Scope and arrangement
The Patricia Cornwell collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and published material collected in the course of her research on the unsolved Jack the Ripper case, as well as a sizable autograph manuscript collection. Cornwell collected original letters and documents for research for her book Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed as well as for other research projects and for personal interest.
Cornwell's Jack the Ripper collection contains letters, documents, and photographs of suspects in the Ripper case, including the Duke of Clarence, Sir William Gull, Dr. Frances Tumblety, and Walter Sickert, whom Cornwell claimed was Jack the Ripper in her book Portrait of a Killer. She also collected the materials of individuals related in some way to the case or to Sickert, such as Sickert's friends, artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, actors Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, as well as Sir George Warren, the police chief in charge during the Ripper murders. A set of letters relating to the retrial and release of American Florence Maybrick for the murder of her husband James Maybrick, a Jack the Ripper suspect are also included, as well as true crime magazines from the late 1880s and photographs of London. There is also a small file of correspondence of Ripper researcher and criminologist Jonathan Goodman (1931-2008). These letters are neither to nor from Cornwell.
Cornwell's autograph manuscript collection consists of letters and documents signed by prominent American, British and European statesmen, royalty, politicians, artists, scientists, and legal and literary figures. Items of note include a long letter from Thomas DeQuincey's daughter retelling her father's favorite ghost story and two very descriptive letters from J.M. Barrie discussing the Llewelyn Davies children. Cornwell's stamp collection (most on envelopes) can be found at the end of this series. Other notable figures represented in this collection include Truman Capote, King George V of Great Britain, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and George Bernard Shaw.
The Patricia Cornwell collection is arranged in two series:
- 1860-1941, 1982-1999