Correspondence relating to the Whitman collection at Bolton Central Library

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng 1330/6
  • Dates of Creation
      24 Oct 1950-30 Sep 1953
  • Physical Description
      16 items.

Scope and Content

This series consists principally of a series of letters and copy letters between Sixsmith and Harold Hamer, the Bolton City Librarian. It relates to Sixsmith's objection to the way in which certain Whitman-related items were acquired by Bolton Library: various items were given to the Library by Minnie Whiteside (J.W. Wallace's companion and housekeeper), who failed to acknowledge that the items had in fact been entrusted to her keeping by Harriet Sprague, a Whitman enthusiast and collector of New York. Sixsmith claimed that Minnie Whiteside dishonestly retained these items for a long period, when she had been asked to hand them over to the Library, and he objected to the Library's failure to acknowledge Mrs Sprague as the originator of the gifts. The result of the dispute was Sixsmith's decision to bequeath his Whitman and Carpenter collections to the John Rylands Library in Manchester instead of Bolton Library as he had planned. In addition to the Hamer correspondence, there are 2 news cuttings and 2 letters from a B.F. Davies, who also had an interest in the affair.


These letters and news cuttings were stored inside one envelope - either bundled together by Sixsmith or by Library staff. This arrangement has been retained, its order reflecting both sides of the correspondence.