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Robert Young collection relating to William Winter

Identifier: W56796
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Content

This collection primarily contains the call numbers Y.c.6600-Y.c.7337 and Y.d.1418-Y.d.1777, plus a few individual items outside those call number ranges.

The collection consists of correspondence, literary manuscripts and other materials collected by Robert Young which document the personal and professional life of his great-grandfather, author and drama critic William Winter.

Series 1: Correspondence includes the incoming and outgoing correspondence of William Winter, William Jefferson Winter and others.

Series 2: Writings by William Winter contain poems, essays, speeches, clippings and proofs from Winter's Dramatic Diaries column, travel notes and pages from personal journals and typed and handwritten copies of Winter's writings.

Series 3: Family papers contain correspondence relating to family history, genealogical research materials of William Winter, William Jefferson Winter and Robert Young, a few photos, clippings, and family miscellanea and records (non-genealogical), including Staten Island Academy material.

Series 4: Publishing Records contain copyright material, publication contracts, correspondence concerning Winter's edition of Cymbeline and correspondence and other materials concerning the William Law Symonds book job.

Series 5: Materials about William Winter contain clippings on William Winter, invitations, programs and other items and materials relating to the William Winter testimonial in 1916.

Series 6: Miscellaneous items with William Winter's annotations and miscellaneous items without annotations, biographical newspaper and magazine clippings relating to actors, programs, illustrations and journal articles and fragmentary writings.

Series 7: William Jefferson Winter research consists of his research materials, including various notes on his father William Winter and his writings.

Series 8: Robert Young Research consists of his research materials, including copies of correspondence, copies of writings by William Winter, Robert Young's incoming and outgoing correspondence and clippings.

Series 9: Miscellaneous photos and objects contain photographs of William Winter, and his family, and personal relics of Winter and his family including his walking stick.

Some of the notes about individual items in this finding aid have been taken from the original appraisal lists that came with the collection.


  • ca. 1745-2005 (bulk 1880-1906)
  • Majority of material found within 1880-1906



Collection is open for research.

Biographical note

William Winter was born on July 15, 1836 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. His parents were Charles Winter and Louisa Wharf. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1857 but never practiced law. Winter moved to New York City two years later, where he hoped to gain fame as a poet.

Before leaving Boston, Winter had begun his career in literature and criticism, working as a journalist and publishing two volumes of poetry. From 1859-1860 Winter worked as a journalist for the Saturday Press. He worked temporarily at the New York Leader, which he left in December 1861 to manage the dramatic department of the Albion. From 1865-1909 he worked as drama editor and critic for the New York Tribune.

In 1860 Winter married the novelist Elizabeth Campbell (1841-1922). They had four sons, Percy (1861-1928), Arthur (1872-1886), Louis Victor (1873-1905) and William Jefferson (1878-1929) and one daughter, Viola (1881-1970).

William Winter died on June 30, 1917 in New York City.

(Source: American National Biography)


47 boxes

Language of Materials



The collection includes mostly correspondence, as well as literary manuscripts, journals, family history records, publishing records, clippings, programs, photographs, personal relics, correspondence of his son William Jefferson Winter, correspondence between other family members and research material collected by William Jefferson Winter and Robert Young documenting the life and career of William Winter. The correspondence includes letters to and from various family members and well-known actors and public figures from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.


This collection is arranged into nine series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Writings by William Winter; 3. Family Papers; 4. Publishing Records; 5. Materials about William Winter; 6. Miscellaneous; 7. William Jefferson Winter research; 8. Robert Young Research; 9. Miscellaneous photos and objects.

Acquisition Information

Acquired as a partial gift from William Winter's great-grandson, Robert Young, in 2001-2002(?).

Existence and Location of Copies

We are in the process of updating links in this finding aid. Until all links have been updated, please go to Robert Young collection relating to William Winter, ca. 1745-2005 (bulk 1880-1906) to view digital images of select items.

Related Materials

Papers of William Winter [manuscript], 1854-1916 ( Folger MS Y.d.358)

Papers of William Winter [manuscript], 1888-ca. 1913 ( Folger MS Y.d.480)

Autograph letters signed from William Winter to various recipients [manuscript], 1864-1917 ( Folger MS Y.c.573 (1-114))

Autograph letters signed from William Winter to various recipients [manuscript], [1884]-1894 ( Folger MS W.a.231)

Autograph letters signed from William Winter to various recipients [manuscript], 1867-1902 ( Folger MS Y.c.5244 (1-272))

Letter from Mary Anderson to William Winter, 1883 April 9; also article about her performance: "Mary Anderson's Revival," William Winter copy. (Bound in PR2803.A421 copy 2 Sh. Col.)

Letters from Paul Wilstach, New York, to William Winter, New York, 1904-1908 (Folger MS W.a.247 front endleaf, half-title page verso, p. 473, p. 477

Items removed from Folger MS W.a.247: Autograph letters signed from Albert Marshman Palmer, Richard Mansfield, and Beatrice Cameron Mansfield to William Winter ( Folger MS Y.c.6437; Y.c.6438 (1-2); Y.c.6439 (1-2))

Autograph letters to William Winter signed from various correspondents [manuscript], 1890-1893 ( Folger MS W.a.230)

Diaries of William Winter ( Folger MS W.a.451 (1-4))

The Bacon is humbug [manuscript] : an address before the Fraternity Club of Portland, Maine, 1916 January 10 ( Folger MS S.b.1)

Opening address by William Winter for A.R. Samuell's New Park Theatre, Brooklyn [manuscript], ca. 1875 ( Folger MS T.b.19)

Shakespeare's Twelfth night, a stage history [manuscript], ca. 1900 ( Folger MS S.b.127)

List compiled by William Winter of some of the characters in which Lester Wallack acted [manuscript], ca. 1900 ( Folger MS W.a.35)

Scrapbook collection from the William Winter collection, 1864-1917 ( Folger Scrapbook 256314 - Scrapbook 256357)

Theatrical autograph album of William Winter [manuscript], 1891-1896 ( Folger MS T.a.108)

Other Winter family materials

Autograph letter signed from Charles Winter to Elizabeth Winter [manuscript], 1877 July 29 ( Folger MS Y.c.574)

Autograph letters signed from William Jefferson Winter to various recipients [manuscript], 19th-20th century ( Folger MS Y.c.575)

Separated Materials

Printed books that were part of this collection are cataloged separately, including:

Richard Mansfield : the man and the actor, by Paul Wilstach ( Folger MS W.a.247)

Consult staff for information relating to scrapbooks, theatrical prints and photographs not listed in this finding aid.

Processing Information

Processed by Amelia Davis and other Folger staff in 2007 and by Stephanie Fell and Katharine Liu in 2009-2010. Arrived at the Folger in about 50 batches, accompanied by appraisal lists. Items were sent as Robert Young finished using them for his biography of William Winter, Frosty but kindly ( Folger MS W.b.606) and have since been rearranged to make them more readily accessible to users. Original order can be recreated by consulting the cross-index in the manuscript curator's office, which links the appraisal list number to the MS Add number written on the back of each item.

Former Folger MS Add numbers include: 1123, 1124, 1137, 1138, 1139, 1140, 1143, 1144, 1145, 1146, 1150, 1151, 1152, 1153, 1154, 1155, 1157, 1158, 1159, 1160, 1161, 1163, 1164, 1165, 1174, 1175, 1176, 1177, 1178, 1179, 1180, 1181, 1182, 1183, 1184, 1185, 1186, 1187, 1188, 1189, 1190, 1191, 1192, 1193, 1194, 1195, 1196, 1201, 1213, 1225.

Guide to the Robert Young collection relating to William Winter, 1732-2005 (bulk 1880-1906) various shelfmarks
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Fell.
November 2010
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

201 E. Capitol St. SE
Washington DC 20003 USA