PHILIP VAN DOREN STERN PAPERS GENERATED IN THE PREPARATION OF HIS 1970 THE ANNOTATED WALDEN, 1848-1970 (BULK 1848-1854 and 1965-1970)
Vault A35, Thoreau, Unit 7
EXTENT: .625 linear feet (one container).
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT: Organized into four series: I. Photographic prints and illustrations used in The Annotated Walden, 1848-1970, plus undated; II. Images not selected for use in The Annotated Walden, undated; III. Negatives, undated; IV. Research and layout, 1866-1970, plus undated. Materials in Series I are arranged in the order in which they appear in The Annotated Walden.
BIOGRAPHY: Philip Van Doren Stern, an American novelist, historian, and anthologist, was born on September 19, 1900 in the town of Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. He grew up in New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers University in 1924. Upon graduation, he was offered an instructorship in English, but he refused it and instead took a position in radio advertising, which sparked an interest in printing that inspired him to write a book on typography. He landed a job as a designer for Alfred A. Knopf, then for Simon and Schuster, and, once in the publishing business, began to write.
Stern was involved with literature in several capacities, as editor, novelist, biographer, and lecturer. His major contributions were in the field of historical scholarship, notably his works on the Civil War, including the epic novel The Drums of Morning, “An End to Valor: The Last Days of the Civil War” (a historical article for the New York Times),and The Man Who Killed Lincoln, a book that combined fact, fiction, and psychological study of John Wilkes Booth to tell the story of Lincoln’s assassination.
Stern’s best-known work grew out of a short story he wrote in 1944 as a Christmas booklet for his friends, entitled “The Greatest Gift,”about a mysterious stranger who appears to a suicidal man as he prepares to throw himself from a bridge on Christmas Eve. The story was purchased and adapted by Hollywood director Frank Capra, and became the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life.
Stern served as editor for Pocket Books until 1954, editing anthologies and presiding over the publishing of paperbacks intended for overseas soldiers. In later years, he wrote several books of general history, published an annotated edition of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1964, and an illustrated annotated edition of Thoreau’s Walden (with Civil Disobedience), published by Clarkson N. Potter in 1970. He retired to Sarasota, Florida, where he died on July 31, 1984, at the age of 83.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Collection includes dated materials spanning from 1848 to 1970 and much undated material gathered during the preparation of Philip Van Doren Stern’s The Annotated Walden (1970). Material in the collection represents both images used in the book and those not selected for inclusion. The following types of materials are found among the papers: clipped newspaper and book illustrations, photographic prints and negatives, correspondence, articles by several authors, publishing notes, photocopies, layout information, and brochures. Clipped illustrations come from Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion (1848-1854), The Illustrated London News (1848-1850), and from a variety of unidentified sources. Subjects of images include animals, New England pastoral scenes, buildings, prominent people, ships, costumes, artwork, Native Americans, shops, household objects, tools, factories, towns and cities (Boston, Lexington, Lawrence, and Salem among them), Walden Pond, Thoreau’s contemporaries, volumes of Thoreau’s manuscript journal and notebooks, and scenes, structures, and people of Concord (Mass.). Research and layout materials include correspondence with the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery (1970), the New York Public Library (1970), and the Society of Medalists (1969); photocopied Thoreau manuscript pages; pieces on Thoreau by Moncure D. Conway (1866), R.W. Emerson (1862, reprinted), and Bradford Torrey (1905), and a single issue (July-Sept. 1965) of the periodical Fragments (a quarterly featuring articles and letters about Thoreau, among them House Hunting for Thoreau by Roland W. Robbins); and image selection/placement lists (1969-1970). The collection also includes a program brochure for a commemorative Thoreau stamp ceremony (1967; in Folder 4), and an advertising flyer for custom-made “Thoreau Cabins” by Roland W. Robbins (Folder 19).
USE OF IMAGES: It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to reproduce images from the institutions holding unique originals which copy images in this collection represent.
SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Probable gift of Philip Van Doren Stern, 1970s.
NOTES/COMMENTS: Items in Series I are accompanied by printed slips with manuscript publisher’s/printer’s notes regarding image placement and size.
PROCESSED BY: Michael P. Dello Iacono; further processed by LPW. Finding aid completed 04/07, edited by LPW 05/07.
NOTE: CONTENTS LISTINGS FOR SOME FOLDERS ARE PARTIAL ONLY
SERIES I. PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS AND ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THE ANNOTATED WALDEN, 1848-1970, PLUS UNDATED:
Folder 1: “Walden: The Book and Its Meaning” (p. 4-13 of The Annotated Walden):
Photographic print (volume of Thoreau’s journal)
Engraved illustrations (Harvard College, Manchester Cloth Mills)
Folder 2: “The Man Who Wrote Walden” (p. 14-27):
Photographic prints (including photographs of bust of Thoreau, Roland Robbins’s replica of Thoreau’s Walden cabin, RalpH Waldo Emerson, Emerson House, Lidian Emerson, Thoreau’s gravestone)
Folder 3: “The Writing of Walden” (p. 28-36):
Photographic print (portrait of Franklin Benjamin Sanborn)
Engraved illustrations (map of New England, stereotype moulding-frame, stereotype foundry, type compositor at work)
Folder 4: “The Publishing of Walden” (p. 36-44):
Photographic print (Thoreau stamp)
Engraved illustration (John P. Jewett’s bookstore in Boston)
Original postage stamp program brochure (1967)
Photocopy (manuscript page from cost books of Ticknor and Fields)
Folder 5: “The Cabin and Walden Pond” (p. 44-52):
Photographic prints (marker at site of Thoreau’s Walden cabin, monument at cairn site, one of Roland Robbins’s excavation notebooks, Robbins’s replica of Thoreau cabin with woman at door, campers at east end of Walden Pond, descriptive plaque at Walden cabin site, view of Walden Pond and path, cairn)
Folder 6: “A Detailed Chronology of Thoreau’s Life” (p. 53-138):
Photographic prints (Thoreau House, Monument Square, Concord; Nathan Brooks House, Concord; text on Battle Monument, Concord; William Ellery Channing (the poet); site of Thoreau’s Texas House, formerly on Belknap Street, Concord; Sutter’s Mill, Calif.; Harrison Gray Otis Blake; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Craigie House, Cambridge; Helen Thoreau; Rowse portrait of Thoreau; Thomas Cholmondeley; Daniel Ricketson’s shanty, New Bedford; John Thoreau—father of Henry David Thoreau; Horace Mann, Jr.; Henry David Thoreau, from Dunshee ambrotype; and other subjects)
Clipped engravings (among the subjects: images of Lowell, Mass.; lumber mill in Old Town, Maine; Salem, Mass.; Provincetown, Mass.; Quebec; Worcester, Mass.; John James Audubon; Worcester, Mass.; Wendell Phillips; Staten Island; Thomas Sims; Franklin Pierce; John Brown climbing scaffold; Franklin Pierce; New Bedford, Mass.; Portland, Maine; James Buchanan; John Brown; Harpers Ferry, Virginia; Fort Sumter; Sandy Lake, Minn.)
To accompany text of Thoreau’s Walden and Civil Disobedience:
Folder 7: PVDS introductory comments and “Economy” (p. 139-212):
Photographic prints (including images of Thoreau’s manuscript draft of title page of Walden, title page of 1854 first edition of Walden, engraving of New York Bay and Harbor, engraving of Count d’Orsay, piece of wood from Walden cabin, engraving of Trinity Church, N.Y., stones covering fireplace of Walden cabin, nails from Walden cabin, Thoreau’s Walden furniture)
Engraved illustrations (numerous small vignettes of subjects noted in the chapter, including Pilgrim costumes, wheat, Laplanders, and magnetic telegraph; larger engravings of ladies and gentlemen in fashionable clothing, furniture warehouse, horses pulling plow)
Folder 8: “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” (p. 213-230):
Photographic prints (including engraving of Battle Monument at Concord, cairn at Walden, Thoreau’s Cove at Walden)
Engraved illustrations (Revolution of 1848 in Paris, 19th century fire engine, harvesting corn, Homer)
Folder 9: “Reading” (p. 231-241):
Photographic print (Concord gravestone)
Engraved illustrations (oracle of Apollo, Alexander the Great, ancient writing materials, Plato, bookbinding)
Folder 10: “Sounds” (p. 242-260):
Engraved illustrations (shucking corn, walking the railroad, Springfield, Mass. with train, stagecoach, curing fish, herding cattle, farmer with lamb, bull and cows, chickens, women churning)
Folder 11: “Solitude” (p. 261-270):
Photographic prints (railroad at Walden, from engraving of driving cattle to market at Brighton)
Engraved illustrations (hanging witches, regicides’ cave in Conn., Hygeia, Juno)
Folder 12: “Visitors” (p. 271-284):
Engraved illustrations (Tremont House, Boston, Edward Winslow’s signature, cutting lumber, mill scene, family group—man, woman, child—looking out over body of water)
Folder 13: “The Bean-Field” (p. 285-296):
Photographic prints (road past site of Thoreau’s bean-field, bean-field)
Engraved illustrations (farmhands with scythes and hay wagon, Jupiter, bundling wheat into sheaves)
Folder 14: “The Village” (p. 297-304):
Photographic prints (Concord Center, ca. 1865)
Engraved illustrations (caryatid, Orpheus, man in snowstorm)
Folder 15: “The Ponds” (p. 304-329):
Photographic prints (Walden Woods, path at Walden, Thoreau’s Cove at Walden, fishermen at Walden, boat on Walden, grass balls—from original photograph by Herbert Wendell Gleason)
Engraved and other illustrations (map of Thoreau’s excursions, two men fishing from boat, from Michael Angelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, a model farm)
Folder 16: “Baker Farm” (p. 330-337):
Engraved and other illustrations (vignettes of the Muses, Talaria)
Folder 17: “Higher Laws” (p. 338-349):
Engraved illustrations (Native American in canoe, men fishing from boat, man with child drinking at bar, statue of Greek slave, harp)
Folder 18: “Brute Neighbors” (p. 350-363):
Photographic prints (Concord River, ant hills near Walden cabin site, Battle Monument by North Bridge)
Engraved illustrations (partridge, Bunker Hill Monument, hunter, ducks)
Folder 19: “House-Warming” (p. 364-379):
Photographic prints (bricks excavated from Walden cabin site, plaster from excavation at Walden, marker on site of woodshed at Walden)
Engraved illustrations (stagecoach in snowstorm, winter farm scene with yoked oxen bringing in wood, making cider in the fall)
Printed advertising flier (“Discovery at Walden,” for Thoreau cabin replicas by Roland Wells Robbins)
Folder 20: “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors” (p. 380-394):
Photographic prints (Thoreau’s Indian notebooks, cairn at Walden in snow—taken in 1918 by Herbert Wendell Gleason, skunk cabbage)
Engraved illustrations (battlefield at Waterloo, John Warner Barber’s view of Monument Square in Concord, 1839)
Folder 21: “Winter Animals” (p. 395-404):
Engraved illustrations (fishing through ice in winter, sleigh racing in Boston, game bird, two hunting dogs)
Folder 22: “The Pond in Winter” (p. 405-418):
Photographic print (Thoreau’s surveying compass—owned by the Concord Free Public Library)
Engraved illustrations (fishing through ice in winter, cutting ice at Spy Pond in West Cambridge, winter farm scene—feeding the cattle, packet-ship Devonshire)
Photocopy (engraved map of Walden Pond from 1854 first edition of Walden, based on Thoreau’s manuscript survey)
Folder 23: “Spring” (p. 419-435):
Photographic prints (among them sand foliage—from a 1900 photograph by Herbert Wendell Gleason, Donald R. Miller Society of Medalists medal with Thoreau quote from “Walking”)
Engraved illustration (birds taking off from body of water)
Folder 24: “Conclusion” (p. 436-448):
Photographic print (manuscript of last page of Walden)
Engraved illustrations (Sir John Franklin, miscellaneous vignettes, street scene with stagecoach and two stylishly dressed men talking)
Folder 25: “Civil Disobedience” (p. 454-479):
Photographic prints (plaque on site of jail where Thoreau spent one night in 1846, Sam Staples, Middlesex Hotel)
Engraved illustrations (“Quaker Gun,” Zachary Taylor, antislavery meeting on the Boston Common, Daniel Webster)
SERIES II. IMAGES Not Selected for Use in The Annotated Walden, undated:
Folder 26: Unused photographs:
Photographic prints (among them images of Thoreau bust, Walden cabin replica, Roland Wells Robbins by replica, gravestone, marker, Walden Pond, monument at Walden cabin site, cairn, scarecrow, Old Manse, Concord School of Pholosophy, Hillside Chapel, Orchard House, Concord River, Thoreau artifacts—wood from Walden cabin, Thoreau’s surveying compass at Concord Free Public Library, Emerson House, edited printed page from chapter “Sounds” in Walden)
Folder 27: Unused engraved illustrations, 1848-1854:
Both full-size illustrations and vignettes, representing many subjects similar to the engraved images used in the book
SERIES III. NEGATIVES, UNDATED:
Folder 28: Negatives:
Original negatives for images used and not used (also includes prints from strip negatives, many images per sheet)
SERIES IV. RESEARCH AND LAYOUT, 1866-1970, PLUS UNDATED:
Folder 29: Correspondence, 1969-1970:
Correspondence with the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, the New York Public Library, and the Society of Medalists
Folder 30: Photocopy of Thoreau manuscript material:
Twenty sheets of photocopied Thoreau manuscript
Folder 31: Thoreau-related writings, 1866-1965, plus undated:
“Thoreau,” by Moncure D. Conway (Eclectic, Aug. 1866); Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Biographical Sketch” [a reprinting of Emerson’s “Thoreau,” which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 1862]; Bradford Torrey, “Thoreau as a Diarist” (Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 1905); and the July-Sept. 1965 issue of the periodical Fragments (a quarterly featuring articles and letters about Thoreau, among them House Hunting for Thoreau by Roland W. Robbins)
Folder 32: Image selection/placement lists, 1969-1970:
Two lists, one dated 1969, one 1970
c2007 Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.
Not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the Curator of Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library.
Mounted 5th May 2007. rcwh.