Old Dominion University Libraries

The Independent Correspondence and Other Materials, 1680-1936 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Elizabeth Vincelette

Collection Overview

Title: The Independent Correspondence and Other Materials, 1680-1936

Collection Identifier: MG 83

ID: 00/MG 83

Primary Creator: Ward, W.H.

Extent: 0.4 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

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

Subjects: 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: English

Abstract

Primarily comprised of correspondence of William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, a New York Congregationalist weekly, 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).

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

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

Collection Historical Note

The Independent was a New York weekly newspaper founded in 1848 by Henry Chandler Bowen. The Congregationalist journal, which was published until 1921, included social topics, primarily opposition to slavery and religious articles, but after the Civil War included literary submissions. Editors included, among others, Henry Ward Beecher, Theodore Tilton, Kinsley Twining, Hamilton Holt, William Hayes Ward, and his sister, Susan Hayes Ward.

William Hayes Ward (1835-1916) was born in Abingdon, Massachusetts, on June 25, 1835. He graduated with distinction from Amherst College in 1856 and from Andover Theological seminary in 1859. He married Ellen Maria Dickinson in 1859. Dr. Ward served as a professor of Latin at Ripon College in Wisconsin and was a prominent orientalist and biblical scholar in his later years. In 1868 he left Ripon College to join the editorial staff of The Independent. In 1884, he led an expedition to Babylonia to examine archeological sites, and became president of the American Oriental Society, a position held twice, from 1890-1894 and 1909-1910. He specialized in studying designs of Babylonian and Assyrian seal cylinders, which were used in ancient record-keeping.

Showing a lifelong concern for social issues in the newspaper and in private life, William Hayes Ward upheld African-American rights and opened the first conference held by the NAACP in 1909 in New York City. He was editor-in-chief of The Independent from 1896-1913 and is known for supporting poet Sidney Lanier, whose work was frequently published in the paper, and about whom Dr. Ward wrote a biographical memoir.

Horace Howard Furness, Sr., 1833-1912, was an important American Shakespeare scholar. He was known for his editing of Shakespeare's plays, which contained numerous editions of plays as well as criticism. His son, Horace Howard Furness, Jr., 1865-1930, was a partner and successor of his father's work and edited his letters. Samuel Chew was a renowned literary critic in the early twentieth century.

Subject/Index Terms

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

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 Hollinger Document Case

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

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 Source: Unknown provenance

Acquisition Method: 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.

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


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by 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.],
[All]

Series IV: Miscellaneous Literary and Political Correspondence, 1930-1936.
Box 1
Folder 31: Kenneth Roberts correspondence.
Item 1: Letter from Kenneth Roberts to Elizabeth Urban., No date.
Folder 33: Alexander Robertson correspondence.
Item 1: To Mr. Brown from Alexander Robertson., Nov. 30, 1931.
Folder 34: Unlabeled manuscript.
Item 1: Manuscript appears to be poem, "The Ragpicker" by Thomas Dunn English., No date.
Sub-Series 2: S. W. Jackson correspondence.
Item 1: To Mr. S. W. Jackson from [Mayberry?]., November 10, 1936.

Browse by 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.],
[All]

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