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Charles D. Abbott papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 13-2-1202

Scope and Contents

Professional papers, 1903-1961, of Charles D. Abbott, Professor of English (1927-1930, 1934-1960) and Director of Libraries (1934-1960) at the University of Buffalo (now the State University of New York at Buffalo). Abbott's literary correspondence includes letters from W.H. Auden, Sir Thomas Beecham, John Gould Fletcher, Austin Gray, Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher Morley, Louis Untermeyer, John Hay Whitney, and Louis Wilson. Much of Abbott's correspondence with literary figures was incorporated into The Poetry Collections' Abbott Collection. Also included is Abbott's correspondence with booksellers and publishers concerning the acquisition of library materials, correspondence concerning the dedication of Lockwood Memorial Library in 1934, and correspondence concerning other activities of the University Libraries. The papers also document Abbott's activities with the Buffalo Film Society (1935-1938) and as chairman of the Fenton Foundation Lectures (1935-1941). The Fenton Lecture materials include correspondence with Sir Thomas Beecham, Clifton Fadiman, Oscar Halecki, Alfred Noyes, and William Carlos Williams. Abbott's research and publications are represented with unpublished essays; background notes for his books: Howard Pyle: A Chronicle (Harper and Brothers, 1925), Poets at Work (Harcourt, Brace, 1948) articles, including a draft and reprint of "Christopher Smart's Madness" published in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. XLV, no. 4, December 1930; and his B. Litt. thesis on Christopher Smart written while at Oxford.


  • 1919-1982
  • (bulk 1919-1961)


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Charles D. Abbott Papers, 1919-1982 (bulk 1919-1961), are open for research.


Copyright is held by the State University of New York at Buffalo, University Archives. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

Until 1935, the University Library was housed in various places on campus. The Law and Medical schools had and still have their own libraries. When the University moved to the Main Street campus, the library was housed in Hayes Hall and the Science Library was housed in Foster Hall and both were under the direction of Ruth Bartholomew. When Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Lockwood gave money for the construction of a library building in memory of their fathers, a condition was made that Charles D. Abbott be appointed as Director of Libraries.


Born, Milfold, Delaware to Charles D. and Annie Evans Abbott
Received A.B. from Haverford College
Taught English at Choate School, Wallingford, Connecticut
Received M.A. from Columbia University
Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University
Authored book, Howard Pyle: A Chronicle [commissioned by Mrs. Howard Pyle]
Received B. Litt., from Oxford University, wrote thesis Christopher Smart"
Married Ann Pratt, who died a few years later
Professor of English, University of Buffalo
Authored article, Christopher Smart's Madness
Professor of English, University of Colorado
Returned to the University of Buffalo as Professor of English and was appointed Director of Libraries
Married Theresa W. Gratwick
Initiated The Poetry Collection
Authored book, Poets at Work
Retired as Professor of English and Director of Libraries. Named Director Emeritus by University President Clifford Furnas
Died, Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York

Buffalo Film Society

In 1935 the Lockwood Memorial Library at the University at Buffalo and the Albright Art Gallery through the efforts of their respective directors, Charles D. Abbott and Gordon B. Washburn, established the Buffalo Film Society. Mr. Abbott's brother, John E. ["Dick"] Abbott, was director of the Film Library at the Museum of Modern Art through which the film series originated. The purpose of the film library was to collect, refilm and distribute among American colleges series of films which portrayed the technical and artistic growth of the art.


17 Linear Feet (35 manuscript boxes, 1 flat box, 1 oversize envelope)


Correspondence regarding administration of the University Libraries, the creation and maintenance of the Poetry Collection of Lockwood Library at the University of Buffalo; professional papers including his research and publications; personal records, including biographical material, social correspondence and clippings; records of the Fenton Lecture series, 1935-1941; and records of the Buffalo Film Society, 1935-1938.


This collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Biographical
  2. Buffalo Film Society
  3. Fenton Foundation Lectures
  4. Library Administration
  5. Teaching
  6. Research and Publications
  7. Additional materials

Acquisition Information

The majority of the material in this collection was transferred to the University Archives by other areas of the Libraries in the mid-1960s. Some additional materials were obtained from the Gratwick and Abbott estate from Richard Heye in the January 2006.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

  1. MS 11, Thomas B. Lockwood Papers, 1876-1956
  2. 13/3/83, Ruth Bartholomew Papers, 1922-1963
  3. PCMS-0035, Small Press Collection, circa 1930-2007
  4. Abbott Collection, The Poetry Collection. Please note the Abbott Collection is a conglomeration of material collected between 1937-1979, the majority of which was collected by Charles Abbott.
  5. 13/20/1175, Poetry Collection Acquisition Records

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives staff originally in two collections - one for library administrative records (13/1/84) and one for personal papers (13/2/86).

In December 2010 13/2/86 and 13/1/84 were merged and the three boxes received in 2006 were processed into one coherent collection. This work was performed by Karen Spencer.


Charles D. Abbott papers
Finding aid prepared by Karen Spencer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)