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Guglielmo Marconi Correspondence
mssMarconi correspondence  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Guglielmo Marconi Correspondence
    Dates: 1899-1902
    Collection Number: mssMarconi correspondence
    Creator: Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937
    Extent: 125 pieces + newspaper clippings in 2 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Fax: (626) 449-3477
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection chiefly contains the correspondence of Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), primarily to his American fiancée, Josephine Bowen Holman. There are two manuscripts: Morse Code Legend written by Marconi and Holman's diary for January to April 1902.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Guglielmo Marconi Correspondence, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Hon. Peter Smith, August 5, 2005.

    Biographical Note

    Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was an Italian physicist who spent much of his professional life in Great Britain. In the late 1890s he began experimenting with wireless telegraphy, which culminated on December 14, 1901, with the first trans-Atlantic transmission of a wireless telegraph. Marconi would later go on to experiment with short-wave radio and microwaves. For a brief period that overlaps with his experiments with wireless telegraphy, he was engaged to an American he met on the steamer St. Paul from New York to England, Josephine Bowen Holman. The engagement was broken off by Marconi in early 1902, and both later married other people.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of letters and telegrams from Guglielmo Marconi to his fiancée, Josephine Bowen Holman.
    There are also letters to Holman from Marconi’s mother, Annie Jameson Marconi, one of his engineers, R. Norman Vyvyan, and various other correspondents (mainly family members). Portions of some of the letters to Holman from Marconi are written in Morse code, and there are pictures of his telegraph towers in Cornwall and two of his family home in Bologna.
    There are two manuscripts: Morse Code Legend written by Marconi and Holman’s diary for January to April 1902. There are six pieces of ephemera, including two published copies of a paper by Marconi on the wireless telegraphy that he gave March 2, 1899 to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and 141 newspaper clippings.
    Subjects include: Marconi and Holman’s relationship, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Morse Code, and Marconi’s invention: the wireless telegraph.


    The collection, which is housed in two boxes, is arranged in the following manner: the first three authors are arranged by number of letters in the collection (Guglielmo Marconi, R. Norman Vyvyan and Annie Jameson Marconi, in that order), and the rest are arranged alphabetically by other authors. The manuscripts, ephemera and clippings are placed after the correspondence.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Personal Names

    Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937 - Archives
    Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922
    Tesla, Nikola, 1856-1943


    Courtship - Europe - History - 19th century - Sources
    Inventors - Great Britain - Archives
    Inventors - Italy - Archives
    Morse code
    Telegraph, Wireless - Marconi system - History - Sources
    Women - United States - History - 20th century - Diaries


    Diaries - United States - 20th century
    Letters (correspondence) - Great Britain - 19th century
    Personal papers - Great Britain - 19th century

    Alternate Author

    Holman, Beatrice Bowen
    Marconi, Annie Jameson
    Vyvyan, R. Norman