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Helen Godey Wilson catalog of books by William McFee

Ms. Coll. 1299

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Wilson, Helen Godey, 1879-1937
Title:
Helen Godey Wilson catalog of books by William McFee
Date:
circa 1920-1937
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1299
Extent:
0.2 linear feet (1 box)
Language:
English
Abstract:
Helen Godey Wilson (1879-1937) was an avid book collector and the granddaughter of Lewis A. Godey, publisher of Godey's Lady's Book. This collection contains an alphabetical catalog of William McFee (1881-1966) books owned by Wilson, written in her own hand, along with a letter from McFee to Wilson, a bibliographic checklist of McFee's first editions, sales lists of William McFee books from various booksellers, and a biographical sketch of McFee by Harry E. Maule. These items date roughly between 1920 and 1937.
Cite as:
Helen Godey Wilson catalog of books by William McFee, circa 1920-1937, Ms. Coll. 1299, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Helen D. Wilson was born on May 10, 1879 and died August 20, 1937. She was an avid book collector who collected books by William McFee, by Wilbur Daniel Steele, and about the early history of America, particularly the French explorations in North America in the early days of the American West. She was the daughter of Dr. Harry and Nannie McMichael Godey and the granddaughter of Lewis A. Godey, publisher of Godey's Lady's Book. She was married to Alan Dickson Wilson, who died in 1935. Together they had one daughter, Helen Hope Dechert. Wilson’s personal library was given to Robert Dechert, her son-in-law, who later presented it to the University of Pennsylvania Library.

William McFee was an English writer of sea stories, born on June 15, 1881, aboard the Erin's Isle, a three-masted ship owned by his father, who was a sea captain. McFee was educated at the East Anglian School in Suffolk, England, and pursued a career in engineering, working as an apprentice with McMuirland's, and later with Yorkshire Engineers before serving as junior engineer on his uncle's ship, the  Rotherfield. He served with the American Merchant Marine in 1913, but in 1914, returned to England to serve with the Royal Navy during World War I. Following the war, McFee returned to the United States and worked as an engineer at sea with the United Fruit Company until 1924, at which point writing became his profession. In addition to books which were largely nautical, he wrote reviews for The New York  Sun and the New York  Times. McFee died on July 2, 1966.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains an alphabetical catalog of William McFee books owned by Helen Godey Wilson, listing particulars of publication, a physical description, with some provenance information. The catalog is written in Wilson’s own hand. The collection also includes a 1930 letter from McFee to Wilson regarding her acquisition of several of his books; a bibliographic checklist of McFee's first editions; sales lists of William McFee books from various booksellers, including the Frank Hollings Bookshop; and a biographical sketch of McFee by Harry E. Maule, which contains a bibliography of McFee's works, annotated by Wilson.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2017 April 24

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Kelin Baldridge

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert Dechert, 1959.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At Syracuse University:

William McFee papers, 1922-1958

At New York Public Library:

William McFee collection of papers, 1914-1954

At the University of California, Los Angeles:

William McFee papers, circa 1927-1942, 652

At Yale University:

William McFee collection, 1862-1966 (bulk: 1900-1966), GEN MSS 991

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Citations (bibliographic references)
  • Correspondence
Personal Name(s)
  • McFee, William, 1881-1966
Subject(s)
  • Authors
  • Authors, English--20th century
  • Bibliography
  • Book collecting
  • Book industries and trade

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Bibliographic checklist of first editions.

1 1

Binder (originally holding foldered material, now empty).

1 2

Catalog of William McFee works.

1 3

Harry E. Maule's William McFee: A Biographical Sketch, 1923.

1 4

Letter from William McFee to Helen Godey Wilson, 1930 April 13.

1 5

Sales lists of William McFee works.

1 6