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Margaret Sutton Briscoe Papers

Identifier: MA.01019

Scope and Contents

The Margaret Sutton Briscoe Papers are 1.5 linear feet of material focusing primarily on her early writing career.

The largest single component of the collection is printed copies of her writings, taken from the magazines or other periodicals in which they were published.

Another significant portion of the material are handwritten and typewritten manuscripts. These include several unpublished short works and novels, along with handwritten draft chapters of her memoirs, which she entitled, I Remember! I Remember! Some of these chapters contain enclosures, such as news clippings, poetry, and correspondence. One enclosed piece of correspondence dates from 1941, indicating that she may have been working on this book when she died. This unpublished manuscript shows that Briscoe did not stop writing after she stopped publishing in the early 1910s. Whereas her published works were primarily fiction, the chapters of this manuscript give an insight into Briscoe's thoughts on her childhood, professional life as a young woman in New York City, and her life in Amherst.

A smaller component of the material is incoming personal correspondence and incoming correspondence and contracts from publishers.

The papers are organized into 4 series: 1. Manuscripts [circa 1895-1941] 2. Printed Material [1890-1907] 3. Correspondence, Contracts, and Images [1891-1942, undated]

Series 1: Manuscripts [circa 1895-1941], consists of novel, play, short story, and memoir manuscripts, along with manuscript notes and annotations.

Series 2: Printed Material [1890-1907], includes copies of Briscoe's printed stories from periodicals, as well as news clippings about her.

Series 3: Correspondence, Contracts, and Images [1891-1942, undated], consists of personal correspondence to and about Briscoe (notable correspondents include Lord Jeffery Amherst, 5th Earl Amherst; Ramses Chaffey; and fans of Briscoe’s work), and correspondence and contracts from publishers, including letters about a story of Briscoe's that was plagiarized by another woman. Also included in this series is a small number of images, including postcards, a silouette, and several copies of what appear to be passport photos of Margaret Sutton Briscoe Hopkins and Arthur Hopkins.


  • 1891-1942


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Margaret Sutton Briscoe Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Margaret Sutton Briscoe 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

Margaret Sutton Briscoe, daughter of Dr. Samuel W. Briscoe and Cornelia Dushane Blacklock Briscoe, was born in 1864 in Baltimore, MD. She began publishing her short fiction at a young age and continued to publish under her maiden name after she married Arthur Hopkins (AC 1885) in 1895. She moved with her husband to Amherst, MA, where he taught at Amherst College in the Chemistry department. In 1896, she gave birth to a daughter, Cornelia Dushane Hopkins.

Briscoe published numerous short stories and serialized fiction in late 19th and early 20th century periodicals. She also published six books, some of which were compilations of previously published short stories. These include: Perchance to dream, and other stories (1892), Links in a chain (1893), Jimty, and others (1898), The sixth sense, and other stories (1899), The change of heart: six love stories (1903), and The image of Eve: a romance with alleviations (1909). She seems to have stopped publishing by the early 1910s in favor of civic pursuits.

Briscoe was a member of the Ladies of Amherst Club and may have been active in the Amherst School Alliance and Amherst Civic League. Several sources mention her as an unofficial counselor of Amherst College students, to whom deans would send troubled young men in lieu of more formal psychiatric treatment. She also acted as a patron or sponsor of young writers including poet Robert Francis, who wrote a short book about his two years living with her, Gusto, Thy Name Was Mrs. Hopkins: A prose rhapsody. She and her husband lived for many years at 58 Woodside Avenue (a home which had previously stood on the site of what is now Amherst College's Kirby Theater), and she ran an antique shop from the house. Margaret Sutton Briscoe Hopkins died on December 16, 1941.


1.5 Linear feet (1 records carton, 1 archives box)

Language of Materials



Short story writer, playwright, and novelist, wife of Amherst professor Arthur John Hopkins (for his papers, see separate finding aid). Collection includes copies of published short stories, correspondence, and manuscript writings, including Briscoe's unfinished memoirs.

Custodial History

The Margaret Sutton Briscoe Papers came to Amherst College in two accessions. The first batch of papers was purchased by the Archives & Special Collections in 1994 from a manuscripts dealer. These were previously described by themselves in a finding aid. The second batch of papers was donated in 2006 by grandsons of Margaret Sutton Briscoe.

Related Materials

  1. Amherst Civic League Papers (1911-1912). Jones Library Special Collections. Amherst, MA.
  2. Amherst College Women (Ladies of Amherst College). Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
  3. Buildings and Grounds Collection. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections. See Faculty Housing - Boyden House, 58 Woodside Ave.
  4. Dodd, Mead mss., 1855-1992. LMC 2415. Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.
  5. Dramatic Activities Collection. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections. See Dramatic Productions - An I.O.U., Feb 1915.
  6. Arthur John Hopkins (1864-1939) Papers. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
  7. Arthur John Hopkins (AC 1885) in Alumni Biographical Files. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
  8. Margaret Sutton Briscoe in Non-Alumni Biographical Files. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
  9. Gusto, thy name was Mrs. Hopkins : a prose rhapsody by Robert Francis. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections. Call number: File PS3511.R237 G8
Claire Lobdell, Merrill Project Archivist
February 2013
Language of description
Script of description
This work was funded by a grant from the Hellen Ingram Plummer Charitable Foundation, Inc.

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