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Robert Montgomery Bird Papers

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Ms. Coll. 108

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: Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Creator:
Bird, Robert Montgomery, 1806-1854
Title:
Robert Montgomery Bird Papers
Date [bulk]:
1822-1854
Date [inclusive]:
1799-1946
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 108
Extent:
31 boxes
Language:
English
Abstract:
Comprises personal, business, literary, and family papers. In addition to Bird's own papers, this collection includes papers of his wife Mary E. Bird, his son Frederic Mayer Bird, and his biographer Clement Edgar Foust. The earliest papers (1822) date from Bird's school days at Germantown Academy, and the very latest papers (1946) relate to C. Seymour Thompson's publication of Mary E. Bird's biography of her husband. Correspondents include men and women from Bird's career in medicine; his literary career; his theatrical career (including correspondence with Edwin Forrest, as well as the documentation regarding their legal battle over copyrights and profits); his political career; and his career in publishing and journalism.
Cite as:
Robert Montgomery Bird Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854) was a Philadelphia author of the early nineteenth century. With such works as The Gladiator and  Nick of the Woods he earned literary acclaim in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, as well as abroad. Truly a man of letters, Bird complemented his literary career with his drawing and painting, photography, musical composition. He was also a professor of medicine, an editor, a farmer, and a politician. Once well known for his role in American dramatic, political, and academic circles, Bird is today seldom recognized for his significant contributions to nineteenth century American literary culture.

Robert Montgomery Bird was born in New Castle Delaware in 1806, the sixth of the seven children of John and Elizabeth (Van Leuvenigh) Bird. Following the family's financial ruin and his father's subsequent death, Robert M. Bird was sent to Philadelphia to live with his uncle and guardian, Nicholas Van Dyke. Having completed his secondary school education at Germantown Academy, Bird studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. It was during this period that he composed poetry and completed the early works 'Twas all for the Best, and  News of the Night. Upon his graduation from Penn in 1827, he briefly set up a medical practice before leaving the field of medicine to pursue his career as an author.

In 1837 Robert Montgomery Bird married Mary E. Mayer (1809-1868), daughter of Philip F. Mayer, a Lutheran clergyman of Philadelphia. Their son, Frederic Mayer Bird (1838-1908), was born in the following year. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and Union Theological seminary. He was chaplain and professor at Lehigh University, as well as editor of Lippincott's Magazine.

Significant to Bird's literary career was his encounter with the enterprising tragedian, Edwin Forrest (1806-1872). In 1828 Forrest announced his plan to cultivate an American dramatic culture by offering monetary prizes for the plays of promising American playwrights, on the condition that Forrest would stage the winning plays himself. Bird wrote four of the nine plays awarded prizes by Forrest and his judging committee: Pelopidas (1830),  The Gladiator (1831),  Oraloosa (1832), and  The Broker of Bogota (1834).  The Gladiator,first staged by Forrest in 1831, enjoyed resounding success in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The following production of  Oraloosa disappointed many audiences, and could not duplicate Bird's initial success. After the debut of Bird's 1934 play,  The Broker of Bogota, Edwin Forrest wrote: "I have just left the theater‥your tragedy was performed and crowned with entire success.  The Broker of Bogota will live when our vile trunks are rotten." With these plays and the growing popularity of their starring actor, Edwin Forrest, Bird's name gained renown as a young and promising American playwright. In 1836 Bird was elected an Honorary Member of the Dramatic Author's Society of London.

Bird's dramatic career was not all fame and fortune, however. Whether as a result of misunderstanding, or financial exploitation, after the initial prize money, Bird never received any of the great profit reaped by Forrest from The Gladiator and other of Bird's works. In 1837 when the financial dispute between the two men reached a climax, Bird broke his ties with Forrest, still believing that the actor owed him more than $12,000. Due to the lack of copyright regulation in American theater, Bird could not legally prevent Forrest from preforming the plays throughout his career. These works were not published until the early twentieth century, when they were edited by University of Pennsylvania professor Aurthur H. Quinn.

Disillusioned by the world of theater, and needing to earn more for his literary endeavors, Bird turned his efforts to the novel. Among Bird's best known novels are: Calavar (1834), and  The Infidel (1835), both historical novels set in Mexico;  Nick of the Woods (1837); and  Adventures of Robin Day (1839). In this genre his works follow the tradition of the historical romances of English novelist Walter Scott. Contemporary author and literary critic Edgar Allen Poe called  Calavar,"beyond doubt one of the best American novels." Even while he recognized moments of genius in Bird's novels, however, Poe did not refrain from criticizing, stating that the works lacked consistently strong structure and style.

Poor health brought Bird's career as a novelist to a close, and in 1840 Bird retired to the country for much needed recuperation. Having purchased a farm in Maryland, which he named Cabin Cove, Bird spent the next year collected agricultural lore and working on his farm. Throughout this time and up until the end of his life, Bird tried out a variety of careers, always turned away by financial problems and ill health. In 1837, Charles Fenno Hoffman offered Bird a position as the Philadelphia edition of the American Monthly. Health problems forced Bird to resign the position after only a few months. From 1841 to 1844 Bird was a professor of medicine at Pennsylvania Medical College.

An active member of the Whig party, Bird always had an interest in politics, and in 1842 he ran for Congress, but withdrew late in the race. Throughout his later life he corresponded with prominent politicians on issues of government. Delaware Senator John M. Clayton was a close friend of Bird's and gave him the financial support he needed to undertake various literary and journalistic projects. Bird wrote a memoir of Clayton's life, and consistently supported his political campaigns. Clayton was the U. S. Secretary of State under Taylor.

In 1847, with the financial backing of John M. Clayton, Bird purchased a one-third share of The North American and U. S. Gazette,and became a joint editor with George Rex Graham and Morton McMichael, a Whig politician who would later be mayor of Philadelphia. The publication suffered financial problems, and Bird once again was plagued with bad health. He died in 1854 of  "effusion on the brain" , owing John M. Clayton 20,000 dollars.

Scope and Contents

The University of Pennsylvania is the primary repository for the papers of Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854), including personal, business, literary, and family papers. In addition to Bird's own papers, this collection also includes papers of his wife, Mary E. Bird, his son Frederic Mayer Bird, and his biographer, Clement Edgar Foust. The earliest papers (1822) date from Bird's school days at Germantown Academy, and the very latest papers (1946) relate to C. Seymour Thompson's publication of Mary E. Bird's biography of her husband. The bulk of the papers, however, date from the 1820s until Bird's death in 1854.

The University of Pennsylvania is an appropriate home for this collection, as both Robert M. Bird and his son Frederic attended this University; University of Pennsylvania professor Clement Foust wrote a biography of Bird, The Life and Dramatic Works of Robert Montgomery Bird,and professor Arthur Hobson Quinn edited several of Bird's dramatic works for publication early in this century. Not included in this collection is the material relating to Bird's photographic experiments and writings on photography, purchased from the family by the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1992.

Correspondence

The letters in this collection shed light on Bird's family life, his literary ambitions, and his political beliefs. The diverse range of topics covered in these letters reflect the breadth of Bird's interests and talents.

From his early studies of medicine and his brief career as a doctor, Bird earned a place in the scientific community of Philadelphia. His correspondents include several prominent Philadelphia physicians, many associated with the University of Pennsylvania: John Redman Coxe, John S. Dorsey, Richard Harlan, George McClellan, and Samuel George Morton.

Bird's literary correspondents include authors Edward Bulwer Lytton, Willis Gaylord Clark, Harriet Martineau, William Gilmore Simms, Rufus W. Griswold, and Caroline Lee Hentz. While Bird was involved in dramatic literature, he made the acquaintance of Edwin Forrest. Included in this collection is the correspondence of these two men, as well as documentation of the ensuing legal battle over copyrights and profits. Though Bird withdrew from the world of theater after his falling out with Forrest, he continued his interest in drama, corresponding with dramatist Robert Taylor Conrad, and writing on the Dramatic Author's Bill, proposed by George Boker. In other branches of the arts, Bird corresponded with painter Oliver Frazer, engraver James Barton Longacre, and sculptor Hiram Powers.

Bird was a staunch supporter of the Delaware Whig Party, and even ran for Congress himself in 1842. Over the years he corresponded with many of the most important figures in the nineteenth-century political scene of Pennsylvania and Delaware. These political correspondents include Delaware congressmen George P. Fisher and John W. Houston and Pennsylvania congressmen Joseph R. Chandler, Edward Joy Morris, and Job R. Tyson. In addition, Bird corresponded with Delaware senators Thomas Clayton, Joseph P. Comegys, and John M. Clayton. Other noteworthy political figures among Bird's correspondents are Reverdy Johnson (U. S. Atty. Gen.); Leslie Comb (State Legislator, Kentucky); S. G. Howe (reformer); J. Y. Mason (U. S. cabinet member); and Robert Dale Owen (Rep., Indiana). Morton McMichael, co-editor of The North American with Bird, was a prominent Whig politician and served as mayor of Philadelphia from 1866 to 1869. Also included is a letter of introduction written by U. S. President Martin Van Buren, and a letter by President Zachary Taylor to John M. Clayton. Bird also corresponded with several prominent military men, including Samuel F. Du Pont, Elisha Kent Kane, Alexander Mackenzie, Scott Winfield, and Lorenzo Thomas.

Always an active contributor to journals and newspapers and an editor himself, Bird maintained a correspondence with the world of publishing and journalism. He exchanged letters with editors Cephas Grier Childs, George Rex Graham, Charles Fenno Hoffman, James Lawson, and Ephraim George Squier, as well as the publisher Justus Starr Redfield and journalists William Leggett, George P. Morris, James Watson, and Nathaniel Parker Willis.

Writings and Compositions

This collection provides a rich resource for scholars of Bird's literary works, comprising plays, poems, songs, stories, and novels. The literary material ranges from notes on a plot never realized to bound volumes of the last drafts of a manuscript before publication. Included in this collection are multiple drafts of works that Bird went on to publish, including bound manuscripts of the following dramatic works: The Broker of Bogota,  Caridorf,  The City Looking Glass,  The Cowled Lover,  The Fanatick,  Giannone,  The Gladiator,  The Man without Money,  Oraloosa,  Pelopidas,  The Three Dukes,and  'Twas all for the Best. Bound manuscripts of the following prose works are also included:  Calavar, Hawks of Hawk Hollow, Nick of the Woods,and  Robin Day. In addition to these are volumes of poetry and fragments of numerous other literary works, some only in the planning stages.

Bird also had a talent for music and drawing. Included in this collection are folders of musical compositions, plans for political songs, patriotic songs, and operas. Watercolor and pen and ink sketches depict theatrical scenes, landscapes, and architectural designs.

Research Notes and Non-fiction

In addition to his career as a fiction writer, Bird also devoted much of his time to nonfiction research and writing, from history to politics, agriculture, and science. Among these research notes is material on Mexico and South America, later used in his historical novels, The Infidel and  Calavar. His research on U. S. History and geography may have provided the backdrop for some of Bird's other novels and was intended for eventual publication as a work on American history. In 1839 Bird purchased a farm in Maryland, which he called "Cabin Cove." During the period Bird lived on this farm, he collected information on farming, primarily compiled in a series of notebooks on agriculture and farming projects.

Frederic Mayer Bird Papers

This collection also comprises the papers of Bird's son, Frederic Mayer Bird (1838-1908), and of his wife, Mary E. Bird (1809-1868). Among the latter are drafts of Mary Bird's biography of her husband, never completed. In 1945 University of Pennsylvania librarian C. Seymour Thompson edited these fragments of manuscripts and published them under the title, Life of Robert Montgomery Bird. His correspondence relating to the publication and distribution of this volume is also included in this series. At the end of this collection are the research notes compiled by Clement Foust for his biography of Bird,  The Life and Dramatic Works of Robert Montgomery Bird (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1919).

Two copies of a lithograph portrait of Bird, based on a daguerreotype by M. A. Root, are in the oversize box at the end of this collection.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Rare Book & Manuscript Library,  1996

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Rebecca C. Smith

Source of Acquisition

Gift, before 1947 and through 1965.

Donor: Robert M. Bird (Robert Montgomery Bird manuscripts)

Donor: Theodocia Bird (correspondence with Mary Bird)

Donor: Robert M. Bird, Jr. (remaining Bird correspondence)

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Other Finding Aids

For a complete listing of correspondents, do the following title search in Franklin: Robert Montgomery Bird Papers.

Collection Inventory

I.  Correspondence, 1799-1877. 3 boxes.

Series Description

Original outgoing and incoming correspondence with or relating to Robert M. Bird. Letters addressed to the editor(s) of a publication are filed under the name of that publication in the Periodicals series. Drafts of political letters are filed in the Research Notes and Non-fiction series, in the section on politics. Correspondence with Mary E. Bird (excluding that with her husband) has been removed to the series of Mary E. Bird papers, as has correspondence relating to the posthumous publication of her biography of her husband. Correspondence may also be found in the series of Frederic Mayer Bird Papers and Clement Foust Papers.

A.  General Correspondence, 1799-1877. 128 folders.

Description & Arrangement

Incoming letters and drafts or copies of outgoing letters. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Incoming and outgoing letters are then interfiled in chronological order. Letters of introduction written for Bird are filed among the general correspondence, under the name of the writer.

Box Folder

Barr, Elizabeth Van Leuvenigh, 1825. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 1

Barr, Robert H., 1869. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 2

Barrell, O. K., 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 3

Bird, A. G., 1843. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 4

Bird, Bessie, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 5

Bird, Frederic Mayer (with Mary Bird), 1844-1850. 12 items (12 leaves).

1 6

Bird, Henry B., 1825-1848. 8 items (9 leaves).

1 7

Bird, John D., 1834-1849. 6 items (7 leaves).

1 8

Black, J. Roberts, 1831-1834. 10 items (16 leaves).

1 9

Boker, George H., 1852-1853. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 10

Bowler, R. B. (letter of introduction), 1833. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 11

Brobson, W. P., 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 12

Brooks, N. C., 1838. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 13

Brown, David Paul, 1843. 1 item (4 leaves).

1 14

Carey, Lea & Co., 1834-1848. 25 items (25 leaves).

1 15

Chandler, Joseph R., 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 16

Chew, William White (letter of introduction), 1833. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 17

Childs, Cephas Grier (letter of introduction), 1834. 3 items (3 leaves).

1 18

Cisp, Lewis J., 1837. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 19

Clarke, Thomas Cottrel, 1834-1836. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 20

Clark, Willis Gaylord, 1834-1835. 9 items (12 leaves).

1 21

Clayton, Charles M., 1848. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 22

Clayton, James F., 1846-1851. 4 items (4 leaves).

1 23

Clayton, John M., 1842-1856. 151 items (153 leaves).

1 24-29

Clayton, Thomas, 1844. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 30

Combs, Leslie, 1848. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 31

Comegys, Joseph P., 1847-1848. 11 items (11 leaves).

1 32

Conrad, Robert Taylor, 1847-1853. 3 items (3 leaves).

1 33

Couper, James, M.D., 1853. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 34

Coxe, John Redman, 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 35

Darley, J. M., 1846. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 36

Delara, 1835-1836. 2 items (3 leaves).

1 37

Dickson, James (letter of introduction), 1834. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 38

Dobson, Judah [from Bird to Dobson], 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 39

Dorsey, John L., 1831. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 40

Drake, B. (letter of introduction), 1833. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 41

Ducachet, Henry William, 1847. 3 items (8 leaves).

1 42

Du Pont, Charles I., 1834-1848. 4 items (4 leaves).

1 43

Du Pont, Dorcas M., Mrs., 1837. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 44

Du Pont, Samuel Francis, 1846. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 45

Ellet, Charles, 1849-1853. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 46

Fisher, George P., 1849. 3 items (3 leaves).

1 47

Ford, William P., 1843. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 48

Forrest, Edwin, 1834. 8 items (8 leaves).

1 49

Frazer, Oliver, 1827. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 50

Freas, Philip R., 1853. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 51

Frost, John, 1832-1844. 23 items (24 leaves).

1 52

Gardette, E. B., 1851. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 53

Garrigue, Rudolph Peter, 1852. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 54

Godey, L. A. & Co., 1831. 5 items (5 leaves).

1 55

Graham, George R., 1847-1848. 14 items (14 leaves).

1 56

Greene, Giorgio (letter of introduction), 1832. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 57

Grigg, John, 1847-1849. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 58

Grimes, John, 1829-1837. 16 items (21 leaves).

1 59-60

Griswold, Rufus W., 1845. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 61

Groome, John C., 1837-1844. 5 items (5 leaves).

1 62

Groome, Samuel, 1838-1840. 5 items (5 leaves).

1 63

Harlan, Richard (letter of introduction), 1833. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 64

Harper & Bros., 1834-1841. 5 items (5 leaves).

2 65

Harris, Samuel, 1838. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 66

Hartley, John, 1834. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 67

Harvey, James E., 1848-1853. 9 items (9 leaves).

2 68

Hendee, Charles J., 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 69

Hentz, Caroline Lee, 1833. 3 items (4 leaves).

2 70

Hoffman, Charles Fenno, 1837. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 71

Holcomb, C. P., 1848. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 72

Houston, John W., 1845-1848. 10 items (11 leaves).

2 73

Howard, Guiseppe (letter of introduction), 1834. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 74

Howard, Jane (letter of introduction), 1834. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 75

Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876, undated. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 76

Hunt, John W., 1833. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 77

Johnson, Reverdy, 1844. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 78

Johnson, Walter R., 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 79

Kane, Elisha Kent, 1853. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 80

Latimer, John Richardson, 1851. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 81

Lawson, James, 1832-1835. 17 items (19 leaves).

2 82

Lea & Blanchard, 1839-1840. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 83

Leggett, William, 1834-1836. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 84

Lockwood, John A., 1843. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 85

Longacre, James Barton, 1838. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 86

Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron, 1834. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 87

McCabe, Robert, 1844. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 88

McClellan, George, 1834-1844. 14 items (17 leaves).

2 89

McKenney, Thomas (letter of introduction), 1834. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 90

Mackenzie, Alexander, 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 91

McLean, John W., 1844. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 92

McMichael, Morton, 1844-1859. 32 items (34 leaves).

2 93

Martineau, Harriet, 1836-1837. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 94

Mason, J. Y., 1847. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 95

Matthias & Taylor, 1834. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 96

Maull, Joseph, 1846. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 97

Mayer, Edward R., 1854. 16 item (16 leaves).

2 98

Mayer, Philip Frederic, 1833-1846. 3 items (4 leaves).

2 99

Meigner, L., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 100

Morris, Edward Joy, 1842. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 101

Morris, George P., 1832-1858. 5 items (5 leaves).

2 102

Morton, Samuel George, 1799-1851, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 103

Murphy, William B., 1830. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 104

Musson, Germain, 1847-1849. 8 items (9 leaves).

2 105

Naff, H. H. I., 1844. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 106

Owen, Robert Dale, 1801-1877, undated. 1 item.

2 107

Powers, Hiram, 1835. 5 items (5 leaves).

2 108

Randolph, Richard, 1834. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 109

Redfield, Justus Starr, 1852-1854. 6 items (6 leaves).

2 110

Robins, Joseph H.

see Box 31

Robinson, W., 1833. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 111

Ruschenberger, W. S. W., 1848-1849. 4 items (5 leaves).

2 112

Scott, Winfield, 1852. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 113

Sellman, Mrs., 1830. 2 items (3 leaves).

2 114

Sexton, Richard Jr., 1825. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 115

Simms, William Gilmore, 1806-1870, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 116

Smith, J. J. Jr., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 117

Snowden, William W., 1827. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 118

Squier, E. G., 1851. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 119

Stevenson, U. K., 1836. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 120

Thomas, Lorenzo, 1844. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 121

Tyson, Job R., 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 122

Van Buren, Martin (letter of introduction), 1833. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 123

Van Stavorer, Jackson, 1842. 3 items (4 leaves).

2 124

Walker, Robert P., 1839. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 125

Webb, J. Watson, 1844. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 126

Wetmore, Prosper Montgomery, 1831-1834. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 127

Whitney, E. D., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 129

Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1838?. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 130

Winthrop, J. (letter of introduction), 1833. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 131

unidentified recipients, 1846-1847. 7 items (8 leaves).

2 132

B.  Correspondence between Robert Montgomery Bird and Mary E. Bird (i.e. Mary E. Mayer), 1833-1852. 18 folders.

Description & Arrangement

Correspondence between Bird and his wife Mary, spanning the days of their early acquaintance and courtship, to the later days of their married life. Arranged chronologically. (2 letters from 1833 removed to oversize)

Box Folder

Correspondence with Mary E. Bird, 1833-1852, undated. 203 items (218 leaves).

3 133-150

C.  Miscellaneous correspondence, 1822-1868. 13 folders.

Description & Arrangement

Letters between individuals other than Bird, related to or concerning Bird. These letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, with a note identifying the addressee. Unidentified letters, invitations, and envelopes fall at the end of this section.

Box Folder

Baird, John to L. Mayer, 1867-1868. 3 items (4 leaves).

3 151

Fraley, F. (Frederick) to Constant Guillou, 1858. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 152

Grey, Charles Edward to James Stanislas Bell, 1848. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 153

Grittinger, Adam to Morton McMichael, 1844. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 154

Hamilton, John C. (John Church), to Morton McMichael, 1848. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 155

Mayer, Caroline, to Rev. Philip F. Mayer, 1832. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 156

Norris, W. W. to John M. Clayton, 1847. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 157

Smith, R. Rundle to Morton McMichael, 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 158

Sprogell, Marshall to Judge McLean, 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 159

Taylor, Zachary, to John M. Clayton, 1848. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 160

Envelopes. 16 items (16 leaves).

3 161

Invitations, 1822-1849. 13 items (13 leaves).

3 162

RSVP's, 1833, undated. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 163

II.  Writings, 1828-1835. 24 boxes.

Arrangement

Arranged by genre and then alphabetically by title. Notes on literature and lists of works are in the series of Research notes.

A.  Plays, 1827-1833. 4 boxes.

Description & Arrangement

Bound volumes of drafts of plays; notes and fragments of published and unpublished works. Volumes and folders of loose papers are interfiled and arranged alphabetically by title, with unidentified plays and fragments at the end.

Box Folder

Bachelor's Hall: fragments, undated. 14 leaves.

4 164

The Broker of Bogota: 4 bound volumes, notes and fragments, undated. 4 items (234 leaves).

4 165-168

Caridorf or The Avenger: 4 bound volumes, notes and fragments, 1827. 1 item (45 leaves).

4 169

The City Looking Glass: 2 bound volumes, misc. loose papers, undated. 2 items (175 leaves).

4 170-172

The Cowled Lover: 2 bound volumes, 1827. 2 items (85 leaves).

5 173-174

The Fanatick: 1 bound volume, misc. loose papers, undated. 1 item (24 leaves).

5 175-176

Giannone: 1 bound volume, misc. loose papers, undated. 1 item (35 leaves).

5 177

The Gladiator: 4 bound volumes, misc. loose papers, 1831 and undated. 4 items (285 leaves).

5-6 178-182

King Philip, or The Sagamore: fragments, undated. 1 item (15 leaves).

6 183

The Man Without Money: 1 bound volume, undated. 1 item (41 leaves).

6 184

Masque of the Devils: fragments, undated. 1 item (19 leaves).

6 185

Metamora: fragments, undated. 1 item (26 leaves).

6 186

Oraloosa: 3 bound volumes, misc. loose papers, 1832. 3 items (173 leaves).

6 187-190

Pelopidas: 4 bound volumes, misc. loose papers, 1830. 4 items (278 leaves).

7 191-195

The Three Dukes: 1 bound volume, undated. 1 item (59 leaves).

7 196

'Twas all for the Best, 'Tis all a notion: 1 bound volume, 1833. 1 item (38 leaves).

7 197

Miscellaneous plays: fragments, undated. 1 item (30 leaves).

7 198

Reviews, The Gladiator, 1831. 1 item (13 leaves).

7 199

Reviews, Oraloosa, 1832. 9 items (9 leaves).

7 200

B.  Poetry, 1827-1836. 2 boxes.

Description & Arrangement

Volumes of poetry; multiple drafts; fragments; a folder containing a discrete volume of poetry will be followed by a folder of loose drafts of the poems included in the volume. Volumes of poetry are arranged alphabetically; Miscellaneous loose poems a re organized into the following categories: titled poems, arranged alphabetically by title; untitled poetry; and songs, both arranged alphabetically by the first significant word.

Box Folder

"The Cave" , undated. 8 items (75 leaves).

8 201-202

"Early Poems No. 2" : bound volume, 1827. 2 items (27 leaves).

8 203

"El Dorado" : notes and drafts, undated. 1 item (12 leaves).

8 204

"Juvenile Poems" : bound volume, undated. 1 item (13 leaves).

8 205

"The Mammoth Cave" : notes and drafts, 1833. 1 item (4 leaves).

8 206

"Miscellaneous Poems" : bound volume, undated. 1 item (45 leaves).

8 207

"Miscellaneous Poems" : drafts (arranged alphabetically), undated. 22 items (38 leaves).

8 208

"Poems of America" : bound volume, undated. 1 item (22 leaves).

8 209

"Poems of America" : drafts, undated. 15 items (28 leaves).

8 210

"Songs and Sonnets" : bound volume, undated. 1 item (37 leaves).

8 211

"Songs and Sonnets" : drafts, undated. 21 items (51 leaves).

8 212

"Sonnets" : folders, undated. 1 item (16 leaves).

8 213

"Sonnets" : drafts, undated. 14 items (25 leaves).

8 214

"Sonnets: notes and fragments" , undated. 1 item (56 leaves).

8 215

"Tabor" : notes and drafts, undated. 1 item (14 leaves).

8 216

"Tales of the Nuns" : drafts and fragments, undated. 1 item (7 leaves).

8 217

"The Vestal: a Roman Story" , undated. 1 item (11 leaves).

8 218

Clippings of published poems, 1827-1836. 13 items (40 leaves).

9 219

Collected poetry of other authors, undated. 1 item (3 leaves).

9 220

Foreign language poetry, undated. 7 items (7 leaves).

9 221

Lists and indexes of poetry, undated. 28 leaves.

9 222

Miscellaneous poetry: scraps. 60 leaves.

9 223

Miscellaneous songs, undated. 27 items (40 leaves).

9 224

Miscellaneous titled poems, undated. 41 items (51 leaves).

9 225

Miscellaneous untitled poems, undated. 67 items (67 leaves).

9 226

Miscellaneous verse: fragments of longer poems, undated. 36 leaves.

9 227

C.  Prose Fiction, 1828-1838. 18 boxes.

Description & Arrangement

Drafts, fragments, and notes of published and unpublished works. The section begins with two boxes of folders containing loose papers and is followed by individually boxed volumes, arranged alphabetically by title.

Box Folder

"Adventures in the Wrong House" .

see Box 31

"Awossagame, or the Seal of the Evil One" : fragments, undated. 3 items (17 leaves).

10 228

Calavar; or, The Knight of the Conquest: [see also boxes 12-13], 1834. 13 items (40 leaves).

10 229-230

"Death in the Cups" : incomplete, undated. 1 item (12 leaves).

10 231

"Fascinating Power of Reptiles" : from  Peter Pilgram, undated. 12 items (12 leaves).

10 232

"Happy Island" : incomplete, undated. 5 items (6 leaves).

10 233

Hawks of Hawks Hollow [see also boxes 14-15], undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

10 234

The Infidel; or, The Fall of Mexico: incomplete, undated. 14 items (70 leaves).

10 235

Ipiscipo Poe: Chapters 1-14 and fragments, undated. 53 items (274 leaves).

10 236-240

"John Dory the Fisherman" : fragments, undated. 1 item (46 leaves).

10 241

"Keber Carl" : fragments, undated. 1 item (6 leaves).

10 242

"The Lover's Quarrel" .

see Box 31

"Mammoth Cave" , undated. 18 items (71 leaves).

10 243

Men of the Hills, A Romance, 1828. 12 items (118 leaves).

10-11 244-249

undated. 1 item (11 leaves).

11 250

"Mrs. Munchovy" : fragments, undated. 10 items (48 leaves).

11 251

Nick of the Woods: incomplete, see also boxes 16-17, undated. 1 item (163 leaves).

11 252-253

"Peter Jones the Aeronaut" : fragments, undated. 1 item (15 leaves).

11 254

Peter Pilgrim: fragments of stories from the collection, undated. 1 item (33 leaves).

11 255

The Pilgrim: miscellaneous notes, undated. 25 items (32 leaves).

11 256

"Pilgrim at Home" : fragments, undated. 1 item (35 leaves).

11 257

Robin Day. 1 item (bound volume).

see Box 18

Sheppard Lee: fragments and notes, undated. 1 item (61 leaves).

11 259

"Summum Bonum" : fragments, undated. 1 item (11 leaves).

11 260

"Tony" : fragments, undated. 1 item (32 leaves).

11 261

The Volunteers: fragments, undated. 1 item (25 leaves).

11 262

"Zelahulla or The Lady of the Star" : fragments, undated. 1 item (7 leaves).

11 263

Titled fiction: miscellaneous, undated. 33 items (37 leaves).

11 264

Untitled fiction: miscellaneous, undated. 1 item (41 leaves).

11 265

Reviews, Calavar, 1834. 14 items (16 leaves).

11 266

Reviews, The Infidel, 1835. 5 items (7 leaves).

11 267

Calavar: volumes 1 and 2, undated. 2 items (544 leaves).

12-13

Hawks of Hawks Hollow: volumes 1 and 2, undated. 2 items (579 leaves).

14-15

Nick of the Woods: volumes 1 and 2, undated. 2 items (527 leaves).

16-17

Robin Day: bound volume, undated. 1 item (312 leaves).

18

III.  Compositions, 1835, undated. 2 boxes.

Series Description

Sketchbook; published music; books of musical compositions; notes on drawing; miscellaneous theatrical and architectural drawings and watercolors.

A.  Music, 1835, undated.

Box Folder

Copied Music, undated. 1 item (34 leaves).

19

Original Music, undated. 1 item (34 leaves).

19

"Nina: with variations, for the flute" , 1835. 1 item (5 leaves).

19

Variations on "Home, Sweet Home" , undated. 1 item (4 leaves).

19

Musical compositions, undated. 1 item (15 leaves).

19

Printed Music, undated. 6 items (8 leaves).

19

Music: fragments, undated. 14 leaves.

20 268

Music: bound volume, undated. 1 item (14 leaves).

20 270

Music: songs set to music, undated. 15 items (22 leaves).

20 271

B.  Sketches: see also box 31, undated.

Box Folder

Sketchbook, undated. 1 item (53 leaves).

20 272

Sketches removed from sketchbook, undated. 1 item (34 leaves).

20 273

Sketches and notes on architecture, undated. 26 leaves.

20 274

Sketches and notes on drawing, undated. 29 leaves.

20 275

Sketches, music, and misc. notes: notebook, undated. 1 item (26 leaves).

20 276

IV.  Research Notes and Fragments of Non-fiction, 1833-1840. 2 boxes.

Series Description

Notes on the history of Mexico, South America, and the United States; notes on nitrates and chemistry; notes on agriculture; notes on politics; fragments of articles and speeches.

A.  Agriculture.

Box Folder

"Agriculture" : notebook, undated. 1 item (68 leaves).

21

"Agriculture, No. 2" : notebook, 1837. 1 item (43 leaves).

21

"Agriculture, No. 3" : notebook, 1838. 1 item (40 leaves).

21

"Agriculture" : notebook, 1840. 1 item (36 leaves).

21

Clippings removed from notebooks. 36 leaves.

21

Loose papers removed from notebooks. 53 leaves.

21

Notebook, 1835-1836. 1 item (41 leaves).

21

"Projects" : notebook, 1839. 1 item (20 leaves).

21

Loose papers, undated. 13 leaves.

22 277

B.  "Apparitions" : lecture and notes, undated. 14 leaves.

Box
22
Folder
278

C.  "Cabin Cove" : loose papers, 1837-1838. 1 item (52 leaves).

Box
22
Folder
279

D.  "Caves of America" : notes and drafts, undated. 6 items (19 leaves).

Box
22
Folder
280

E.  Copyright laws: notes and drafts, undated. 21 leaves.

Box
22
Folder
281

F.  "Fallacy of Opinion" : lecture and notes, undated. 25 leaves.

Box
22
Folder
282

G.  Foreign languages: notes, undated. 13 leaves.

Box
22
Folder
283

H.  Lectures and speeches, undated. 8 leaves.

Box
22
Folder
284

I.  "Letters from the Gap" : published articles, 1833. 7 items (7 leaves).

Box
22
Folder
285

J.  Literature.

Box Folder

Notebook, undated. 1 item (21 leaves).

22 286

Notes and fragments, undated. 107 leaves.

22 287-288

K.  Mexico.

Box Folder

"Bernal Diaz de Cartillo: Concerning the Siege of Mexico" , undated. 1 item (26 leaves).

22 289

"De Solis: History of the Conquest of Mexico" , undated. 1 item (26 leaves).

22 290

Musson, Germain, undated. 8 leaves.

22 291

Research notes: miscellaneous, undated. 41 leaves.

22 292

L.  Politics.

Box Folder

Correspondence: drafts, undated. 8 items (25 leaves).

22 293

Notes and fragments, undated. 48 leaves.

22 294

Speeches, undated. 13 items (21 leaves).

22 295

Writings, undated. 22 items (28 leaves).

22 296

Writings to "F.C." , undated. 8 items (33 leaves).

22 297

M.  Science.

Box Folder
Notebook on chemistry, undated. 1 item (8 leaves).
23 298

N.  South America.

Box Folder

"Schmidtmeyer" , undated. 1 item (4 leaves).

23 301

"20 years in South America" , undated. 1 item (23 leaves).

23 302

"Ulloa" , undated. 1 item (14 leaves).

23 303

Notebook on chemistry: (on reverse: "Literary Accounts" ), 1836. 1 item (23 leaves).

23 299

Notes, undated. 38 items (63 leaves).

23 300

O.  Superstition and Magic: notes, undated. 251 leaves.

Box
23
Folder
304

P.  U.S. History.

Box Folder

Notes and fragments, undated. 29 leaves.

23 305

Writings, undated. 34 items (55 leaves).

23 306

Q.  Miscellaneous Research notes, undated. 6 leaves.

Box
23
Folder
307

R.  Fragments of non-fiction, undated. 51 leaves.

Box
23
Folder
308

V.  Periodicals, 1845-1851. 10 folders.

Series Description

Papers related to the North American and U. S. Gazette; letters to the editor; subscription receipts; ideas for new journals.

A.  Adelphi Magazine, undated. 16 leaves.

Box
24
Folder
309

B.  American Monthly Magazine, undated. 6 leaves.

Box
24
Folder
310

C.  North American and U. S. Gazette.

Box Folder

Correspondence with editors (R. M. Bird and M. McMichael), 1845-1851. 12 items (13 leaves).

24 311

Legal papers, 1847-1848. 15 items (20 leaves).

24 312

Financial papers and receipts, undated. 75 leaves.

24 313

Miscellaneous notes and papers, undated. 41 leaves.

24 314

D.  Philadelphia Weekly Magazette, undated. 16 leaves.

Box
24
Folder
315

E.  U. S. Review, undated. 3 leaves.

Box
24
Folder
316

F.  Whig New Monthly, undated. 7 items (7 leaves).

Box
24
Folder
317

G.  Periodicals: miscellaneous, undated. 18 leaves.

Box
24
Folder
318

VI.  Financial and Legal Papers, 1826-1857. 8 folders.

Series Description

Bills, receipts, and checks; legal contracts.

Box Folder

Account Book, 1827-1837. 1 item (22 leaves).

24 319

Account Book and loose papers, 1836-1839. 1 item (36 leaves).

24 320

Carey, Lea & Co.: financial papers, 1834-1838. 12 items (12 leaves).

24 321

Clayton, John M.: financial agreements, 1847-1857. 4 items (4 leaves).

24 322

Copyright certificates, 1830. 6 leaves.

24 323

Financial papers: miscellaneous, 1826-1849. 41 items (41 leaves).

24 324

Legal papers: miscellaneous, 1832-1855. 12 items (12 leaves).

24 325

Receipts and Checks, 1839-1849. 46 items (46 leaves).

24 326

VII.  Memorabilia, 1822-1916. 2 boxes (+ 8 folders).

Series Description

Juvenilia; quotebooks; abstracts; passes to medical lectures; maps; genealogical papers.

Box Folder

"The Athenian Institute" : newspaper clipping, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

24 327

"Compendium of Rhetoric" , 1822. 1 item (14 leaves).

24 328

Geneological papers, undated. 1 item (4 leaves).

24 329

Journal, 1833. 1 item (41 leaves).

24 330

Map, "Pennsylvania System" , 1916. 1 item.

24 331

Obituaries for Robert M. Bird, 1854. 2 items (2 leaves).

24 332

"Quotebook" , 1826. 1 item (48 leaves).

24 333

School papers, compositions, and certificate, 1824. 3 items (5 leaves).

24 334

"Notes and Abstracts" : (on reverse, notes by Frederic Bird), 1828. 1 item (99 leaves).

25

"Quotations" , 1827. 1 item (73 leaves).

25

Passes to medical lectures, 1824-1843. 22 items (22 leaves).

26

VIII.  Frederic Mayer Bird Papers, 1844-1892. 1 box.

Series Description

Correspondence; published articles; drafts of sermons; University of Pennsylvania memorabilia.

A.  Correspondence, 1844-1889.

Box Folder

Allen, George, 1854. 1 item (2 leaves).

27 335

Barr, Elizabeth Van Leuvenigh, undated. 1 item (2 leaves).

27 336

Bird, I.D., 1855. 1 item (1 leaf).

27 337

Bird, Robert Montgomery, 1844-1850. 9 items (9 leaves).

27 338

Downing, R.L., 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

27 339

Frazer, John, 1854. 1 item (1 leaf).

327 340

Lippincott's Magazine, 1875. 1 item (1 leaf).

27 341

Mayer, Edward R., 1874. 1 item (2 leaves).

27 342

B.  Writings, 1858-1892.

Box Folder

"A Centennial Poem" , undated. 1 item (6 leaves).

27 343

"An Imperial Saint" , undated. 1 item (10 leaves).

27 344

"Love Songs of the Last Generation" , undated. 1 item (5 leaves).

27 345

Sermons, 1865-1871. 9 items (25 leaves).

27 346

Newspaper clippings (of FMB articles?), 1858-1892. 50 items (64 leaves).

27 347-349

C.  Miscellaneous, 1854-1857.

Box Folder

Miscellaneous papers. 5 leaves.

27 350

Notebook, undated. 1 item (11 leaves).

27 351

University of Pennsylvania, 1854-1857. 14 items (14 leaves).

27 352

IX.  Mary E. Bird Papers, 1831-1946. 1 box.

Series Description

Correspondence; book of writings; notes and drafts of The Life of Bird; correspondence of C. Seymour Thompson concerning  The Life of Bird; memorabilia.

A.  Correspondence, 1831-1908.

Box Folder

Backas, F. R.

see Box 31

Barr, Elizabeth, 1849. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 353

Bird, Elizabeth Van Leuvenigh, undated. 1 item (2 leaves).

28 354

Bird, Frederic Mayer (with Betsie and Emily), 1838-1908, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 355

Chew, Anne L., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 356

Clayton, John M., 1854. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 357

Comegys, Joseph P., 1856. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 358

Douglass, James C., 1856-1859. 33 items (34 leaves).

28 359

Fraley, F., 1859. 2 items (2 leaves).

28 360

Frost, John, 1854. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 361

Guillou, Constant, 1859. 8 items (10 leaves).

28 362

Johnson, E., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 363

McC., H. H., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 364

McMichael, Morton, 1854-1859. 7 items (7 leaves).

28 365

Mayer, Anne, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 366

Mayer, Augustina, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 367

Mayer, Caroline, 1831-1834, undated. 21 items (21 leaves).

28 368

Mayer, Edward, 1854-1858. 2 items (4 leaves).

28 369

Mayer, Emily, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 370

Mayer, Philip F., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 371

Nelly, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

28 372

Warder, E. A., undated. 3 items (3 leaves).

28 373

B.  Materials re: Life of Bird, 1944-1946.

Box Folder

Life of Bird, undated. 3 items (72 leaves).

28 374-376

Research notes and fragments, undated. 3 items (24 leaves).

28 377

Transcripts of Bird Correspondence, undated. 12 leaves.

28 378

Correspondence re: Life of Bird, 1944-1945. 263 items (263 leaves).

28 379-384

Bills and receipts, 1945-1946. 26 items (26 leaves).

28 385

Copyright papers, 1944-1945. 14 items (14 leaves).

28 386

C.  Miscellaneous, 1854-1858.

Box Folder

Notebook of writings, undated. 1 item (9 leaves).

28 387

Legal and financial papers, 1854. 2 items (6 leaves).

28 388

Miscellaneous scraps, undated. 10 items (10 leaves).

28 389

Wedding bouquet. 1 item.

28 390

Clippings re: Philip F. Mayer, 1858. 4 items (4 leaves).

28 391

X.  Clement Edgar Foust, 1915-1916. 2 boxes.

Series Description

Research materials for Bird biography including transcripts of Bird letters, related correspondence, and note cards.

Box Folder

Correspondence with Robert M. Bird, Jr., 1915. 3 items (5 leaves).

29 392

Miscellaneous correspondence regarding Robert Montogomery Bird, 1915-1916. 5 items (13 leaves).

29 393

Transcribed letters of Robert Montgomery Bird. 27 leaves.

29 394-395

Miscellaneous collected letters, 19th century. 2 items (2 leaves).

29 396

Genealogical notes, undated. 5 items (5 leaves).

29 397

Research notes, undated. 12 items (12 leaves).

29 398

Note cards.

30

XI.  Oversize, 1825 or 6-1853. 1 box.

Series Description

Lithograph portraits of Bird; miscellaneous oversize material.

Box

"Adventures in the Wrong House" : newspaper clipping, 1842, 1853. 2 items (4 leaves).

31

Letter from F. R. Backas to Mary E. Bird, 1830. 1 item (1 leaf).

31

Joseph H. Robins to Robert Montgomery Bird, 1825 or 6. 1 item (1 leaf).

31

Letters from Robert Montgomery Bird to Mary E. Bird, 1833. 2 items (3 leaves).

31

Lithograph portraits of Robert Montgomery Bird, undated. 2 items.

31

Sketches, undated. 2 items (2 leaves).

31