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Henry Barrett Hinckley papers

Call Number: MS 1230

Scope and Contents

This small collection consists of correspondence and other papers pertaining to Henry Barret Hinckley and several members of his family. Hinckley's correspondence is primarily professional; it concerns his search for academic jobs and his writings on early English poetry and Chaucer. Most of the letters are from other scholars discussing points of research and commenting on his books and from publishers and potential publishers of his writings. Among his correspondents are a number of Yale notables, including William Lyon Phelps and William Howard Taft, as well as a letter from Andrew Carnegie acknowledging receipt of a book (1910 Jan 21) and a letter from Simeon E. Baldwin, Governor of Connecticut (1912 Mar 4). Enclosed in a letter of 1933 Oct 7 From Samuel Moore is a copy of "Middle English Dialect Characteristics and Dialect Boundaries" prepared by the staff of The Middle English Dictionary. Hinckley's responses are preserved in only a few cases.

As well as professional correspondence, there are a few letters exchanged between Hinckley and his siblings which deal both with family news and with Hinckley's scholarly activities. There are also a number of letters to the editor written by Hinckley, most of them on Chaucer and other English authors.

The remaining papers of Henry B. Hinckley include certificates, receipt, several family photographs, and printed matter such as reviews of Hinckley's books, newspaper clippings, as well as several Yale examinations and other items of memorabilia.

Finally, this collection also contains typescripts of nine letters from Henry Rose Hinckley, father of Henry B. Hinckley, to his parents written from Yale. The first of these contains an account of the town and gown riot of 1858. The last items in the collection are letters to Henry Rose Hinckley from Edward Foster Blake and George Franklin Vose about yale events and their own activities.

These papers were given to Yale University by Benjamin B. Hinckley and Rose Hinckley in 1940 and 1959.


  • 1858-1934
  • Majority of material found within 1894 - 1934


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is 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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, reviews of books, financial records, photographs and memorabilia. The correspondence largely concerns his search for jobs and discussion of early English poetry and Chaucer. Among his correspondents are William Lyon Phelps and William Howard Taft. Included also are transcripts of nine letters from Henry Rose Hinckley, father of Henry B. Hinckley, to his parents written from Yale College. The earliest letter (February 1858) contains an account of a town and gown riot.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Barrett Hinckley, B.A. 1892.

Born March 1, 1871, in Northampton, Mass.; Died July 29, 1940, in Brattleboro, Vt.

Father, Henry Rose Hinckley (B.A. 1859). Mother, Mary Wright (Barrett) Hinckley. Yale relatives include: Rev. Joseph Lyman (B.A. 1767) and Samuel Hinckley (B.A. 1781) (great-great-grandfathers); Jonathan Lyman (B.A. 1802) (great-grandfather); George Hinckley (B.A. 1810) (great-great-uncle); Joseph Lyman (B.A. 1828) (great-uncle); and Benjamin B. Hinckley, Jr., ex-'35 (nephew).

Black Hall School, Old Lyme, Conn., and New Church School, Waltham, Mass. High oration appoint Junior and Senior years; honorable mention Hugh Chamberlain Greek Prize and first Berkeley Premium for Latin Composition Freshman year; shared second Winthrop Prize Junior year; Commencement speaker; Class poet; member Yale Union, Chi Delta Theta, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Attended Harvard Graduate School 1892-95 (M.A. 1895); instructor in English Lake Forest College 1895-96; because of ill-health had not been actively engaged as a teacher since 1895; a student of early English poetry, he published extensive notes and commentaries on The Owl and the Nightingale; also author of Notes on Chaucer (1907), Poems (1909), and Thersites: A Dramatic Fragment (1913); contributed to Modern Philology and Modern Language Notes; member Conncticut Academy of Arts and Scienes, Modern Language Association of America, and Episcopal church.


Death due to carcinoma. Buried in Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton. Survived by a sister, Rose Hinckley (B.A. Smith Coll. 1895) of Northampton, and two brothers, Edward B. Hinckley, '89, and Benjamin B. Hinckley, '97 (died October 22, 1940; see page 74). Two other brothers, Donald R. Hinckley, '92, and George L. Hinckley, '00, died in 1901 and 1936 respectively.

(Yale University Obituary Record, 1940-43, pages 48-49)

* * * * *

Henry Rose Hinckley, B.A. 1859

Born December 20, 1838, in Northampton, Mass.; Died June 9, 1918, in Northampton, Mass.

Henry Rose Hinckley was born December 20, 1838, in Northampton, Mass., the son of Samuel Lyman Hin (B.A. Williams 1830), a lawyer, and Henrietta Elizabeth (Rose) Hinckley. His father, who was the son of Jonathan Huntington Lyman (B.A. 1802) and Sophia (Hinckley) Lyman, changed his name in 1831, at the request of his grandfather, Samuel Hinckley (B.A. 1781), and by the act of the Massachusetts Legislature, from Samuel Hinckley, who was judge of the Probate Court for Hampshire County at Northampton from 1816 to 1834, was wounded in the battle of White Plains, while serving in the Revolutionary Army. Samuel L. Hinckley was the grandson of Rev. Joseph Lyman (B.A. 1767, D.D. Williams 1801), a trustee of Amherst Colelge and one of the founders of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and Hannah (Huntington) Lyman, a grandnephew of Jonathan Lyman (B.A. 1758) and Rev. Eliphalet Lyman (B.A. 1776), a nephew of George Hinckley (B.A. 1810), and a brother of Joseph Lyman (1828). The first Hinckley to come to America was Samuel Hinckley, who brought his family from Tenterden, Kent, England, to Scituate, Mass., in 1635. His son, Thomas Hinckley, was a colonial governor of Plymouth. Henry R. Hinckley's mother was the daughter of Donald Rose, who came from Elgin, Scotland, to this country, and Elizabeth (Singleton) Rose. The latter was a native of South Carolina.

Before entering Yale in 1855, Henry R. Hinckley attended the Mount Pleasant School, Amherst, Mass., the private school of L.H. Dudley at Northampton, Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Mass., Luther Wright's private school at Easthampton, Mass., and Bellerive, Vevey, Switzerland. In college he belonged to the Nautilus Boat Club and Brothers in Unity and was vice president of the Yale Chess Club in Senior year.

He remained in New Haven for two years after graduation, spending his time in study and reading. He then went abroad for a year of travel and study. In the fall of 1862, he entered the Harvard Law School, but a year later entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant of the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (colored), with which he served until April, 1865. He then spent a few months in Europe. On his return, he went to New York City to finish his law studies and begin practice. He had received the degree of LL.B. At Harvard in 1864. Following his marriage in 1866 he again went to Europe. He later established his home in Northampton, where he followed his profession as a lawyer for a brief period. He afterwards gave his attention to manufacturing, from 1887 to 1908 being president of the Northampton Cutlery Company. He was a member of the first city government of Northampton, serving in the Northampton Common Council in 1884-85 and of the Board of Aldermen during 1885-86. In 1906 he visited the Azores, Algiers, and Italy, and he had made several later trips abroad. He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, but after his marriage attended the First Church of Christ (Congregational) in Northampton, of whose parish he was a member.

Mr. Hinckley died at his home in Northampton, June 9, 1918, after a brief illness due to angina pectoris. He was buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton.

He was married in that city June 2, 1866, to Mary Wright, daughter of Benjamin Barrett (B.A. Harvard 1819, M.D. Harvard 1823) and Mary (Wright) Barrett. They had six children: Benjamin Barrett, a graduate of Yale College in 1889 and of the Harvard Law School in 1892; Donald Rose (B.A. 1892, M.D. Harvard 1896), who died October 14, 1901; Henry Barrett (B.A. 1892, Ma.A. Harvard 1895); Rose, who graduated at Smith College in 1895; Benjamin Barrett (B.A. 1897); and George Lyman (B.A. 1900, M.A. 1906). Mr. Hinckley was a cousin of Samuel H. Lyman and Rev. Arthur H. Allen, graduates of the College in 1861 and 1873, respectively.

(Yale University Obituary Record, 1918, pages 569-71)

Guide to the Henry Barret Hinckley Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
April 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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