New and Notable: Eliot Family Collection

You can now have access to fascinating historical materials related to the family of one of the co-founders of Washington University in St. Louis, William Greenleaf Eliot (1811-1887).  Important materials have been donated to the Archives, such as:  documents about the Mission Free School, the first public school (1840) west of the Mississippi River that was founded by William Greenleaf Eliot; a book on the history of the Church of the Messiah (begun in 1834 by William Greenleaf Eliot and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places); family photographs of William Greenleaf Eliot’s ancestors; correspondence between family members dating back to 1927; a family tree of the Eliot lineage; and items by and about William Greenleaf Eliot’s most celebrated grandson, Thomas Stearns Eliot (T.S. Eliot) (1888-1965), the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.  This new and notable collection allows the Archives to offer you more unique opportunities for research, learning, and enjoyment.

Would you like to hear T.S. Eliot read aloud his poems in his book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, that inspired Cats, one of the longest-running musicals in history?

Or maybe you would prefer to hear T.S. Eliot read his acclaimed poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”?

You can listen to these recordings and more at University Archives.

The Eliot Family Collection is available for research, and a finding aid will be made available soon.  Until then, please contact the University Archives at (314) 935-5444 or if you are interested in this collection.

Here are a few images from the Eliot Family Collection:


A portion of the William Greenleaf Eliot and Abigail Adams Cranch Eliot Family tree, compiled by Henry Eliot Scott (H.E.S.), an ancestor, showing T.S. Eliot as one of their 23 grandchildren. Scott’s book, The family of William Greenleaf Eliot, 1811-1887, and Abby Adams Eliot, 1817-1908 is available at Washington University’s Olin Library. From the Eliot Family Collection, Series 01, box 1. University Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.





T.S. Eliot and family – Photograph taken in Webster Groves, Missouri in June, 1953, names added by “Aunt Nancy” in October, 2000.  From the Eliot Family Collection, Series 01, box 1. University Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

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