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Jane C. Crowell Papers

Identifier: MA.00262

Scope and Contents

The Jane C. Crowell (1870-1950) Papers consist of 2.0 linear feet of material documenting the personal and literary life of Jane Crowell, a native and lifelong inhabitant of Amherst. It also includes a small amount of material (a few writings and photographic documentation of her school) from her sister Annie L. Crowell.

The bulk of the collection contains Jane Crowell's poetry, short stories, and essays, selections of which were published in newspapers and journals during her lifetime. Also included in the collection are miscellaneous photographs, including several of her father, Edward Payson Crowell; her mother, Mary Warner; and her grandparents, Rev. Aaron Warner, Amherst College Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, and of English Literature, and his second wife, Anne G. Burns Warner.


  • Creation: circa 1870-1950


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Jane C. Crowell Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Jane C. Crowell Papers 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

Jane Caroline Crowell (born 1872) was one of three daughters of Edward Payson (AC 1853) and Mary Warner Crowell. Jane's father arrived in Amherst as an undergraduate, but her mother was a native of Amherst and the daughter of Rev. Aaron Warner (professor of Rhetoric) and Mary Atwood Warner (who died a few days after her daughter's birth in 1834). Mary Warner Crowell was also a childhood friend and schoolmate of Emily Dickinson.

The Crowells seem to have been an exceptionally close family. Of the four children, only Jane's brother, Robert W. Crowell (AC 1889), married and moved away, while all three daughters (Mary, Annie, and Jane) remained unmarried and lived at home into the late 1940s. Jane was the last Crowell to live in the house, almost until her death in 1950. The photograph album in series 2, Photographs, documents the family home and suggests the attachments among its inhabitants.

Jane (sometimes called Jean or Jennie) Crowell aspired to be a published writer. She wrote poems, short stories, and essays, some of which were published in newspapers and magazines. The collection contains many of her works, most as typescripts in a finished or nearly finished form.

Although the Warner-Crowell family lived in one home in Amherst for a century, there seems to be little remaining in the way of family papers. That there is not more than what is represented in the Jane C. Crowell Papers is probably because the family, or at least Jean Crowell, deliberately destroyed their correspondence. Writing about Mary Warner Crowell in his "Years and Hours of Emily Dickinson," Jay Leyda noted that "in the last illness of her daughter, Jean Crowell, a friend stoked the furnace with Mary Warner Crowell's correspondence" (page lxxviii). It's likely that other family papers met the same fate.


1 Linear feet (2 archives boxes)

Language of Materials



The Jane C. Crowell (1870-1950) Papers document aspects of the personal life of Jane Caroline Crowell, daughter of Edward Payson Crowell, professor of Latin at Amherst College, and Mary Warner, native of Amherst and childhood friend of Emily Dickinson. Most of the collection consists of typescripts of Jane Crowell's poetry, essays, and short stories. The collection also includes miscellaneous family photographs, including images of Crowell's parents and grandparents, as well as an important photograph album documenting the Crowell/Warner family home (the historic Solomon Pitkin House).


The Jane C. Crowell Papers are organized into three series:

  1. Series 1: Writings (circa 1930-1950)
  2. Series 2: Photographs (circa 1870-1950)
  3. Series 3: Publications (1884)

Custodial History

The Jane C. Crowell Papers were added to the collection in the 1980s as a gift from Marie Gutowska, a faculty member at UMass and a mutual friend of Jane Crowell and Edna L. Skinner. Before the Gutowska gift, Skinner probably had possession of the papers until her death in the early 1950s. The Jane C. Crowell Papers remained in the unprocessed backlog until 2013.

Related Materials

Although the Warner-Crowell family lived in one home in Amherst for a century, little exists in the way of family papers, perhaps because Jane Crowell appears to have been determined to keep family papers out of public hands and so used them in her woodstove. Nevertheless, something of the family history may be reconstructed through the this small collection of her papers as well as the following files -- most related to her father -- in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections:

  1. Aaron Warner Non-Alumnus Biographical Files
  2. Edward Payson Crowell (AC 1853) Biographical Files
  3. News clipping scrapbook 1892-1904
  4. A Latin Calendar (Perpetual) compiled by Mrs. E.P. Crowell
  5. A Clue to the Prose Writing and Satire of the Silver Age
  6. Introduction to the History of Latin Literature No. II
  7. Papers and manuscripts (2 boxes, teaching-related materials)

Related Materials at Other Institutions

Smith College: Jane C. Crowell was a graduate with the Class of 1895, which has materials in their collection related to her class.

Brown University: Mary Warner Crowell's scrapbook in "The Barton Levi St. Armand Collection of Dickinson Family Papers, [ca. 1851-1908]"

Margaret R. Dakin, Archives and Special Collections Specialist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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