Matthew Wills Collection

Identifier: MSS.0751

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection contains around 20 items by or about Fugitive poet Ridley Wills, dating from 1919 to 1957. This includes poems by Wills or those sent to him, Wills's discharge papers from the army, and 4 issues of Bay Pines News, a publication edited by Wills while staying at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bay Pines, Florida.


  • 1919 - 1957

Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact

Biographical / Historical

William Ridley Wills was a graduate of Vanderbilt University and a member of the Fugitive literary group. He worked for the Memphis Press, Memphis Evening Appeal, and the Nashville Banner newspapers before leaving for New York to work for the New York World. He served in the army during World War I and saw action in France and Germany. He was well known as a novelist, poet, and journalist. He spent the last four years of his life as a patient at the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital in Florida where he also served as the editor of the hospital newspaper. He died on September 8, 1957.


.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains around 20 items by or about Fugitive poet Ridley Wills, dating from 1919 to 1957.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Matthew Wills in 2009.

Finding Aid for the Matthew Wills Collection
Zach Johnson
2018 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

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


About this Site

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.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.