Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Philip Butcher papers, 1864-2005, bulk 1940-1990

Summary Information

Abstract

The Philip Butcher Papers contain correspondence, journals, subject files, research files, printed material, and photographs related to the life and work of Philip Butcher, primarily, but also related to James Butcher. Philip and James Butcher, brothers, were professors at Morgan State University and Howard University, respectively.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0176
Bib ID 4079733 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Butcher, Philip, 1918-2011
Title Philip Butcher papers, 1864-2005, bulk 1940-1990
Physical Description 6.75 linear feet (15 document boxes 1 flat box)
Language(s) English .
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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series.

Description

Summary

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.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1940-1997

    The ingoing and outgoing correspondence in this series relates primarily to Philip Butcher's academic career. Correspondents, many of whom were Butchers' mentors, colleagues and students, include Arna Bontemps, Lionel Trilling, and James Alan McPherson among others. Writing projects, conference proposals, research queries and other academic interests are the topics of most letters. A few brief manuscripts can be found within the correspondence.

  • Series II. Subject Files, 1864-2005, undated

    Included here is an array of material, both personal and professional. Clippings, bulletins, conference proceedings, committee work, funding applications, photographs, and autographed articles written by Philip Butcher's former students and colleagues at Morgan State University are here. Also included are programs, playbills, and photographs of James Butcher's professional activities at Howard University. A smattering of correspondence can be found within the subject files.

  • Series III. Research Files, 1883-1997

    William Stanley Braithwaite, George Washington Cable and Thomas Walker--three of Butcher's longstanding research interests--are the primary focus of this series. Materials include notes, clippings, correspondence, photographs and ephemera related to his research.

  • Series IV. Personal and Professional, 1930-1989, undated

    The bulk of this series concerns Philip and James Butcher's service in the US Army during World War II. A typescript copy of Philip's extensive World War II journal is here. The material created or gathered by James Butcher includes a journal, notes and photographs of a trip from Monrovia to Dunbar Farms in the interior of Liberia; and a lifeboat log kept by H. E. Sorenson, Master of merchant vesselCape Decision,which was torpedoed early in 1943 enroute from Charleston, SC to Dakar. James was on theCape Decision,when it was hit and spent ten days, journeying 900 miles to safety, with Sorenson. This series also contains US Army service handbooks and bulletins, Fort Huachuca publications and ephemera related to the variety of entertainment provided by the Special Services Division.

    Also included here are a few of Philip Butcher's projects and proposals.

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.

Preferred Citation

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.

Reproduction Note

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

Processing Information

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.

Revision Description

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.

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.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Butcher, James W., Jr. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Butcher, Philip, 1918-2011 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Butcher, Vada E. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cable, George Washington, 1844-1925 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Howard University Players Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McPherson, James Alan, 1943-2016 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- Liberia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Personal narratives, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

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.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.


Series I: Correspondence, 1940-1997

The ingoing and outgoing correspondence in this series relates primarily to Philip Butcher's academic career. Correspondents, many of whom were Butchers' mentors, colleagues and students, include Arna Bontemps, Lionel Trilling, and James Alan McPherson among others. Writing projects, conference proposals, research queries and other academic interests are the topics of most letters. A few brief manuscripts can be found within the correspondence.



Box 1 Folder 1 Catalogued Correspondence--Arna Bontemps, 1948-1973


Box 1 Folder 2 Catalogued Correspondence--Braithwaite-West, 1940-1982


Box 1 Folder 3 Edgar Creek, 1943-1996


Box 1 Folder 4 Thomas Cripps, 1970-1987


Box 1 Folder 5 Ralph Ellison, 1954-1997


Box 1 Folder 6 Shelley Fisher Fishkin, 1985-1997


Box 1 Folder 7 David Levering Lewis, 1993


Box 1 Folder 8 James Alan McPherson, 1971-1984, Undated, 1971-1984, Undated


Box 1 Folder 9 William Rhoden, 1997


Box 1 Folder 10 Roy Simmonds, 1984-1996


Box 1 Folder 11 Publishing Correspondence, 1948-1971


Box 1 Folder 12 to 13 General Correspondence, 1943-1989

Series II. Subject Files, 1864-2005, undated

Included here is an array of material, both personal and professional. Clippings, bulletins, conference proceedings, committee work, funding applications, photographs, and autographed articles written by Philip Butcher's former students and colleagues at Morgan State University are here. Also included are programs, playbills, and photographs of James Butcher's professional activities at Howard University. A smattering of correspondence can be found within the subject files.



Box 2 Folder 1 Afro-American Literature, 1928-1969


Box 2 Folder 2 William H. Beardsley, 1987-1988


Box 2 Folder 3 Arna Bontemps, 1943-1967


Box 2 Folder 4 William S. Braithwaite, 1928-1970


Box 2 Folder 5 Sterling Brown, 1947-1990



Box 14 Sterling Brown--Phonograph Record, Undated


James Butcher



Box 2 Folder 6 Biographical Info, 1942-1996



Box 14 Folder 1 Howard University Players, 1937, undated, 1937, undated



Box 16 Howard University and Spelman College--Video Tapes and Film, 1965-1966, 1981, 1996, Undated, 1965-1966, 1981, 1996, Undated



Box 2 Folder 7 Howard University--Norway Theatre Workshop, 1949-1950


Box 2 Folder 8 Professorial Career, 1949-1986


Box 2 Folder 9 Plays, 1948-1957



Box 12 Folder 2 to 3 Playbills and Programs, 1935-1983 (2 Folders), 1935-1983


Box 12 Folder 4 to 5 Production Photos, circa 1920s-1960s, 1980s (2 Folders), 1920s-1960s, 1980s



Box 2 Folder 10 General, 1949-1999, Undated, 1949-1999, Undated


Box 2 Folder 11 James Butcher Sr., 1949-1950


Box 2 Folder 12 Margaret Just Butcher, 1947-1957, Undated, 1947-1957, Undated


Box 2 Folder 13 Vada Butcher, 1978-1987



Box 3 Folder 1 Center for Editions of American Authors, 1967-1971


Box 3 Folder 2 Clippings--General, 1951-1984


Box 3 Folder 3 College Language Association, 1956-1986


Box 3 Folder 4 Thomas Cripps, 1988-1989


Box 3 Folder 5 Ossie Davis, 1965


Box 3 Folder 6 Deans of Black Grad Schools, 1975-1992


Box 3 Folder 7 Frederick Douglass, 1967-1992


Box 3 Folder 8 Ralph Ellison, 1942-1976


Box 3 Folder 9 Walter Fisher, 1977-1988


Box 3 Folder 10 Stephen Foreman, undated


Box 3 Folder 11 David Harris, 2005


Box 3 Folder 12 Highlander Folk School, 1953-1961


Box 3 Folder 13 Lincoln Bible, 1864-1933

(information regarding)


Box 3 Folder 14 Lincoln and Sheridan Letters, 1864

(copies)


Box 3 Folder 15 London, 1991


Box 3 Folder 16 MELUS, 1988



Box 13 Folder 8 Kelly Miller Pamphlets, 1900-1917


Modern Language Association, 1974-1982



Box 4 Folder 1 Hubbell Award Committee, 1981-1982


Box 4 Folder 2 Nominating Committee, 1974-1976


Box 4 Folder 3 to 4 Nominating Committee, 1976 (2 Folders), 1976


Morgan State University, 1953-1978


Box 4 Folder 5 to 6 Faculty Pamphlets, 1953-1978 (2 Folders), 1953-1978


Box 4 Folder 7 General, 1958-1961


Box 4 Folder 8 Lucy Moten Fellowship, 1941-1942


Box 4 Folder 9 Negro Writers Conference, 1965


Box 4 Folder 10 The Octoroon , 1961


Box 4 Folder 11 Permissions--Ethnic Image in Modern America, 1982-1983


Box 4 Folder 12 Printed Materials--Interracial Understanding, 1918-1981


Box 4 Folder 13 Printed Materials--General, 1923-1987



Box 5 Folder 1 Research--Louisiana, 1948-1987


Box 5 Folder 2 Research--The Race Problem, 1918-1980


Box 5 Folder 3 R.S. Simmonds, 1985-1990


Box 5 Folder 4 Southern Negro Youth Conference Bulletin--Autographed, 1937


Box 5 Folder 5 Students, Former--Published Articles, 1986, Undated, 1986, Undated


Box 5 Folder 6 Arlin Turner, 1948-1978


Box 5 Folder 7 Darwin Turner, 1958-1976


Box 5 Folder 8 Mark Twain, 1935-1991


Box 5 Folder 9 University of Iowa--Robert Corrigan, 1969-1970


Box 5 Folder 10 Carl Waltz, 1958-1966


Box 5 Folder 11 World Literature Today , 1973-1985


Box 5 Folder 12 Richard Wright, 1941-1968

Series III. Research Files, 1883-1997

William Stanley Braithwaite, George Washington Cable and Thomas Walker--three of Butcher's longstanding research interests--are the primary focus of this series. Materials include notes, clippings, correspondence, photographs and ephemera related to his research.


William Stanley Braithwaite



Box 6 Folder 1 Correspondence--Edward Starr, 1969-1970


Box 6 Folder 2 Correspondence--Research, 1964-1977


Box 6 Folder 3 Correspondence--Library, 1964-1971


Box 6 Folder 4 Correspondence--Permissions, 1971-1972


Box 6 Folder 5 Research Files, 1938-1981


George Washington Cable--Correspondence


Box 6 Folder 6 to 7 Publishing, 1958-1974 (2 Folders), 1958-1974



Box 7 Folder 1 Anna Gertrude Brewster, 1943-1972


Box 7 Folder 2 Brewster Diary, 1893-1897


Box 7 Folder 3 Alma Edwards, 1949-1967


Box 7 Folder 4 to 8 Adelene Moffat and Family, 1896-1997



Box 14 Folder 2 Adelene Moffat--Portrait, circa, 1900



Box 7 Folder 9 Letters to the Editor, 1965-1981


Box 7 Folder 10 Research Inquiries, 1947-1963



Box 8 Folder 1 to 2 Research Inquiries, 1944-1964 (2 Folders), 1944-1964


Box 8 Folder 3 College Libraries, 1948-1969


Box 8 Folder 4 Public Libraries, 1959-1971


George Washington Cable--Research


Box 8 Folder 5 Cable Family, 1945-1968


Box 8 Folder 6 Williams and Franklin, 1946-1949


Box 8 Folder 7 Notes, 1960


Box 8 Folder 8 to 9 General, 1884-1967 (2 Folders), 1884-1967



Box 9 Folder 1 to 2 General, 1902-1978 (2 Folders), 1902-1978


Box 9 Folder 3 Notes, undated


Box 9 Folder 4 Northampton, 1908-1960


Box 9 Folder 5 Northampton Correspondence, 1949-1962


Box 9 Folder 6 Cable Speech, 1962



Box 13 Folder 9 Cable Publications, 1941-1971


Walker Family



Box 9 Folder 7 to 8 Thomas Walker Correspondence, 1895-1932 (2 Folders), 1895-1932



Box 10 Folder 1 Thomas Walker Photo, 1951, undated, 1951, undated


Box 10 Folder 2 Walker Receipts, 1885-1899


Box 10 Folder 3 Annie Walker, 1948-1992


Box 10 Folder 4 Fannette Walker Penn, 1906-1924



Box 14 Folder 3 Walker Ephemera, Undated


Box 14 Folder 4 Walker Photographs, Undated



Box 10 Folder 5 Walker Memorials, 1935-1936


Box 10 Folder 6 Frederick Douglass, 1891-1945


Box 10 Folder 7 General Research, 1883-1995


Other Subjects


Mark Twain and Warner Thornton McGuinn


Box 10 Folder 8 Correspondence, 1963-1969


Box 10 Folder 9 Research, 1912-1968


Box 10 Folder 10 Twain Article Controversy, 1985


Box 10 Folder 11 to 12 Sterling Brown, 1940-1969 (2 Folders), 1940-1969


General Research



Box 15 Folder 1 Articles, 1947-1973


Box 15 Folder 2 to 4 Books--Annotated, 1885, 1927, 1950-1969, 1885, 1927, 1950-1969



Box 16 Books, 1941, 1956, 1941, 1956



Box 15 Folder 5 "George Washington Cable: Early Realist of Negro Life"--Dissertation, M.A.,, 1947

Series IV. Personal and Professional, 1930-1989, undated

The bulk of this series concerns Philip and James Butcher's service in the US Army during World War II. A typescript copy of Philip's extensive World War II journal is here. The material created or gathered by James Butcher includes a journal, notes and photographs of a trip from Monrovia to Dunbar Farms in the interior of Liberia; and a lifeboat log kept by H. E. Sorenson, Master of merchant vesselCape Decision,which was torpedoed early in 1943 enroute from Charleston, SC to Dakar. James was on theCape Decision,when it was hit and spent ten days, journeying 900 miles to safety, with Sorenson. This series also contains US Army service handbooks and bulletins, Fort Huachuca publications and ephemera related to the variety of entertainment provided by the Special Services Division.

Also included here are a few of Philip Butcher's projects and proposals.



Box 11 Folder 1 Clippings, 1930-1989


Box 11 Folder 2 Photographs, 1970, 1989, 1970, 1989


World War II


James Butcher


Box 11 Folder 3 Correspondence, 1941


Box 11 Folder 4 Diary and Lifeboat Log, 1943, 1948, 1943, 1948


Box 11 Folder 5 Liberia--Notes and Correspondence, 1943-1944



Box 14 Folder 5 Liberia--Photos, 1943-1944


Philip Butcher



Box 11 Folder 6 to 8 Journals and Notes, 1945-1946 (3 Folders), 1945-1946


Box 11 Folder 9 Office of War Information--Radio Proposal, 1942


Box 11 Folder 10 Printed Material, 1942-1949, 1960 (1 of 2 Folders), 1942-1949, 1960



Box 12 Folder 1 Printed Material, 1942-1949, 1960 (2 of 2 Folders), 1942-1949, 1960



Box 13 Folder 1 Printed Material--Clippings, 1937-1944


Writings and Projects


Box 13 Folder 2 "Freedom's People"--Scripts, 1941-1942


Box 13 Folder 3 Lectures, Undated


Box 13 Folder 4 Phylon , 1948-1949


Box 13 Folder 5 Proposals, 1948-1970, undated, 1948-1970, undated


Box 13 Folder 6 Society for the Study of Southern Literature, 1967-1976

(includes Louis D. Rubin correspondence)


Box 13 Folder 7 Television Script--The Negro in U.S. History, 1974-1975