University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Wilbur Owen Sypherd Papers

1939 - 1953

Manuscript Collection Number: 232
Accessioned: Gift of the estate of W. O. Sypherd, 1956.
Extent: 2 linear feet (378 items)
Content: Correspondence, typescripts, and autograph manuscripts.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Reprocessed 1991 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Wilbur Owen Sypherd, former professor and administrator at the University of Delaware, was born on June 28, 1877 in Cecil County, Maryland. He entered Delaware College in 1893 and was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts after three years. After serving for two years as principal of a grammar school at Port Penn, Delaware, Sypherd entered the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a second Bachelor of Arts in 1900. In 1901 he earned a masters degree and in 1906 he was awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy, both from Harvard University. From 1901 to 1903 he taught English as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin.

Wilbur Owen Sypherd returned to Delaware College in 1906 as Professor of English and Chairman of the English Department. He served in these roles until 1944, when he became acting president of the University. He was acting president until 1946, when, in honor of his service to the University of Delaware, he was named president by the Board of Trustees. In 1947 he retired, receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Delaware. Dr. Sypherd died in 1955.

Dr. Sypherd was the first chairman of the Division of Graduate Studies at Delaware, serving from 1936-1944. He was a prime mover in the project to create a Student Center. It was during his administration and with his support that the transition from coordinate colleges for men and women to a co-educational university was effected in 1944.

Books written by Dr. Sypherd include The English Bible (1921), Studies in Chaucer's House of Fame (1907), A Handbook of English for Engineers (1913), The Book of Books (1944), The Literature of the English Bible (1938), and Jephthah and His Daughter (1948).

Dr. Sypherd's scholarly interests included Geoffrey Chaucer; The English Bible; Robert Browning; technical English; the Biblical figure Jephthah and his daughter; and literary curses through the ages. Several of the manuscripts in this collection reflect these interests.

Sources:

"Fifty Years at the University of Delaware" by W. O. Sypherd.

Information sheets available in the files of the University of Delaware Archives.

"Remarks by President Perkins at the Dedication of the Student Center...and Sypherd, October 25, 1958." University of Delaware Archives.


Scope and Content Note

The Wilbur Owen Sypherd Papers consists of correspondence between Sypherd and various individuals, including U.S. Senator J. Caleb Boggs, U.S. Senator John J. Williams, and George S. Messersmith. The papers also include a variety of manuscripts written by Sypherd for lectures, addresses, books, and research requests.

Several manuscripts for unpublished works by Sypherd included in the collection are Famous Horses in Sculpture, Literature and Life, Curses Loud and Deep, Poems I Like, and A Dramatization of the Book of Job. The collection also includes illustrations depicting the biblical story of Jephthah's daughter and Sypherd's edited prologue of Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book.

Also included are twenty-eight lectures, addresses, and talks on topics ranging from "The Short Story" to "Reading as Recreation." A research report on the definitions of Cola, a report focusing on Alexis I. DuPont School District, and a memorial of Sypherd by A. H. Able are also a part of these papers.


Series Outline

                                
I.    Personal and Professional Correspondence
II.   Addresses and Lectures
III.  Curses Loud and Deep
IV.   The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
V.    Famous Horses in Sculpture, Literature and Life
VI.   A Dramatization of the Book of Job
VII.  Poems I Like
VIII. [Jephthah Pictures]
IX.   Miscellaneous Manuscripts Related to Research
X.    "In Memoriam of W. O. S."

Appendix A:  List of Names Identified in Correspondence
Appendix B:  Items Transferred from Delaware Collection

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

                                    
1         Series I.   Personal and Professional Correspondence
               Correspondence between W. O. Sypherd and a variety of persons,
               including George S. Messersmith and John H. Powell, publishers, former
               students, University of Delaware faculty and administration, faculty and
               administrators from other universities, and friends.  Includes original
               correspondence to Sypherd and some carbon copies of his responses.

     F1   Messersmith, George S.,  1950-1953
          TLSs and TL (carbon).  Includes TL (carbon) responses from Sypherd.  George
          Messersmith , a career Foreign Service Officer, served as the American Consul
          General in Berlin and as the Minister to Austria at the time of the Anschluss.  He
          had retired and was living in Mexico at the time of this correspondence.   9 items
          (17 pp.)

     F2   Powell, John H.,  1945-1955.
          ALSs and TLSs.
          Mr. Powell was the Assistant Librarian in Charge of Research at The Free Library
          of Philadelphia and a friend of Sypherd.  24 items (27 pp.)


          Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1939-1953.  
          From publishers, UD faculty and administrators, his former students, several U.S.
          Senators from Delaware, friends, and faculty and administrators from other
          universities.  Includes letters from Charles P. Messick, Senator J. Caleb Boggs,
          Senator C. Douglass Buck, Senator John J. Williams, Alfred Knopf, H. Rodney
          Sharp, John Munroe, and others.  A complete list of the names of the
          correspondents appears in an appendix at the end of this register.  The
          miscellaneous correspondence is arranged chronologically.

     F3   1939-1944.  9 items (12 pp.)
     F4   1946.  16 items (18 pp.)
     F5   1947: Jan-Mar.  28 items (30 pp.)
     F6   1947: Apr-May.  31 items (37 pp.)
     F7   1947: Jun 5-13.  42 items (47 pp.)
     F8   1947: Jun 14-30.  34 items (53 pp.)
     F9   1947: Jul-Sep.  9 items (16 pp.)
     F10  1951-1953.  9 items (19 pp.)

2
     Series II.  Addresses and Lectures.
          Typescript and autograph addresses, lectures, talks, and remarks written and
          delivered by Sypherd at various University of Delaware or local functions. 
          Arranged alphabetically by title.
  
     F11  "Books and Their Readers"  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and revisions.  1 item (9 pp.)

     F12  "Can We Combine Mental Health and Cultural Aims in Education?"  [n.d.].   
          Presented at a conference.  1 item (5 pp.)

     F13  "A Concert Version of Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah" [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and additions.  1 item (7 pp.)

     F14  "Curses Loud and Deep"  1950: June 27.
          Autograph with revisions and corrections.  Presented to the University of
          Delaware Summer Session 1950.  1 item (5 pp.)

     F15  "Dickens and the Modern Reader" 1913: March 6 (Delaware College), 1914 (New
          Castle), 1915 (Wyoming-Camden), 1916 (Odessa), 1916 (Y. M. C. A.,
          Wilmington).
          Ts with extensive corrections and revisions.  1 item (13 pp.)

     F16  "Educational Heresy"  1916: October 19.
          Ts with autograph corrections.  Chapel Talk at the Women's College (Delaware).  
          1 item (4 pp.)

     F17  "The English Bible"  1935: November 7.
          Ts with autograph corrections and revisions.  Presented at Mitchell Hall,
          University of Delaware.  1 item (21 pp.)

     F18  "Fifty Years at the University of Delaware"  [n.d.].
          Autograph with extensive corrections and revisions. 1 item (17 pp.)

     F19  "Gilbert Keith Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw: Orthodoxy and Heresy" 
          [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and revisions.  Presented to the Century Club.  1
          item (18 pp.)

     F20  "Introductory Remarks--"Jephthah and His Daughter" in Music and in Other
          Forms of Art"  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (6 pp.)

     F21  "Jephthah and His Daughter: A Study in Comparative Literature"  1948: October
          11.
          Ts (carbon) with autograph corrections.  Presented to: "The first of  the 1948-1949
          series of addresses to graduate students."  1 item (26 pp.)

     F22  "Jephthah and His Daughter: A Study in Comparative Literature"  1948: October
          11.
          Ts (carbon) with autograph corrections and revisions.  This is an identical copy of
          a previous title, with the exception that this copy is signed on the title page by
          Sypherd.  1 item (25 pp.) 

2
          Series II.  Addresses and lectures (cont'd)

     F23  "Literature and the Fine Arts"  [n.d.].
          Autograph.  Presented to Delaware College students.  1 item
          (4 pp.)

     F24  "The Music Poems of Robert Browning"  1935: March 16.
          Ts with autograph corrections and additions.  Evening of poetry and music at
          Mitchell Hall, University of Delaware.  1 item (11 pp.)

     F25  "On Writing"  1922: January 9 and 1923: October 11.
          Ts with autograph corrections and revisions for the 1923 presentation.  Includes
          an outline and divisions within the paper.  Presented at Wolf Hall, University of
          Delaware.  1 item (29 pp.)

     F26  "Othello as a Representative Shaksperean Tragedy" [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections.   1 item (25 pp.)

     F27  "The Plan of a Course in the History of English Literature"  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (9 pp.)

     F28  "Poetry: Old and New"  1939: February 25. 
          Ts with autograph corrections.  For the Alumni of Delaware College.  
          1 item (7 pp.)

     F29  "Reading as Recreation"  September 1926 and October 1928.
          Autograph with revisions for the 1928 presentation.  Given to the 1926 and 1928
          freshmen classes at the University of Delaware.   1 item (14 pp.)

     F30  "Robert Louis Stevenson"  1906: November 26 (New Century Club, Newark,
          Delaware), 1906: November 28 (Teachers at Institute), and 1907: April 9 (New
          Century Club, Dover, Delaware).
          Autograph with corrections and revisions.  1 item (27 pp.)

     F31  "The Short Story"  1941: November 9.
          Ts with autograph revisions and corrections.  English Department, Radio
          Broadcast with A. H. Able III and E.    Hudson Long.  1 item (17 pp.)

     F32  "The Significance of Tennyson's `Ulysses'"  [n.d.].
          Autograph and Ts.  1 item (12 pp.)

     F33  "Some Observations on Literature in School and College"   1939: October 27.
          Ts.  1 item (9 pp.)

2
          Series II.  Addresses and lectures (cont'd)

     F34  "Some Thoughts About Education"  [1917].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  Commencement address for Newark High School. 
           1 item (12 pp.)

     F35  "A True State University"  1925: March 24.
          Ts with autograph note.  Printed in the Delaware Alumni Journal.  Volume 1,
          number 1 (April 1926).  1 item (2 pp.)

     F36  "The Woman's College and Delaware College"  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and additions.  1 item (5 pp.)

     F37  [Untitled]  [n.y.]: December 9.
          Ts with autograph corrections and additions.  Remarks at a Luncheon of a
          Dramatic Conference.  1 item (6 pp.)

     F38  [Untitled]  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  Commencement address at the University of
          Delaware.  1 item (10 pp.)

 3
          Series III.  Curses Loud and Deep
               This unpublished anthology of literary maledictions includes publication
               correspondence and the text of the proposed volume. 

     F39  Publication correspondence, 1951-1956.
          TLSs and TL (carbon).  Includes correspondence from Alfred A. Knopf and other
          editors of Knopf; other publishers, letters from George Messersmith to Sypherd,
          John A. Perkins, and H. Rodney Sharp; and carbons of responses from Sypherd. 
          Letters in late 1955 refer to Sypherd's death.  63 items (98 pp.)

     F40  Preliminary material:  Title Page, Table of Contents, and Bibliography
          Autograph and Ts with autograph corrections and revisions.  4 items (34 pp.)

     F41  Introduction
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (9 pp.)

     F42  Chapters: Earliest Times, The Bible, Greek and Roman Literature, and The
          Medieval Era
          Autograph and Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (80 pp.)

     F43  Chapter: The Modern World
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (144 pp.)

     F44  Chapter: Ecclesiastical
          Ts with autograph revisions and corrections.  1 item (90 pp.)

     F45  Chapters: Book Curses and Curses from Folk Lore
          Ts with autograph revisions and corrections.  2 items (32 pp.)

4
          Series IV.  The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
               Material related to an unpublished typescript copy of The Prologue of The
               Ring and the Book as edited by Wilbur Owen Sypherd with interpolations
               from the other eleven books.  Includes Ts and printed material.

     F46  Preliminary material  [1956]
          Table of Contents, Preface, and Title Page.  Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item
          (11 pp.)

     F47  Introduction  [1956].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (31 pp.)

     F48  Text of the Prologue, pages 1-50 [1956]. 
           Printed text with Ts and autograph additions and corrections.  1 item (50 pp.)

     F49  Text of the Prologue, pages 51-100 [1956].
          Printed Text with Ts and autograph additions and corrections.  1 item (50 pp.)

     F50  Text of the Prologue pages 101-144. [1956].
          Printed text with Ts and autograph additions and corrections.  1 item (44 pp.)

     F51  Footnotes [1956].
           Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (11 pp.)

5
          Series V.  Famous Horses in Sculpture, Literature and Life.
               This collection of Ts, negatives, and photographs related to an
               unpublished manuscript written by Sypherd is undated.

     F52  Part I:  The Four Horses of St. Marks in Venice [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections, negatives, and photographs.  19 items (37 pp.)

     F53  Part II:  Famed Sculpture Horses Through the Ages [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and photographs.  4 items (23 pp.)

     F54  Part III:  Famous Horses in Myth, Legend, Folktales, and Romantic Fiction 
          [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections.  1 item (28 pp.)

     F55  Part IV:  Famous Horses in Real Life
          Autograph.  1 item (22 pp.)


5
          Series VI.  A Dramatization of The Book of Job by W. O. Sypherd and Finley
               Foster
               An original play based on the Book of Job.
 
     F56  1935: November 7
          Ts with autograph corrections and signed on the title page by Sypherd.  Includes a
          list of the cast added in autograph by Sypherd.  An original play based on the
          biblical Book of Job.  1 item (37 pp.)


          Series VII.  Poems I Like: A Series of Readings From English and American
               Poets by Wilbur Owen Sypherd
               A collection of poetry selected by Sypherd.

     F57  [n.d.].
          Ts with autograph corrections and revisions by Sypherd.  Includes a table of
          contents and the original text of the poems.  1 item (125 pp.)

 6
          Series VIII.  [Jephthah Pictures] collected by W. O. Sypherd
  
     F58-      Includes 21 photographs or printed pictures of various depictions of the Biblical   
     59   character, Jephthah and/or his daughter depicted in art and literature.  Also
          includes one photograph of George Buchanan.   21 items (21 pp.)


          Series IX.  Miscellaneous Manuscripts Related to Research Projects by
               Sypherd
               Includes "Definitions of Cola" and research gathered concerning the
               Alexis I. Dupont School District.

     F60  "Definitions of Cola" 1940. 
          Ts (carbon) with some autograph corrections, TLS, and TL (carbon).  This
          research was requested by the Wilmington, Delaware, lawyer, Hugh M. Morris, in
          his TLS of July 28, 1940 to Sypherd.  Sypherd was also requested to testify in
          the Court of Chancery of Delaware based on this research.  Also included is a TL
          (carbon) from Sypherd to Morris describing his research and listing his expenses. 
          Items are bound together.  3 items (45 pp.)

     F61  Research related to Alexis I. Dupont School District [194?].
          Ts, Ts (carbon), photocopies, and transcripts.  Includes information gathered by
          Sypherd related to the school district.  Includes copies of particular laws, statutes,
          maps, and tax statements related to the Alexis I. Dupont School District. 
          Contained together in binder.  8 items (20 pp.)
6
          Series X.  In Memoriam W. O. S. before the Literary Fellowship,
               Philadelphia, February 10, 1956.  
               A memorial statement for Sypherd as prepared and delivered by A. H.
               Able.

     F62  "In Memoriam"  1956: February 10.
           Ts with autograph title and signed by Able.  Contained in binder.  1 item      (5 pp.)
  
                            Appendix A


List of names identified in the correspondence series:

Alderson, William H.
Alexander, Howard B.
Allen, Alvan
Barnard, Daniel P.
Boggs, J. Caleb, The Honorable
Brower, Cardelle Williams
Brower, Shirley
Brown, Carlislie
Brown, W. B.
Buck, C. Douglass, The Honorable
Burton, A. Wayne
Carlson, William S. (UD President)
Christie, Sarah
Clash, Charles W.
Coffin, John M., Dr.
Cole, H. R.
Cooper, Julius H., Jr.
Crosman, Ellen H.
Cullimore, Allan R.
Cummings, Francis J.
Donohue, Mark N.
Dougherty, David M.
duPont, Pierre S.  (Kane, Margaret S.)
Else, Frank L.
Ferguson, DeLancey
Foster, Finley
Fountain, Alvin M.
Fox, Raymond A.
French, Richard W.
Fuller, H. deW.
Gause, Francis Gregory, Mrs.
Gray, William B.
Grier, Albert O. H.
Groves, John Stuart
Grubb, Charles E.
Hancock, Robert W.
Hayward, Nathan, Jr.
Homewood, 
Houchin, Arthur S.
Hudson, George H.
Jackson, Arthur J.
Jones, Frank M.

List of names identified in the correspondence series (cont'd)

Jones, Joseph Holton
Kane, Margaret S.
Kerslake, Myra J.
Kirby, William L.
Klemm, Franziska
Knopf, Alfred A.
Knopf, Blanche W.
Kronacher, Alwin
Lang, G. Millard
Lawton, Nellie P.
LeBoutillier, Cornelia
Lenderman, Calvin S
Lockwood, George I.
Loose, Harry W.
Loudis, Anthony J.
MacAllen, W. M.
Marshall, Thomas F.
Martin, E. William
McAuliffe, Edward J.
McConnell & Breiden
McElwee, I. R.
McMillan, J. Gordon
Messersmith, George S.
Messick, Charles P.
Millington, George Pancoast
Mitchell, J. Harry
Mitchell, Samuel C.
Moore, Leslie W.
Morrill, J. L., (President, University of Minnesota)
Munroe, John A.
Norwood, Polly Faith
O'Daniel, John W., Major General
Osinski, Leon 
Owens, Linden G.
Papperman, Gustav A.
Pool, F. R.
Powell, John H.
Prettyman, J. A.
Price, Frederick S.
Price, J. F.
Reynolds, Irving
Richards, Robert H.
Rodney, Marian
Schaefer, Charles J., Jr.
Schaefer, J. H.
Sechler, Robert P.

List of names identified in the correspondence series (cont'd)

Shapiro, Samuel
Sharp, H. Rodney
Shockley, W. S.
Short, Oliver C.
Smith, J. Henry
Smith, Julian C.
Smith, Wilbur M.
Smithson, Elizabeth
Squire, F. H., Dean
Steele, Marion H.
Steele, Vernon (Secretary, Council of Newark)
Syford, Ethel
Sypherd, Walter Howard
Tammany, 
Taylor, Roland W.
Triggs, Terry (Willard R.)
Vaudrin, Philip
Wade, C. Norman
Wagner, E. C.
Wharton, W. R. M.
Whitenack, Betty
Williams, John J., The Honorable
Wills, Theodore O. M.
Wilson, Ethel
Wilson, H. L.
Wilson, Lawrence
Wingett, William F.
Wolf, Robert B.
Wyatt, C. A.
Y., K.



                            Appendix B


List of Items Transferred from the Delaware Collection


"Definitions of Cola" by W. O. Sypherd.    Del PE 1599 .C6 S95

"Research Related to Alexis I. DuPont School District" by W. O.
     Sypherd.     Del LA 253 .A43 S94

"In Memoriam W. O. S. Before the Literary Fellowship, 
     Philadelphia, February 10, 1956" by A. H. Able.  Del CT 275
     .S984 A63.

"A Dramatization of the Book of Job" by W. O. Sypherd and Finley
     Foster.    Del BS 1415 .S95.

"Poems I Like: A Series of Readings From English and American
     Poets" by W. O. Sypherd.     Del PN 6101 .S94.

[Jephthah Pictures] as collected by W. O. Sypherd. 
      Del BS 1205.5 .S95.
 
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