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Collection Number: 03944

Collection Title: Beatrice Witte Ravenel Papers, 1892-1948

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 5.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1100 items)
Abstract Beatrice Witte Ravenel, writer and poet of Charleston, S.C. The bulk of this material comprises writings by Ravenel, and consists of manuscripts and typed drafts, published stories and poems, clippings, reviews, and magazine copies. Her correspondence with fellow authors, poets, and publishers is especially full for the 1920s, and includes letters (chiefly in typescript) of Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. Volumes include two scrapbooks of letters and clippings, 1919-1927; a book of poems, 1890-1917; a sketchbook of her charcoals and water colors; and one unpublished chapter from a biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1723-1793) by Harriott Horry Ravenel, Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law.
Creator Ravenel, Beatrice Witte, 1870-1956.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Beatrice Witte Ravenel papers #3944, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Beatrice St. Julien Ravenel in May 1972.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Beatrice Witte Ravenel (24 August 1870-15 March 1956), daughter of Charles Otto and Charlotte Sophia Reeves Witte, was born in Charleston, S.C. Her father was a German-born businessman and civic leader in Charleston. Beatrice was educated at the Charleston Female Seminary, and, in 1889, enrolled in the women's division of Harvard University. While in college, she played a prominent role in a group of literary young men and women, including William Vaughn Moody, Trumball Stickney, and Norman and Hutchins Hapgood. She wrote for the Harvard Monthly and the Advocate, and published poems in Scribner's Magazine, the Chap-Book Magazine, and the Literary Digest.

In 1900, she married Francis Gualdo Ravenel, whose mother, Harriot Horry Ravenel, was a well-known writer and biographer. In 1904, Beatrice and Francis had a daughter, Beatrice St. Julien Ravenel. After the birth of her daughter, Beatrice Witte Ravenel lived on a plantation south of Charleston. This was the setting for several of her best poems, which primarily deal with the Yemassee Indian heritage of the Carolina low country. Francis Ravenel was no businessman, and, by the late 1910s, the sizable fortune left Beatrice by her father was gone. She helped support the family by writing fiction for Ainslee's, Harper's, and the Saturday Evening Post, and, after 1919, she wrote editorials for the Columbia (S.C.) State.

In the late 1910s, Beatrice began writing poetry again, and, in the early 1920s, came abrupt change in her verse. She ceased to write the sentimental abstractions of the waning genteel tradition and began producing free verse of notable economy of diction, precision of language, and vivid imagery. The formation of the South Carolina Poetry Society brought her into contact with other poets, including visitors such as Amy Lowell, with whom she formed a strong friendship.

In 1926, six years after Francis Ravenel's death, Beatrice married Samuel Prioleau Ravenel. After her second marriage, she no longer had to support herself and daughter through writing. The Ravenels traveled extensively. Though she wrote little poetry during her later years, one sequence based on the West Indies, unpublished in her lifetime, is among her most accomplished work. Beatrice Witte Ravenel died on 15 March 1956 at the age of 85. Her best known work is The Arrow of Lightening, a book of poetry published in 1926.

[Source: Robert Bain, Joseph M. Flora, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr., eds., Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1979): 371-372.]

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The bulk of this material comprises writings by Ravenel, and consists of manuscripts and typed drafts, published stories and poems, clippings, reviews, and magazine copies. Her correspondence with fellow authors, poets, and publishers is especially full for the 1920s, and includes letters (chiefly in typescript) of Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. Volumes include two scrapbooks of letters and clippings, 1919-1927; a book of poems, 1890-1917; a sketchbook of her charcoals and water colors; and one unpublished chapter from a biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1723-1793) by Harriott Horry Ravenel, Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: roughly chronological.

Letters from writers, poets, and publishers; clippings; scrapbooks; a day book; and a sketchbook. Included is correspondence from Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. There are two scrapbooks--one of published poems and short stories; the other of correspondence and clippings surrounding the publication of The Arrow of Lightening. A sketchbook of charcoals and water colors of Beatrice Witte Ravenel and an unpublished chapter of a biography on Eliza Pinckney Lucas, written by Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law, Harriot Horry Rutledge Ravenel, are also included.

Folder 1

1892-1921 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1922 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1923-1924 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1925-1930 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1931-1948 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

Undated #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

Amy Lowell letters--Typescripts, 1922-1926 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

Hervey Allen letters--Typescripts, 1925-1926 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9a-b

Clippings, published writings #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 9a-b

Folder 10

Volume 1, Eliza P. Lucas Chapter (circa 1890) #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

Volume 2, Letterbook, 1920-1927 #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

Volume 3, Sketchbook, undated (Volume 3944/S-3) #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

Volume 4, General Day Book, undated #03944, Series: "1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1890-1948 and undated." Folder 13

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings, Draft Copies, 1890-1940s? and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: roughly chronological.

Off-prints of short stories from Harper's and Ainslie's magazines and copies of Ainslie's magazine containing short stories written by Beatrice Witte Ravenel.

Folder 40

Harper's magazine, published short stories #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 40

Folder 41

Ainslee's magazine, published short stories #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 41

Folder 42

Ainslee's Magazine July 1922 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 42

Folder 43

Ainslee's Magazine September 1922 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 43

Folder 44

Ainslee's Magazine January 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 44

Folder 45

Ainslee's Magazine February 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 45

Folder 46

Ainslee's Magazine March 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 46

Folder 47

Ainslee's Magazine April 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 47

Folder 48

Ainslee's Magazine May 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 48

Folder 49

Ainslee's Magazine June 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 49

Folder 50

Ainslee's Magazine August 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 50

Folder 51

Ainslee's Magazine September 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 51

Folder 52

Ainslee's Magazine November 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 52

Folder 53

Ainslee's Magazine December 1923 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 53

Folder 54

Ainslee's Magazine January 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 54

Folder 55

Ainslee's Magazine April 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 55

Folder 56

Ainslee's Magazine May 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 56

Folder 57

Ainslee's Magazine June 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 57

Folder 58

Ainslee's Magazine July 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 58

Folder 59

Ainslee's Magazine September 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 59

Folder 60

Ainslee's Magazine October 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 60

Folder 61

Ainslee's Magazine November 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 61

Folder 62

Ainslee's Magazine December 1924 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 62

Folder 63

Ainslee's Magazine January 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 63

Folder 64

Ainslee's Magazine February 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 64

Folder 65

Ainslee's Magazine March 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 65

Folder 67

Ainslee's Magazine April 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 67

Folder 68

Ainslee's Magazine May 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 68

Folder 69

Ainslee's Magazine June 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 69

Folder 70

Ainslee's Magazine July 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 70

Folder 71

Ainslee's Magazine August 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 71

Folder 72

Ainslee's Magazine September 1925 #03944, Series: "3. Writings, Published Copies, 1922-1925." Folder 72

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Processing Information

Processed by: Carolyn Hamby, March 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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