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John Lothrop Motley Correspondence

A description of his correspondence at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: LMD
Date: 12 November 2009

Biographical History

John Lothrop Motley (1814-1877) was an American historian and diplomat. He was secretary of the US legation at St. Petersburg in 1841, and later ambassador to Austria (1861-1867) and Great Britain (1869). While in Europe, Motley researched the history of the Netherlands. In 1856 he completed a three volume history, The Rise of the Dutch Republic. He initially had difficulty finding a British publisher and had to self-publish through John Chapman. The book was a popular success in both Britain and the United States and became a standard work of Dutch history.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Lothrop Motley Correspondence contains typed copies of Motley's letters sent to his first British publisher, John Chapman. There are 12 letters, all related to the publication of Motley's book, The Rise of the Dutch Republic. The correspondence is mainly concerned with different aspects of the publication, including revisions during the printing, negotiations with various publishers, and the process of securing copyright in England.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are in chronological order.


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.

Subject Headings


Chapman, John, 1822-1894.
Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877.


Historians -- United States.
Netherlands -- History -- Eighty Years' War, 1568-1648.
Publishers and publishing -- Great Britain.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Lothrop Motley Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Kenneth Rendell, 1967

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