Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Henry Scholey Saunders papers, 1884-1951, bulk 1911-1947

Summary Information


Henry Scholey Saunders' collection is comprised of letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and hand painted watercolor greeting cards. In addition, the collection contains family files, bibliographies of Walt Whitman's works, and typewritten excerpts of Walt Whitman's published poems.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1111
Bib ID 4079300 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Saunders, Henry Scholey, 1864-1951
Title Henry Scholey Saunders papers, 1884-1951, bulk 1911-1947
Physical Description .21 linear feet (1/2 document box)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged in four series.



The Saunders collection consists primarily of correspondence (letters and greeting cards) to friends and business clients, and materials related to Whitman - handwritten bibliographies, reprints of poems on greeting cards, notes, articles, photographs and programs.

There are also family files consisting of newspaper clippings and personal papers.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1921-1947

    This series consists primarily of letters written to Mrs. Frank J. Sprague, a close friend of Saunders and to whom he gave copies of his Whitman books. Other letters were to business clients.

  • Series II: Family Files, 1923-1951

    Materials in this series include newspaper clippings such as an obituary written by Mrs. Frank J. Sprague in the Long-Islander newspaper in 1951, a typed document about the Saunders' Reunion Fund and family photographs.

  • Series III: Collection on Walt Whitman, 1884-1951

    Much of the items in this series are typed Whitman's poems (excerpts and complete) by other people, bibliographies, notes and articles about Whitman. There are also photographs of Whitman, his home, and Saunders' personal bound book collection.

  • Series IV: Greeting Cards, 1940-1947

    This series contains hand painted watercolor greeting cards from Saunders to Mrs. Frank J. Sprague.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Henry Scholey Saunders papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- Other Repositories

Henry Scholey Saunders' Collection of Walt Whitman, 1877-1950, John Hay Library, Brown University.

Henry Scholey Saunders' Collection of Walt Whitman Papers, 1887-1923, Library of Congress.

Henry Scholey Saunders Vertical File Manuscript, 1945-, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University.


No additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/89.

Papers processed by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011).

Finding aid written by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011) March 2011.

Collection is processed to folder level.

Revision Description

2011-03-11 File created.

2011-03-17 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greeting cards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Brown University. Library. Special Collections Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saunders, Henry Scholey, 1864-1951 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sprague, Harriet Chapman Jones, 1876-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Henry Scholey Saunders was born in 1864 in London, Canada. He married Georgina Helen Taylor on October 10, 1887 and they settled in Toronto for the rest of their lives. They had two children, a son, Harry Ernest, and a daughter, Ruth Mercer, who died at the age of two.

Saunders was a Toronto cellist, collector, bibliographer, and independent Walt Whitman enthusiast. He was a self-taught bookbinder, painter and typesetter, skills he used to write and produce his own books on Whitman's poems in limited quantities, which he gave to friends and kept for his own Whitman collection. His method of publishing was unique: he typed, bound, and carefully catalogued these books by hand. He ultimately sold his collection to Brown University in 1932. His only published work was Parodies on Whitman (1923).

Saunders died on October 25, 1951 at the age of eighty-eight.