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Guide to the James Howard Whitty papers, 1792-1943 and undated

Abstract

Journalist, businessman, Poe scholar and editor, and an avid collector of Poe memorabilia; resided in Richmond, Virginia.

The James Howard Whitty papers include letters, drafts of books and articles, research notes, newspaper clippings, and other papers, all relating to Whitty's writings on Edgar Allan Poe's life and career, his editorship of Poe's poetry, and his relationship with other literary scholars. The numerous clippings are found both loose and mounted in three scrapbooks. There is also a manuscript volume containing a Richmond, Virginia book seller's accounts. Other research materials on Poe consist of transcripts of Poe's letters and over 600 images related to Poe's life. There is voluminous correspondence from Poe scholars and other literary critics, including George Woodberry, Mary E. Phillips, and Thomas O. Mabbott. Whitty's research papers also contain copies of letters from John C. Frémont to Joel Poinsett in 1838, research material and correspondence relating to Virginia planter and early Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke, and the history of Richmond, Virginia.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Whitty, J. H. (James Howard), 1859-1937
Title
James Howard Whitty papers 1792-1943 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
19 Linear Feet, Approx. 12,275 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Papers of James Howard Whitty, author and authority on the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe, are chiefly comprised of correspondence, research writings and notes, printed material such as clippings and engravings, and copies of 19th century correspondence, all relating to Whitty's writings on literary figures and Virginia history.

Whitty's research materials on Edgar Allen Poe include copies of a large number of letters by Edgar Allan Poe and members of his family; documents concerning the events surrounding Poe's death; a large amount of correspondence with other Poe scholars, particularly George E. Woodberry, Mary E. Phillips, and Thomas Ollive Mabbott; and research notes made by Whitty, including material for a complete Poe bibliography, and rough drafts of Whitty's writings on Poe. There are also over 600 images, chiefly engravings, including portraits of Poe and his family, images of the places where Poe lived, and the museums and shrines dedicated to him. In addition, there are letters relating to Whitty's work as organizer and first president of the Edgar Allan Poe shrine in Richmond, Virginia, and to Whitty's quarrel with the directors of the shrine in 1924.

The hundreds of clippings included in this collection consist of what seems to be almost every article or mention of Poe from 1900-1935. Many of the articles are in duplicate and many of them contain notations by Whitty. There are also three scrapbooks of clippings.

Other materials center on Whitty's interest in the history of Richmond, Virginia; business correspondence pertaining to Whitty's work on the staff of the Richmond Times; notes on and copies of correspondence of John Randolph of Roanoke, 1814-1816 (Virginia planter and Congressman) to Ann Morris, in which he accuses her of being a common prostitute and the murderess of her child and of his brother. Copies of her answers to his accusations are also included. Whitty was interested in writing on John Randolph of Roanoke, but apparently never did so. Additional research materials include notes on and copies of letters from John Charles Frémont to Joel R. Poinsett, 1838; and other printed material, including reviews, copies of sections of books, publication notices, and advertisements. There is also a manuscript volume containing the accounts of a Richmond bookseller, 1929-1936.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Facts about Edward Allan Poe
Box 1
The first census of Richmond, Virginia (copy), 1792
Box 1
Correspondence, 1839-1908

Contains letters from Poe and others as well as notes. Most of the correspondence in the collection relates to business matters regarding Poe's publications, as well as Poe's personal affairs.

Box 1
Correspondence, 1909-1912

One letter from Evan Chesterman asks for help in resolving a conflict between Poe and the Richmond Examiner editor - Chesterman feels he is responsible for Poe challenging the editor to a duel.

Box 2
Correspondence, 1916 June-December 1917
Box 3
Correspondence, 1918 -1919 July
Box 4
Correspondence, 1919 August-1921 July
Box 5
Correspondence, 1921 August-1922 December
Box 6
Correspondence, 1923-1924 February
Box 7
Correspondence, 1924 March-1925 June
Box 8
Correspondence, 1925 July-March 1926
Box 9
Correspondence, 1925 April-December 1925
Box 10
Correspondence, 1927-1928 April
Box 11
Correspondence, 1921 August-1922 December
Box 12
Correspondence, 1928 May-1930 May
Box 13
Correspondence, 1930 June-December 1932
Box 14
Correspondence, 1933-1935
Box 15
Correspondence, 1936-1943 and undated
Box 16
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated

Most of the undated papers and notes in this collection are by or about Poe and his publications.

Box 17
Correspondence from Charles Campbell, Fredericksburg, Virginia, undated

Campbell knew Whitty through Campbell's work on the Bland family, related to John Randolph of Roanoke.

Box 18
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 18
The Randolph family papers
Box 19
John Charles Frémont

Includes notes, articles, and copies of letters.

Box 19
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 19
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 20
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 21
Father Tall miscellaneous
Box 21
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 22
Letters from Poe
Box 22
Miscellaneous papers and notes, undated
Box 23
John R. Thompson's Edgar Allan Poe
Box 23
Publications, 1621-1898

Publications in this collection primarily comprise magazines, literary and academic journals, leaflets, and books, by and about Poe.

Box 24
Publications, 1902-1926
Box 25
Publications,1927-1937 and undated
Box 26
Publications, undated
Box 27
Publications, undated
Box 28
Songs, lyrics from Poe's poems and others
Box 28
Newspaper clippings

Include book reviews of Poe's own publications, articles regarding The Poe Museum and monuments, and Whitty's life and career.

Box 29-36
Pictures

Printed etchings and photos of The Poe Museum and memorial, other parts of Virginia (of general interest and related to Poe's history), people close to Poe (and unidentified individuals), illustrations (most of which were mostly likely used to accompany his writings in publications), portraits of Poe, postcards, and other images.

Box 37-38
Manuscript account book, bookseller in Richmond, Virginia (24 pp.), 1929-1936
Volume F:2598
Scrapbook (12 pp.), 1902-1930
Volume F:6474
Scrapbook (18 pp.), 1909
Volume F:6475
Scrapbook (79 pp.), 1908-1915
Volume F:6476

Historical Note

James Howard Whitty was a journalist, businessman, and scholar residing in Richmond, Virginia. Whitty was an avid collector of Poe memorabilia. In 1916 he became an organizer and later the first president of the Poe Foundation of the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, leaving the foundation in 1924.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • David Kelly Jackson papers, 1850, 1925-1991 and undated (contain materials related to Poe history, and Whitty correspondence) (Rubenstein Library, Duke University)
  • Joseph Francis Ambrose Jackson papers, 1829-1944 (contain letters from Whitty on Poe) (Rubenstein Library, Duke University)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Howard Whitty Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The James Howard Whitty papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1941 and 1964.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico and Jen Snow, May 2014

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 7-1-41 and one accession from 1964

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant

This collection has been given basic processing; contents are chiefly in original order as received