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Alexander Hill Everett Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS246

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

Diplomat, author, political insider and brother of Edward Everett, Alexander Hill Everett (1790-1847) shaped American politics both abroad and at home. The Alexander Hill Everett Collection provides documentation of four important and diverse topics: life as charge d'affaires to The Hague in 1822 and 1823, analysis of the U.S. presidential election of 1824 before the final result was formalized, discussion of population theories, and expenses of the U.S. minister to Spain between 1825 and 1829. Consisting of seven folders in one archival box (0.25 linear feet), the Alexander Hill Everett Collection contains documents dating between 1822 and 1829. The first three items in the collection, letters dating 1822 to 1823 sent from Brussels by Alexander Everett to his brother John, give details about life as charge d'affaires to The Hague, a post held by Alexander from 1818 to 1824. These letters contain several references to their famous brother Edward Everett. In addition, Alexander mentions Lord Byron, foreign dignitaries, and King William I of the Netherlands, among others. Moreover, Alexander writes at length about his own theory of population, which challenges the views held by Thomas Robert Malthus and William Godwin. The fourth and fifth items in the collection, letters dating January 1825 sent from Washington, D.C. by Alexander to John, concern the political maneuvering and coalitions at play at a point when the results of the election of 1824 were as yet undetermined. As a staunch supporter of John Quincy Adams, Alexander Hill Everett discusses the strategies of Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Harris Crawford in these letters. He also touches on some interesting episodes in Washington society, including the city's celebration of the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans. The sixth and seventh items in the collection derive from Alexander's service as U.S. minister to Spain from 1825 to 1829. The items comprise an account book listing expenses of the U.S. minister over those years. This source provides a wealth of details about costs for salaries, rent, travel, books, and other items. Taken together, the documents in the Alexander Hill Everett Collection shed light onto several historical subjects. Though few in number, these manuscripts are rich in content. The Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division also owns a letter book used by Alexander Everett's friend Washington Irving while he was U.S. minister to Spain from 1843 to 1846. The Thomas Aspinwall Papers contain one letter written by Edward Everett, and the John Gilmary Shea Papers contain two items relating to him, including one letter. In addition, our Special Collections Division holds several books written by Alexander Hill Everett and several others written by Edward Everett.

A larger collection of Alexander Hill Everett letters is found at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Edward Everett papers are preserved at that institution and the Boston Public Library, among other places.

ABBREVIATIONS: AL - Autograph Letter. ALS - Autograph Letter Signed. AM - Autograph Manuscript.


  • 1822 - 1829

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Born on March 19, 1790, in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexander Hill Everett (1790-1847) was the son of the Reverend Oliver and Lucy (Hill) Everett and brother of Edward Everett (1794-1865). His father was minister of the New South Church in Boston. Alexander graduated from Harvard in 1806 and subsequently taught at Philips Exeter Academy. Alexander Everett soon embarked on a foreign service career. After studying law in the office of John Quincy Adams, he served as private secretary to Adams, U.S. minister to Russia from 1809 to 1811. Everett remained in Russia for two years thereafter. Next, Everett became secretary of the American legation at The Hague, a post he held from 1815 to 1816. From 1818 until 1824, he was charge d'affaires to The Hague. After Adams became president in 1825, he appointed Everett minister to Spain. Working in that role until 1829, Everett was particularly concerned with the issue of Spain's relations with its revolted colonies in Central and South America. Everett authored three notable books during this phase of his career: "Europe" (1822), "America" (1827), and "New Ideas on Population, with Remarks on the Theories of Malthus and Godwin" (1823). Of note, Everett convinced his friend Washington Irving to come to Spain to work on "Columbus," and he obtained Spanish books for historians George Ticknor and William H. Prescott (Everett, Alexander H. "Prose Pieces and Correspondences." Evans, Elizabeth, Ed. St. Paul, MN: John Colet Press, 1975, p. x). Returning to the United States, Everett experienced some economic and political turmoil. Although he obtained a controlling interest of the "North American Review" in 1830, soon succeeded Jared Sparks as its principal editor, and improved the periodical in his five year tenure, the venture was not financially successful. Moreover, his political fortunes in Massachusetts plummeted when, after serving in the state legislature, Everett switched parties from Whig to Democrat and was blamed for his brother Edward's loss in his bid for reelection as governor in 1839. Later, Everett served as a government agent in Cuba and president of Jefferson College in Louisiana. In 1845, Everett was appointed commissioner to China, but he died in Canton on June 29, 1847 soon after arriving there. Aside from articles in various periodicals, Alexander Everett wrote "Poems" (1845) and "Critical and Miscellaneous Essays" (1845-1846).


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Alexander Hill Everett Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057