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Burlingame Family Papers

An inventory of their papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MLB
Date: Dec 1972

Biographical History

Three generations of the Burlingame family are represented in the papers of this collection. The three major historical figures in the family are discussed below in accordance with the amount of material present on each individual.

Anson Burlingame (1820-1870) was the son of Joel and his wife Freelove (Angell) Burlingame. He attended the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School. After marriage to Jane Cornelia Livermore, the daughter of Isaac Livermore, Burlingame began a promising political career in the Massachusetts Senate. In 1855 he was elected as a Republican to Congress where he served three terms. After the presidential campaign of 1860 he became minister to Peking in which capacity he concluded the Burlingame Treaty. He and his wife, Jane Cornelia Livermore, had three children: Edward Livermore (b. 1848), Walter Angell (b. 1852), and Gertrude (1853-?). Burlingame died while on a diplomatic mission to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1870.

Edward Livermore Burlingame (1848-1922), also known as E.L. Burlingame, was Jane and Anson's eldest son. As a young man he grew up in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area, and in 1861 entered Harvard. When his father was appointed minister to China, young Edward followed him to Peking, and later Paris, Berlin, Heidelberg, and St. Petersburg. In 1871 he began a career with the New York Tribune, and married Ella Frances Badger in the same year. He and his wife had four children: Jane (b. 1872), Frederick Anson (b, 1873), Constance (b. 1877), and William Roger (b. 1889). Burlingame became a literary advisor to Charles Scribner's Sons, and in 1886 was appointed editor of the new Scribner's Magazine, a post he held until his resignation in 1914.

William Roger Burlingame (1889-1967), known as Rog or Roger, was the second son of Edward and Ella Burlingame. As a boy Roger attended Morristown School and went on to Harvard University, graduating from the latter in 1913. After serving with the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I, he returned to America and assumed various posts with Charles Scribner's Sons. In 1926 he began a career as a free-lance writer augmented by teaching stints at Barnard and M.I.T. During the course of his long career, Burlingame wrote articles, essays, books, and short stories. He is particularly known for non-fiction works on the historical impact of industry and technology on American society, though he did publish several novels during the early part of his career. His autobiography, published in 1958, is entitled I Have Known Many Words. In 1933 Roger married Angeline Whiton, known professionally as Ann Watkins, literary agent and president of Ann Watkins Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Burlingame died within a few days of each other in 1967.

A genealogical chart of the Burlingame family is available at the end of this inventory.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Burlingame Family Papers consists of the private and public papers of several generations of the prominent American family. The major contributor to the collection is writer and historian Roger Burlingame. There are also small amounts of material relating to Anson, Walter A., Edward Livermore, and Ann Burlingame. The papers are organized in five major groups: Correspondence, Legal and Financial Records, Memorabilia, Organization Records, and Writings.

Correspondence is separated into incoming, family, and outgoing letters. Among the items of special interest are the letters written by Walter A. Burlingame describing his experiences in China while accompanying his father, ambassador Anson Burlingame, in 1866 and 1867. Also present are letters from well known authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Marquand, Edith Wharton, Roald Dahl, Ayn Rand, Tasha Tudor, Rudyard Kipling, Archibald MacLeish, Kaye Boyle, Sidney Howard, and others.

Legal and Financial Records contains documents pertinent to the-business affairs of several family members. There are wills, insurance policies, passports, royalty statements, and a variety of materials of a similar nature.

Memorabilia, dating from 1865 to 1967, contains items of incidental interest about the private lives of the Burlingame and related families. Included in this group are address books, newspaper clippings, ephemera, genealogical records, biographical material, and photographs.

Organization records consist of materials related to Roger Burlingame's association with various organizations. Among these are the Century Club, the Housatonic Valley Conference, Office of War Information, and the United States Army. Many of these organizations are also represented in Correspondence, above.

Writings date from 1856 to 1967, and include the written works of Roger, Ann, Walter, and Anson Burlingame. The bulk of this material was prepared by Roger Burlingame and includes articles, books, book reviews, diaries, poetry, short stories, and speeches. Included in this group are drafts of published and unpublished works as well as materials used in preparing the drafts. There is a miscellany of literary works and drawings done by others.

Arrangement of the Collection

Incoming letters are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the sender or by the name of the institution the sender represents; a small amount of incoming correspondence to Walter Burlingame is foldered separately at the end of this section. Family correspondence is arranged roughly chronologically. Outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically by year and month; a small anount of unsorted outgoing correspondence has been placed at the beginning of this section. Memorabilia is organized alphabetically by type of material. Manuscript materials are organized alphabetically by the name of the organization, and subdivided by the type of document. Writings are arranged alphabetically by author, and then by type of written work.

Note that due to rearrangement of the files there is NO BOX 14.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Several items have been removed from the collection and sent to Rare Books.

Subject Headings


Bacon, Leonard.
Beatty, Hetty Burlingame.
Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992.
Burlingame family.
Burlingame, Anson, 1820-1870.
Burlingame, Edward L. (Edward Livermore), 1848-1922.
Burlingame, Roger, 1889-1967.
Davis, Elmer, 1890-1958.
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970.
Dulles, Allen, 1893-1969.
Eisenhower, Milton Stover, 1899-1985.
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott), 1896-1940.
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006.
Goodman, Nathan G. (Nathan Gerson), 1899-
Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939.
James, Henry, 1843-1916.
Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936.
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982.
Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960.
Murrow, Edward R.
Osborne, Lithgow, 1892-1980.
Pringle, Henry F. (Henry Fowles), 1897-1958.
Roper, Elmo, 1900-1971.
Shirer, William L. (William Lawrence), 1904-1993.
Thurber, James, 1894-1961.
Watkins, Ann, 1885-1967.
Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937.
White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985.
Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975.


Authors, American.
Biographers -- United States.
Literary agents.
Novelists, American.

Genres and Forms

Address books.
Appointment books.
Book reviews.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Genealogies (histories)
Manuscripts for publication.
Speeches (documents)


Literary agents.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Burlingame Family Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents


Legal and financial


Organization records