Guglielmo Marconi Correspondence

Finding aid prepared by Rebecca A. Hirsch/Brooke M. Black
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
© 2015
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


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.

Access

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.

Provenance

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.

Arrangement

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

Subjects

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

Genre

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


Container List

Box 1

Correspondence: Marconi, Guglielmo. Letters to Josephine Bowen Holman

Folder  1

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899, November 25)

Notes

Marconi is doing experiments in Dorsetshire, and he mentions the government wanting to send him to South Africa.
Folder  2

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899, December 12)

Notes

Marconi mentions traveling to Holland for work and that he will work hard to try to speed their nuptials.
Folder  3

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899, December 19)

Notes

Marconi mentions he will speak before the Royal Institution in London in Feb.; program enclosed.
Folder  4

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899, December)

Notes

Printed Christmas card from Marconi.
Folder  5

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899)

Notes

Marconi to Holman, saying he will pick her up for the theater at 7:30.
Folder  6

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, January 15)

Notes

Marconi tells Holman his experiments have been successful, but secret from the press, and mentions his meeting with Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936, and how he is going to write a poem about wireless telegraphy.
Folder  7

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, February 9)

Notes

Marconi tells Holman about the lunch he had with the Belgian royal family in Brussels.
Folder  8

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, February 14)

Notes

Marconi talks of his lecture before the Royal Institution and delays in his work.
Folder  9

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, May 22)

Notes

About their respective healths and Marconi’s plan to come to New York.
Folder  10

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, June 3)

Notes

Marconi’s work plans while in New York.
Folder  11

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, June 8)

Notes

About Marconi’s lunch plans and his plans to visit Holman’s family in Cragsmoor.
Folder  12

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, June 18)

Notes

Recaps the time Marconi spent with the Holmans at Cragsmoor.
Folder  13

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, June 20)

Notes

Conveys Marconi’s sadness at leaving America, partly in Morse Code.
Folder  14

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, June 21-July 4)

Notes

Discusses Marconi’s passage from New York to England on the HMS Teutonic.
Folder  15

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, July 1)

Notes

Discusses Marconi’s experiments with wireless telegraphy and various current events; partly in Morse Code. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  16

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, July 6)

Notes

Marconi writes briefly in response to Holman’s welcome home letter; partly in Morse Code. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  17

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, July 13)

Notes

The effect the assassination of the King of Italy, Umberto I, 1844-1900, is having on Marconi and the role the king played in his life and career; partly in Morse Code.
Folder  18

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, July 31)

Notes

Apologizes for not having written sooner; partly in Morse Code. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  19

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, August 20)

Notes

Apologizes for not having written sooner; partly in Morse Code. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  20

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, September 7)

Notes

Marconi is sailing around on British naval ships and how the “great experiment” (trans-Atlantic transmission) is going. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  21

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, October 8)

Notes

Apologizes for not writing sooner and talks of his plans for the winter. With short note by Marconi.
Folder  22

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, November 8)

Notes

Discusses their previously secret engagement, Marconi’s doubts about it and agrees Holman can tell her mother.
Folder  23

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, December 8)

Notes

Marconi’s health problems and his mother’s feelings that he should not be getting married until he is better.
Folder  24

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, December 20)

Notes

How hard Marconi is working and he misses Holman.
Folder  25

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, December)

Notes

A printed Christmas card from Marconi.
Folder  26

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, January 6)

Notes

How Marconi spent his Christmas and his plans to come to New York.
Folder  27

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, January 14)

Notes

About their respective healths and delays in Marconi’s plans to come to New York.
Folder  28

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, January 21)

Notes

About Marconi’s now-definite plans to come to New York and how progress on his trans-Atlantic project is going.
Folder  29

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, January)

Notes

A printed New Year’s card signed “Guglielmo to Jo.”
Folder  30

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, March 1)

Notes

Marconi’s delay in coming to New York and his new travel plans.
Folder  31

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, March 14)

Notes

Marconi’s cold and his inability to come to dinner because of it.
Folder  32

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. 2 letters to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, March 18)

Notes

Two letters—one about a change in Marconi’s plans; the other a love letter.
Folder  33

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, April 9)

Notes

About Marconi’s trip to the Patent Office in Washington, DC.
Folder  34

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, April 20-25)

Notes

About Marconi’s passage to England on the RMS Campania.
Folder  35

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman ([1901], April 28)

Notes

A telegram that says Holman “may tell.”
Folder  36

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, April 30)

Notes

The reception the announcement of their engagement has received.
Folder  37

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 3)

Notes

Marconi’s pending travels around England and more about the congratulations he has received about their engagement.
Folder  38

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 14)

Notes

About how busy Marconi’s been with work.
Folder  39

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 28)

Notes

How busy Marconi is with work and his father’s objection to his engagement.
Folder  40

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 31)

Notes

More about Marconi’s father’s objections to the engagement and gives Holman a sample schedule of his work day.
Folder  41

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, June 11)

Notes

Marconi’s work and how he misses Holman.
Folder  42

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, June 25)

Notes

Marconi’s work and a response to Holman’s last letter about her trip to Bryn Mawr.
Folder  43

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, July 9)

Notes

He talks about his work and letters from her mother to him and his mother.
Folder  44

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, July 24)

Notes

Discusses Marconi travel plans and the progress being made on trans-Atlantic transmission.
Folder  45

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, August 15)

Notes

About delaying the wedding until October and progress on his trans-Atlantic project.
Folder  46

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, September 10)

Notes

About how the building Marconi built to house the machinery needed for the “great experiment” is too small.
Folder  47

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, September 17)

Notes

About the adoption of Marconi’s “system” by a number of steamship companies and of further delay in coming to America.
Folder  48

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. 2 letters to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, October 15)

Notes

2 letters—one of the storm that ruined some of Marconi’s telegraph poles in Cornwall, the other contains the photographs of the damage he forgot to enclose in the first. Includes three photographs.
Folder  49

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, November 18)

Notes

About how Marconi is “terribly unhappy” and asks for her complete address.
Folder  50

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. 2 letters to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 8)

Notes

2 letters—Marconi briefly mentions a “very serious matter” that he cannot write about until he has Holman’s full address.
Folder  51

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 18)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  52

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 23)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  53

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 26)

Notes

Telegram—Christmas wishes
Folder  54

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, [December] 25)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  55

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman ([1901], March 14)

Notes

Telegram
Box 2

Correspondence: Marconi, Guglielmo. Letters to Helen Holman - Z; Ephemera

Folder  1

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Helen Holman (1901, December 22)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  2

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to Helen Holman ([undated)]

Notes

Telegram
Folder  3

Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937. Letter to "Holman" ([1901, December])

Notes

Telegram. With two newspaper clippings
Folder  4

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 18)

Notes

About Vyvyan’s travel plans and progress at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  5

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 21)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  6

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, June 2)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site and things like the weather.
Folder  7

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, June 28)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  8

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, July 13)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  9

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, July 25)

Notes

Details of the house being built at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  10

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, August 8)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  11

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, August 14)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  12

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, September 15)

Notes

About delays in progress at the Cape Cod site and what Vyvyan has heard about Marconi.
Folder  13

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, October 9)

Notes

About progress at the Cape Cod site, delays in Cornwall and a picture of the poles at the Cape Cod site.
Folder  14

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, October 14)

Notes

About Holman’s wedding plans and progress on the “great experiment.”
Folder  15

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, October 26)

Notes

About Holman’s wedding plans and progress on the “great experiment.”
Folder  16

Vyvyan, R. Norman. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, November 2)

Notes

Vyvyan complains about his salary and talks of the “great experiment.”
Folder  17

Marconi, Annie Jameson. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1899, December)

Notes

Printed Christmas card.
Folder  18

Marconi, Annie Jameson. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, March 2)

Notes

About Mrs. Marconi’s hopes she will accompany Guglielmo to New York.
Folder  19

Marconi, Annie Jameson. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1900, December)

Notes

Printed Christmas card.
Folder  20

Marconi, Annie Jameson. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, May 24)

Notes

Mrs. Marconi congratulates Holman on her engagement to Marconi.
Folder  21

Marconi, Annie Jameson. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, August 9)

Notes

About Mrs. Marconi’s travel plans, enclosed are pictures of the Marconi residence in Italy. Includes two photographs.
Folder  22

"Aunt Mollie." Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman ([1901], December 30)

Notes

“Aunt Mollie” hopes the problems in Holman’s life will be resolved soon.
Folder  23

Bowen, Mabel. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1902, January 2)

Notes

About how exactly Mabel and Holman are related and wishes for Holman’s happiness in marriage.
Folder  24

Bowen, William. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, April 30)

Notes

About various Bowen family ancestors.
Folder  25

Carver, Camilla. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 27)

Notes

About Holman’s engagement. Includes newspaper clipping.
Folder  26

DeCaprio, A.E. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1902, January 4)

Notes

About a march DeCaprio wrote in honor of Marconi.
Folder  27

Layton, Harvey Porter. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 24)

Notes

Congratulations on Holman’s engagement to Marconi.
Folder  28

McClure, Harry. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 31)

Notes

Congratulations on Holman’s engagement to Marconi.
Folder  29

Michieli, J.P. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, December 29)

Notes

Michieli hopes Holman will use and praise his face powder.
Folder  30

Sewall, May Wright. Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1902, January 10)

Notes

Congratulations on Holman’s engagement and Sewall’s hope Holman will pass on that Sewall feels Marconi should find a way to use natural gas as a replacement for oil or coal.
Folder  31

Various Authors. Letters to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, April 27-29)

Notes

Telegrams congratulating Holman on her engagement to Marconi. 5 items.
Folder  32

Letter to Helen Holman (1901, December 22)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  33

Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, March 20)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  34

Letter to Josephine Bowen Holman (1901, [December?] 29)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  35

Letter to "Holman" (1901, August 16)

Notes

Telegram
Folder  36

Typed article ([after 1902, January 16])

Notes

Typed article about the end of the engagement between Holman and Marconi.
Folder  37

[Marconi, Guglielmo, 1874-1937]. Morse Code Legend ([undated)]

Folder  38

Josephine Bowen Holman. Diary (1902, January-April)

Folder  39

Ephemera 1899-1900

Notes

6 items
Folder  40

Newspaper Clippings 1899-1902

Notes

140 items