Guide to the Papers of James F. Colby, 1870 - 1939Manuscript MS-527

Full Finding Aid


Guide to the Papers of James F. Colby, 1870 - 1939

Call Number:

Manuscript MS-527

Collection Dates:

1870 - 1939

Size of Collection:

3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)


The papers of James Fairbanks Colby contain correspondence and other materials documenting Colby's involvement and interest in New Hampshire political reform and the Progressive Movement, but also his career as a professor of law and political science at Dartmouth College. Also included in the collection are papers of James Arthur Tufts, consisting of approximately 150 letters to Tufts from others involved in the reform movement in New Hampshire.

Access to Collection:


Use & Access

The materials represented in this guide may be accessed through the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. Rauner Library is located in Webster Hall. The materials must be used on-site and may not leave Rauner Library.

Rauner Special Collections Library is open to the public and in most cases no appointment is necessary. The exception is in the case of materials stored off site for which there may be a delay of up to 48 hours in retrieval. Please consult the Access to Collection statement below or contact Rauner Reference.

Access to Collection


Use Restrictions

Permission from Dartmouth College required for publication or reproduction.

Introduction to the Collection

The papers contain personal and professional correspondence, articles, and photocopies primarily relating to his interest and involvement in political reform and the Progressive Movement in New Hampshire, as well as his career as a professor of history, political science, and law at Dartmouth College. Among the correspondents are Winston Churchill and Charles Bass. Also contained in the Colby papers is correspondence and research materials for compiling and editing two editions of the Manual of the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire Included in the collection are papers of James Arthur Tufts, consisting of approximately 150 letters to Tufts from others involved in the reform movement in New Hampshire.


James Fairbanks Colby was born November 18, 1850, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the son of James K. and Sarah (Pierce) Colby. After graduating from St. Johnsbury Academy. Colby attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1872. He received his AM from Yale in 1877 and his LL B from George Washington University in 1875. Colby died in Hanover, New Hampshire, October 21, 1939.

Colby was an instructor of economics and history at the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University from 1879 until 1881 and taught international law at Yale Law School from 1883 until 1885. At Dartmouth College he was an instructor of history from 1885 until 1893, a professor of political economics from 1885 until 1898, and Joel Parker professor of law and political science from 1885 until 1916. He also taught constitutional and international law at Amos Tuck School of Business Administration from 1900 until 1908, and lectured in jurisprudence and international law at Boston University Law School from 1905 until 1922.

In 1902, he was a delegate to the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention; he compiled and edited the Manual of the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, 1902, as well as the revised 2nd edition in 1912. Never a candidate for public office himself, Colby exerted influence on political reform and the Progressive Movement in New Hampshire. A portion of the collection is the papers of James Arthur Tufts, Professor of English at Phillips Exeter, and representative to the general court of New Hampshire from Exeter for the 1905 and 1907 sessions, who figured in the organization of reform forces.

Series, Box & Folder List

Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1870-1939

Biographical materials, correspondence and writings relating to Colby, the Colby family, and Colby's time at Dartmouth

Box: 1, Dates: 1870-1939

Box Contents

  • Folder: 1, Biographical Information on James Fairbanks Colby, undated
  • Folder: 2, James Fairbanks Colby, news articles, school records, pamphlets, circa 1872-1940
  • Folder: 3, "A Landmark is Gone," Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, 1939 December, 1939 December
  • Folder: 4, Colby and related families, undated
  • Folder: 5, Student correspondence, 1870-1871

Series 2, New Hampshire politics, 1901-1933

Correspondence and writings relating to New Hampshire political reform, and the progressive movement in the state

Box: 1, Dates: 1901-1933

Box Contents

  • Folder: 6, "The Progressive Movement of 1912 and Third Party Movement of 1924 in Maine," The Maine Bulletin, 1933 January
  • Folder: 7, Colby Letters, re: Hanover Civic Activities, circa 1901-1928
  • Folder: 8, William Jewett Ticker Letters and articles, circa 1934-1937
  • Folder: 9, Autographed letters from notable New Hampshire men, 1859-1892
  • Folder: 10, Progressive Movement in New Hampshire; Charles Bass, circa 1929
  • Folder: 11, Political papers, circa 1907-1916
  • Folder: 12, Correspondence with Edwin Eastman, Tuttle, and Frank S. Streeter, 1904-1906
  • Folder: 13, Photocopies of letters to Colby, circa 1906-1912
  • Folder: 14, Letters from Colby to James Tufts and Winston Churchill, 1906-1908
  • Folder: 15, Tucker correspondence
  • Folder: 16, Photocopies of Winston Churchill correspondence, 1906-1908

Box: 2, Dates: 1904-1928

Box Contents

  • Folder: 1, Correspondence from Bass, 1909-1910
  • Folder: 2, Correspondence from Burroughs, 1906
  • Folder: 3, Correspondence from Chandler, 1904-1906
  • Folder: 4, Correspondence from Churchill, 1906
  • Folder: 5, Correspondence from Cook, 1907-1911
  • Folder: 6, Correspondence from Estabrook, 1916
  • Folder: 7, Correspondence from French, 1906-1907
  • Folder: 8, Correspondence from Gile, 1908-1912
  • Folder: 9, Correspondence from McDuffe, 1906-1914
  • Folder: 10, Correspondence from Musgrave, 1906-1912
  • Folder: 11, Correspondence from Niles, 1908
  • Folder: 12, Correspondence from Remick J., 1906-1917
  • Folder: 13, Correspondence from Sargent, 1907
  • Folder: 14, Correspondence from Smart, 1912
  • Folder: 15, Correspondence from Tucker, undated
  • Folder: 16, Correspondence from Tufts, 1908
  • Folder: 17, Correspondence from Bass to Musgrove, 1910
  • Folder: 18, Correspondence from Benton, 1908
  • Folder: 19, Correspondence from Churchill, 1907-1908
  • Folder: 20, Correspondence Gile, 1907
  • Folder: 21, Correspondence from Musgrove, 1909
  • Folder: 22, Correspondence from Pillsbury, 1924
  • Folder: 23, Correspondence from Remick, Jance W., 1908

Series 3, Papers of James Arthur Tufts, 1907-1926

Correspondence to James Arthur Tufts relating to new Hampshire politics

Box: 2, Dates: 1904-1928

Box Contents

  • Folder: 24, Correspondence from "Annett" to "Benton", 1908-1926
  • Folder: 25, Correspondence from "Boutwell" to "Busiel", 1907-1928
  • Folder: 26, Correspondence from "Chandler" to "Forsaith", 1907-1921
  • Folder: 27, Correspondence from "Gibson" to "Knight", 1907-1928
  • Folder: 28, Correspondence from "McDuffee" to "Rollins", 1907-1921
  • Folder: 29, Correspondence from "Sadler" to "Wyman", 1907-1923

Series 4, New Hampshire Constitution, 1899-1971

Correspondence and research materials documenting Colby's editorship of the Manual of the New Hampshire Constitution, 1902 and 1912

Box: 3, Dates: 1899-1971

Box Contents

  • Folder: 1, N.H. Constitutional Convention, 1902-1912
  • Folder: 2, Correspondence, 1899-1906
  • Folder: 3, Correspondence, 1911-1912
  • Folder: 4, Printed Material and Correspondence, 1912-1917
  • Folder: 5, Inquiries on Tufts Material to Phillip Exeter Academy and grandson Arthur Tufts and New Correspondence and Articles from Colby, 1908-1971

Finding Aids