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William Appleton Aiken papers

Call Number: MS 1093

Scope and Contents

The papers of William Appleton Aiken consist of manuscripts, transcripts and photostatic copies of papers in British and American repositories, notes, correspondence, photographs, and other papers relating to Daniel Finch, second Earl of Nottingham, and his period. The bulk of the collection is research materials for Aiken's Yale doctoral thesis, The Conduct of the Rt. Hon. Daniel Earl of Nottingham, By Himself (1939; published in 1941 under the title, The Conduct of the Earl of Nottingham, and for other writings on related topics. The research materials have been left in Aiken's order.

Aiken's manuscripts are largely critical editions of writings by Nottingham and his contemporaries, although several short articles are also included. His correspondence consists of letters from Jasmine Finch about her family's history, from Aiken's research assistant, A. May Osler, and from historians and scholars sending congratulations on the publication of his book. Included are Stuart W. Jackson, Wallace Notestein, Paul D. Moody, and George M. Trevelyan.

Also in the collection, although unrelated to the other materials, are two autograph letters of 1897, one from Cosima Wagner and the other from Hedwig Humperdinck, both addressed to Charles Joseph Dyer.

Also included are Aiken's personal papers including his diaries as an army intelligence officer in the Middle East during World War II and an exhibition scrapbook prepared by the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information.


  • 1891-1971


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

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 Mrs. William A. Aiken, 1959; acquired from Seaport Autographs, 1993 and Noushin Books & Co., 2014.


9.5 Linear Feet (21 boxes, 1 folio)

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, research materials, and autograph letters relating to the literary work of William Appleton Aiken on the life of Daniel Fitch, second Earl of Nottingham. Also included are Aiken's personal papers including his diaries as an army intelligence officer in the Middle East during World War II and an exhibition scrapbook prepared by the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information.

Biographical / Historical

WILLIAM APPLETON AIKEN. Professor of English and European history, Lehigh University; residence, 1324 Prospect Avenue, Bethlehem, Pa. "Appy", who joined the Lehigh faculty as assistant professor of English history in 1941, was appointed associate professor of English and European history in February, 1946, and to a full professorship in January, 1949. He received an M.Litt. degree at Cambridge University in 1932 and a Ph.D. at Yale in 1939-both in English history-and was an instructor in history at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, from 1938 to 1940. He is a member of the social studies committee of the College Entrance Board Examinations of the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J., and secretary to the National Council of the American Friends of the Middle East. He belongs to the American Historical Association, the American Academy of Social and Political Science, the Archeological Institute of America, the Middle East Institute, and the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Appy edited The Conduct of the Earl of Nottingham (Yale University Press, 1941), arranged and edited The Poems of Catullus (Dutton, 1950), and is the author of an article on the Middle East in This Week Magazine in 1951 and of two articles on Cairo, published in Egypt in 1952.

From June, 1942, to February, 1946, he served in the Psychological Warfare Branch (first lieutenant to major)-in Washington most of the time, although he spent four months abroad (London and Cairo). Appy, who received a citation for distinguished service-or whatever you call that white and green ribbon"-has continued in the Reserve and in the past few years has attended the O.R.C. School. Command and General Staff Section, in Allentown, Pa.

Married on June 2, 1938, in New York City to Phyllis Almy Gallatin, he has three children: Timothy Buckingham, born June 23, 1940, in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., Penelope Gallatin on April 24, 1942, in Bethlehem, and David MacGregor on October 11, 1949, in New York.

(History of the Class of 1929, Yale college, 25 Year Record,pages 30-31)

Guide to the William Appleton Aiken Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz and staff of Manuscripts and Archives
August 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

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