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Collection of Celia Thaxter Materials

Identifier: THAXTER-1

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains Thaxter's letters (1851-1894) to family, friends, various literary figures (such as William Dean Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, John Greenleaf Whittier) and editors; manuscript poems, prose fragments, an unfinished novel "Romance," as well as scrapbooks, autograph book, and first appearances.


  • 1851 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials to be used on site during regular Special Collections hours or by appointment. Photocopying or scanning may be possible at discretion of staff for nominal fee. Materials may be protected by copyright.

Biographical Note

Celia Laighton Thaxter, 1835-1894, was an American poet and prose writer. Born Celia Laighton in Portsmouth, N.H., she spent her childhood on White Island Lighthouse, part of Isles of Shoals, and Appledore Island. At 16 she married Levi Thaxter and had three sons, Karl, John, and Roland. The family spent winters on the mainland in Massachusetts, where Celia felt imprisoned by domestic duties in a city house. Her first poem, "Land-locked," was published in 1860 and was an immediate success. Soon she became widely published, with poems appearing in Harper's, Scribner's, and the Atlantic. With the means to spend more time at her family's resort on Appledore Island, she enjoyed visits there from prominent artists, literary figures, and musicians. However, her preferred literary subjects continued to be drawn from the natural world. She is best known today for "An Island Garden" and "Among the Isles of Shoals."


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Celia Laighton Thaxter, 1835-1894, was an American poet and prose writer. The collection contains Thaxter's letters, poems, prose fragments, an unfinished novel, scrapbooks, and first appearances in print.

Arrangement note

Materials arranged in six series: Correspondence, Manuscripts, Autographs and Memorabilia, Photographs and Artwork, Published Writings and Related Items, Clippings.

Provenance and Acquisition Note

Materials acquired via gift, primarily from Rosamond Thaxter.

Finding Aid to the Collection of Celia Thaxter Materials
Finding aid prepared by Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, Maine
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in: English

Repository Details

Part of the Colby College Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & Archives (SC&A), located in Miller Library, is the college’s repository for historically and culturally -significant materials, including the college archives. Our fabulous materials range in date from the 12th to the 21st centuries and represent a wide range of formats. We fully support Colby’s academic program and innovative pedagogies through aspirational collection development, faculty and student engagement, teaching and exhibition.