Walter Clyde Curry Papers

Identifier: MSS.0097

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

In 1968, Special Collections at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library acquired the papers of Walter Clyde Curry (1887-1967). The papers were a generous donation from Curry’s wife, Kathryn Curry, and daughter, Josephine Raney. A distinguished Medieval and Renaissance scholar, Curry was a member of the Vanderbilt University English Department faculty for 40 years. He served as head of the English department and the humanities division from 1941 until his retirement in 1955. Walter Clyde Curry was also an initial member of the Fugitive literary movement.

Curry’s collection contains 77 outgoing letters; 135 incoming letters; writings – published & unpublished; book reviews; publishers’ announcements & revisions; royalty statements; research/lecture notes; budget/curriculum notes; graduate information; offprints by others; diagrams & illustrations; photographs; and ephemera. Also included within this collection is 1 oversize folder.

The papers consist of these series and subseries:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Writings
  3. Literary Career
  4. Academic Career
  5. Biographical
  6. Ephemera and Oversize

Series I: Correspondence, 1933-1966

The Correspondence series is comprised of outgoing and incoming letters. The outgoing correspondence consists of 77 letters chronologically arranged. Letters are typewritten, carbon copies, with the exception of a few holographs. There are nine unsigned letters, and one letter has no date.

The incoming correspondence consists of 135 letters, and is arranged alphabetically. The incoming letters are typewritten with the exception of a few holographs. Few letters are carbon copies; one letter is signed with only the surname. Five letters are signed without surnames, and six are signed with initials only. Four letters are without dates.

There is one letter contained in the miscellaneous correspondence due to that it not addressed to or written by Walter Clyde Curry.

Series II: Writings, 1923-1951

The Writings Series consists of materials that are both published and unpublished works of Walter Clyde Curry. The published articles are arranged alphabetically by title. Some published material of Curry’s work (such as “Milton’s Dual Concept,” “Milton’s Chaos And Old Night,” “The Genesis of Milton’s World,” and “Some Travels of Milton’s Satan And The Road To Hell,”) have crossed out titles with holograph additions and corrections.

The unpublished material includes an essay, lectures, and speeches of Walter Clyde Curry. This material is arranged alphabetically by title. One partial typescript speech to the Vanderbilt English Department has no title or date.

Series III: Literary Career, 1928-1967

This series contains documents relating to Walter Clyde Curry’s literary career. Documents relate to: book reviews, publisher’s announcements and revisions, as well as royalty statements.

Book reviews of Curry’s works are chronologically arranged. The book reviews consist of material that includes mimeographed and printed leaflets and advertisements. Some reviews are typewritten, and some are magazine and photocopies of newspaper clippings.

The publishers’ announcements are arranged alphabetically by name of publisher. Most of them included a brief review for one of Curry’s works. A few do not mention him at all. The material also includes several typescript pages of alterations and corrections to be made in Curry’s works. An announcement from the University of Kentucky Press entitled “Author’s Alterations” and a typescript preface and dedication to the second edition of Shakespeare’s Philosophical Patterns are also included. The royalty statements are arranged alphabetically by publishing company.

Series IV: Academic Career, 1949-1964

This series contains documents relating to Curry’s Academic Career while at Vanderbilt University. Documents include research/lecture notes, budget/curriculum notes for the Department of English, as well as graduate information, offprints, diagrams/illustrations, and miscellaneous material.

The research and lecture notes contain material on the origin of languages. Most notes are holographs, but a few pages are typescript.

The graduate information relates to the Master of Arts in teaching. The material consists of newsletters, mailing lists, and general information bulletin about the Vanderbilt-Peabody Master of Arts in teaching program. There are several lists of doctorial candidates at Vanderbilt. Also included in the material are various items of Eugene E. Slaughter.

Notes for the Department of English concern both budget and curriculum. The budget information is arranged chronologically from 1949 to 1955. Material includes lists of salaries of members of the English Department. Some parts of the budget information are typescript, some are copies, and some are holographs. The curriculum notes consist mainly of charts indicating professors and classes to be taught.

There are 26 different offprints arranged in alphabetical order by author. Several are autographed by the author.

The diagrams and illustrations are from Milton’s Ontology. Material includes a diagram indicating Milton’s concept of total self-existent and dependent reality or beingas represented by symbolical design. The diagram is accompanied by a typewritten explanation of the symbols. Included within this series in an oversize folder containing a poster-size diagram from Milton’s Ontology.

The miscellaneous material is a photocopy of a newspaper clipping of an article written by Richmond C. Beatty about Walter Clyde Curry.

Series V: Biographical, 1957-1966

This series contains biographical information that relates to Walter Clyde Curry. Documents include family photographs and business papers. The business papers consist of several U.S. Post Office receipts for certified mail and insured mail. The receipts are arranged chronologically.

Series VI: Ephemera and Oversize

This is the last series in the collection and comprise of a pipe that belonged to Walter Clyde Curry, as well as one oversize diagram.


  • Inclusive: 1933-1967
  • Majority of material found within Bulk: 1955-1963


Conditions Governing Use

Rights are retained by Special Collections, Vanderbilt University.

Biographical Note - Walter Clyde Curry

Walter Clyde Curry was born on January 6, 1887 in Graycourt, South Carolina. Received his B.A. degree from Wofford College. Received his M.A. degree from Stanford University. Received his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University. 1915-1955 English professor at Vanderbilt University. 1927 Married Miss Kathryn Worth. 1929 Daughter, Josephine, was born on March 29th. 1934 Special editor on occultism in Webster’s International Dictionary. 1952 Awarded an honorary Litt. D. degree by Wofford College 1967 Curry dies in Nashville, Tennessee on October 2.

Biographical notes taken from Nashville Banner.“Dr. Curry, Retired VU Professor, Dies.” October 3, 1967. Nashville Tennessean. "Dr. Curry Dies, Ex-Professor.” October 3, 1967.


1.26 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Walter Clyde Curry (1887-1967), a long-time member of the Department of English at Vanderbilt, was a scholar of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. He was one of the initial members of the Fugitive literary movement.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Walter Clyde Curry (1887-1967) were acquired by Vanderbilt University in 1968.

Finding Aid for the Walter Clyde Curry Papers
Catherine Ashley Via
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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