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George Henry Nettleton papers

Call Number: MS 473

Scope and Contents

The George Henry Nettleton Papers contain correspondence, subject files, diaries, speeches and writings, and memorabilia chiefly relating to Nettleton's career as professor of English at Yale and his activities with the Yale Bureau and the American University Union. The papers were the gift of the estate of George H. Nettleton (1959) and of Mary Treat Nettleton Haight (1987). The fourteen linear feet of papers are arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1884-1955; II. Subject Files, 1917-1945; III. Diaries, 1899-1956; IV. Speeches and Writings, 1915-1951; V. Memorabilia, 1893-1945.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, contains two subseries: Personal Correspondence and Professional Correspondence. The bulk of the personal correspondence is dated 1884-1902 and consists of letters written between George Henry Nettleton, his mother Mary Ellen Tucker Nettleton, and his sister Annie Tucker Nettleton. The letters relate to George Nettleton's undergraduate and graduate studies as well as extracurricular activities at Yale, and his subsequent Yale instructorship; Annie Tucker Nettleton's senior year at the Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and her elementary school and kindergarden teaching career in North Rochester and Boston, Massachusetts; and his mother's home life in Boston and Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Personal correspondence dating from 1902-1950 is dominated by correspondence between Nettleton and his wife Mary Clark Treat Nettleton, written during Professor Nettleton's travels to England and Europe. The bulk of the letters from this period date from 1917 to 1919 and document Nettleton's experiences as director of the Yale Bureau in Paris and the American University Union, and Mrs. Nettleton's experiences during World War I in the New Haven, Connecticut, area. Correspondence between the Nettletons and their friends William Lyon and Annabel Phelps is also contained in this subseries.

The bulk of the professional correspondence relates to Nettleton's work with the Yale Bureau in Paris and the American University Union. Correspondents include Robert Woods Bliss, John William Cunliffe, Paul van Dyke, H.S. Krans, Van Rensselaer Lansingh, Anson Phelps Stokes, and Henry B. Thompson. Letters pertaining to Nettleton's scholarly research and writing, and his activities as contributing editor of Book of the Yale Pageant and editor of Yale in the World War are also contained in the subseries.

Professional correspondence relating to Nettleton's teaching and administrative career includes letters regarding war time military courses at Yale (1917), and the Committee on the General Needs of the College (1923-1924, 1934).

The bulk of Series II, SUBJECT FILES, dates from 1917-1937 and relates to the Yale Bureau in Paris and the Amerian University Union. Minutes of meetings, financial records, and reports are contained in these files. In addition, files dating from 1919-1939 that relate to Nettleton's activities on Yale University committees, as dean of Yale College, and as professor of English are included in the series.

The diaries within Series III contain brief notations of Nettleton's business, social, and leisure activities. Included in this series is a diary in which Nettleton described a European tour in 1899.

Series IV, SPEECHES AND WRITINGS, contains manuscripts and typescripts of books, articles, and speeches by George Nettleton. The bulk of the material relates to an unpublished work on the history of Yale and the publications, Yale in the World War and The Yale Pageant. In addition, there is one folder containing miscellaneous poems, articles, and notes dated 1939-1940, and undated by other writers.

Series V, MEMORABILIA, contains photographs, postcards, and printed material chiefly relating to the American University Union and World War I. An account book from Nettleton's sophomore year at Yale (1893-1894) is also included in this series.


  • 1819-1959


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 the estate of George H. Nettleton, 1959; Mary Treat Nettleton Haight, 1987; and George D. Glazer, 1995, and Minot B. Nettleton, 2002.


Arranged in five series and two additions: I. Correspondence, 1884-1955. II. Subject Files, 1917-1945. III. Diaries, 1899-1956. IV. Speeches and Writings, 1915-1951. V. Memorabilia, 1893-1945.


19.25 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, subject files, diaries, speeches and writings, and memorabilia chiefly relating to George Henry Nettleton's career as professor of English at Yale, his activities with the Yale Bureau in Paris and the American University Union, and his scholarly research and writings.

Biographical / Historical

George Henry Nettleton was born on July 16, 1874, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Boston attorney Edward Payson Nettleton and Mary Ellen Tucker Nettleton. He attended the Boston Latin School (1886-1889) and Phillips-Andover Academy (1889-1892), and received the B.A. (1896) and the Ph.D. (1900) from Yale University, and an honorary Litt.D. (1920) from Baylor University. As an undergraduate at Yale, Nettleton was an editor of the Yale Courant and of the Lit, a member of Chi Delta Theta, the Yale Union, the Cap and Gown Committee, Kappa Psi, Psi U, and Scroll and Key, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Nettleton was instructor (1898), assistant professor (1906-1916), and professor (1916-1943) of English, and chairman of the English department (1921-1931) at Yale. From 1937-1939 he was dean of Yale College. During the academic year 1922-1923, he served as acting president of Vassar College.

In 1917 Nettleton was appointed director of the Yale Bureau in Paris, a meeting place for Yale-affiliated servicemen. From 1917-1919, Nettleton directed the American University Union in Europe. This organization coordinated the efforts of a number of American universities in establishing facilities to provide meeting, dining, and overnight accommodations, as well as cultural activities, in Paris, London, and Rome for American servicemen. Nettleton continued to be involved in the activities of the American University Union after the war, when, under the Institute of International Education and the American Council on Education, the Paris and London divisions of the union evolved into educational and cultural information exchange centers for American students and scholars pursuing studies abroad. In addition to acting as advisor to the union, he was chairman of the Finance Committee and was a member of the governing board.

Nettleton was made honorary professor of the Ecole Interalliée des Hautes Etudes Socialles in Paris; lecturer (Louis Liard Foundation) at the Sorbonne and at the University of Cambridge; and chevalier of the Legion of Honor (1919).

Nettleton authored a number of works on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British drama, including English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1914) and The Drama and the Stage. He also edited Specimens of the Short Story (1901), The Major Dramas of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1906), Old Testament Narratives (1909), The Book of the Yale Pageant (1916), Twelfth Night (Yale Shakespeare) (1921), Yale in the World War (1925), and British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan (1939).

George Nettleton married Mary Clark Treat in 1902. They were the parents of Edward Treat and Mary Treat Nettleton. George Nettleton died in 1959.

Guide to the George Henry Nettleton Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
August 1997
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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