Date Published: 1916 to 1968
William Allen White was an American newspaper editor, politician, poet, novelist, biographer of presidents, a founding editor of the Book of the Month Club, “the Sage of Emporia”). He won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. In 1947 White posthumously won his second Pulitzer Prize for his book, "The Autobiography of William Allen White".
This collection includes 22 items dating from 1916 to 1943, specifically 22 typed letters signed (TLS), 2 photos, 2 Ephemera and 1 book. Included are 7 TLS, 1 ALS, 1 signed inscribed photo from White to Edna Ferber* a very close family friend for 30 years.
22 Typed letters signed and 1 Autographed letter signed;
• TLS to Mrs. Edward B. Carney, 12 September 1916, re returned from vacation to find her 2 letters, sent her a telegram saying that cannot appear on her program.
• TLS to Cecil Carle, 24 January 1924, “The Scribbler’s Club at the college wants to join Quill Club….”
• TLS to George Moses, 6 March 1934, re his life of Coolidge, the Supreme Court and the 14th amendment. • 2 TLS to Paul S. Seybolt, 14 November 1936 and 8 May 1937, with envelopes. "Of course I should be delighted to write in your copy of Rhymes by Two Friends. The book is exceptionally rare. I haven't seen one for twenty years. You ought to have Albert Bigelow Paine also write in it. He lives in Connecticut. I am taking your letter home to Mrs. White to show her what a man she has married." "I am glad you liked the new book. It wasn't mine. It was done by a young man named Fitzgibbon who came to the office and spent a few months in the files, but he did a swell job."
• 3 TLS to Alexander Wellings, 12 August 1938, 19 December 1938, and 9 January 1939, thanking the correspondent for his Christmas card, his endorsement of Martin Johnson (“He has made a permanent contribution to zoology…”).
• TLS to William T. Levy, 8 January 1940, re Emporia and recommending Forty Years on Main Street.
• 5 TLS to the Topeka State Journal (Frank P. MacLennan and Arthur C. Carruth, Jr.), 12 September 1904, 14 November 1917, 23 May 1918, 13 September 1926, and 31 August 1926, re hiring Bailey Wagoner as a lawyer, article written at the request of the YMCA AND German atrocities, foreign censors, an invitation to a party,
• 7 TLS and 1 ALS letters to Edna Ferber (American novelist, short story writer and playwright);
• 14 February 1918
• 1 July 1919 (ALS on Western Union Night letter paper)
• 16 October 1920
• 8 December 1938,
• 23 May 1939 (6 pp., with envelope),
• 4 January 1940
• 20 May 1943,
• no date
Some content summary of the Ferber letters… Thanks for her birthday wishes, his book Martial Adventures of Henry and Me, her going to France and possibly seeing Henry, apologizes for sending a photo of himself, Mary keen to go to Frances Parker School, her old play, sending a photo of himself, Dr. Blanche Brown (TLS, n.d.), Landon and anti-Semitism, White unable to travel to attend editorial meeting of Yale Quarterly Review, busy in Kansas, keen to see Ferber, going to Estes Park, wants to write his recollections, Bill in New York and on the radio, being President of American Society of Newspaper Editors, White sick with pneumonia, Ferber’s success selling 1,000 copies per month.
2 Photos signed & inscribed
• Given to Edna Ferber inscribed (difficult to read), verso reads: “This is my new picture showing my steam-line tonneau and collapsible wind shield. W.A.H.”
• Signed framed photo of White for Lillian Fiske, 14 November 1942.
• Frank C. Clough, William Allen White of Emporia (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company1944), green cloth in jacket, signed by White and Clough for Fiske.
• Printed invitation for Edna Ferber to attend the William Allen White Centennial from William L. and Katherine White with text in White’s hand, 9 February 1968.
• TLS from William L. White (a son, on Emporia Gazette letterhead) to Miss Y.B. Garden, 18 February 1968, re Ferber’s declining health.
Collection on consignment at LDRB.
* Edna Ferber was a very popular American Pulitzer prize winner, novelist, short story writer and playwright. William Allen White was her mentor and most loyal fan for 30 years.
The friendship between Edna Ferber and William Allen White began in 1912 when the George Matthew Adams Newspaper Syndicate hired them both to cover the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Edna Ferber's novel Fanny Herself is dedicated to William Allen White. Over the next thirty years, the relationship remained strong. Ferber saw the Whites' Emporia home as a refuge where she could relax after the stress of completing a novel. In her autobiography, she declared, "When your world is awry and hope dead and vitality low and the appetite gone there is no ocean trip, no month in the country, no known drug equal to the reviving quality of twenty-four hours spent on the porch or in the sitting room of the White's house in Emporia." quoted from Kansas Historical Society article.