In our vault is a small little collection consisting of only three folders. It came to the Woodson in 1985, donated by Josephine Morrow West who passed in the same year. She was the sister of Kyle Morrow, who is the namesake for the Kyle Morrow Room, which at one time held the rare books collection. Her spouse was Gordon Russell West, 1896-1976.
West maintained a rather peculiar autograph collection. You may wonder why it was peculiar and the answer is there are scrapbook pages consisting of famous signatures removed from the original source material. In other words, West purchased letters or notes written by notable people, cut out the signatures, and pasted them onto scrapbook pages. Another scenario is that West purchased these items already clipped from a dealer. The collection is divided into three groupings: labeled signatures on scrapbook pages, loose signatures many unidentified, and intact letters without descriptions.
Over a series of Mondays, we’ll show images from this collection. This week will be British royalty, followed by British politicians, scientists, literary writers, and finally a hodge-podge of philosphers, historians, and activists.
The following signatures do not need a major introduction and are nicely described in beautiful handwriting by West.
“George III: 1738-1820. King of Great Britain and Ireland, 1760-1820. Said to be one of the last documents signed before he went insane, in 1811.”
Wouldn’t it be great to see the original document?
“George IV: when regent for his father (1811-1820)”
“George IV: 1762-1830: King of Great Britain and Ireland, 1820-1830”
“Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India. 1819-“
It is rather odd that there is not a date for the end of her reign, since there are other items in the collection with later dates, specifically the Governor of Nebraska ca. 1930.