The Independent Collection
Scope and Contents
The bulk of the collection contains the correspondence of William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, a New York Congregationalist weekly, with notable literary and historical figures. Some of the correspondents in the collection include General John Charles Frémont, American explorer and expedition leader; P. T. Barnum, showman; and Asa Gray, the preeminent American botanist of the 19th century. Other items in the collection include American literature and theater papers, colonial historical manuscripts and documents, and correspondence with the library of the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, the predecessor of Old Dominion University. The Editorial Correspondence of The Independent, Series I, has been digitized and can be found in the Old Dominion Univeristy Libraries Digital Collections. This collection does not include physical copies of the Independent newspaper. Several volumes of the newspaper have been digitized by the Hathi Trust.
- circa 1680-1960
- Other: Date acquired: 02/18/2005
- Ward, William Hayes (1835-1916) (Person)
0.40 Linear Feet
Conditions Governing Access
Open to researchers without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.
Biographical or Historical Information
The Independent was a New York weekly newspaper founded in 1848 by Henry Chandler Bowen. The Congregationalist journal, which was published until 1921, included social topics, primarily opposition to slavery and religious articles, but after the Civil War included literary submissions. Editors included, among others, Henry Ward Beecher, Theodore Tilton, Kinsley Twining, Hamilton Holt, William Hayes Ward, and his sister, Susan Hayes Ward.
William Hayes Ward (1835-1916) was born in Abingdon, Massachusetts, on June 25, 1835. He graduated with distinction from Amherst College in 1856 and from Andover Theological seminary in 1859. He married Ellen Maria Dickinson in 1859. Dr. Ward served as a professor of Latin at Ripon College in Wisconsin and was a prominent orientalist and biblical scholar in his later years. In 1868 he left Ripon College to join the editorial staff of The Independent. In 1884, he led an expedition to Babylonia to examine archeological sites, and became president of the American Oriental Society, a position held twice, from 1890-1894 and 1909-1910. He specialized in studying designs of Babylonian and Assyrian seal cylinders, which were used in ancient record-keeping.
Showing a lifelong concern for social issues in the newspaper and in private life, William Hayes Ward upheld African-American rights and opened the first conference held by the NAACP in 1909 in New York City. He was editor-in-chief of The Independent from 1896-1913 and is known for supporting poet Sidney Lanier, whose work was frequently published in the paper, and about whom Dr. Ward wrote a biographical memoir.
Horace Howard Furness, Sr., 1833-1912, was an important American Shakespeare scholar. He was known for his editing of Shakespeare's plays, which contained numerous editions of plays as well as criticism. His son, Horace Howard Furness, Jr., 1865-1930, was a partner and successor of his father's work and edited his letters. Samuel Chew was a renowned literary critic in the early twentieth century.
Note written by Elizabeth Vincelette
Language of Materials
Primarily comprised of correspondence of William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent, a New York Congregationalist weekly, with notable literary and historical figures including General John Charles Frémont, American explorer and expedition leader; P. T. Barnum, showman; and Asa Gray, the preeminent American botanist of the 19th century. Other items in the collection include American literature and theater papers; colonial historical manuscripts and documents; and correspondence with the library of Norfolk division of the College of William and Mary (the predecessor of Old Dominion University).
The collection has been organized into five series: Series I: Editorial Correspondence of The Independent; Series II: Literary Authors and Papers on American Theater; Series III: Historical Manuscripts and Documents; Series IV: Miscellaneous Literary and Political Correspondence; and Series V: William and Mary Norfolk Campus Library Correspondence.
Source of Acquisition
Method of Acquisition
Gift. Accession #A2005-1 Some of the papers were discovered in the 1980s among a collection of rare books owned by the Old Dominion University library which had been purchased from a New York City bookstore.
The collection was processed by By Elizabeth Vincelette.
- American newspapers
- Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor) (1810-1891)
- Bowen, Henry Chandler (1813-1896)
- Chew, Samuel
- College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division
- Congregationalists--United States
- Frémont, John Charles (1813-1890)
- Furness, Horace Howard (1833-1912)
- Furness, Horace Howard (1865-1930)
- Gray, Asa (1810-1888)
- Independent (Newspaper)
- A Guide to The Independent Collection
- Elizabeth Vincelette
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.