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Gordon N. Ray Collection of Victorian Autographs

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Jan 2001

Biographical History

Gordon Norton Ray (1915-1986) was a noted Victorian scholar, professor, and author. He was professor of English, specializing in Victorian literature, at Harvard (1940-1942) and then, after a brief period in the U.S. Navy during World War II, at the University of Illinois (1946-1957), where he also served as vice president and provost (1957-1960). He was also President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1963-1985). His two-volume biography of William Makepeace Thackeray and a four-volume edition of Thackeray's letters were critically acclaimed, and his accomplishments as a major book collector led to the publication of three volumes on English and French book illustration. He also wrote extensively on H. G. Wells.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gordon N. Ray Collection of Victorian Autographs contains autographed correspondence and autographs only, of a wide range of notable Victorian-era personalities, including authors, politicians, diplomats, churchmen, scientists, and many more. While the majority are British citizens, there are a number of Irish individuals as well as a few more exotic, such as the Turkish Ambassador to England. Dates are given as written on the document; the majority are in European format with the day preceding the month (e.g. 27/3/09 = March 27, 1909). Where possible, additional identifying information is provided for names.

Arrangement of the Collection

The autographs are subdivided into correspondence and single autographs; within this both sets of material are arranged alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has several other collections of autographs. See for example the following:

Argosy Autograph Collection
Frances Ward Harrington Autograph Collection
Graeme O'Geran Presidential Autograph Collection
Howes Norris Jr. Autograph Cartoon Collection

Subject Headings


Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915- -- collector.


Autographs -- Collections.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Gordon N. Ray Collection of Victorian Autographs,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Autographed correspondence