Scope and arrangement
The William Stanley Braithwaite Papers consist of family and literary correspondence, writings and printed matter documenting his career as a writer, anthologist and educator. The Personal Papers comprise individual files on Braithwaite and his family, and include biographical and autobiographical sketches, school records, memorial tributes and obituaries, religious notations copied from the Bible and other scholarly texts, and memorabilia of his wife, children and relatives. The Correspondence series is divided into Family and General subseries and is arranged chronologically into incomimg and outgoing files. Correspondents include Arna Bontemps, W.E.B. DuBois, Rufus Clement, Carl Murphy, William Rose Benet, Burton Kline, Joseph Auslander, George Schuyler, Arthur Spingarn, Carl Van Vechten and several publishing concerns. The Alain Locke Memorial file consists of printed matter, eulogies and letters, and includes a March 28, 1912 letter from Booker T. Washington. The Writings series comprises holograph and typescript drafts of Braithwaite's works, both published and unpublished, and selected poems from his anthologies, and an extensive autobiographical essay in which he discusses his relationship with poets he championed: Robert Frost, Amy Lowell and Edwin Arlington Robinson (1956).
The William Stanley Braithwaite papers are arranged in five series:
The Biographical Seriesis comprised of individual files on Braithwaite and his family, and includes biographical sketches, school records, memorabilia of his wife, children and relatives, and a holograph account of his father's life in British Guyana written by his uncle Edward Braithwaite. Braithwaite's file contains brief curricula vitae published in Who's Who in America,biographical and autobiographical sketches, memorial tributes and obituaries, notations copied from the Bible and religious scholarly texts. Edith Agard's file includes an autographed signed postcard from her godfather Alain Locke, postmarked in Germany in 1923.
The Correspondence Series is divided into Family and General subseries and is arranged chronologically into incoming and outgoing files. The Family Correspondence provides important insights into his private life and feelings and relationship to his family. Having been conferred an honorary degree at Atlanta University in 1918, he confided to his wife his satisfaction at the success of his acceptance speech, and his impressions of Atlanta as a very northern city but with a “difference of attitude toward the race.” During his tenure at Atlanta University, he communicated to his family in New York many poetic and literary impressions of southern landscape and campus life. The letters also bear frequent references to monetary prospects and budgetary difficulties.
The bulk of Braithwaite's outgoing letters in the General Correspondence date from his retirement, and relate to issues of author's rights, translation of his verses to other languages, speaking engagements, comparative literature, publications and literary criticism. The earliest letter in this file is addressed to an unnamed author soliciting her patronage for the publication of his first collection of verses. Later, Braithwaite wrote frequently to younger authors seeking his advice and opinion of their works. The files of incoming letters in this subseries are more voluminous and span the six decades of the collection. The Alain Locke Memorial folder, for instance, consists of printed matter, eulogies and letters, and includes a March 28, 1912 letter from Booker T. Washington to Locke. Other correspondents include Arna Bontemps, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rufus Clement, Carl Murphy, William Rose Benet, Burton Kline, Robert Willis, Joseph Auslander, George Schuyler, Arthur Spingarn, Helen Pollock, and several publishing concerns.
The Writings Seriescomprises holograph and typescript drafts of Braithwaite's works, both published and unpublished, and a subseries of Other Writings consisting of selections from the Anthologies, graduate student papers at Atlanta University and the typescript of Leigh Hanes's Selected Lyrics. (A Selected List of Writings in this collection appears on pp. 7-15.)