James Howard Whitty papers, 1792-1943 and undated

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Whitty, J. H. (James Howard), 1859-1937
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.
19 Linear Feet
Approx. 12,275 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

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.

Biographical / historical:

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.

Acquisition information:
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

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Preferred citation:

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