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William Wallace Whitelock papers

Identifier: MS-0234

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Scope and Contents

The papers (1885-1939) of poet and author, William Wallace Whitelock, which form this collection consist of four, bound scrapbooks and fourteen holographic notebooks. The papers reflect the literary career of Whitelock, but very little of his personal life. For the most part, the scrapbooks which form Series I of this collection consist of clippings of Whitelock's published material, publication notices of his books, and published letters to the editors of newspapers. A few significant events in Whitelock's life are represented including souvenir programs from a class reunion in 1920 at Johns Hopkins University and news reports of a naval battle during his service in the Spanish- American War. Also included is a copy of Whitehead's Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Munich, 1893. The handwritten notebooks which form Series II of this collection contain Whitelock's poetry with his corrections and annotations. Many of Whitelock's verses were pertinent to the social and political thought of the period and, it is interesting to see the progression of content from 1885 to the final poems written in 1939. Topics include aviation, war, peace, art, the economy, the automobile, and suffrage. Combined, the scrapbooks and the notebooks present an overview of the literary life of William Wallace Whitelock.


  • Creation: 1885-1939


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

William Wallace Whitelock, poet and author, was born in Mt. Washington, Maryland in 1869. He attended the Pennsylvania Military College and received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1890. He did graduate work at the University of Munich, receiving his Ph.D. in 1893. Throughout his long writing career, Whitelock published children's poetry as well as serious verse, novels, two plays, historical studies, and translations of German works. His personal writing career was combined with a journalistic career. Later in life, Whitelock's interest in languages led him to academic positions.

William Wallace Whitelock's interest in writing began early in his life. He studied law for a brief period but found a more satisfying opportunity with the New York Mail and Express. He edited the Criterion with Rupert Hughes until the Spanish-American War (1898), when he enlisted in the Navy. After his naval service, Whitelock was appointed foreign correspondent of the literary section of the New York Times and published a series of literary articles, 1899-1902. He interviewed literary celebrities including Emile Zola, Anthony Hope, Leon Daudet, and Beatrice Harraden. He also wrote a series entitled "The Beginnings of Great Authors," subjects of which included George Eliot, Victor Hugo, and Charles Dickens. At the same time, Whitelock became a regular contributor to Harper's, the Century, Scribner's, and other leading magazines. In 1902, Whitelock published anonymously, The Literary Guillotine. This satire on contemporary writers was first published in the Reader magazine and later in book form.

In 1906, Whitelock's play, The Man Who Told the Truth, was produced at the Princess Theater in New York. Between 1902 and 1907, he published a novel, When Kings Go Forth to Battle (1907); three volumes of poems, When the Heart is Young (1902), Just Love Songs (1906), Foregone Verses (1907); and an historical study of William the Third.

Whitelock was asked to translate Deutschland und der Weltkrieg which was published in 1916 as Modern Germany in Relation to the Great War. In the aftermath of World War I, Whitelock prepared studies of war-related problems for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 1921, Whitelock became professor of German at St. Stephen's College (later Bard College) and taught romance languages (1930- 1932) at Temple University. He completed a second volume of children's verse, Rhymes of Long Ago and co-edited a textbook, French Eloquence (1929). Whitelock continued to contribute poems to various magazines and newspapers, and much of this work was later included in anthologies. William Wallace Whitelock died in 1940.


0.96 Cubic Feet (1 legal size document box, 1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches), 1 flat box (11 x 9 x 3 inches))

Language of Materials



William Wallace Whitelock, poet and author, was born in Mt. Washington, Maryland in 1869. The papers consist of four, bound scrapbooks and fourteen notebooks dating from 1885-1939.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers were transferred from Rare Books, December 1989.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in January 1990.

Rachel Gattermeyer revised the scope and contents note in this finding aid in February 2024 to bring it into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

William Wallace Whitelock papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA