The Independent Collection, 1680-1936
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Brief Description:

This collection does not include physical copies of the Independent newspaper. Several volumes of the newspaper have been digitized by the Hathi Trust.

The collection includes papers ranging in dates from 1680 to 1936 with the bulk of the collection falling between 1879 and 1881. Most of the collection is comprised of the correspondence of William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, with notable literary and historical figures including General John Charles Frémont, American explorer and expedition leader; P. T. Barnum, showman; and Asa Gray, the preeminent American botanist of the 19th century.

Other items in the collection include American literature and theater papers; colonial historical manuscripts and documents; and correspondence with the library of Norfolk division of the College of William and Mary (the predecessor of Old Dominion University). The collection contains a number of transcriptions, some of which include inaccurate identifications which are noted in the finding aid.

Assorted other papers in the collection include presidential signatures; a letter by John Ruskin, Victorian art and social critic; part of a book manuscript by American author Washington Irving; colonial deeds, including a land grant signed and sealed by Lord Dunmore; and papers and letters on American theatre, including correspondence of Horace Howard Furness, Sr., Horace Howard Furness, Jr., and Samuel Chew.

The Editorial Correspondence of The Independent, Series I, has been digitized and can be found in the Old Dominion Univeristy Libraries Digital Collections.

Held at:
Special Collections and University Archives
Email: pbruce [at]
Record Series Number: 00/MG 83
Created by: Ward, W.H.
Volume: 0.4 Linear Feet
Acquired: 02/18/2005.

The Historical Letters collection is divided into five series:

Series I, Editorial Correspondence of The Independent, 1866-1917

Series II, Literary Authors and Papers on American Theater, 1896-1913

Series III, Historical Manuscripts and Documents, 1680-1795

Series IV, Miscellaneous Literary and Political Correspondence, 1930-1936

Series V, William and Mary Norfolk Campus library Correspondence, 1958-1960

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.
Subject Index
American newspapers
Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor), 1810-1891
Bowen, Henry Chandler, 1813-1896
Chew, Samuel
College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division
College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division--Hughes Library
Congregationalists--United States
Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890
Furness, Horace Howard, 1833-1912
Furness, Horace Howard, 1865-1930
Gray, Asa, 1810-1888
Independent (Newspaper)
Ward, William Hayes, 1835-1916
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.
Acquisition Notes: Unknown provenance  

Gift. Accession #A2005-1

Some of the papers were discovered in the 1980s among a collection of rare books owned by the Old Dominion University library which had been purchased from a New York City bookstore.

Related Materials:

Editorial Correspondence of the Independent

The Independent is available through Proquest (ODU only patrons).

Physical copies of the Independent may be available from the College of William and Mary Swem Library.

PreferredCitation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], The Independent Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.