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George W. Potter and Alfred M. Williams Memorial Manuscript Collection Finding Aid

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George W. Potter and Alfred M. Williams Memorial Manuscript Collection Finding Aid Summary Information Repository: Providence Public Library Special Collections Location: 150 Empire St. Providence, RI
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George W. Potter and Alfred M. Williams Memorial Manuscript Collection Finding Aid Summary Information Repository: Providence Public Library Special Collections Location: 150 Empire St. Providence, RI Call No.: Potter MSS Title: Manuscripts, Size: 2 boxes, 2 linear feet Creators: Alfred M. Williams, George W. Potter with additional manuscripts from Stuart C. Sherman, Clarence E. Sherman, Virginia M. Adams and several other librarians Span Dates: Bulk Dates: Administrative Information Processing Information: Processed by Eric Boutin, September-November 2009 Access Restrictions: Open to the public without restrictions Copyright: Permission to publish is required Biographical Information Alfred Mason Williams Williams was born in Taunton, Massassachusetts on October 23, He was the son of Lloyd Hall and Prudence King Williams. He attended the Bristol Academy and entered Brown University in the class of During the Civil War, he abandoned his studies and was enlisted as a private in the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and wrote letters from the front to various newspapers. After the war, he went to Ireland as a foreign correspondent to report on the Fenian trials for the Boston Post and the New York Herald. He collected Irish broadside ballads which led to his lifelong interest in folklore. He was also interested in Irish poetry and this led to his publication of an anthology of Irish poetry in In 1875, he was hired as a reporter for the Providence Journal where he wrote editorials. In 1884 he became editor-in-chief of the paper. He started a Sunday edition in 1885 and in it he published poems and articles by Irish writers. He also made the Journal one of the strongest advocates in America for Irish home rule. After his wife died in 1886, he made a second trip to Ireland and met many young talented Irish writers including Katharine Tynan and William Butler Yeats. Williams published much of their work in the Journal and this gave many Americans weekly access to Irish literature. Williams s ill health due to malaria he contracted during the Civil War led to his retirement from the Journal in 1891 and he died five years later while on a visit to St. Kitts in the Eastern Caribbean. Having no children, he donated his entire estate, appraised at $250,000, to the Providence Public Library. Today it s estimated worth is $4,300,000. Thus began a unique collection of Irish history literature and folklore that continued to expand through the 20 th Century. George W. Potter Providence Journal s chief editor and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, George W. Potter did extensive research on Irish history and culture and wrote books and articles about it. In 1950, a series of 17 articles written by him in the Journal about people, life and culture in contemporary Ireland was published under the title An Irish Pilgrimage. His other work, To the Golden Door: The Story of Irish in Ireland and America was published in 1960, a year after his death. Potter also wrote a series of articles about Alfred M. Williams and helped the library establish a center for Irish studies called the Alfred M. Williams Memorial in He acquired many rare and valuable documents and books during his trips to Ireland including an original copy of the 1916 broadside proclamation declaring Ireland s independence. In 1950 the library purchased around 400 pamphlets that had been in the library of Holland House, a Tudor mansion. They date from 1730 to 1885 and relate mainly to the Act of Union, Catholic emancipation, and British policy toward Ireland. It was at this time that the National Library of Ireland gave many duplicate broadside ballads and about a hundred books to the Williams Memorial. Potter was responsible for helping the library amass one of the finest collections outside of Ireland of Irish literature and history. After Potter died in 1959 the library renamed the collection the George W. Potter and Alfred M. Williams Memorial on Irish Culture. Over the years many have donated to the collection. The manuscript collection includes many printed materials, manuscripts to and from Potter as well as other librarians and book distributors, and documents. Scope and Content The Potter MSS span the years with a greater concentration on It begins with Alfred M. Williams s small collection of writings donated posthumously in 1899 and ends in 1981with correspondence and related material to and from Providence Public Library s Special Collections curator Virginia M. Adams. The bulk of the material is by George W. Potter and includes his rough draft of To the Golden Door: the History of the Irish in Ireland and America. Also included is Potter s correspondence with librarians, Irish writers and readers, and a collection of newspaper clippings about Irish history and related news. His manuscripts and clippings show how close his relationship was with the Irish literary world and how instrumental he was in printing works by Irish writers in the Providence Journal. Most of the other correspondence is from the Providence Public Library librarians Clarence E. Sherman, Stuart C. Sherman and Virginia M. Adams. These letters span the dates with the bulk of them dating These letters show day to day activities of the librarians dealing with developing and maintaining the collection, providing service to academic institutions, hosting events and exhibits showcasing their unique collection, and other developments. These activities illuminate how much of a priority maintaining the collection was to the library and how important it was for the librarians to educate the public about Irish culture and history. The miscellaneous material provides random information such as a list of the Williams Memorial Advisory Committee and their addresses, a list of Rhode Island Irish Societies, the financial history of the collection, collection description with emphasis on the facsimiles of the Lindsfarne Gospels, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells, several photographs of Potter and other committee members, and miscellaneous unidentified correspondence. The original order of the collection is unknown. Series Description Series I: Alfred M. Williams Manuscripts Alfred M. Williams s small collection of manuscripts, deposited with the Providence Public Library in 1899 by Benjamin B. Edmands, provide the starting point of the collection. The structure of the writing shows that it is mostly poetic and proves that Williams spent much time writing his own poems. There is also a written and transcribed account of a British ship captured by pirates in This is the only collection of manuscripts written by Williams. The second folder includes a photocopy of the manuscripts in the first folder. Series II: Correspondence Subseries A: George W. Potter Correspondence ( ) Subseries B: Clarence E. Sherman Correspondence, Librarian, Providence Public Library ( ) Subseries C: Stuart C. Sherman Correspondence, Librarian, Providence Public Library ( ) Subseries D: Correspondence and related material to and from Virginia M. Adams, Special Collections Curator ( ) Subseries E: Miscellaneous Correspondence ( ) -List of Correspondents- Alford, Roberta M. Adams, Virginia M. Adelman, Lorraine [A regular reader, at home or away from home] Arnold, Mary W. Arnold, Samual T. Babcock, Donald Baker, Raymond A. Barton, A. J. Basquet, Elizabeth Baxter, Miss Madeleine E. Bender, Laura Benedict, A.W. Belcher, Horace G. Betz, Eva K. B., G. W. Bigelow, Bruce M. Black, Thomas F. Jr. Blodgett, Catherine C. Brayton, Gladys W. Brennan, Joseph D. Brown, Karl Brown, Sevellon Brown, Edward E. Brucker, Herbert Bundy, Mrs. Burke, Edward F. Burnett, Don E. Burns, Elizabeth A. Busby, Dorothy R. Canning, Patrick S. Carroll, Charles V. Cassidy, Rev. James E. Cavanaugh, Daniel Cavanaugh, John P. Charbonnel, Avis Bliven Childs, Rev. Felix S. Chodes, John Clark, Dennis J. Clark, John J. Clifford, Dora R. Clough, Ben C. Cohen, Herman Colahan, David J. Colum, Padraic Comstock, Helen Conneely, Father Paul Connolly, Terence L. Corrigan, Francis V. Cowan, Clayton L. Cox, John Cox, Rev. John F. Coyne, Thomas J. Cummings, Mary Cunningham, William J. Curran, Elizabeth Curran, Gertrude Curtayne, Alice Dalton, James F. Dame, Lawrence Davenport, Susan Deignan, Mrs. Deland, Paul S. Delangy, J.H. Delangy, Séamus Dempsey, Kathryn Derrig, Patrick Dillon, James T. Dodge, Ernest D. Domville, Eric Donovan, Gerald Jr. Doyle, David P. Duff, F.A. Duffy, Donald Dunn, Rev. John T. Dwight, William Dwyer, Rose Edwards, R. Dudley Egan, Francis M. Ellis, Emily Emmett, Elizabeth Enwright, Margaret Falcarelli, Jane Walsh Famiglietti, Arthur P. Farley, James A. Farrelly, P.J.K. Figgis, Francis T. Figgis, William F. Figgis, S. E. Allen Fogarty, John E. Foulkes, Carrie T. French, Hannah D. Frost, G. Frederick Gallagher, Eamonn Gardner, William E. Garrett, George A. Garrity, Devin A. Garrity, Florence M. Gilligan, Frank J. Gillis, James M. Giusti, Mrs. Gleason, Daniel M. Goodman, Alfred Godlewski, Susan Glover Gorman, Florence Green, Mildred F. Griffiths, Edward N. Gurney, A.H. Gurney, Katherine Carver Hackett, E. Byrne Hackett, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Halland, (first name illegible) Hammond, Roland Hannon, Lillian I. Harbeson, John Hayes, Richard J. Healy, George W. Jr. Healy, James A. Hebert, Felix Herne, John J. Hickey, Marcella Hickey, William P. Hills, Dorothy M. Higgins, Edward J. Higgins, Isabel Mooney Hoek, Kees van Hogan, Mary C. Holmes, Daniel F. Hough, Henry Beetle Hull, Dan Hurley, Lawrence F. Hurley, Joseph L. Jillson, Mary E. Johnston, Dennis Jonah, David A. Joyce, Denis Padriac Juleus, Nels Keep, G. R. C. Kelley, George F. Kenedy, Arthur R. Kiernan, Seamus A. Kipp, Mrs. L. J. Kochoff, Steve Krause, David Krysto, W. V. Kunz, F. L. Kurtz, Helen Landreth, Helen Landry, Mary Sullivan Lang, Rosalie A. Laughran, Thomas P. Leighton, Etta V. Leo, Brother M. Levinson, Harry A. Lew, Irving Lewin, Charles J. Lewis, Alfred Baker Lewis, Theodore Leonard, Marie B. Lord, Royal B. Lownes, Albert E. Lynch, S. G. Lyons, John T. MacLochlainn, A. MacManus, Francis MacMahon, Bryan Malony, Marie A. Marcus, Phillip L. Matte, Helen McArdle, Mary A. McCabe, Francis J. McCready, R. R. McDermott, Nora L. McDonnell, Mrs. H. McDunphy, M. McElroy, Alice M. McGinn, Catherine A. McGuinn, Catherine A. McGuire, James B. McLaughlin, Henry J. McMahon, Bryon McMahon, Lillian L. McManus, Francis McNulty, Jalen McSweeney, John McTernan, William F. McVinney, Bishop Russell J. Melcher, Frederic G. Metcalf, George Pierce Metcalf, Keyes. D. Metzdorf, Robert F. Minch, Sidney B. Mooney, Michael J. Morini, Albert Morrissey, John H. Morrow, H. L. (Larry) Mulcahy-Clissman, Budge Mulcahy, John Mulleedy, Dr. John J. Murchadha, P. Murchadha, Tadhg O. Murnane, John Murphy, Maire Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew A. Murphy, Sheila Murray, Katherine R. Nolte, Richard H. Nugent, Henry F. Nyhan, D. O Brien, Francis J. O Connell, Daniel T. O Connell, E. M. O Connell, Jeremiah E. Ogden, George Babcock Ogden, Mrs. George Babcock O Kelly, John J. O Kelly, Sean T. O Malley, Martin A. O., M. J. O Neil, Brian [One of the common people] Paine, Clarence J. Papantonio, Michael Parkinson, Thomas Paxton, Mrs. William Perdue, Donald P. Petrucci, Mrs. Phelan, Emily M. Philbrick, A. L. Phillips, Edna P. Piccolo, V. Pinson, Leo Post, Margaret R. Potter, Erna Potter, George W. Power, Eugene B. Quady, Mr. Quinlan, Nora J. Quinn, Patrick H. Quinn, Thomas H. Quinton, Mrs. Edward J. Rafuse, Verna Salty Reed, Len Reynolds, Horace Richardson, Jeanne Riley, Jack Riley, Sunny Roberts, Dennis J. Robertson, William J. Saltmarsh, Robert C. Sedgewick, M. Session, Doheny H. Shannon, William V. Shapiro, S. R. Shea, Joan Sheehan, J. Shiel, James Shields, Joseph F. Sherman, Clarence E. Sherman, Stuart C. Sister Ann Gertrude Sister Patricia Reardon Sloane, T. O Conor III Spawn, Willman Stanzler, Milton Stanzler, Phillis S. Stapleton, Alfred B. Stapleton, Marea Carroll Stevens, John Randolph Stuart, Randall Sullivan, Agnes Sullivan, Banigan J. Sullivan, Max W. Sullivan, Thomas Swearingen, Beth Sweeney, John W. [Three Irish Ladies] Tierney, Paul E. Turner, Mrs. Van Hoeson, Henry B. Verry, Lawrence I. Vincent, Charles V. Waddington, Susan Wallace, Margaret M. Walker, Deborah Walker, M. W. Walsh, John C. Walsh, William A. Warfield, Benjamin B. Watkins, John C. A. Watson, J. Watters, James T. Whelan, Everett Wilcox, Frederick B. Wilde, Thomas A. Williams, M. H. Wiltse, Marian P. Winfrey, R. P. Whelan, D. Everett Wreden, William P. Young, Mrs. John Mason (Anne Montgomery) *Note: There are more than sixty names which are either illegible or only a first name is given. Series III: George W. Potter To the Golden Door Rough Draft and Research Notes Typed rough draft of Potter s posthumously published book, To the Golden Door: the Story of the Irish and Ireland in America. These manuscripts illustrate extensive research done by Potter on Irish immigration and cultural trends from the late 17 th to the mid 19 th century. Although he begins with a history of Ireland in ancient times through the Protestant Reformation and English rule, most of the research focuses on immigration trends, and the Irish experience in America up until the Civil War. The book is separated into three parts, Part I has 20 chapters, Part II with only 4, and Part III with 22. Each chapter also has no more than twenty numbered parts, some only having one. The draft is numbered and arranged much differently than the book and thus makes it difficult to navigate through. Part I is the same as the published version word for word and has no cross outs or corrections. It is followed by another clean and unedited Section II-V, which is assumed to be alternative research that is difficult to locate in the published version. The part of the draft labeled Part II follows these sections with a lot of cross outs and corrections in pen and pencil. This draft gives evidence of extensive and time consuming extra research that was not printed in the published version. The draft is arranged in 16 folders of approximately one inch thick. An additional folder contains random research notes presumably for his research for To the Golden Door. Series IV: Information about the Williams Memorial Collection This single folder contains lists, descriptions, rules regarding borrowing, receipts and donation information pertaining to the collection. Some descriptions give full detail of items of significant historic value. A reproduction of the Book of Kells, representing the four gospels in Latin and one of the finest examples of early Christian Art in Ireland, is one of the treasures of the collection. A number of lectures and exhibits highlighting its historic value are mentioned in several documents. There is a small number of letters highlighting the collection s subject strengths including folklore, poetry, fiction and periodicals. Other lists in the folder include material from Potter s donated estate, books and pamphlets donated by National Library of Ireland, Irish street ballads, Irish writers, and the financial history of the collection. Receipts from Hodges Figgis & Co. show it to be one of the collection s primary vendors. Series V: Newspaper Clippings These three folders contain unorganized newspaper clippings assumed to have been cut out by Potter. Many of the articles were written by Potter, Irish writers, or simply dealt with Irish and Irish American related news. Some articles were of a series entitled An Irish Pilgrimage, which was later published into a collection in book form. There is also a large group of articles written by Potter about the life of Alfred M. Williams. Series VI: Miscellaneous Materials Some items in the miscellaneous manuscript folder: The Constitution of the Eire Society of Boston, list of members of the Alfred M. Williams Memorial Advisory Committee, list of Irish Societies, brief descriptions of Irish painters, a description of the 1916 Easter Rebellion Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and other biographical information about notable Irish citizens. Some of the items in the miscellaneous printed material folder include an Irish Digest pictorial calendar, the Providence Public Library s Reader s Guide to Books, announcements of Irish cultural events, the Irish Manuscripts Commission Catalog of Publications and a resolution of the Providence City Council paying tribute to the late George W. Potter. The few photographs and negatives in the last folder are of Potter, several notable politicians and librarians, a photographed portrait of Williams, and one of the Easter Proclamation of Container List *The folders are numbered starting at one for each box. -BOX 1- Series I: Alfred M. Williams Manuscripts Folder 1.1 Poems and Miscellaneous Written Accounts 1.2 Photocopies of Williams Manuscripts Series II: Correspondence Subseries A: George W. Potter Correspondence 1.3 Letters to: Letters to: Letters to: Letters to: Post Cards, Note Cards, Western Union and Exhibit Cards 1.8 Greeting Cards 1.9 Letters from: Subseries B: Clarence E. Sherman Correspondence 1.10 Letters to: Letters from: Subseries C: Stuart C. Sherman Correspondence 1.12 Letters to: Letters from: Subseries D: Virginia M. Adams Correspondence 1.14 Letters to and from: Subseries E: Miscellaneous Correspondence Series III: George W. Potter Manuscripts: To the Golden Door Rough Draft 1.16 Part I: Where They Came From pp Ch. I: Top of the Morning Ch. II: The Irish Face of the Church Ch. III: Ireland s Isolation is Broken Ch. IV: The Irish Meet the Tudors Ch. V: The Irish Reject the Reformation Ch. VI: Ireland is Confiscated Ch. VII: The Conquest is Completed Ch. VIII: There ll be Changes Made Ch. IX: The Protestant Century 1.17 Prefamine in Ireland pp Ch. I: Across the Irishman s Heart Ch. II: The Hierarchy of Opposition Ch. III: A Rural Proletariat Ch. IV: Ill Fed, Ill Clad, and Ill Lodged Ch. V: The Poor Supported the Poor Ch. VI: The Midnight Legislators 1.18 Prefamine in Ireland (cont.) pp (missing p. 306) Ch. VII: Ribbonmen and Unions Ch. VIII: The Faction-Fighting Irishmen Ch. IX: Landlord s Law in the Courts Ch. X: Old Hands in Politics Ch. XI: Catholic Verses Protestant Ch. XII: The Faith of Patrick 1.19 Prefamine in Ireland (cont.) (missing pp ) Ch. XIII: Soggarth Aroon Ch. XIV: The Earth Worker Arises Ch. XV: A Look at the Catholic Irish Ch. XVI: The Invisible World of Ireland Ch. XVII: Irish Humor and Eloquence Ch. XVIII: Irish Village Life Ch. XIX: Emergence form Penal Bondage 1.20 Section II pp (grouped in five paper clipped packets) 1- pp pp pp pp pp Section III: pp (four packets) 1- pp 2- pp pp pp Section IV: pp Section V: pp Part II: How they Got Across the Ocean pp Ch. I: Ways and Means 1.24 Part III: What Befell them in America, Ch. I-IV pp Part III (cont.): Ch. V-VI pp Part III (cont.): Ch. VII pp. 1-89/1-40 (ends at 89 and starts at 1 again) -Box Part III (cont.): Ch. VIII and Ch. IX The Building of the Church pp (missing pp.1-3) 2.2 Part III (cont.): pp Ch. X: The Anti-Abolitionist Irish Ch. XI: The River Repeal Agitation Ch. XII: Blood on the Moon 2.3 Part III (cont.): pp Ch. XIII: Intermezzo, 1840s Ch. XIV: The Hunger is Upon us Ch. XV: And Still They Come 2.4 Part III (cont.): pp Ch. XVI: They Fight Catholic Mexico Ch. XVII: The Widow McCormick s Cabbage Patch Ch. XVIII: The Long and Dark Probation 2.5 Part III (cont.): Ch. XIX-XXI pp , XXII: 1-42, and XXIII: 1-16 Ch. XIX: On the Course of Empire Ch. XX: The Birth of Feminism Ch. XXI: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Irishmen Ch. XXII: Give Me Again My Harp of Yew Ch. XXIII: The Union Must be Preserved 2.6 Miscellaneous handwritten notes by George W. Potter Series IV: Collection Description 2.7 Items include lists of materials in collection, descriptions of particular items, order receipts, and highlights of the collection. Series V: Miscellaneous News Paper Clippings: Bulk of clippings from the Providence Journal, Series VI: Miscellaneous Materials 2.11 Manuscr
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