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Collection Overview

Torrence, Ridgely, 1875-1950
Ridgely Torrence Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1833-1952 (mostly 1890-1951)
123 boxes, 2 items, and 50 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-120; 3a; 86a; 86b; 86c


Ridgely Torrence was an American poet, playwright, and editor of The New Republic, and his papers document the literary activity and relationship of a large group of American writers between the years 1890 and 1950. Particularly well-represented are American poets William Vaughn Moody and Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Papers illustrate the literary activity and relationship of a large group of American writers, primarily poets, between the years 1890 and 1950. Approximately 10,000 letters between Torrence (Princeton Class of 1897), his family and friends, plus manuscripts of his work and those of his literary friends, exist in the collection. In addition, there are documents, scrapbooks, diaries, report cards from Torrence's Miami College (Oxford) and Princeton University days, daguerreotypes and photographs, memorabilia, and genealogical records, some dating as early as 1833.

Torrence's career as poet, playwright, and editor ( New Republic) is documented through manuscripts and/or typescripts of his poems, plays, and short stories, lecture notes, and personal and business (editorial) correspondence. Manuscripts for Torrence's biography The Story of John Hope (1948), The Selected Letters of Edwin Arlington Robinson (1940), and his plays Abelard and Heloise, El Dorado, and The Madstone are among those present. Letters and manuscripts of numerous literary friends and other poets submitting poems to the New Republic are included in the correspondence series.

In the series for papers of others are works and correspondence of Olivia Dunbar Torrence, including her Life of William Vaughn Moody; works, correspondence, and other material about Moody, such as his The Great Divide, Letters to Harriet, and Sabine Women; Boris Todrin's At the Gate and Other Poems; Alice Beal Parson's John Merrill's Pleasant Life; Joy to my Soul and Little Ham by Langston Hughes; and a complete holograph copy of Edwin Arlington Robinson's Matthias at the Door.

Among the writers well-represented in the collection are Robert Frost, Margaret Fuller, Louis Vernon Ledoux, Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, Percy MacKaye, Edwin Markham, Daniel Gregory Mason, William Vaughn Moody, Josephine Preston Peabody, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Laura Stedman.


The collection has been organized into 8 series: Series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, III. Papers of Persons Other Than Ridgely Torrence, IV. Torrence Family, V. Printed Matter and Clippings, VI. Christmas Cards and Envelopes, VII. Genealogical and Biographical Information, and VIII. Ephemera.

Collection Creator Biography:

Torrence, Ridgely, 1875-1950

Ridgely Torrence was an American poet, playwright, and editor of The New Republic. Born in 1875 in Xenia, Ohio, Torrence attended Miami University for two years before entering Princeton University as a junior. While at Princeton, he served on the editorial boards of the Nassau Literary Magazine and the Princeton Tiger. Upon graduation, Torrence moved to New York, where he worked as an editor of the Cosmopolitan and as poetry editor of The New Republic from 1920 to 1933. He published several books of verse, but he is better known for his close relationships with American poets and writers like Robert Frost, Edwin Markham, William Vaughn Moody, and Edwin Arlington Robinson. Torrence died in 1950.

Collection History


The Papers were presented to the Library in 1953 by Miss Jessie Dunbar and Findley M. Torrence, in accordance with the wishes of Frederick Ridgely Torrence, Princeton Class of 1897. Some of the papers were in the possession of Olivia Torrence, Ridgely's wife, at the time of her death; the rest had been sent by Ridgely to his brother, Findley, in Xenia, Ohio. Portions of them were selected from both places by Theodore Maynard, who at one time intended to write a life of Ridgely, and were received by the Library from him on the understanding that he might borrow them. The rest were collected by Miss Dorothea Perkins, Ridgely's secretary, and through her initiative were deposited in the Library.

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a departmental practice of combining into one collection manuscript material of various accessions relating to a particular author.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Biography written by Jessica Marati, '08.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Ridgely Torrence Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-120; 3a; 86a; 86b; 86c