Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Piercy mss., 1911-1942 (mainly 1925-1929), are letters from English and American authors to Josephine Ketcham Piercy, 1895- , teacher of English at the University of Illinois and Indiana University. Primarily they are answers to letters from Miss Piercy asking first for advice to her students in English composition on how to write good English and for a specimen of what each author considers his or her best writing and later for permission to include the letters written to her by the authors, other writings of the authors, and facsimiles of their signatures in a projected textbook, which was published under the title Modern Writers At Work, ed. by Josephine K[etcham] Piercy. New York, Macmillan, 1939 (Lilly PR1307 .P6 copy 2). Included also are manuscript pages from the writing of some of the authors.

Some of the letters and manuscript pages are published in whole or in part in the above volume. It contains also pages of some of the letters and manuscripts reproduced in facsimile.

Correspondents represented in this collection include Samuel Hopkins Adams, Duncan Aikman, Sherwood Anderson, Mrs. Mary Raymond (Shipman) Andrews, Mrs. Gertrude Franklin (Horn) Atherton, Mrs. Mary (Hunter) Austin, Irving Babbitt, Edwina Stanton Babcock, John Owen Beaty, Charles William Beebe, Sir Max Beerbohm, Hilaire Belloc, Robert Charles Benchley, William Rose Benet, Arnold Bennett, Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, Eugen Jan Boissevain, Ernest Augustus Boyd, James Boyd, Gamaliel Bradford, Louis Bromfield, Charles Stephen Brooks, James C. Brooks, Van Wyck Brooks, Alice Brown, Mrs. Demetra (Vaka) Brown, Thomas Burnke, Mrs. Winifred (Wells) Burke, Vivian Burnett, Mrs. Clara Louise (Root) Burnham, James Branch Cabell, Henry Seidel Canby, Willa Sibert Cather, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Winston Churchill, Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb, Joseph Collins, Mrs. Harriet Theresa (Smith) Comstock, Alfred Edgar Coppard, Wilbur Lucius Cross, Clarence Day, Mrs. Katharine Briggs (Dodge) Day, Walter John De La Mare, Mrs. Margaret Wade (Campbell) Deland, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Charles Caldwell Dobie, Norman Douglas, Theodore Dreiser, John Drinkwater, Edward John Moreton Drax Dunsany, St. John Greer Ervine, Henry Pratt Fairchild, Edna Ferber, Mrs. Dorothea Frances (Canfield) Fisher, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, Edward Morgan Forster, Mrs. Carolyn Frevert, Robert Frost, Zona Gale, John Galsworthy, Hamlin Garland, Sir Philip Hamilton Gibbs, Wilfred Wilson Gibson, Frederick Stuart Green, Philip Guedalla, Amanda Benjamin Hall, James Norman Hall, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Hergesheimer, Robert Cortes Holliday, Frank McKinney Hubbard, Rupert Hughes, Fannie Hurst, Aldous Leonard Huxley, Sheila Kaye-Smith, Sophie Kerr, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred A. Knopf, Ring Wilmer Lardner, Stephen Butler Leacock, Sinclair Lewis, Walter Lippmann, Philip Littell, Edward Varrall Lucas, Rose Macaulay, William McFee, Arthur Machen, Don Marquis, Helen (Reimensnyder) Martin, William Somerset Maugham, Henry Louis Mencken, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mrs. Alice (Duer) Miller, Harriet Monroe, George Moore, Paul Elmer More, Christopher Darlington Morley, Mrs. Honore (McCue) Willsie Morrow, Lewis Mumford, Gilbert Murray, John Middleton Murry, George Jean Nathan, Meredith Nicholson, William Lyon Phelps, Eric S. Pinker, Ernest Poole, Ruth Raphael, Agnes Repplier, Mrs. Alice Caldwell (Hegan) Rice, Dorothy M. Richardson, Mrs. Grace Louise (Smith) Richmond, Mrs. Mary (Roberts) Rinehart, James Harvey Robinson, Bertrand Russell, George William Russell, George Edward Bateman Saintsbury, Carl Sandburg, Ellery Sedgwick, George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Ruth Bartlett (Mears) Sherman, Stuart Pratt Sherman, May Sinclair, Elsie Singmaster, B. W. Smith, Harry Bache Smith, Wilbur Daniel Steele, Gertrude Stein, Giles Lytton Strachey, Simeon Strunsky, Frank Arthur Swinnerton, Booth Tarkington, Susanah (Keifer) Robinson Tarkington, Dorothy Thompson, Henry Major Tomlinson, Charles Hanson Towne, Carl Clinton Van Doren, Mark Van Doren, Oswald Garrison Villard, Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole, Herbert George Wells, Rebecca West, Mrs. Edith Newbold (Jones) Wharton, Stewart Edwward White, William Allen White, Thornton Niven Wilder, Ben Ames Williams, Mrs. Virginia (Stephen) Woolf, Anzia Yeziersky and Francis Brett Young.

Among the manuscript pages are Conrad Potter Aiken's [?] "The short story: a confession" (2p.); Gertrude Atherton's "An immortal marriage" (1p.); Henry Pratt Fairchild's "The end of race migrations" (1p.); Hamlin Garland's "A son of the Middle Border" (1p.); a page of ms. of Ernest Hemingway; Stephen Butler Leacock's "On learning to write" (3p.); Walter Lippmann's "Bryan and the dogma of majority rule" (1p.); William McFee's "First aid to critics" (8p.); Lewis Mumford's "[creative writing]" (2p.); a page of discarded ms. of John Middleton Murry; George William Russell's "Intellectual values" (1p.); Wilbur Daniel Steele's "Can't cross Jordan by myself" (1p.); Charles Hanson Towne's "An open letter to Robert Gilbert Welsh" (3p.); and Carl Van Doren's "Elinor Wylie" (6p.).

Correspondents represented in the collection and not mentioned in the previous list included Roger Douglas Branigin, Eugene Field, Glenn Arthur Hughes, Raymond Sidney Ginger, John Crowe Ransom, Stuart Walker, and a copy of a letter from Governor Thomas Dudley to Bridget, Countess of Lincoln written nine months after the arrival of the emigrants in the Massachusetts Bay, March 12-28, 1631.

In the collection is also a copy of Mrs. Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet's Meditations divine and morall ... made from a copy in the Harvard University Library, and a photostat of the copy in the Charles Roberts Autograph Collection, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, Mar. 20, 1664- Aug. 31, 1669.

Included is also a photostat of Michael Wigglesworth's In prayse of Eloquence made from the original in the Harvard University Library, August 30, 1653.

Further correspondents in the collection include letters of David Graham Phillips to Joseph William Piercy. Those of Feb. 5, 1900, Oct. 7, 1901, Feb. 16, 1902, and Dec. 31, 1903, are published in Isaac F. Marcosson, David Graham Phillips and his times (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1932) (Lilly PS3531 .H5 Z7) on pages 206-8 and 226.

Other correspondents are Isaac Frederick Marcosson and George Lyman Kittredge.

Collection size: 323 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.