Scope and arrangement
The Century Company records consist of correspondence, manuscripts, vouchers, proofs of articles, and other materials concerning the publications of the Century Company. General correspondence consists mostly of correspondence with contributors or potential contributors to The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine and interoffice correspondence and memoranda filed under the names of editors and other Century staff, including Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel, Sophie Bledsoe Herrick, and Alexander Drake. Civil War material consists of correspondence, manuscripts, proofs, notes, lists, memoranda, and printed matter emanating from The Century "War Series" and the resulting book, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. The Contributors series contains manuscripts and correspondence related to specific articles in The Century. The St. Nicholas materials include correspondence, manuscripts, and vouchers for the juvenile magazine. The Spanish-American War correspondence relates to The Century's series on the war. Yosemite National Park correspondence documents Robert Underwood Johnson's and The Century's efforts to promote forest conservation. Permit books contain correspondence, 1904-1924, relating to The Century's requesting permission to reproduce art and text. Correspondents include Susan Brownell Anthony, Clara Barton, Poultney Bigelow, Henry Guy Carleton, Andrew Carnegie, Willa Cather, James Fenimore Cooper, Jefferson Davis, Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh, Theodore Dreiser, Worthington C. Ford, Paul Leicester Ford, Isabel Florence Hapgood, Julian Hawthorne, Henry Holt, Elizabeth Shaw Melville, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jacob August Riis, August St. Gaudens, Albert Shaw, Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard, Mariana (Griswold) Van Renesselaer and Edith Wharton.
The Century Company records are arranged in eight series:
The Spanish-American War Series was modeled on the Civil War Series; the Century had participants in the war to have the participants give their accounts of specific events. The series proved less successful than its celebrated predecessor.
In 1889, Robert Underwood Johnson took a pack trip through the Yosemite country in California with John Muir. He was so impressed with the devastation being wrought by thousands of grazing sheep that he outlined two Century articles for Muir, enlisted Gilder's support, and in the next year was largely instrumental in persuading Congress to create Yosemite National Park. Thereafter, Johnson and the Century continued to work in the cause of forest conservation. This correspondence documents Johnson's efforts.
The permit books contain correspondence representing the Century Company's requests to owners, art dealers, photographers, publishers, and agents for permission to reproduce art and documents in the Century and St. Nicholas magazines. The books include reproductions of some of the art in question and an index of publishers and owners.