The Charles Sumner collection is made up of 26 items: 14 letters, a manuscript speech, 2 printed pamphlets, and 9 newspaper clippings related to United States Senator Charles Sumner.
The Correspondence series (14 items) contains 10 outgoing letters written by Charles Sumner, 2 letters by George Sumner, 1 letter to Charles Sumner, and 1 letter to Elliot C. Cowdin. Sumner's outgoing correspondence consists primarily of personal letters. He discussed political issues, such as his opinions about Edward Everett (April 21, 1854) and his intention to return to Congress after being attacked by Rep. Preston Brooks (December 11, 1856). In other letters, he mentioned his travels in Europe. Sumner received a copy of a statement praising his character after his return to the Senate, dated from Paris, May 13, 1857.
George Sumner wrote 2 letters to Elliot C. Cowdin about Charles Sumner's lectures (undated), and Edwin Percy Whipple wrote one letter praising Cowdin's memorial speech on Sumner (December 16, 1874).
The Speech is a 30-page manuscript draft of Elliot C. Cowdin's memorial speech about the life of Charles Sumner, which Cowdin delivered before the New England Society in New York City on December 14, 1874. He reflected on the senator's political contributions, including his support of emancipation.
The Printed Items series includes a black-bordered program for the music played at Charles Sumner's funeral (March 16, 1874); a printed copy of Elliot C. Cowdin's memorial speech about Sumner (December 14, 1874); and 9 newspaper clippings printed after Sumner's death in March 1874. The clippings originated from different papers, and several refer to Elliot C. Cowdin's memorial speech about Sumner.