Thomas Sergeant Perry Collection

Thomas Sergeant Perry (1845-1928) was born in Newport, Rhode Island into an illustrious family that included Commodore Oliver Perry (grandfather) and Commodore Matthew Perry (great-uncle). Benjamin Franklin was his great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side. He graduated from Harvard in 1866, studied abroad and tutored in French and German at Harvard before becoming editor of the North American Review. He was instructor in English at Harvard for five years.

In 1874, Perry married Lilla Cabot of Boston, who became a noted painter. The Perrys lived abroad for several years before he accepted an invitation in 1897 to teach at Keiogijiku University as Professor of English Literature. Returning home in 1901, the Perrys lived at their Boston home on Marlborough Street and at their summer residence, Flagstones, in Hancock, New Hampshire.

Perry was a respected, astute reader and a prolific translator and literary critic. He was lifelong friends with notable writers such as Henry James and William Dean Howells and poets Harold Trowbridge Pulsifer and Edwin Arlington Robinson. Perry died of complications from pneumonia at his Boston home in 1928.

Our collection contains letters, manuscripts and Perry’s personal library.

Works consulted:

Cocks, J Fraser. Report on Special Collections.. 1985. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

Robinson, Edwin Arlington. Selections from the Letters of Thomas Sergeant Perry. New York: Macmillan. 1929. Print.


Margaret Perry – primary donor

Julius Seelye Bixler

Ruth Robinson Nivison

Susan Nichols Pulsifer

Clara (Mrs Carl Jefferson) Weber