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Robert Adams Coker Correspondence

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Coker

Scope and Content of the Collection

Twenty five letters, written from 1823 when Coker was about sixteen, to 1832 when he was teaching at the Highland School.

Letters are addressed to, and are from, friends and relatives, such as his brother, sisters, Harvard classmates and other friends, and his employer at the Highland School. The letters concern mostly Coker’s teaching situation and declining health.


  • Creation: 1823-1832



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Robert Adams Coker Correspondence is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Robert Adams Coker Correspondence is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Robert Adams Coker

West Newbury, Massachusetts, native and mathematics teacher.

Robert Adams Coker of West Newbury, Massachusetts, was born in 1807 and died in 1833, only eighteen months after graduation from Harvard College. His class of 1831 included a handful of prominent mid-nineteenth century names, among them Wendell Phillips, the anti-slavery orator. His major field of study was mathematics, which he taught in two schools after college: an academy in Francestown, New Hampshire, in 1831-1832, and the Highland School in Cold Springs, New York (near West Point), from July 1832 to January 1833. Coker then went home to West Newbury, and died there of consumption in March. His abiding love of mathematics helped him through the rough days when he was feeling poorly, although he did not know at that time that he was suffering from tuberculosis.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence of West Newbury, Massachusetts, native and mathematics teacher Robert Adams Coker, who graduated from Harvard in 1831, and died of tuberculosis in 1833. Letters from friends and family begin when Coker was around sixteen, and include Harvard friend George C. Coombs, and Coker's employer John Lee Watson, at the Highland School near West Point. There are also letters from Coker to his family describing his teaching situation and his declining health. Also photocopies of letters from the Harvard College Archives.


Arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

1 12 6


Gift, Robert H. Irrmann, 1967.

Processed by

Lenore Glanz, 2011.

Inventory of the Robert Adams Coker Correspondence, 1823-1832
Lenore Glanz
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States