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Samuel G. Goodrich (Peter Parley) Collection

Identifier: MA.00123

Scope and Contents

This collection of 97 items, most collected by Mr. Harmon Boyd (AC 1917), consists chiefly of correspondence but also passports, contracts, tickets, official proclamations, and other documents relating to Samuel Goodrich's life and literary work, chiefly dating from 1820 to 1860 with some undated material. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Goodrich; correspondence to other individuals usually concerns Goodrich or his literary works or characters. The collection also includes several letters written by or to Goodrich's daughter, Emily Goodrich Smith, concerning her father's works; and one letter dated 1860 to Goodrich's wife. Three items comprise 20th century material relating to Mr. and Mrs. Boyd's ownership of the collection.


  • Creation: 1812-1972
  • Creation: 1820-1860


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Goodrich Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Goodrich Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860) wrote a popular and widely imitated series of educational works for children under the pen name of Peter Parley. His intent was to provide an alternative to the British biases of 19th-century schoolroom texts and the questionable morals of nursery rhymes. He also created two children's magazines, Merry's Museum and Parley's Magazine, as well as an annual gift book, The Token. Goodrich served in the Massachusetts legislature in 1837 and held the post of U.S. consul at Paris from 1851 to 1853.


1 Linear feet (1 archives box, 1 oversize flat box)

Language of Materials



Children's writer. Collection consists chiefly of correspondence but also passports, contracts, tickets, official proclamations, and other documents relating to Goodrich's life and literary work.


The papers are arranged alphabetically by name of creator, with unidentified material placed at the end. Nine oversize items have been placed in a second box.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Amherst College received the papers from Mrs. Harmon S. Boyd (AC 1917) in 1980. Mr. Boyd, a Goodrich collector, assembled the collection. It was processed in 2003.

Related Materials

The Archives and Special Collections holdings include more than 600 volumes by Samuel G. Goodrich, including many of his "Peter Parley" works in both British and U.S. editions, many piracies and imitations, and in addition many books published by Goodrich in both Hartford and Boston. Most titles are searchable in the Library's online catalog.

Christine Fernsebner Eslao, Daria D'Arienzo, Peter Nelson
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299