||This collection of autograph letters and autographs was assembled by the firm of
James F. Drake, Inc. in the 1930s for sale by that rare-book firm; it was acquired
by the Humanities Research Center upon the Ransom Center's acquisition of Drake's
stock in the 1965. The collection is overwhelmingly in English, but there are
items in Dutch, as well as one or two in Spanish, French, or German.
||The collection--housed in 17 document boxes and nine bound volumes--represents
correspondence covering a span of over two hundred years and three continents.
Perhaps 90% of this material comprises complete autograph letters. The majority
these are housed alphabetically by writer in boxes 4-15, boxes 1-3 containing
correspondence of three persons discussed below. The remainder of the letters
all the autographs are in boxes 16 and 17 and the bound volumes.
||Within the larger collection there are three substantial sub-groups which represent
the correspondence of three very different individuals. The first of these is
Dorothy Furman's correspondence, which covers the years 1890 to 1915, and which
includes replies from bibliophiles and authors to whom the New Jersey-based
collector had written suggesting an exchange of personal bookplates. Most of the
hundred-plus replies are politely brief but others are longer and give insight
their writers, many of whom are notables in America's intellectual life of the
period, such as John Shaw Billings, Alfred Kreymborg, and Curtis Hidden Page.
||Letters received by Francis W. Halsey (1851-1919) between 1892 and 1902 reflect the
activity of that historian-editor in his capacity as literary editor of the New York Times and represent many significant public
figures of the age, including Julian Ralph, Thomas E. Watson, and Anne Hollingsworth
||The third major collected correspondence found in the Drake materials is that of
Temple Scott (1864-1939), British-born New York rare-book dealer. Correspondents
this business archive from the years 1929 and 1930 comprise several major figures
the period, including Jerome Kern and William H. Woodin.
||The numerous letters from the correspondence of Lord James Blyth (1841-1925) are not
separately organized but are dispersed throughout the Drake collection. They span
the last quarter-century of his life and give some indication of the great breadth
of his public and social relationships. Britons (and non-Britons) notable in the
political, cultural, and intellectual life of Edwardian Great Britain were among
Baron Blyth's vast social network and are often found in informal moments in this
archive. Represented in the segment of the collection are Margot Asquith, Paul
Cambon, and Fürstin Anne
||Other substantial groupings in the Drake collection include a significant number of
letters written by 19th-century American political and military figures, especially
presidents, cabinet officers, and Civil War generals. American and British literary
figures, clerics, and actors are also found in the collection.
||While not numerous, there are also a number of interesting 18th-century letters and
documents in the Drake collection. Materials relating to the Van Bokkelen and
families of New York, as well as to two of New York City's early mayors (Nicholas
Bayard and Abraham De Peyster) are included.
||The nine bound volumes include seven scrapbooks of autographs assembled by
turn-of-the-century collectors, together with two receipt books kept by early
York businessmen. Most of the scrapbooks have had letters removed for individual
||The receipt book of John C. Freeke records the settlement of accounts with clients
New York in the years 1795-1799, giving sums paid, nature of the debt, and the
signatures of the creditors. Names found include Roosevelt, Suydam, Vanderbilt,
Wyckoff. The receipt book of Luke Gage (1835-1839) and of Adam Partridge (1858-1885)
is similar to the Freeke volume but covers a later period.
||The two scrapbooks assembled by Florence Evans Ebeling comprise, in the main, mounted
letters and autographs from the correspondence of her father William T. Evans
(1843-1918), a noted New York art collector. Also found in these scrapbooks are
letters addressed to William Budd Bodine (1841-1907), Episcopal cleric and author.
||Mrs. Bertram Thornber's two scrapbooks of mounted letters appear to have been
collected shortly after 1900 and comprise autograph letters and autographs of
eminent Britons. A number of the letters are no longer present in the volumes.
||The autograph scrapbook of C. Lucile Godfrey of Stratford, Connecticut. (apparently
compiled about 1900) has, in the main, been stripped of its contents. A few letters
to Dr. Charles C. Godfrey remain.
||The eighth volume of autograph letters contains letters to the Very Rev. George W.
Kitchin (1827-1912) from a variety of late 19th century Britons, particularly
with connections to Oxford and the Church of England. This volume was apparently
collected by a member of the Kitchin household about 1900.
||The ninth (and final) bound volume contains the signatures of President Rutherford
Hayes, the vice president, cabinet, and the members of the 45th Congress of