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


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.

Collection Details

Collection Number
James Howard Whitty papers
1792-1943 and undated
Whitty, J. H. (James Howard), 1859-1937
19 Linear Feet, Approx. 12,275 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

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.

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How to Cite

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

Contents of the Collection

Facts about Edgar 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
Box 2
Correspondence, 1913-1916 May
Box 3
Correspondence, 1916 June-1917 December
Box 4
Correspondence, 1918 -1919 July
Box 5
Correspondence, 1919 August-1921 July
Box 6
Correspondence, 1921 August-1922 December
Box 7
Correspondence, 1923-1924 February
Box 8
Correspondence, 1924 March-1925 June
Box 9
Correspondence, 1925 July-1926 March
Box 10
Correspondence, 1926 April-1926 December
Box 11
Correspondence, 1927-1928 April
Box 12
Correspondence, 1928 May-1930 May
Box 13
Correspondence, 1930 June-1932 December
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 Tabb (John Banister Tabb) 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, 1867-1898

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

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
Photostats of Poe-related materials
Box SS:50
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.

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)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


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 and Jen Snow, May 2014

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

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