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Collection Number: 04732

Collection Title: William Peterfield Trent Papers, 1865-1944

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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.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 275 items)
Abstract William Peterfield Trent was born in Richmond, Va. He received the M.A. degree from the University of Virginia in 1884 and a Ph.D. from John Hopkins University. He was professor of English at the University of the South, 1888-1900, and at Columbia University, 1900-1929. Trent's Life of William Gilmore Simms was published in 1892. He was also editor-in-chief of the Cambridge History of American Literature and was co-editor of the Columbia University edition of the complete writings of John Milton (1931). Trent married Alice Lyman (d. 1921) in 1896. Their children were Lucia Trent Cheney, who wrote poetry, and cartoonist William P. Trent, Jr. Correspondence and other materials relating to Trent and his family. Correspondence, 1890-1899, is chiefly from Trent while on the faculty of the University of the South to various colleagues, editors, and others interested in his work. Many of these letters relate to Trent's book on William Gilmore Simms. Correspondence, 1904-1927, chiefly relates to projects on which Trent was working while at Columbia University. Letters, 1940-1944, are mainly about Franklin Walker's compilation of information for a biography of Trent. There are also a few poems and other writings by Trent; genealogical notes relating to the Trent and other families; biographical information about Trent; and a few family photographs.
Creator Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
In some letters, certain passages were marked for use by the recipient only. Those wishing to quote or make other use of these passages should obtain permission from Peter Franklin Walker of Chapel Hill, N.C.
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 William Peterfield Trent papers #4732, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received in November 1994 (Acc. 94171) from Anna Lansdell Hall (UNC Class of 1984); Wesley Walker Hall (UNC Class of 1987); Susanne Ascher Walker (UNC Class of 1992); and Franklin Trenaby Walker II (UNC Class of 1996).
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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William Peterfield Trent was born in Richmond, Va., on 10 November 1862. He received the M.A. degree from the University of Virginia in 1884 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

From 1885 to 1887, Trent taught school and studied law in Richmond. He joined the faculty of the University of the South in 1888 as professor of English, continuing in that capacity until 1900. During that time, he also served as dean of the Academic Department and as editor or co-editor of The Sewanee Review. From 1900 until 1929, he was professor of English literature at Columbia University in New York.

Trent's Life of William Gilmore Simms was published in 1892. He was editor-in-chief of the Cambridge History of American Literature. Other works included Southern Statesmen of the Old Regime, Robert E. Lee, John Milton: A Short Study of His Life and Works, War and Civilization, The Progress of the United States in the Eighteenth Century, History of American Literature, Greatness in Literature , and Longfellow and Other Essays.

For more than 20 years, Trent was engaged in preparation of an exhaustive biography and bibliography of Daniel Defoe. He was also co-editor of the Columbia University edition of the complete writings of John Milton, which was published in 1931.

Trent married Alice Lyman (d. 1921) in 1896. Their children were Lucia Trent Cheney, who wrote poetry, and cartoonist William P. Trent, Jr.

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Correspondence and other materials relating to Trent and his family. Correspondence, 1890-1899, is chiefly from Trent while on the faculty of the University of the South to various colleagues, editors, and others interested in his work. Many of these letters relate to Trent's book on William Gilmore Simms. Correspondence, 1904-1927, chiefly relates to projects on which Trent was working while at Columbia University. Letters, 1940-1944, are mainly about Franklin Walker's compilation of information for a biography of Trent. There are also a few poems and other writings by Trent; genealogical notes relating to the Trent and other families; biographical information about Trent; and a few family photographs.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1887-1944.

About 240 items.

Arrangement: chronological; roughly sorted by year.

Materials from 1890 to 1899 are chiefly from Trent while on the faculty of the University of the South to various colleagues, editors, and others interested in his work, many relating to Trent's book on William Gilmore Simms. In 1885-1885, there are many letters from Trent to Grace Shepperd of Sewanee, giving a general picture of Trent's activities. In 1899, there is one letter to Alice Lyman Trent, who Trent married in 1896. Letters, 1904-1927, chiefly relate to projects on which Trent was working while at Columbia University, particularly his preparation of a new edition of Scott's Ivanhoe. In the mid-1930s, letters show that Trent was in fragile health and living in Stamford, Conn. The few items in 1939 find him in Fishkill, N.Y., where he lived with his son until his death.

Items 1940-1944 relate chiefly to Franklin Trenaby Walker's compilation of information for a biography of Trent. Letters to Walker are from Trent's students, colleagues, friends, and relatives, who reminisce about their relationship with Trent and document Trent's activities.

Folder 1

1887-1894 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 1

Folder 2

1895-1899 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 2

Folder 3

1900-1909 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 3

Folder 4

1910-1927 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 4

Folder 5

1930-1939 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 5

Folder 6

1940 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 6

Folder 7

1941 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 7

Folder 8

1942-1944 #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 8

Folder 9

Undated and fragments #04732, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1887-1944. " Folder 9

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Materials, 1865-1940s and undated.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, February 1995

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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