Richard Watson Gilder papers

Collection Data

Description
Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909), American poet and editor, served as editor-in-chief of Scribner's Monthly and its successor The Century Illustrated Monthly. He was active in many civic improvement and public service organizations. Collection consists of correspondence, 1861-1909; poetry and prose writings, 1856-1909; diaries, 1855-1909; contracts and royalty statements, 1896-1909; scrapbooks of clippings and ephemera, 1871-1913; and obituaries and other commemorative material. Correspondence includes 21 letter books, a small number of outgoing letters, and extensive incoming correspondence relating to Gilder's editorial work at Scribner's Monthly and Century and to his many public service and professional activities. Individual letter books contain Gilder's letters written for the New York Tenement House Commission, New York Kindergarten Association, the Washington Centennial Celebration, and the Committee for the Erection of the Washington Memorial Arch. Gilder's correspondents include his fellow editors as well as many of the most prominent figures in American literature, the arts, politics, and society. Writings include manuscripts, typescripts and published copies of his addresses, essays, poetry, editorials in the Century, and manuscripts and proofs of his biographies of Grover Cleveland and Abraham Lincoln. Scrapbooks contain articles about Gilder and clippings of his published poetry. Posthumous materials include letters of condolence and resolutions, 1909-1910, sent to his wife; items concerning memorial services and charitable funds established in Gilder's honor; poetic tributes; and scrapbooks of obituaries. Also, materials regarding efforts to publish his letters.
Names
Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909 (Creator)
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907 (Author)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924 (Author)
Burroughs, John, 1837-1921 (Author)
Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909 (Addressee)
Gosse, Edmund, 1849-1928 (Author)
Hay, John, 1838-1905 (Author)
Holland, J. G. (Josiah Gilbert), 1819-1881 (Author)
Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920 (Author)
Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937 (Author)
Low, Seth, 1850-1916 (Author)
Moody, William Vaughn, 1869-1910 (Author)
Potter, Henry Codman, 1834-1908 (Author)
Riis, Jacob A. (Jacob August), 1849-1914 (Author)
Robinson, Edwin Arlington, 1869-1935 (Author)
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 (Author)
Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907 (Author)
Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906 (Author)
Smith, Roswell Chamberlain, 1797-1875 (Author)
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908 (Author)
Van Dyke, Henry, 1852-1933 (Author)
Van Rensselaer, Schuyler, Mrs., 1851-1934 (Author)
Woodbury, George, 1902-1973 (Author)
New York (N.Y.). Committee on Erection of the Washington Arch (Contributor)
New York (State). Tenement House Commission (Contributor)
New York Kindergarten Association (Contributor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1855 - 1916
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 1154
Topics
American literature -- 19th century
American literature
American poetry -- 19th century
Journalism -- New York (N.Y.)
Kindergarten -- New York (N.Y.) -- Societies, etc
Tenement houses -- New York (N.Y.)
Washington Arch (New York, N.Y.)
Editors
Poets
New York (N.Y.) -- Social conditions
New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908
Genres
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Correspondence
Poetry
Periodicals
Records (Documents)
Notes
Biographical/historical: Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909), poet and editor of the Century magazine, was born in Bordentown, New Jersey. Нe worked as a reporter for the Newark Daily Advertiser and the Newark Morning Register before becoming editor of the magazine Hours At Home in 1869. When the latter was merged with the newly-founded Scribner's Monthly the following year, Gilder was made assistant editor under Josiah Gilbert Holland. Не succeeded Holland as editor-in-chief in 1881 and turned the publication, renamed The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, into the most renowned and influential general interest magazine in the United States. His poetry and critical stance make him a representative of the "genteel tradition" whose adherents believed that exposure to the elevating influence of great art and literature would improve taste and morality and raise the cultural level of American society. His idealism also led him to become active in many civic improvement and public service activities, including the New York Tenement House Commission, New York Kindergarten Association, and New York Association for the Blind, and the Civil Service Reform League. Gilder married the artist Helena de Kay in 1874 and their home became a meeting place for many prominent figures in art, literature, theater, and social reform.
Content: The Richard Watson Gilder Papers contain his correspondence (1861-1909), poetry and prose writings (1856-1909), diaries (1855-1909), contracts and royalty statements (1896-1909), scrapbooks of clippings and ephemera (1871-1913), obituaries and other commemorative material. The correspondence includes 21 letter books, a small number of his outgoing letters, and extensive incoming correspondence relating to his editorial work at Scribner's Monthly and the Century, as well as his public service and other professional activities. There are separate letter books devoted to his correspondence on behalf of the Tenement House Commission (1894-98), the New York Kindergarten Association (1890-95), the Washington Centennial Celebration (1888-89) and the Committee for the Erection of the Washington Memorial Arch (1889-95). His most frequent correspondents were his follow editors and contributors to Scribner's and the Century, although there are letters from many of the most prominent figures in 19th and early 20th century art and literature and New York society and reform circles. A complete list of correspondents is available. Included are Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Josiah Gilbert Holland, Robert Underwood Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt, John Burroughs, Edmund C. Stedman, George Woodberry, Roswell Smith, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, William Dean Howells, Seth Low, Carl Schurz, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Edmund Gosse, John Hay, Henry C. Potter, Jacob Riis, Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, Henry Van Dyke, Edward Arlington Robinson, and William Vaughn Moody. Gilder's writings include issues of two juvenile publications, St. Thomas's Register and The Leaflet; manuscripts, typescripts, and published copies of his addresses, essays, poetry, and editorials in the Century (Topics of the Time); and manuscripts and proofs of Grover Cleveland: A Record of Friendship and Lincoln the Leader. The seventeen scrapbooks are devoted chiefly to articles about Gilder and clippings of his published poetry. Two volumes contain clippings about the work of the Tenement House Commission (1894-97), one is devoted to his public feud with William Randolph Hearst (1906), and another concerns his confrontation with the Trinity Church Corporation (1908-09). Several of the scrapbooks may have been assembled by Gilder's son, Rodman. Posthumous material includes letters of condolence and resolutions, 1909-1910, sent to Mrs. Gilder from RWG's friends and associates; correspondence and ephemera relating to memorial services and charitable funds established in his honor, poetic tributes, and scrapbooks of obituaries. The collection also contains letters to Helena and Rosamund Gilder regarding their project to collect and publish Gilder's letters; and typescripts of The Letters of Richard Watson Gilder, edited by Rosamund Gilder, 1916.
Acquisition: 1950-1983, Received from Rosamund Gilder, gift and Several purchases.
Physical Description
Extent: 22 linear feet (46 boxes)
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12353197
MSS Unit ID: 1154
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): d30d6b70-ee18-0138-0e5e-0242ac110005
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