MS 14 Sidney Lanier Collection

Sidney Lanier Collection
1852-2005 [bulk 1864-1985]
MS 14

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lanier, Sidney
Title: Sidney Lanier Collection
Dates: 1852-2005 [bulk 1864-1985]

Abstract: This collection consists of items pertaining to the person of Sidney Lanier, his family, his work, and his influence upon American and especially Georgian society.

Quantity: 1.5 cubic feet

Administrative History

Sidney Clopton Lanier was born February 3, 1842 in Macon, GA to Robert Sampson Lanier and Mary Jane Anderson. He only had one sibling, a brother by the name of Clifford Lanier. In 1857, Sidney entered Oglethorpe College, then located in Midway, GA (two miles from Milledgeville) and enrolled there to study for several years. Under the guidance and influence of Dr. James Woodrow (uncle to Woodrow Wilson), he developed a great passion for science and applying it to everyday life (especially the fields of music and poetry). Upon graduation and by the persuasion of Dr. Woodrow, Lanier stayed on at the University to continue as a tutor for a short while. Following Oglethorpe, Lanier tried to follow in his family’s wish by practicing law, but could not become interested in this field. Shortly thereafter, the Civil War began and Lanier joined the Confederate Army working as a blockade runner until his capture; in which during his imprisonment, Sidney contracted tuberculosis which would plague him the rest of his life and eventually lead to his death. In the following years, Sidney returned back to his hometown of Macon in which he wed Mary Day in 1867 and proceeded to father four sons by her. The years following would be a journey by first Sidney alone and Mary following with the family throughout Maryland, New York, and even San Antonio, where his goals were to find a cure for his illness, pursue his dream within the arts (that is continuing to write poetry), and even play flute within the orchestra at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. His passion and talent in music presented itself in various forms from being a first flute, writing music scores, and especially of poetry influenced by the the music. During these years, Lanier would become well-known for his performances and would eventually join the faculty at Johns Hopkins University and become a popular lecturer during his day. His illness, though, caused him to become quite weak until in 1881, Lanier with his family went to the mountains of North Carolina in hopes the air would rejuvenate him, but instead this came to be his final resting place.


This collection is arranged by medium, sub-arranged chronologically.


This collection consists of documents and items pertaining to Sidney Lanier, his immediate family, close friends, association with Oglethorpe University, and ties with Georgia history. The items include newspaper clippings, printed materials, commemorative stamps, music scores, postcards, and original letters.



Subject Headings

Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881

Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881, Bibliography

Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881, Correspondence

Lanier Papers, 1877-1922

Poets, American — 19th century

Lanier, Mary Day, Correspondence

Monroe, Blanche Kell


Folder List

Box 1

Folder 1. Clippings (copies), 1913-1996

Folder 2. Printed Materials, 1952, 1967

Folder 3. Printed Materials, 1940, 1947, 1960, 1992

Folder 4. Pamphlets, 1992

Folder 5. Pamphlets, 1921, 1942

Folder 6. Busts, 1985, 1991, 2005

Folder 7. Lanier Collections at Other Institutions

Folder 8. International Exhibition Program, 1876

Folder 9. Correspondence re: Lanier, 1941, 1962, 1985, 1991, 1992

Folder 10. Commemorative Stamp, 1941, 1972

Folder 11. Postcards, Stationary

Folder 12. Sidney Lanier Poetry Award, 1962, 1963

Folder 13. Sidney Lanier Room – Lupton Hall (OU)

Folder 14. Ephemera

Folder 15. Sheet Music

Folder 16. Poems

Folder 17. Newspaper Clippings (originals), 1913-1996

Box 2

Folder 1. Writings by Lanier

Folder 2. Letters, 1878-1890

Folder 3. Letters from Mary Lanier, 1852-1916

Folder 4. Letters to Mary Lanier, 1873-1916

Folder 5. Letters to Mrs. Blanche Kell, 1864-1910

Folder 6. Lanier Family Correspondence, 1863-1871

Folder 7. Letters from Sidney Lanier, Jr., 1900-1907

Folder 8. Letters, Family & Friends, 1912

Folder 9. Transcribed Copies of Letters

Box that held the “Letters of Mary Day Lanier – Wife of Sidney Lanier”

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:
Please cite Sidney Lanier Collection, MS 14, Archives, Philip Weltner Library, Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia. Permission to publish from this collection must be approved in writing by the Director of the Library, Oglethorpe University.

Further Information

This collection contains some items in which the relevance may be unknown to the researcher.

Anna Ruby Falls – one of Lanier’s famous poems is entitled “The Song of the Chattahoochee” in which these falls are the juncture as to where the first major river (Smith Creek) joins the Chattahoochee.

St. Simon’s Island – one of the largest Golden Isles near Tybee Island situated directly across from the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized in the poem “The Marshes of Glynn” by Lanier.

James Larwood – His collection at the Georgia Historical Society contains one of the finest collections of Georgiana in existence.