Date Published: 1935 to 1990
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Walter D. Edmonds was an American novelist and author of children’s and historical novels, including his best-selling work, Drums Along the Mohawk in 1936. In 1942 he won a Newberry Medal for ''The Matchlock Gun,'' about a boy in Colonial New York who defends his home against invading Indians. In 1976, he won a National Book Award for ''Bert Breen's Barn,''
This large collection contains 58 items dating from 1935 to 1990, specifically, an archive of 46 Walter D. Edmonds correspondence, post cards and ephemera, 1 uncorrected proof of book galley sheets, 2 Books signed, 5 Letters signed (2 Autographed Signed Letters (ALS) and 3 Typed Signed Letters (TLS) and 1 Photo
1 uncorrected proof of book, galley sheets;
• In the Hands of the Senecas (Boston: Little, Brown, 1946), uncorrected proof, long galley sheets, unbound, with publisher label tipped on to the first leaf and Edmonds’s signature affixed thereto. Light wear to edges of first few leaves.
2 Books signed;
• Rome Haul (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1929), black cloth in chipped jacket, first edition signed on title page, very good. Edmonds’s first book.
• The Night Raider (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980), black cloth in jacket, fine, inscribed by author on half-title page
5 Letters signed (Two ALS and Three TLS;
• 1 ALS to Dan Montemarano, 18 July 1981, with envelope about signing the book The Night Raider noted above and included intros collection.
• 2 ALS and 1 TLS to Mr. Bean (apparently a teacher), 8 March 1969, 5 December 1973, and 24 February 1975, re Edmonds’s heart trouble and enclosures from the children
• TLS to Mr. Brown, 6 February 1937, declining an invitation to give a lecture (“I do not have any aptitude for lecturing….”).
• TLS to Mr. Rentz, 3 June 1986, re advice to young writers.
• B&w of Edmonds looking at a magazine, “Writes Historical Novels”, 4 February , Associated Press Photo.
Archive of 46 Walter D. Edmonds correspondence, post cards and ephemera:
• An archive of 46 items of correspondence spanning 55 years from Cambridge, New York, Madison, and Concord, dating from 9 December 1935 to 19 December 1990. Specifically including 29 typed and 7 autograph letters and 2 post & 6 xmas cards plus a printed broadside of his poem “Bethlehem.” and one signature on a paper. Variously signed; (“Walter D. Edmonds,” “W.D. Edmonds,” “Walter,” “Walter Edmonds”).
All letters and other material were sent to notable Civil War scholar, author and collector, Arnold F. (Francis) Gates (1914-1993). Gates, a well-respected amateur historian of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, devoted 50 years to researching those subjects, reviewing books for the Lincoln Herald. His own books include Amberglow of Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge, Amberglow of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed, Song of the Leaves: Quest of Johnny Appleseed and The Weaver.
Excerpts from the Walter D. Edmonds archive letters to Arnold F. Gates;
- “I am delighted that you enjoyed DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK. I hope the next will not be too long in coming.” November 27, 1936
- “I’m pleased and amused to be an Honorary Member of The Rough Riders Club. I’m pleased because it sounds like a good organization, and I’m amused when I think of what the members would think if they saw me being escorted by a horse… I have never been on horseback. I’m glad C[lifton]. Fadiman thinks I’m a ‘fine scholar,’ for I have a genuine admiration for him as a book reviewer – as who of sense hasn’t, even if he got his digs on my ‘Republicanism’. Hell, I am a Republican though I deplore the party nationally. But I don’t preach Republicanism. All I preach is that there is no sense in helping people that don’t help themselves… Such government assistance never has proved any good and never will, and it is of course inevitably true that in the end it is the loafers that get the money. Well, perhaps they deserve it and I am wrong…” February 1, 1937
- “I’m darned glad to see that DRUMS is picking up in Cleveland. It has been pretty generally second on a national basis; but it is gratifying to see it making headway in a particular city. The middle section of the US has never had much use for my books, in a buying sense, anyway, until this one.” April 17, 1937
- “I may have misstated what I mean to say about the ‘middle section’ not liking my books. I meant that they had never sold well there until DRUMS went out. That has done and is doing so well that I am immeasurably gratified and I suppose the trouble with the others were that they were very local. So is DRUMS, but the Revolution is something that belongs to every one, whereas the Canal seems pretty York Statish.” May 18, 1937
- “I agree with you that Horgan deserves recognition. I don’t know about having a picture in LOOK, though. From what I’ve seen of the covers of that sheet it would seem a dubious honor.” July 15, 1937
- “Lord, I don’t know what is the greatest contribution to American literature. I suppose I should put down Huckleberry Finn if I were asked to save my life by being definite. It is the greatest -- I should be inclined to say the only GREAT American novel. There has been nothing like it before or since.” January 21, 1938
- “I’m glad too that you enjoyed YOUNG AMES. I liked it when I had it done, though not so much as Mr BENEDICT and his lion; but it seems to have had a great response, far more than any story I have written. I cannot see quite why, but I am naturally delighted… Everybody is writing books but myself it seems. Mine goes slowly.” April 1, 1938
- “Your note on the Northwest territory interested me. There were plenty such land deals. Some in New York, though the scale of them was not quite as impressive as I remember.” May 7, 1938
- “DRUMS is a fine book, and so is MARCHING ON, but THE LONG HUNT I remember as a good deal the best of the three. It is a piece of the real American Goods. I never made much headway with ROLL RIVER, though my wife preferred it to all of them. However you rank the books though, James Boyd is one of the best, the few best, we have.” July 31, 1938
- “No, I have not written many stories dealing with children. There were two in Mostly Canallers, WATER NEVER HURT A MAN, and DINTY’S DEAD; yes and a third, BLACK WOLF. Then in the Boyd House stories that came out in the Post there was a boy who told the stories, and I suppose the two dog stories HONOR OF THE COUNTY, and KILLERS IN THE VALLEY, were more or less what you think of. Then in MOSTLY CANALLERS there is another story called BEWITCHED, which is about me and a cow, and is partly true…” March 5, 1939
- “I am pushing hard to finish CHAD HANNAH by the end of July. It has just turned 500 pages and I still don’t know what it is going to be like. One thing I am sure of is that it will now [sic] be anything like the popular success that DRUMS was. DRUMS has sold somewhere around 230,000 I believe, but it is now slowed way down. They have done a script of it for the movies and I suspect it will be out in the fall. Fonda, Claudette Colbert, and Edna May Oliver and Arthur Shields, the Abbey Player, among others.” July 1, 1939
- “DRUMS disappointed me in some ways and pleased me in others, but I still feel a sort of annoyance that they could not have approximated the appearance of the Mohawk, its greenness, and could not have avoided such obvious errors as taking the wrong church, when the right one still stands, and putting up poplar fences, and showing a field of corn about three times the size one man could have handled… I had nothing whatever to do with the picture. Of course I had had Edna May Oliver in mind when I was writing about Mrs McKlennar, and she magnificently realized that part.” December 23, 1939
- “I have nothing in the fire now. I’m trying to teach myself to write again and find it very hard sledding.” March 18, 1954
- “I’ve never read anything of Paul Horgan’s, but I have every intention of reading his GREAT RIVER. As for my own writing, Lord knows when it will get going again, but I have a feeling it will and only hope the moment is not too far away.” December 25, 1954
- “I doubt if my Civile [sic] War novel will ever be finished, though the start was all right.” October 17, 1955
- “Oddly enough I have at last got a book underway and though it goes slowly it goes fairly steadily – not fiction, more an informal history written round the French and Indian Wars… There seems to be a renewal of interest in my writing. A Doubleday volume containing ROME HAUL, ERIE WATER, and DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK designed for their dollar book club is also selling on the open market and has I believe gone well past 300,000, which has astonished me.” April 22, 1962
- “I hope some day to tackle the second part of THE MUSKET AND THE CROSS but have been discouraged by the lack of critical appreciation and the small amount of readers it found.” December 14, 1973
- “Many thanks for your congratulations. It never occurred to me that such a simple and old fashioned story would win the Award, even after it became a nominee.” April 24, 1976
-“Yes, it’s sad to see two writers as good as Catton & Bakeless go from us. For my taste Catton wrote better history than anyone since Parkman. Benny DeVoto was a close second.” December 21, 1978
- “Yes, I met Henry Fonda when he was in the theatre company of the “Farmer Takes a Wife”, Marc Connelly’s play version of “Rome Haul” but we never had a real conversation – both of us were shy specimens. (Fonda also appeared in the movie version, as he did in “Drums Along the Mohawk” & “Chad Hannah.” He was always a good actor, & in “The Grapes of Wrath” & “Mr Roberts” (the play) he was superb.” August 23, 1982
Collection on consignment with LDRB.