Rufus Wilmot Griswold Collection

Identifier: MSS.0183

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content Note

The Rufus Wilmot Griswold Collection (1815 – 1857) consists of one Hollinger box (0.417 linear feet) and includes holograph letters, photographs, articles and photostats of letters written by and to Rufus Wilmot Griswold.

The collection was formed in the 1930’s by Joy Bayless of Nashville, Tennessee while researching her biography of Rufus Wilmot Griswold which was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 1943. No records have survived as to when or how the Collection was acquired by the Vanderbilt Library.


  • 1812-1857

Language of Materials


Biographical Sketch

Rufus Wilmot Griswold was born February 13, 1815 in Benson, Vermont. He was an editor and literary critic best known for his anthologies of American poetry and prose which were widely disseminated in the mid 19th century and for his often tumultuous and contentious relationships, both personal and literary.

He had a strained relationship with Edgar Allan Poe that continued even after Poe’s death, with an obituary written under the pen name of “Ludwig” that was highly derogatory towards the deceased. Griswold subsequently became Poe’s literary executor under mysterious circumstances and continued to defame Poe in a written “Memoir of the Author,” included in a posthumous collection of his works, that combined false accusations with character assassination that was not refuted for many years and became the standard Poe biography.

He was married three times, had three children and, after a period of declining health, passed away in New York on August 27, 1857.


.42 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for The Rufus Wilmot Griswold Collection
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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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This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

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