Scope and arrangement
This is an autograph collection consisting primarily of letters, some holograph manuscripts, and a few signed graphics. The approximately 650 individuals represented in this collection are generally not the most prominent in their fields but those who were popular among their contemporaries and of the second level of importance. In general, they are literary figures, artists, journalists, religious leaders, politicians, and those involved in the theatre. Most are men, but 15-20% are women. Geographically, most of the correspondents are from England and the United States with significant numbers also from Scotland, Ireland, and France.
Although the collection is general contains only one or a few items for each individual, there are several significant accumulations of documents. Two of these larger accumulations are dispersed and filed under the name of each individual. The first of these consists of letters written to Squire Bancroft (1841-1926) and Marie Bancroft (1839-1921) at the end of their stage career at the Haymarket Theatre, 1884-1885. There are letters from about 100 correspondents (marked with an * on the name list) and a few items written by the Bancrofts. The second accumulation consists of replies from writers to a question posed by British journalist James Milne (1865-1951). He queried them as to which character in literature they would most like to have created. There are approximately 30 responses (marked with a+ on the name list).
Another symposium, conducted by Ernest B. Smith (-) for Minster Magazine, queried public figures on "What Is the Immediate Future of the British Empire? " There are letters drafts of replies, and a printed version of the answers (all filed under Ernest B. Smith)
Sixty-nine documents from Albany, N. Y. concern official accounts of the city, 1818-1848.
Other significant accumulations include letters and papers of English authors Robert M. Gilchrist (1868-1917), Roberts. Hitchens (1864-1950), Barbara Hofland (1770-1844), and Sheila Kaye-Smith (1888-1956); English actor and dramatist Benjamin Webster (1797-1882); American authors Julius Chambers (1850-1920), Lydia Sigourney (1791-1865), and Bettina von Hutten (1874-1957); American bibliophile Ernest D. North (1858-1945); and also C. F. Cazenove, Century Magazine, Martin Curtier, and Roger Eykyn.