havemeyer, was elected mayor of New York City, during the mid-19th century, on three separate occasions. Havemeyer's maternal grandfather, Francis Bolles Loomis, was lieutenant governor of Connecticut from 1887 to 1889. Havemeyer lived his early childhood years in Brooklyn, New York while his father managed one of the Havemeyer sugar refineries. Havemeyer's mother, after learning of her husband's infidelities, moved her two children to Hartford, Connecticut (ca. 1890) and was later granted a divorce. A bequeathment of $200,000 from Julia's brother-in-law, Hector Havemeyer, helped secure the family's financial independence.

Havemeyer attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and in 1907 entered Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University. After receiving a Ph.B in philosophy (1910S), Havemeyer pursued graduate study at Yale in anthropology under Albert Galloway Keller, who, according to Havemeyer, "had the ability of making a man feel on the heights and in the depths in the same breath." Keller openly expressed his concern that Havemeyer did not have the maturity or commitment necessary to pursue graduate work seriously; Keller then advised Havemeyer not to be discouraged under any circumstances should he choose to pursue a career in academics. In 1912, Havemeyer received his M.A. in anthropology and after presenting his dissertation, "The Drama of Savage Peoples," he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1915. In 1925, Havemeyer taught a class on social evolution in the Sheffield Scientific School. Keller was opposed to the course, believing it to be "subversive" to the department. The rift ultimately resulted in the dissolution of their professional and personal relationship.

Throughout his four decade career at Yale, Havemeyer held many positions in both academic and administrative capacities. Havemeyer's academic appointments included instructor of geography and anthropology (1913-1919); instructor of geography (1919-1920); instructor of anthropology (1920-1921); instructor of anthropology and economic geography (1921-1923); lecturer (1923-1925); assistant professor of anthropology (1925-1934); assistant professor of social sciences (1934-1937); assistant professor of evolution (1937-1941); and lecturer (1941-1954). Despite numerous teaching positions, Havemeyer is remembered more for his administrative contributions, most notably as registrar of Sheffield Scientific School (1919-1929). Additional administrative duties included assistant dean (1929-1941) and associate dean (1941-1945) of Sheffield Scientific School; registrar of the School of Engineering (1932-1954); director of undergraduate registration (1945-1948); associate dean in charge of undergraduate registration (1941-1954); and director of undergraduate schedules and allocations (1954-1969). In 1967, Havemeyer was awarded the Yale Medal of Honor in recognition of his continuing role in the operation of the university.

Havemeyer was very involved in the Yale community in informal capacities as well. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Book and Snake Society as well as a co-founder of the Aurelian Honor Society, in both of which he actively participated throughout his life. He was also a great supporter of the Yale Dramat, claiming to have attended over 270 performances.

Beginning in the summer of 1901 and throughout his undergraduate years, Havemeyer traveled extensively with his mother and sister to Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, the Northwestern United States, and Alaska. On a number of occasions he was a guest in the home of the Baron and Baroness von Munchausen and in 1911 was invited by Annette von Munchausen to attend a dance given for the Duke and Duchess of Coburg.

Havemeyer's reputation was that of a generous person with a philanthropic nature. Much of his giving was done anonymously, as in the case of Carnes Weeks, a student whose medical education Havemeyer financed. Havemeyer never married and with the death, in 1941, of his sister, Julia Loomis Havemeyer, he was left with no immediate relatives. Yale became the major beneficiary of his wealth when in 1949, Havemeyer established the "Loomis and Julia Havemeyer Fund" for students in science and engineering. In 1958, with a gift of $40,000, Havemeyer established the "Timothy Dwight College Fellowship Fund," in order to bring distinguished artists in the areas of arts and literature to the college. In 1969 he established the "Julia Havemeyer Musical Fellowship," at the Yale School of Music, to provide a fellowship for advanced students of music.

In addition to music, theater, and dinner parties, Havemeyer enjoyed writing and became an avid chronicler of Yale history and traditions, especially after his official retirement in 1954. Many writings were published privately with his own money and distributed to friends. His writings on Yale history and traditions included Aurelian Honor Society of Yale University and Its Times; Eating at Yale, 1701-1965; Go to Your Room: Undergraduate Societies and Fraternities at Yale, The Engineering Heritage at Yale; A History of Book and Snake; A History of Timothy Dwight College; Sheff Days and Ways; Out of Yale's Past; Then and Now; Undergraduate Yale in the Second World War; Yale's Extracurricular and Social Organizations, 1780-1960; and Yale, 1930-1946. "The Drama of Savage Peoples" (dissertation), Ethnography(co-authored with A. G. Keller), and The Conservation of Our Natural Resources comprised Havemeyer's published scholarly contributions. Autobiographical writings such as "These Things I Remember" and "The Years Since My Retirement, 1954-?" recollect events and experiences throughout his life. Havemeyer died on August 14, 1971.

Guide to the Loomis Havemeyer Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Mary McKay
July 1999
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

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