John Wilson Townsend Papers,1908-1976

Descriptive Summary

John Wilson Townsend Papers,1908-1976
Townsend, John Wilson, 1885-1968.
ca. 1 cubic ft.
Chivers, T. H. (Thomas Holley), 1809-1858.
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864
Lilly, Josiah Kirby, 1861-1948
Townsend, John Wilson, 1885-1968
Pittsburgh. University. Stephen Collins Foster Memorial. Foster Hall Collection.
University of Pittsburgh
Book collecting -- Kentucky -- Lexington
Music -- Collectors and collecting
Poets, American.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: staff; machine-readable finding aid created by:Bonnie Cox
Transylvania University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
John Wilson Townsend, a native of Fayette County, Kentucky, was a graduate of Transylvania University and the author of "Kentucky in American Literature" (1915) and numerous other works on Kentucky history. He was employed variously as a teacher, librarian, and editor, but known chiefly as a bookseller and collector of first editions, having operated the Graceland Book Shop and the Blue Grass Book Shop in Lexington. During his lifetime sizable collections of books assembled by Townsend were sold or donated to the libraries of Eastern Kentucky University and Transylvania University.
Scope and Content
The collection is comprised principally of letters received by John Wilson Townsend in the course of his activities as a book collector. Materials include letters received by Townsend relating to the Stephen Foster collection of pharmaceutical manufacturer, Josiah Kirby Lilly. Lilly, president of Eli Lilly and Company, collected first editions of sheet music published by the composer which were apparently displayed at Foster Hall, an Indianapolis museum. The Foster Hall collection was later donated by Lilly to the University of Pittsburgh (ca. 1937). Letters detail Townsend's efforts to collect and sell Foster materials to Lilly, and also reflect the development of Lilly's collection and his professional relationship with Townsend. Other correspondence (1907-1933) relates to works of the poet Thomas Holley Chivers, sought by Townsend in the course of his business. Present are responses to queries for information on specific editions of Chivers work from a variety of booksellers and literary scholars. Chivers was an 1830 graduate of the Transylvania University Medical Department. Card catalog. Variant title: John Wilson Townsend collection