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Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in four series.
These papers consist of correspondence, journals, photographs, printed material, ephemera, clippings, programs and playbills related to the professional careers and World War II service of Philip Butcher and his brother, James.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing Access
Books from Butcher's library are shelved on Stack 15, Cage 21, Range 6B
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Philip Butcher papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Other Repositories
James W. Butcher Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center of Howard University.
James W. Butcher Papers, 1910-1949 (MS 507) Historical Society of Washington, D. C.
The George Washington Cable letters and manuscripts in various U.S.repositories are on: Type of reproduction--microfilm
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Entered in AMC HR 02/--/91.
Papers Processed HR 02/10/92.
Papers Processed HR 02/10/92.
Papers Reprocessed Megan French (Columbia University GSAS, 2013) Thai Jones (Columbia University GSAS, 2011) April Holm (Columbia University GSAS, 2010) 2009.
Findign Aid Written Alix Ross 03/--/2009.
Papers Processed HR 03/22/93.
2010-06-26 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Charles Philip Butcher (1918-), born and raised in Washington, D. C., graduated from the prestigious Dunbar High School. His mother, Jennie Rosa Lawrence Jones Butcher, like her mother before her, was a teacher. James W. Butcher (1875-1950), his father, retired in 1926 from a job with the Government Printing Office and became a wood-worker. He was best known for the "Butcher-Built Dollhouses" that he crafted and sold to fine department stores from Washington, DC to New York City.
Philip Butcher, who specialized in American Literature, received an AB (1942) and an MA (1947) from Howard University, and in 1956 he was awarded a doctorate from Columbia University. From 1947 until his retirement, Butcher taught in the English Department of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He became a full professor in 1959, the same year that his first book, George W. Cable: the Northhampton Years, was published by Columbia University Press. Cable had been of interest to Butcher since his student days at Howard University and had been the topic of his Master's thesis. Butcher was married to Ruth Butcher with whom he had two daughters, Wendy and Laurel.
World War II temporarily interrupted Butcher's scholarly trajectory and he served three years (1943-1946) in the United States Army. Although Butcher spent most of the war in Great Britain as an NCO in the Special Service Division, he did a stint at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where the 92nd and 93rd Infantry--two entirely African-American Divisions--were trained. After V-E Day he was transferred from Britain to Germany with the 449th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion. Butcher, was discharged with the rank of Technical Sergeant.
Actor-playwright-director and Howard University professor James W. Butcher (1909-1994) was Philip's older brother. James received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1932 and his Master's degree, in theatre, from the University of Iowa in 1941. During World War II, James, who achieved the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, served as a Theatre Consultant with the Special Service Division of the United States Army, which had been established to provide recreation and entertainment for the troops. His initial posting was Fort Huachuca, Arizona, but in 1943 James was assigned to Liberia. When a German submarine sank the merchant vessel, Cape Decision, in which James was traveling, he and the other survivors drifted around the Atlantic on a life-raft for ten days before being rescued. His second attempt to reach Liberia was successful and James spent over two years, writing and directing theatre productions, along with Ossie Davis, in Monrovia.
James taught at Howard University from 1934 to 1976, excluding his stints in the US Army or pursuing graduate education. For the last thirty years of his life he was married to Vada Easter Butcher, his third wife. He had one daughter, Grace Toni Jones, from his first marriage to Grace Desmond. Margaret Just Wormley was his second wife.
Philip and James Butcher had three sisters: Edith Harris, Nellie Forsyth (1904-1989) and Jennie Weir.