Guide to the Ambrose Bierce Papers, [ca. 1894-1913]

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Note

Arts and Humanities --Literature --American Literature

Guide to the Ambrose Bierce Papers, [ca. 1894-1913]

Report and Key to Arrangement

Collection number: BANC MSS 75/57 c

The Bancroft Library



University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Encoded by:
Eva Garcelon
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Ambrose Bierce Papers, [ca. 1894-1913]
Collection Number: BANC MSS 75/57 c
Creator: Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914?
Extent: Number of containers: 8 boxes, 15 volumes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Letters written by and to Bierce; MSS, including introduction to Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, some Little Johnny sketches, an untitled short story and a few poems; clippings of articles and stories, many with holograph inserts, emendations and marginalia, some used as printer's copy for inclusion in the Collected Works; publishing contracts; royalty statements.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ambrose Bierce papers, BANC MSS 75/57 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Most of the material in this collection was originally a part of Ambrose Bierce's archives, the papers which he left to his daughter, Helen Bierce Isgrigg, before he departed for Mexico. The collection was eventually sold to Mrs. Milton E. Getz of Beverly Hills, a private collector, who, in November 1936, sold her library at public auction at the Anderson Galleries in New York. The Bierce archives was thus dispersed, and this segment of the Papers was acquired by the Carl H. Pforzheimer Library of New York, which added a few Bierce items over the years to the collection. In January 1975 The Bancroft Library purchased the papers from Hamill & Barker of Chicago, acting as agent for the Pforzheimer Library, with funds made available by The Friends of The Bancroft Library and the Theodore R. Meyer Memorial Fund.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of letters written to Bierce; file copies of letters written by him; MSS, including the introduction to Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, some Little Johnny sketches, an untitled short story and a few poems; clippings of articles and stories, many with holograph inserts, emendations and marginalia, some used as printer's copy for inclusion in the Collected Works; publishing contracts; and royalty statements. Housed in eight boxes and fifteen volumes, the papers are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows. A list of the major correspondents represented in the collection follows the Key.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by Ambrose Bierce, 1894-1913

 

87 letters and a fragment of an additional letter; holograph and typed, signed copies. Arranged chronologically. Addressed to Charles Burr Todd; Percival Pollard; H. P. Williams; Eleanor (Vore) Sickler; Edward Baker; the editor of Judge; a Mr. Davis; Mr. Casamajor; Bailey Millard; T. T. Williams; Mr. Maxwell; William Randolph Hearst; Gen. O. H. La Grange; U.S. Register of Copyrights; Arthur Brisbane; Samuel E. Asbury; Mrs. Charles Scott Ware; S. S. Chamberlain; the Neale Publishing Company; Silas O. Howes; Walter Neale; Major-General F. C. Ainsworth; Brigadier General W. W. Wotherspoon; Hearst employees Charles P. Norcross and von Utassy; John O'Hara Cosgrave; James D. Blake; John F. Kendrick; Mrs. H. D. Cowden; Charles V. E. Starrett; the manager of the Washington City Directory; Colonel Archibald Gracie; Mark Lee Luther; Carrie Christiansen; and Mr. Mackay. Arranged chronologically. Names of recipients of letters are noted on the folders.

Box 2-6

Letters written to Bierce

 

Letters from other authors, publishers and editors, personal friends, etc. Arranged alphabetically. A partial list of correspondents follows the Key to Arrangement.

Box 7

Contracts and publisher's statements, as follows:

 

Aulick, W. W. — Contract for dramatization of Parker Addison, Philosopher, a sketch included in In the Midst of Life, Oct. 11, 1900. Ambrose Bierce (by Leigh Bierce) party of the first part.

 

Cassell Publishing Co. — Contract for Weird Stories and Satires, Apr. 26, 1893; statements for Can Such Things Be, 1893-1896

 

Doubleday Page & Co. — Contract for The Cynic's Dictionary, Mar. 19, 1906; statements for Cynic's Word Book, 1907-1910

 

Neale Publishing Company — Contracts, 1902-1912, for reprint of Can Such Things Be, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter, and The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce; statements, 1904-1920 [After Nov. 1, 1913, accounts are with Carrie J. Christiansen, Bierce's secretary]; summaries of Bierce's accounts with the company, including a list of subscribers to the Complete Works [compiler unknown; based on accounts in the collection]; bill of sale, signed by Rosalie Kaufman, of interest in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and In the Midst of Life, Apr. 21, 1908, and assignment by the company to Bierce; and other miscellaneous papers.

 

Putnam's (G.P.) Sons — Statements for Fantastic Fables, (cont'd) 1899-1910, and for In the Midst of Life, July 31, 1899

 

Miscellaneous papers

 

Letter from Adams, Adams and Binford, attorneys, Los Angeles, to Walter Neale, Jan. 14, 1921; written on behalf of Helen (Bierce) Isgrigg notifying Neale that the Bierce contract was void.

 

Carrie Christiansen's notes pertaining to relations with the Neale Publishing Company.

 

Subscription lists to Bierce's Collected Works

 

Miscellany

Box 8

Ambrose Bierce Manuscripts

 

Introduction to Tales of Soldiers and Civilians 2 l., typescript with corrections in Bierce's hand; note on verso of second leaf (also in Bierce's hand) lists his principal books [prepared for the printer?]

 

MSS of poems: A Pickbrain; Convalescent; an untitled poem; A Hymn of the Many; Homo Podunkensis. Holograph, with typed transcripts.

 

MS of an untitled short story, with envelope marked, in Bierce's hand, Alasper. (6 l., A.Ms.) Also written on the envelope, in another hand, Autograph MSS of an unpublished story. Typed transcript included.

 

Little Johnny on Cannibals 4 l., typescript, with corrections in Bierce's hand and dated by Bierce on verso of leaf 4, Aug. 8, 1902.

 

Little Johnny on Christmas 5 l., typescript, with corrections in Bierce's hand; dated on verso of fifth leaf, by Bierce, Dec. 9, 1902.

 

Little Johnny on Politics 4 l., typescript, with corrections in Bierce's hand. Title and date, Mar. 17, 1902, on verso of leaf 4 by Bierce.

 

L[ittle] J[ohnny] on Snakes 1 l., typescript, with title and date, Sept. 2, 1902, on verso in Bierce's hand.

 

Little Johnny on the Toady 3 l., typescript, with corrections in Bierce's hand and title and date on verso of leaf 3, Mar. 25, 1902.

 

Little Johnny, the Nature Faker 3 l., typescript

 

[Little Johnny Sketches] Some, or parts of some, clipped from magazines and newspapers, with holograph inserts, emendations, marginalia, etc. 33 items

 

Clippings of stories and articles, some with holograph additions and revisions

 

Clippings of stories, some with revisions and titles in Bierce's hand. Mounted, 41 l. Leaves numbered 19-20 are typescript.

 

Clippings of his column, The Passing Show from the Cosmopolitan

 

Clippings of his column, Small Contributions, from the Cosmopolitan

 

Clippings of articles from the Cosmopolitan [other magazines also?]

 

Clippings of articles on the Spanish-American War from the San Francisco Examiner, Apr.-Aug. 1898. Mounted, 44 l. The leaves are numbered by Bierce and dates are noted in Bierce's hand.

 

Clippings, in an envelope marked by Bierce: From which to select and prepare additions to 'The Devil's Dictionary' if needed.

 

[Part of the introduction planned for the Collected Works?] 60 l. Partially in the hand of Carrie Christiansen [?], part typescript. Some volume headings and corrections in Bierce's hand.

volume v. 1-15

A collection of essays prepared by Bierce for the printer, to be included in the Collected Works. Each is separately bound; v. 1-10 in a green slip case, and v. 11-15 in a brown slip case, designed for Mrs. Getz' library.

Note

These volumes are also available on microfilm.
 

v. 1 Genius as a Provocation — Typescript, with title and emendations in Bierce's hand

 

v. 2 2 Gods in Chicago — Clipping with holograph title and marginalia and cross-outs

 

v. 3 A Monument to Adam — Clipping with holograph marginalia and cross-outs

 

v. 4 Hypnotism — Clipping with holograph title and marginalia and cross-outs

 

v. 5 A Review — Clipping with holograph inserts and marginalia and cross-outs; concluding paragraph typescript.

 

v. 6 A Mad World — Clipping with holograph title and marginalia and cross-outs

 

v. 7 Fat Babies and Fate — Clipping with holograph title and emendations and cross-outs

 

v. 8 The Chair of Little Ease — Clipping with holograph title, inserts, and emendations, and cross-outs

 

v. 9 For Last Words — Clipping with holograph title, inserts, and emendations, and cross-outs

 

v. 10 On Knowing One's Business — Clipping with holograph title and emendations, and cross-outs; footnote-typescript and holograph

 

v. 11 A Trade of Refuge — Clipping with holograph title and emendations, and cross-outs

 

v. 12 A Possible Benefactor — Typescript 2 l. with holograph title and emendations, and cross-outs

 

v. 13 Writers of Dialect — Typescript, 4 l., with holograph emendations and cross-outs

 

v. 14 Natura Benigna — Typescript, 3 l., with holograph title, insertion, and emendations, and cross-outs

 

v. 15 Warlike America — Typescript, 3 l., with holograph title, insert ions, and emendations, and cross-outs

Partial List of Correspondents

 

Appleton (D.) & Co.

 

Letter, May 24, 1897, to Edward S. Kaufman, from Ripley Hitchcock. Expressing interest in Bierce's stories and novels.

 

Atherton, Gertrude Franklin (Horn), 1857-1948

 

171 letters, ca. 1890-1909. Most of the letters are undated; dates provided are based primarily on internal evidence and events in Mrs. Atherton's life. Many of the letters are grouped according to her residence.

 

Aulick, W.W.

 

Letter, May 22, 1901. Written on stationery of the New York Evening Telegram. Transmits a copy of a contract [which is not included].

 

Blake, James D.

 

4 letters, 1907-1908. San Francisco bookseller and publisher. Discusses proposal to reprint some of Bierce's works in limited and autographed editions, and comments on publication of The Shadow on the Dial. See also Bierce's letters to Blake: Oct. 23, 1909 and July 29, 1910.

 

Brisbane Arthur, 1864-1936

 

Letter, Sept. 26, 1907. Re George Sterling's Wine of Wizardry. See also Bierce's letters to Brisbane: Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, 1907.

 

Chatto & Windus (firm), London

 

Letter, Nov. 13, 1896. Written in response to an inquiry from Bierce concerning their payment to Tauchnitz for permission to issue an English edition of In the Midst of Life on the continent.

 

Christiansen, Carrie J.

 

Cowley (John and Horace) Publishers, London

 

3 letters, 1897. Re English publication of Can Such Things Be and other stories.

 

Doubleday Page & Co.

 

Doyle, Charles William, 1852-1903

 

61 letters, 1895-1902. Several of the letters written in 1895 comment on Lily Walsh, Bierce's protege. Several others in the series refer to Edwin Markham and Herman G. Scheffauer and to his own writing efforts. Included also are MSS of four poems.

 

Elder (Paul) & Company, San Francisco

 

Letter, Apr. 10, 1907. Requesting that Bierce be included in their publication series of Western Classics

 

Gracie, Archibald

 

Letter, Apr. 8, 1911. Transmits Vol. 1 of Bierce's Works and a pamphlet description of the reunion of Bierce regiment at South Bend, Iowa in 1910, with comment. See also Bierce's letters to Gracie: Mar. 9 and Apr. 8, 1911.

 

Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951

 

28 letters and telegrams, 1895-1909. Telegram, May 10, 1896, is addressed to Julius Chambers; letter, June 7, 1908, is written for him by his secretary. Most of the letters refer to Bierce's work for the San Francisco Examiner and Cosmopolitan magazine. See also Bierce's letters to Hearst: Oct. 12, 1906; July 8 and July 13, 1907; Mar. 30, May 18 and May 23, 1908; and Mar. 7, 1909.

 

Hitchcock, Ripley

 

Hood, Thomas, 1835-1874

 

15 letters, ca. 1872-1874. Many of them are undated, but all were written while Bierce was in England. Several refer to Bierce's contributions to Fun the magazine which Hood edited.

 

Hotten, John Camden

 

24 letters, 1872-1873. British publisher. Primarily re publication of The Fiend's Delight and Nuggets and Dust.

 

Howes, Silas Orrin

 

118 letters, 1903-1913. Most of them refer to his work in editing a collection of Bierce's essays, published in 1909 as The Shadow on the Dial. Many refer to George Sterling, Herman Scheffauer, Percival Pollard and other contemporary authors. See also Bierce's letters to Howes: May 11 and May 20, 1908 and Mar. 23, 1911.

 

Kaufman, Edward S.

 

Letter, Oct. 16, 1896. Attorney. Enclosures: royalty statements with American Publishers Corporation, successor to U.S. Book Co., for Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. See also Appleton (D.) & Co.

 

Lanier, Henry Wysham, 1873-

 

Letter, Apr. 15, 1908. Written on behalf of Doubleday Page & Co. Enclosures: two memoranda relating to transfer of copyright for The Cynic's Dictionary to Bierce.

 

Neale, Hamilton S.

 

2 letters, 1909. One is a copy of a letter addressed to his brother, Walter. Re stock of The Neale Publishing Company.

 

Neale, Walter, 1873-1933

 

35 letters, 1907-1915. Most of them refer to publication of the Collected Works. Enclosure to letter, May 6, 1907, is a copy of Neale's letter to Adolphe Danziger. Letter, Aug. 8, 1908, is addressed to H. Rhea Woodman and enclosure is a draft of the announcement for the Collected Works. Letter, Sept. 9, 1908, is a copy of a letter addressed to Percival Pollard re an introduction for the Works. Letter, Mar. 12, 1909, is a copy of a letter addressed to Pollard, with Neale's analysis of a Pollard MS as an enclosure. Letter, Apr. 21, 1909 is a copy of a letter addressed to Herman Scheffauer. Letter, July 13, 1912, is a copy, addressed to J. William Noyes. Four letters, Jan.-Feb. 1915, are addressed to Carrie J. Christiansen, and, with them, are copies of two letters from the latter to Neale; a draft of her statement re business arrangements between Neale and Bierce; and a statement drawn up by Frank Crosthwaite in answer to a question by Neale. See also Bierce's letters to Neale: June 7, 1908; Aug. 11, 1909; July 26 and Oct. 24, 1911; and Jan. 10, 1912; Contracts and publisher's statements and Miscellaneous papers (Box 7).

 

Newbegin, John J.

 

Letter, May 2, 1911. Enclosure: list of Bierce's works offered to Newbegin for sale, with Newbegin's prices noted in pencil. Note by Bierce on p. 2 of the list.

 

Pollard, Joseph Percival, 1898-

 

53 letters, 1889-1911 & n.d. Letter, Sept. 11, 1908, is addressed to Walter Neale. Enclosure to letter, Jan. 27, 1909: copy of his letter to Walter Neale. Several refer to Silas Howe's editorial work. See also Walter Neale. See also Silas O. Howe letters. See also Bierce letters to Pollard: Oct. 9, 1895 and Dec. 9, 1909.

 

Putnam, George Haven, 1844-1930

 

Sons Putnam's (G.P.) Sons

 

2 letters, 1891 & 1893. Letter, Sept. 21, 1891, is from George H. Putnam, expressing interest in Bierce's Civil War stories.

 

Robertson, Alexander Mitchell, 1855-1934

 

2 letters, 1909. San Francisco book publisher. Re The Shadow on the Dial which he published in 1909.

 

Sampson, Henry

 

59 letters, ca. Apr. 1873-1891. Several comment on the illness and death of Tom Hood. Sampson succeeded Hood as editor of Fun, and most of the letters are concerned with Bierce's contributions to the magazine.

 

Scheffauer, Herman George, 1878-1927

 

Schulte Publishing Company, Chicago

 

2 letters, 1901. From F. J. Schulte. Re the plates for The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter.

 

Sherwood, F.O.

 

Letter, May 20, 1908. Re the Sherwood Mines Company.

 

Steele, Edward L.G. Jr.

 

Letter, Oct. 3, 1900. Re settlement of his account with Bierce. With this: receipt for five-hundred dollars, signed by E. L. G. Steele, Nov. 8, 1890, and a memorandum of accountfor A. G. Bierce Book,1894.

 

Sterling, George, 1869-1926

 

Letter to [Samuel E.] Asbury, Dec. 31, 1917. Enclosure: signed clipping of his poem, The Passing of Bierce. Also, page of a letter and a quotation from Bierce. See also Arthur Brisbane and Silas Orrin Howes letters.

 

Wagner, Madge Morris, d. 1924

 

Letter, Oct. 16, 1900

 

Walsh, Elizabeth, 1872-1895 (Lily)

 

40 letters, ca. Jan.-Oct. 1895. A deaf girl who became Bierce's protegé. Included also are MSS of poems and stories she sent to Bierce; a copy of her poem My Epitaph in Bierce's hand; her photograph and a clipping. See also Charles W. Doyle and Myles Walsh letters.

 

Walsh, Myles

 

17 letters and telegrams, 1895-1911. Many of them refer to his sister Lily.