Photographs of the Battle of Antietam in General George McClellan’s Papers

On September 17, we mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam (1862), fought in Maryland near Sharpsburg and Antietam Creek between the armies of the Union Major General George B. McClellan and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. With over 23,000 casualties, the Battle of Antietam is still considered the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. It was also the first American battlefield photographed before those casualties were buried.

Found in the papers of George B. McClellan, Jr. (Class of 1886), a Princeton professor and one-time mayor of New York City, are some papers of his father, General George B. McClellan (1826–1885). Photographs comprise the bulk of these papers, including several dozen photos of the Battle of Antietam, many of which depict dead soldiers on the field or the makeshift tents and straw huts housing the wounded. Antietam was the only battle that McClellan fought from beginning to end, and it produced mixed results for him. Despite being a tactical draw—neither force was able to decimate the other, though General Lee retreated back into Virginia—Antietam was considered a turning point of the war for the North, ending Lee’s first attempt to enter Union territory and giving President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. Nevertheless, disappointed with McClellan’s failure to destroy Lee’s army, Lincoln removed him from command on November 5, 1862.

The photographs in McClellan’s papers were taken by Alexander Gardner, staff photographer to McClellan and, later, to other Union generals. As photography became more widely available in the 1830s and 1840s, war photography was encouraged in hopes that it would provide a record of historical events, beginning with daguerreotypes documenting the Mexican-American War in 1847. At the time of the Battle of Antietam, Gardner was working for photographer Mathew Brady, whose studio markings are on the back of the photographs; he would leave Brady’s studio shortly thereafter. Gardner’s photographs of Antietam and the Civil War, which were displayed in Brady’s New York gallery, sold as prints, and published as woodcut engravings in newspapers throughout the country, shocked their viewers, many of whom saw these devastating scenes of war for the first time.

Selections from these photographs will be on display in an upcom­ing exhi­bi­tion of Amer­i­can his­tory in Firestone’s Main Gallery in Spring 2013. McClellan’s papers are among more than a hundred collections in the Manuscripts Division that relate in whole or part to the Civil War. Other collections include the Civil War Letters of Adam Badeau, John S. Copley Civil War Letters, Roswell Lamson Papers, and American Civil War Collection. Bound manuscripts relating to the Civil War, including diaries, letter books, order books, and drafts of memoirs and histories of the war, can also be found in General Manuscripts collections C0199 and C0938, accessible through the Main Catalog. These are complemented by holdings of other divisions and collections of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, as well as the Scheide Library.

Click on each image to see larger photo. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library:

Early American History in the Livingston and Delafield Family Papers

Could an empty box have a story to tell? One such box does. As a result of the ongoing Firestone renovation, Library staff clearing an old storage area recently discovered an early 19th-century document box or chest (36 x 69 x 30 cm), made of wood covered in patterned wallpaper, with residues of red sealing wax, and still with its original hand-wrought iron handles and clasps. The box was probably made in New York around 1815, since it is lined on the inside with printers’ waste from a published address by Dr. David Hosack (1769–1835), Princeton Class of 1789, titled “Observations on the Laws Governing the Communication of Contagious Diseases, and the Means of Arresting their Progress.” Hosack read this address on June 9, 1814 before the newly formed Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York, which published it a year later in its journal, Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York, vol. 1 (1815), pp. 201-239. This volume was printed by Van Winkle & Wiley, a New York printing-and-publishing firm established by Cornelius Van Winkle and Charles Wiley in 1814 at 3 Wall Street–the forerunner of the scientific publisher John Wiley & Sons. Hosack was a physician, botanist, and educator, perhaps best known for treating the mortal wounds of Alexander Hamilton after his duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. In the 1814 address, Hosack gave his opinions about the rate of infection for yellow fever, which had ravaged New York in 1803. The Manuscripts Division has a collection of Hosack’s papers.

A note on the box indicated that it had come to Princeton in the 1980s with the Livingston and Delafield family papers, which were given to the Library in 1986 by Mr. J. Dennis Delafield (Class of 1957) and Professor Penelope D. Johnson. They had originally been housed at Montgomery Place, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., just over a hundred miles north of New York City. Montgomery Place was the ancestral summer residence of many members of the Livingston and Delafield families. In document boxes such as this, family members kept bundles of personal, political, and legal papers.

The Edward Livingston Papers, comprising 165 boxes of papers as well as maps, rolls, and other artifacts, is one of Princeton University Library’s most extensive collections documenting the early American republic. These papers trace the career of American lawyer, diplomat, statesman, and legal theorist Edward Livingston (1764–1836). The bulk of the collection consists of 56 boxes of Livingston’s correspondence, spanning most of his adult life, including letters from renowned lawyers, economists, jurists, and politicians. Jeremy Bentham, Aaron Burr, Mathew Carey, Henry Dilworth Gilpin, and Martin Van Buren are just a few of the correspondents. Livingston’s papers also document his work on the Louisiana Civil Code and advocacy of penal reform and the abolition of capital punishment, as well as his role in President Andrew Jackson’s administration as a supporter in the Congress and Senate, and later as U.S. Secretary of State and minister to France. Perhaps the most important document in his papers is his draft of the “Nullification Proclamation,” written by Livingston for Jackson during the Nullification Crisis in 1832.

Moreover, the collection encompasses an abundance of legal records, land records, and financial records, many of which pertain to Livingston’s law practice and private affairs, from a scandal involving the disappearance of customs house funds in 1803 to his entanglement with General James Wilkinson over his alleged conspiracy with Aaron Burr and his split with President Thomas Jefferson over title to land in New Orleans, Louisiana. The collection also contains the land records and financial documents of Livingston’s mother and sister, the Hudson Valley landowners Margaret Beekman Livingston (1724–1800) and Janet Livingston Montgomery (1743–1828), and almost three centuries’ worth of ledgers, account books, rent books, day books, receipts, and balance sheets.

The Delafields were avid collectors of family history and family-related memorabilia in the Hudson River Valley region. John Ross Delafield (Class of 1896)’s papers comprise the largest segment of the Delafield Family Papers. As president of the Reserve Officers Association from 1923 to 1926 and of the Military Order of World War from 1930 to 1933, his correspondence and other records reflect his avid interest in genealogy and local history, his views on the cancellation of Allied war debts from World War I, and his advocacy of military preparedness. The papers of John Ross Delafield’s grandfather, Joseph Delafield (1790-1875), a lawyer, soldier, and scientist, are also extensively represented. They include college notebooks; correspondence, proceedings, survey maps, and accounts relating to the United States Boundary Commission survey of the Canadian border under the Treaty of Ghent; correspondence relating to the Lyceum of Natural History (later the New York Academy of Science), of which he was president from 1827 to 1866; and records of the 46th Infantry during the War of 1812 and the bounty claims of some its veterans. Major Delafield’s main correspondents include John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Benjamin Silliman, and Benjamin Tallmadge.

J. Dennis Delafield and Penelope Johnson also gave the Library a generous endowment that supported the cataloging and preservation of these papers, and which continues to support the processing of other early American manuscript collections. The Library looks forward to reporting on further discoveries to be made from these collections. Other significant collections of early American history in the Manuscripts Division include the Andre De Coppet Collection (Class of 1915), Louis Alexandre Berthier Collection, Blair and Lee Family Papers, Rush Family Papers, and Stockton Family Papers. Items from many of these collections, including this document box, will be on display in an upcoming exhibition of American history in Firestone’s Main Gallery in Spring 2013.

Document box, open. Edward Livingston Papers and Delafield Family Papers. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Document box, closed. Edward Livingston Papers and Delafield Family Papers. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Fitzgerald in Hollywood

The Princeton University Library’s extensive collections of materials relating to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896—1940) (Class of 1917) have been enhanced by a recent gift of 22 items from Margaret Finney McPherson. These include over a dozen letters from Fitzgerald to McPherson’s parents, Fitzgerald’s Princeton classmate and friend Eben Finney (Class of 1919) and Eben’s wife, Margaret, as well as letters by Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda (1900—1948), and his daughter, Scottie (1921—1986).

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s letters are dated between 1936 and 1938, and serve as a window into the last years of his life, when he moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. As he explains to the Finneys in one letter, “A writer not writing is practically a maniac within himself. Because of this—I mean too many anxieties and too much introspection I’m going to Hollywood next month & extrovert a while, do a picture on order for Harlowe & Robert Taylor, and then some other work for Metro if they want me to stay on.”

In Hollywood, Fitzgerald signed a contract with MGM for $1,000 a week, which was later renewed for $1,250, a substantial sum during the Depression. He worked on many movies, including Gone with the Wind, but received a screenwriting credit for only one, Three Comrades. He describes his work on Three Comrades in a letter to the Finneys, written on MGM letterhead; in other letters, he mentions working with the actor and screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart and offers his impressions of Hollywood and the movie industry.

Many of his letters also reveal his anxieties about parenting his teenage daughter Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald. He expressed concerns about her grades, her romantic life, and the influence of his lifestyle upon her own, and repeatedly urged the Finneys to allow their daughter, Margaret “Peaches” Finney, to join Scottie on a visit to Hollywood where, he promised, he would introduce them to movie stars but not to alcohol or marijuana. In 1938, Peaches and Scottie did visit Hollywood, where they had their picture taken with the actor Errol Flynn.

Fitzgerald died of a massive heart attack in Hollywood at age 44. His last work, left unfinished at the time of his death and published posthumously as The Last Tycoon (1941), reflects his years in Hollywood in its main character, Monroe Stahr, who was inspired by the producer Irving Thalberg. The collection includes a letter from Fitzgerald’s widow, Zelda, thanking Margaret Finney for her support after Fitzgerald’s death. The Finneys lived in Baltimore, where the Fitzgeralds had also lived for several years. “[Fitzgerald] thought so happily of Baltimore,” Zelda wrote. “His people came from Maryland and he always felt that getting back to those flowering and peaceful slopes was to be going home. He loved the hospitable white roads and the immaculacy of the bright green fields, and always hoped that someday he would be able to live there forever.”

These materials have been added to the F. Scott Fitzgerald Additional Papers. Other collections at the Library with extensive material related to the Fitzgeralds include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons, Zelda Fitzgerald Papers, Craig House Medical Records on Zelda Fitzgerald, Ginevra King Collection Relating to F. Scott Fitzgerald, and H. N. Swanson Files on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Carl Van Vechten, photograph of F. Scott Fitzgerald, undated. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Carlos Fuentes and Latin American Literary Archives at Princeton

In 1995 the Princeton University Library acquired the papers of the acclaimed Mexican author Carlos Fuentes (1928–2012), whose passing on May 15 has been marked internationally by all who admired his major contributions to modern literature and his role as a cultural and political commentator on Latin America, past and present. The Carlos Fuentes Papers contain more than 125 linear feet of materials, including notebooks, manuscripts of novels and novellas, short stories, plays, screenplays, nonfiction writings, speeches, translations, correspondence, drawings, documents, photographs, magnetic media, scrapbooks, correspondence, and other research materials dating from the 1940s to 1990s. When the acquisition of the papers was first announced, the Mexican political scientist Jorge Castañeda (Class of 1973) said, “Carlos Fuentes’s correspondence, manu­scripts, and other papers read like a modern history of the region’s litera­ture, politics, and personal relationships. The author’s involve­ment in all facets of Latin American life, his friendships with political and literary figures from all over the world, his travels, and nearly a half-century of writing make his personal papers a trove of information, opinions, stories, and history for literary critics, historians, and political scien­tists of all persuasions.”

Fuentes was the author of La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), Aura (1962), Terra nostra (1975), and El gringo viejo (1985), as well as many other novels, plays, screen­plays, short stories, essays, criticism, and works of journalism during his long literary career. He was a leading figure in the literary “Boom” of the 1960s, when previously unknown Latin American writers began attracting inter­national audiences both in the original Spanish and in transla­tion. Well documented in his papers is the story of how Latin American literature rose from its regional roots to acquire an international status, which has been recognized in part by the conferral of five Nobel Prizes in literature since 1967. The Chilean novelist José Donoso (Class of 1951) once called Fuentes “the first active and conscious agent of the internationalization of the Spanish American novel.” Frequently honored in Latin America and the United States, Fuentes received the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Award from King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1988. Fuentes lived in Princeton from 1979 to 1980, when he was as a Fellow in the Humanities and worked on his novel Una familia lejana (1980). Like his father Rafael Fuentes Boettiger, Carlos Fuentes was a diplomat. He served in various capacities in Mexico during the 1950s and later as ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977. He was a member of Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights and was active in the search for peace in Central America. Politics and literature are inextricably intertwined in the life and work of Carlos Fuentes, as with so many other Latin American writers. Common themes emerging in the papers of Latin American authors since the 1960s are militarism and dicta­torship, human rights and exile, left- and right-wing politics, and historical relations with the United States.

Carlos Fuentes had been been the subject of scores of monographs and dissertations, even before his papers became available for research at Princeton. Access to his papers has permitted hundreds of Princeton-based and visiting scholars to study the evolution of particular works from concept to pub­lished book, while shedding light on the development of Fuentes’s complex narra­tive style, the influence of popular culture, the transforma­tion of prose into cinema, and other subjects. In addition to literature, major cultural and historical currents are documented in Fuentes’s extensive correspondence with leading ­authors, intellec­tuals, film direc­tors, publishers, and political figures­. Over the past fifteen years, the Carlos Fuentes Papers have been one of the most heavily used Latin American literary archives in the Manuscripts Division. Holdings have grown to more than sixty author archives and relation collections, including Reinaldo Arenas, José Bianco, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Julio Cortázar, José Donoso, Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Mario Vargas Llosa (Nobel Prize in Literature, 2010). The acquisition of Carlos Fuentes’s papers opened the door to the acquisition of other major Mexican author archives, such as Juan García Ponce, Elena Garro, Margo Glantz, Jorge Ibargüengoitia, Vicente Leñero, Sergio Pitol, and Alejandro Rossi. For a listing, go to  For reference assistance about Princeton’s holdings, contact

The Carlos Fuentes Papers were recently featured in Reforma. To read the article, please click here.

Carlos Fuentes, Liverpool St., Mexico City, 1967. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

From left to right: Carlos Monsiváis, José Luis Cuevas, Fernando Benítez, and Carlos Fuentes, Opera Bar, Mexico City, 1969. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Moe Berg, Class of 1923: Baseball Player, World War II Spy

The Manuscripts Division has recently received a large portion of the personal papers of Morris “Moe” Berg (1902–1972) as a gift from Dr. William Sear. Berg is best known as a Major League Baseball player who became a spy during World War II and participated in a plot that almost resulted in the assassination of the German physicist and Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg in 1945. The Moe Berg Papers offer researchers a glimpse into his mysterious life and complex personality.

Born in Harlem to Jewish immigrants, Berg spent his childhood in the Roseville section of Newark, New Jersey. At Princeton University, Berg played shortstop on the university baseball team while studying several languages. He became captain of the baseball team his senior year, and just before he graduated magna cum laude in June 1923, he accepted an offer to play for the Brooklyn Robins (later the Brooklyn Dodgers). He went on to play catcher for four Major League teams. Between seasons, he studied at the Sorbonne and Columbia Law. As a player, Berg was better known as “Professor Moe,” the most learned man in baseball, than for his exploits on the field. The scout Mike Gonzalez coined the phrase “good field, no hit” for Berg in the early 1920s, though Berg did accompany Babe Ruth to Japan for an all-star exposition tour in 1934.

Galvanized by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Berg left baseball in January 1942 for a post under Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA), working in South America. In 1944 he was accepted into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where he spent the next two years reporting on scientific advancements being made by Germany and Italy.

Berg returned to the United States after the war. He drifted from place to place, ultimately living with his siblings in Newark. He never married or held another full-time job, and maintained a secretive and solitary lifestyle until his death on May 29, 1972.

The Moe Berg Papers consist of correspondence, handwritten notes, photographs, newspaper clippings, financial materials, and items about Berg collected by others. Official correspondence, which comprise the bulk of the papers, relates mainly to Berg’s time with the Office of Strategic Services. Many of the materials are carbon copies of letters and documentation sent by government pouch during World War II, as well as drafts of cables, official orders, and scientific documentation acquired for or during Berg’s many assignments. The collection includes letters from Nelson A. Rockefeller, Vannevar Bush, and General Leslie R. Groves, as well as love letters from Berg’s only known long-term romantic interest, Estella Huni.

The Papers also contain Berg’s copious notes from the 1930s through the 1960s, which range from scribbled names and dates to elaborate memoirs. Some notes relate directly to his government work; others record his social life, tracing a vast network of friends in all capacities of baseball, government and law, and society on the East Coast. Notes on linguistics and books Berg read reflect his continued interest in academic pursuits, while later notes contain autobiographical reflections.

Finally, the photographs—snapshots, professional press images, and copy prints from the 1980s—capture the events and people most commonly associated with Moe Berg: his baseball career, pre-war trips to Japan, experiences abroad during World War II, and his relationships with friends and family, including fellow baseball players Babe Ruth, “Lefty” O’Doul, Joe Cronin, and Hollis Thurston.

The Moe Berg Papers were featured in a recent article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, and selected items are currently on display as part of the exhibition “A Fine Addi­tion: New & Notable Acqui­si­tions in Princeton’s Spe­cial Col­lec­tions” in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library. The Papers join several other Moe Berg collections at Princeton: the Moe Berg Collection (AC326) and the Dr. and Mrs. Arnold S. Breitbart Collection on Moe Berg (AC388), both at the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Berg, right, with player-manager and friend Joe Cronin in the Boston Red Sox dugout, circa 1937. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Berg poses with Allied military officials in Oslo, Norway, in June 1945. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.


Peck Shahnamah Goes Online

The Peck Shahnamah (Islamic MSS, 3rd series, no. 310), which is the finest Persian illuminated manuscript among nearly 10,000 Islamic manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, is the most recent addition to the Princeton Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts. This sumptuous manuscript of the Persian national epic Shahnamah, or “Book of Kings,” was written and illuminated in Safavid Persia. From the 16th to 18th centuries, the Safavid dynastry ruled a far-flung empire that extended from Turkey to the Indian subcontinent. The Peck Shahnamah is one of the most extraordinary Safavid illuminated manuscripts of Firdawsī’s epic and has been compared to better-known examples such as the Houghton Shahnamah and Windsor Castle Shahnamah. The Persian poet Hakīm Abu’l-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī commonly known as Firdawsī (933/4–1025 CE) completed the epic in 1009/10. The text begins with the first legendary Persian king and ends with the fall of the Sassanian empire to the Arabs in the middle of the 7th century. Prof. Charles Melville, Pembroke College, Cambridge, who has studied the proliferation of illuminated Shahnamah manuscripts since the end of the 13th century, sees in Firdawsī’s work not just a masterpiece of Persian epic poetry, but a text that “has come to encapsulate Iran’s pride in her past and to serve as a source for understanding her political culture.”

The scribe Qiwām ibn Muḥammad of Shīrāz prepared the manuscript. The date 998 H, which he provides, corresponds to 1589/90 CE. On stylistic grounds, the paintings are also localizable to Shīrāz, an important center of manuscript production in southwestern Iran. The Peck Shahnamah has 475 paper folios and a full painting cycle of 45 full-page miniatures spread throughout the text, as well as double-page miniatures at the beginning, middle, and end of the manuscript. The miniatures are of high quality and substantial size, measuring 47.0 × 32.5 cm. The manuscript has had a distinguished provenance. From an inscription in the manuscript, we know that Khayrāt Khan, an envoy from ‘Abd Allāh Quṭbshāh to Iṣfahān, acquired it from a woman who was the daughter of the Safavid provincial ruler Khān Aḥmad Khān of Gīlān and widow of Emperor Shāh Abbās I of Persia (1571–1629), in Rajab (1040 H/1631 CE). By the 18th century, the manuscript was in England, where around 1780 it was elaborately rebound by a London bookbinder in a western-style red morocco binding. Later the manuscript was later in the collection of Sir George Holford (1860–1926). The American antiquarian bookseller and collector A.S.W. Rosenbach (1876–1952) sold the manuscript in 1946 to Clara S. Peck, an American collector and horse breeder, who lived at Whigancek Farm in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey. The manuscript was Peck’s 1983 bequest to the Princeton University Library, in memory of her brother Fremont C. Peck, Class of 1920.

The miniatures in the Peck Shahnamah were initially digitized so that they could be added to the Shahnama Project website, which was created by Jerome W. Clinton (1937–2003), a professor of Persian in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton. In cooperation with the Library, digital images and descriptions of 277 miniatures from five Princeton manuscripts were added to the website. In addition to Peck, the Shahnama Project includes miniatures in four Shahnamah manuscripts (1544–1674) that were the 1942 gift of Robert Garrett (1875–1961), Class of 1897. With grant support from the J. Paul Getty Trust, Professor Clinton and the art historian Marianna Shreve Simpson began a collaborative study on the interrelationship of text and image in manuscripts of the Shahnamah. Their research paid special attention to the Peck Shahnamah. Clinton and Simpson provided some of the Getty grant funds to the Library in 2002 in order to digitize the entire manuscript, including all text folios and miniatures. Initially, the digital images were used for the research project, which was completed by Simpson after Clinton’s untimely death. However, once the Princeton Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts was created, with the generous support of the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project, it became the perfect vehicle for disseminating the fully digitized manuscript. Recently uploaded, the Peck Shahnamah joins more than 200 other digitized Islamic manuscripts from the Manuscripts Division. View the Peck Shahnamah here.

For further reading on the Peck Shahnamah, see the following: (1) Louise Marlow, “A Persian Book of Kings: The Peck Shahnameh,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 46 (1985), pp. 192–214; (2) Louise Marlow, “The Peck Shahnameh: Manuscript Production in Late Sixteenth-Century Shiraz,” in Michel M. Mazzaoui and Vera B. Moreen, eds., Intellectual Studies on Islam: Essays Written in Honor of Martin B. Dickson (Salt Lake City, 1990), pp. 229–243; and (3) Jerome W. Clinton and Marianna S. Simpson, “How Rustam Killed White Div: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry,” Iranian Studies 26:2 (2006), pp. 171–197.

“Royal Hunt,” Peck Shanamah, folio 473. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Conrad Richter: A Simple Man?

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that it has received the remainder of the papers of American author Conrad Richter (1890-1968) as a bequest from the estate of his daughter, Prof. Harvena Richter, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Conrad Richter Papers [46 linear feet] have now been fully arranged and described in a finding aid.

The title of Conrad Richter’s book A Simple Honorable Man (1962) may well have been fashioned after the author’s own self image. Richter, an American novelist active during the middle decades of the twentieth century, wrote books about honest, earthy people: pioneers, settlers, cowboys, and American Indians were among his favorite subjects. The author was born in Pine Grove, PA, in 1890, the eldest son of a Pennsylvania German family, the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. He did not go to college, nor did he wish to join the ministry. Plagued with what he referred to as “bad nerves,” the young Richter tried his hand at a number of occupations. Among them was writing, which he did assiduously, intent on providing for his wife and daughter.  By 1951 Richter had won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Town (1951), the third installment in his trilogy The Awakening Land. There were film adaptations of his novels, such as The Sea of Grass (1937), starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, directed by Elia Kazan.

A 1950 letter from Julian P. Boyd, Princeton University Librarian, to Alfred Knopf, Richter’s publisher, points to the beginning of Princeton’s first interest in Richter’s papers. Though Richter offered two manuscripts to Princeton as a gift, Boyd writes in his letter to Knopf, “I intend to have [Richter’s] manuscripts handsomely done up in slip cases – something like the way in which Dreiser’s Sister Carrie is cared for by the New York Public Library” [“Letter to Alfred Knopf,” May 23, 1950, Conrad Richter Papers, Box 38, Folder 5, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library]. Over the next few months Boyd and Richter corresponded, conversing amiably about Firestone Library, which had opened in 1949. In an acknowledgement letter (July 10, 1950), Boyd thanks Richter for his gift to the library.

Over the next 60 years, Princeton continued to receive gifts from the Richter family of the author’s papers and manuscripts, which included sizeable correspondence files, photographs, and manuscripts. Among the most valuable research materials in Richter’s papers are the author’s journals and notebooks, beginning in the 1920s and kept throughout his life; and correspondence with his publisher, Alfred and Blanche Knopf; and with his literary agent, Paul Reynolds. In various places the Richter Papers reveal a slightly more nuanced individual than “a simple, honorable man” might indicate; correspondence with psychologists, psychics, and sleep specialists indicate Richter’s preoccupation, or at the very least interest, with the metaphysical, and a personal letter from J. Edgar Hoover also gives pause.  Now available, the collection gives researchers the opportunity to rediscover and learn more about this thoroughly American novelist.

Conrad Richter as a cowboy, circa 1940. Box 99, Folder 4. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.


Conrad Richter: A Simple Honorable Man, circa 1962. Box 99, Folder 5. Not to be reproduced without permission of the Princeton University Library.

Stanley Kunitz: A Poet’s Life

“My dismay at the clutter on my desk is offset by my zest for the hunt among my papers.  At an age when I should be putting my house in order, I keep accumulating bits of information, not for any particular reason and in spite of the absurdity, because I was born curious and don’t know how to stop.”

Stanley Kunitz, “Seedcorn and Windfall” from Next to Last Things: New Poems and Essays (1985)

Born curious, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stanley Kunitz [1905-2005] lived a long and varied life.  Beyond the critical acclaim he gained for his poetry, Kunitz and his wife, the painter and poet Elise Asher, were friends to many of the 20th century’s cultural giants: painters like Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, and Robert Motherwell; and poets like Robert “Cal” Lowell, Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop.  The couple split their time between their Greenwich Village apartment and Provincetown, MA, where Kunitz raised a seaside garden, and they traveled extensively.

A restless spirit, Kunitz helped found the Fine Arts Work Center, an artist-residency program in Provincetown, and Poets House in New York City, two organizations that would help support generations of younger poets.   By the time Princeton University’s Rare Books and Special Collections acquired Mr. Kunitz’s papers, the aging poet had indeed amassed a certain amount, as he wrote, of clutter.  Clutter – perhaps – but it was good clutter, constituting a trove of research material for literary scholars and art historians alike.  Available for research, the Stanley Kunitz Papers offers a complete finding aid, documenting the life and work of one of the United States’ most prominent poets.

In Stanley Kunitz’s own words, “it was not an auspicious beginning.” [“My Mother’s Story,” TMs, Box 147 Folder 11]   Bereft of a father and the only son of an Eastern European immigrant mother, Stanley Kunitz grew up in Worcester, MA, where he spent a good deal of time out of doors.  At an early age Kunitz became enthralled with the natural world, a theme that is recurrent in his poems, such as this one, “The Testing Tree”:

Once I owned the key
To an umbrageous trail
Thickened with mosses
Where flickering presences
Gave me right of passage […]

His fascination with comets, insects, whales, birds, raccoons, and the ways of plants and flowers informs his most enduring poems.  While Kunitz did explore political and social themes throughout his work, the notes, subject files and clippings in the Stanley Kunitz Papers confirm his abiding passion for the natural world.  Equally at home in the flower bed and at the typewriter, his last book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden (2005) examines the synthesis of these two vocations.  Manuscripts of this book and others demonstrate Kunitz’s deliberate and sustained writing practice, no doubt informed by the patience, persistence, and an eye to detail refined by a lifetime working the garden.

Beyond the manuscripts, the Papers give access to reams of correspondence between Kunitz and the literati and glitterati of the 20th century; fan letters spanning five decades; the peace-loving poet’s military discharge papers and his father’s death certificate; drawings sent to him from his poet friends; poems written by his artist friends.  Many items invite investigation, such as the Russian translations, some of which remain unpublished; Elise Asher’s recipe for Cream of Sorrel Soup;the unidentified correspondence; and fragments of possibly unpublished poems.

Among the most tantalizing materials are the photographs [Box 183].  Whether pictured with fellow poets, Jorge Luis Borges at Columbia University, or deep in conversation with Mark Rothko, the photographs testify to Kunitz’s active engagement in the world of arts and letters.  As a poet among painters, Kunitz gained entrée into some of the most legendary cultural scenes of the 20th century, like “The Club,” which Kunitz characterized as “the stormy social and debating society of the New York School” [“Giorgio Cavallon 1904-1989,” Box 146, Folder 10].  The combination of Kunitz’s own intellectual achievement and his personal friendships makes the Stanley Kunitz Papers a valuable resource for researchers across the humanistic disciplines.

Mark Rothko and Stanley Kunitz, undated. Box 183, Folder 17. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.

Front row (L to R): John Berryman, Adrienne Rich, Josephine Jacobsen and James Merrill; Back row (L to R): Kunitz, Richard Eberhart, Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur, William Meredith (Class of 1940) and Robert Penn Warren. Box 183, Folder 7. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.

George Cruikshank’s Pop-gun

George Cruikshank (1792–1878) was one of the most inventive and talented graphic satirists of his time. As a boy in London, he learned printmaking from his father, Isaac Cruikshank; after Isaac died in 1811, the family was supported entirely by George’s drawings. His political and social caricatures entertained and piqued the British public, and when he died, he was one of England’s best known and most prolific artists, having designed as many as twelve thousand prints.

The Princeton University Library’s George Cruikshank Collection consists of 35 boxes of Cruikshank’s personal papers, correspondence, and original drawings, including some two dozen bound sketch books. The most recent addition to the collection is a manuscript in Cruikshank’s hand, heavily corrected and signed by him in six places. The manuscript is a draft of a pamphlet Cruikshank would publish in 1860 titled A Pop-gun Fired Off by George Cruikshank: In Defence of the British Volunteers of 1803, expressing support for civilian volunteers in the face of a French invasion of Great Britain. The manuscript includes nineteen colored and pen-and-ink sketches, which differ from those published in A Pop-gun.

In A Pop-gun, Cruikshank recalls his first participation in a volunteer militia at age 11. When Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) declared war on Britain in 1803, George Cruikshank’s father Isaac joined a volunteer troop while George and his brother drilled with toy weapons. The manuscript draft offers further details: “In our Bloomsbury corp,” he writes, “we had to find our own uniforms with the help of the mamas—and our own arms and accoutrements—my Brother made himself a pasteboard cocked hat and a youth who was apprenticed to a coach builder made him a saber of wood…and I had a pasteboard cap and the Regiment having punched some small gun stocks, we had moss sticks—or Broom handles—fixed in these, and Black leaded to imitate the polished steel.” His training as a boy, he argued in A Pop-gun, prepared him well to bear arms as an adult in defense of his country. At the bottom of this manuscript page, Cruikshank has included a colored sketch of soldiers in uniform.

The manuscript is accompanied by a scrap of paper in Cruikshank’s hand containing military maneuvers and diagrams, tipped into a booklet titled Our Rifle Volunteers, Sketched by “Quiz.” The booklet is an illustrated verse satire on the volunteer militia that also focuses on the volunteers’ attire, but to very different effect. On one page, the verse “Now don’t make a fool of yourself, strutting there,/With the limbs of an ape, and the head of a bear” is illustrated with a drawing of an artillery volunteer wearing a large, furry hat and a comical expression. If the author of this work was not Cruikshank, it may have been Edward Caswall (1814–1878), a Roman Catholic priest who also wrote humorous and satirical poetry under the pseudonym Scriblerus Redivivus. Cruikshank may have owned this booklet and used it for reference.

In 1859, British volunteer troops were formed again under the threat of another French invasion. Cruikshank joined the 48th Middlesex corps, eventually becoming its commanding officer; the George Cruikshank Collection contains other materials related to his career in the Middlesex corps. The collection complements the Graphic Arts Division’s holdings of over six hundred Cruikshank prints.

Additionally, scattered throughout the Manuscripts Department’s holdings is a wealth of works of art on paper by many British artists and illustrators, most of whom have a literary association: for example, George Du Maurier, Thomas Rowlandson, and J.M. Barrie. Worthy of special mention is the renowned Gallatin-Beardsley Collection, which includes 130 drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, collected by the American artist A.E. Gallatin, along with a rich archive of manuscripts, correspondence, posters, illustrated books, and other materials by or related to the 1890s English artist. The Department also holds artwork by other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, John Everett Millais, Simeon Solomon, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Max Beerbohm, and Gwen John, whose watercolors were recently discovered in the Arthur Symons Papers.

George Cruikshank, undated manuscript draft of A Pop-gun. Man­u­scripts Divi­sion, Depart­ment of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.
















Our Rifle Volunteers, sketched by "Quiz." Man­u­scripts Divi­sion, Depart­ment of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.


Douglas Kent Hall Papers

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce that the Douglas Kent Hall Papers, a generous gift from Dawn Hall in 2010, have been arranged and described in a detailed finding aid and are now open and available to researchers. The papers comprise more than 100 boxes of correspondence, manuscripts, notes, research files, and audio and visual materials, documenting approximately fifty years of Douglas Kent Hall’s work as a writer and photographer.

Douglas Kent Hall (1938–2008) was born in Vernal, Utah, a rural community approximately two hundred miles from Salt Lake City. He attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, coupling his interests in creative writing and photography for a lifetime of documentary and artistic photography across the world. Hall traveled through Europe in 1968 and settled in New York City in 1971, where he had his first photography exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974. In 1977, he moved to New Mexico. The American southwest and border region would influence the next thirty years of his work, resulting in at least ten major publications and projects from the 1980s through the 2000s.

The creative bulk of the papers consists of at least 96,000 unique photographic images in the form of black-and-white negatives, contact sheets, color transparencies, and prints spanning Hall’s forty years of work as a photographer. Major subjects include rock and roll stars from the 1960s and early 1970s (including Jimi Hendrix and The Who), the American southwest (including rodeos, mission churches, border residents, and Native dances), poets and artists (including Mark Strand, Allen Ginsberg, and W. S. Merwin), and photographic studies of subcultures including bodybuilding (with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno), prison life, drag racing, dance, and cowboy lifestyles. Locations photographed include the U.S.-Mexico border, the American West, New Mexico, New York City, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. The photographs are accompanied by manuscripts, notes, research files, and correspondence related to their production.

Hall also wrote an Academy Award-winning documentary about rodeo (his longtime interest), and published four novels and over fifteen photography books on subjects ranging from body building (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the Native American weaving traditions of New Mexico. His novels were often autobiographical, centering around his rural Mormon-influenced childhood, while his photography books explored subcultures he discovered as an adult, such as rock and roll, bodybuilding, and prison life. The papers include drafts of major publications, including his first novel On the Way to the Sky (1972) and Let ‘Er Buck (1973), as well as the interviews and research behind the documentary The Great American Cowboy and extensive unpublished drafts and related materials. Other writings include books, plays, autobiographical short stories, essays, freelance articles and reviews, unpublished poetry, teleplays, and unproduced screenplays from his time as a student up until his death.

The Douglas Kent Hall Papers are a valued addition to Princeton’s extensive holdings of Western Americana, including manuscripts, archives, historical photographs, printed books, maps, and other materials. These include Daniel Gano’s Gold Rush Scrapbook and other overland travel narratives, the Western Americana Photograph Collection, photographs of Native American Indians from the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories by William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) and others, and the Sheldon Jackson Collection of Indian Photographs.

The Seeley G. Mudd Library, part of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, has 11 boxes of photographs in the Association on American Indian Affairs Records and a series of private papers concerning the crusade to return Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo. For printed books, including those in the Philip Ashton Rollins Collection and J. Monroe Thorington Collection, please contact the Rare Books Division. For maps, please contact John Delaney, Curator of Historic Maps, at

Douglas Kent Hall, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Wyeth, undated. Man­u­scripts Divi­sion, Depart­ment of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.


Douglas Kent Hall, Black Mesa, undated. Man­u­scripts Divi­sion, Depart­ment of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library. Not to be repro­duced with­out the per­mis­sion of the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library.