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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Eleanor Prescott Hammond Papers 1913-1933

© 2020 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Hammond, Eleanor Prescott

Dates:

1913-1933

Size:

2.75 linear feet (5 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

Eleanor Prescott Hammond (b. April 26, 1866, d. February 21, 1933) was an English professor and Chaucer expert who taught at the University of Chicago and Wellesley College before spending the majority of her career as an independent scholar. The collection contains correspondence, research notes, handwritten transcribed manuscripts, typescripts of manuscripts, article and book drafts, newspaper clippings, prints, and an annotated book. Materials date between 1913 and 1933, with the bulk of the material dating between 1922 and 1932. The papers primarily document Hammond’s mid-to-late career research on Chaucer, John Lydgate, and Late Medieval Period English poetry, and includes Hammond’s correspondence with the directors of the University of Chicago’s Chaucer Research Project.

Information on Use

Access

The collection is open for research.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Hammond, Eleanor Prescott. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

Eleanor Prescott Hammond (b. April 26, 1866, d. February 21, 1933) was an English professor and Chaucer expert who taught at the University of Chicago and Wellesley College before spending the majority of her career as an independent scholar. Hammond, known as Nellie to her family, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Andrew Hill Hammond, an organ reed manufacturer, and Rhoda Maria (Barber) Hammond, a homemaker. Raised in Worcester, Hammond left the United States in her early twenties to study at the University of Leipzig.

Hammond graduated from Leipzig in 1891 and entered Oxford University, where she earned a B.A. with First-Class Honors in 1894. At Oxford, Hammond studied under English professor Arthur Sampson Napier, who served as a mentor through her early career. Hammond returned to the United States and completed a Ph.D. as a Graduate Fellow in English at the University of Chicago in 1898.

Hammond taught in the University of Chicago English Department as a Docent in English Literature from 1898 to 1904, beginning her post in the same year as her colleague and lifelong research collaborator, English professor John Matthews Manly. During this period, she published several articles on Chaucer and textual analysis, and was one of two women, out of forty-three contributors, to publish in the first edition of Chicago-based journal Modern Philology in 1903. Hammond resigned from her position at the University of Chicago in 1904, and published her first book, Chaucer: A Bibliographical Manual, in 1908. Hammond continued to live in Chicago, working as a school teacher, until the late 1910s, when she moved to Boston.

In Boston, Hammond taught intermittently at Wellesley College, working primarily as an independent scholar of Late Medieval Period English, French, and Italian poetry. Hammond published extensively through the 1920s. In addition to numerous articles, she authored a translation of Dante’s Inferno and a survey of Chaucer’s influence on English poetry. Hammond conducted multiple research trips to England to examine manuscripts in the 1910s and 1920s and corresponded frequently with fellow scholars, including University of Chicago English professors John Manly and Edith Rickert and French professor Thomas Atkinson Jenkins. She served as a contributor to the University of Chicago’s Chaucer Project, providing notes, manuscript transcriptions, and drafts of her writing. At the time of her death, Hammond was a member of the Modern Language Association and the Société des Anciens Textes Français.

Described by the sixth President of Wellesley College, Ellen Fitz Pendleton, as a scholar of national reputation, Hammond is considered a foundational figure in Chaucer scholarship. Her 1908 Bibliographical Manual was one of the first attempts to record everything known about Chaucer, blending an organized and detailed bibliography with summaries of contemporary scholarly opinion, her own critiques, and reprints of difficult to access texts. The first to identify and link a set of manuscripts transcribed by the same copyist, Hammond lends her name to the “Hammond scribe” and also to the “Hammond group,” which she led in identifying key networks in a series of 15th-century manuscripts during her time at Oxford. Her last book, English Verse Between Chaucer and Surrey, is an early application of socio-cultural theory to late medieval period English literature. Hammond’s engagement with theorists like Thorstein Veblen and ideas of the role of social ferment influenced later Chaucer scholars. Much of Hammond’s innovative approach has been credited to her decision to work outside the academy, which allowed her the independence to explore fresh avenues of analysis and critique.

Hammond died in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 66 on February 21, 1933.

Scope Note

The Eleanor Prescott Hammond Papers are organized into three series: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Research and Writing; and Series III: Oversize. The collection contains correspondence, research notes, handwritten transcribed manuscripts, typescripts of manuscripts, article and book drafts, newspaper clippings, prints, and an annotated book.

Series I, Correspondence, contains personal and professional correspondence from Hammond to scholars of late medieval period literature. The series primarily consists of correspondence with University of Chicago professors Thomas Atkinson Jenkins, John Matthews Manly, and Edith Rickert pertaining to the University’s Chaucer Project and to Hammond’s independent research.

Series II, Research and Writing, consists of Hammond’s research notebooks and files on Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and late medieval period poetry, along with article and manuscript drafts. Of special interest is a handwritten transcription of the portion of Hammond’s will bequeathing her notes to Edith Rickert and the University of Chicago, located in Box 2, Folder 6. The folder labels in this series include the title given by Hammond to the notebook or file their contents were originally housed in, transcribed verbatim.

Series III, Oversize, contains a 1930 Rockwell Kent print of the Monk’s Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the text of the Miller’s Tale.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Archival Biographical Files, circa 1890-2019

Bacon, Sir Nicholas. Collection of English Court and Manorial Documents

Boyer, Blanche. Papers

Bressie, Ramona. Papers

Canterbury tales: manuscript, [1440-1460]. Ms 564

Carpenter, Frederic Ives. Papers

Chaucer Research Project. Records, 1886-1965

Manly, John Matthews. Papers

Mills, Mabel Helmer

Rickert, Edith. Papers

Rickert, Margaret. Papers

University of Chicago. Department of English. Records

University of Chicago. Department of English Language and Literature. Records, 1900-1947

University of Chicago. Division of the Humanities. Research Grants. Records

University of Chicago Press. Records

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Correspondence

Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1924-1926

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence, 1927-1932

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, undated

Series II: Research and Writing

Box 1   Folder 4

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Cavendish/Morley/Sackville, undated

Box 1   Folder 5

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Cant. Tales MSS/Gloucester’s MSS catalog/Cantons/Fairfax copies, 1913

Box 1   Folder 6

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Fortune/Sellyng/Chr. Ch./Ass. Ladies/La Belle Dame/Eye & Heart/Cuckoo F.B.T./Royal + O.P., circa 1915

Box 1   Folder 7

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer -Parlament of Foules, circa 1920s

Box 1   Folder 8

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Huntington Library Correspondence and Texts, 1926

Box 1   Folder 9

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Minor Poems MSS [1/2], circa 1928

Box 1   Folder 10

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Minor Poems MSS [2/2], circa 1928

Box 1   Folder 11

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Chaucer MSS, circa 1930

Box 1   Folder 12

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Canterbury Tales - The Monk’s Tale, circa 1930

Box 2   Folder 1

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - MSS Dupl. [1/2], circa 1927-1933

Box 2   Folder 2

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - MSS Dupl. [2/2], circa 1927-1933

Box 2   Folder 3

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Poems, undated

Box 2   Folder 4

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Gower, circa 1914

Box 2   Folder 5

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Hawes/Neville/Moore/Cornish/Ripley, undated

Box 2   Folder 6

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Hoccleve/Walton, circa 1924

Box 2   Folder 7

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Libel Eng. Policy/Hardyng/London Lickpenny, undated

Box 2   Folder 8

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Lucretia/Dance (Bodl., Langl.)/Ashby/Forrest/Theodotus/”Denier”/Missa D’Amor/Adds 31922, circa 1926

Box 2   Folder 9

Research - Annotated Book - John Lydgate - The Serpent of Division, circa 1911

Box 2   Folder 10

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - Court of Sapience/Assembly of Gods, circa 1920s

Box 2   Folder 11

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - from E. Salisbury, 1922

Box 3   Folder 1

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate- Dance Macabre/Horns Away/Bycorne + Chichevache [1/2], circa 1926

Box 3   Folder 2

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate- Dance Macabre/Horns Away/Bycorne + Chichevache [2/2], circa 1926

Box 3   Folder 3

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - Burgh Shirly Rynof Palladius, undated

Box 3   Folder 4

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - The Court of Sapyence/The Order of Fools/Assembly of Gods, undated

Box 3   Folder 5

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - Misc. M.E. Copies, undated

Box 3   Folder 6

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - John Lydgate - Royal MS/Godriedes on Palladius/Lydgate, undated

Box 3   Folder 7

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Skelton, undated

Box 3   Folder 8

Writing - Article Drafts and Notes - Chaucer - “The Chaucer Tradition,” circa 1920s

Box 3   Folder 9

Writing - Articles - Chaucer - “Chaucer’s Book of Twenty-Five Ladies,” 1932

Box 3   Folder 10

Writing - Drafts - Chaucer - Canterbury Tales - C.T. Studies, undated

Box 3   Folder 11

Writing - Book Drafts - Chaucer - Dupl. Minor Poems MSS, undated

Box 4   Folder 1

Writing - Book Drafts - Flower and Leaf Introduction + Notes/Flower of Courtsey, circa 1920s

Box 4   Folder 2

Writing - Book Drafts - Wyatt Survey second copy, circa 1925

Series III: Oversize

Box 5   Folder 1

Research - Transcriptions and Notes - Chaucer - Canterbury Tales - The Monk’s Tale - Rockwell Kent illustration and The Miller’s Tale text, 1930