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Bride Scratton/Peter Whigham papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 179

Scope and Contents

The Bride Scratton/Peter Whigham Papers contain correspondence, writings and personal papers documenting aspects of the lives and careers of Bride Scratton and her nephew by marriage Peter Whigham. The papers span the dates 1894-1966 and have been organized into two series: I. Bride Scratton Papers; and II. Peter Whigham Papers.

Series I, Bride Scratton Papers , is housed in Box 1 and is organized into three subseries: Correspondence; Writings; and Personal Papers.

The first subseries, Correspondence, is housed in folders 1-24 and is arranged into General Correspondence; Transcripts of Letters to "R;" and Third Party Correspondence. General Correspondence is alphabetically arranged by correspondent. Most correspondents are represented by one or two letters. An undated letter from A. B. Bruce praises Bride's "courage;" letters from Ana Berry, Peter Jones Ltd., Oreste Sinanide and G. R. Todd concern employment. Folder 6 contains a letter from the War Office on Ned Scratton's Army record.

Bride's letters from Ezra Pound are located in folders 12-17. There are only two surviving letters written before her divorce, both undated. One of these, apparently dating from late 1921, mentions Dorothy Pound's recent hospitalization and complains that Bride has left Paris: "And dearest and belovedest you are such a fool. You go on diddle dancing on the edge of the crater. I wish you hadn't gone, and I wish you were already on your way back, only it's too much hoping. I love you."

The remaining Pound letters date from 1930 to 1955. All address her as "Thiy," a "secret name" given by Pound to Bride in imitation of the troubadour custom. The 1930s letters, located in folders 14-16, contain some personal comments. "Dreamt of you last night in Milan, if that news is elevating to your immoral," Pound teased in early 1931. Her financial struggles are a recurrent topic: a 1936 letter congratulates her on being "now free economically without which is no freedom." A letter of 19 January 1936 offers advice and assistance to her in publishing a collection of short stories. Other topics include his progress on the Cantos; his political and economic preoccupations; numerous suggestions for Bride's reading; and a projected visit by her to Rapallo. The final 1930s letter was a lunch invitation sent during Pound's 1938 London sojourn.

Letters written during Pound's years at St. Elizabeth's are found in folder 17. Pound repeatedly asks for "the story of yr/life for past 9 years;" suggests political and economic reading material; and comments on recent publications by his visitors in Washington. The only letter in the collection by Dorothy Pound was also written during this time and contains news of Pound and her negative estimate of the United States (folder 11).

Folder 22 contains typed transcripts of letters to "R," identified by Michael Scratton as "copies of letters apparently from mother to E. P." in which names have been changed. The letters, which seem to have been written soon after Bride's divorce, discuss her travel to Capri and return to England; her thoughts on English life and society; her upbringing; mutual friends and acquaintances; and "R's" marital situation. Bride also comments on her "ambiguous position" as a divorcee "having no lover waiting to marry me. My adventures began too late" and her decision to settle in England rather than in Paris.

Third Party Correspondence contains one letter from Ned Scratton to his brother Guy and one 1926 letter from Gwen Stabler Scratton to Guy Scratton. Written shortly after Ned Scratton's death, the letter discusses her feelings on losing custody custody of Bride's and Ned's children and describes the "bed-sitting room" with "awful furniture" in which Bride was then living.

The subseries Writings is located in folders 25-45. The first section, Writings of Bride Scratton, contains mostly typescripts and carbon typescripts of articles, sketches, and short stories written by Scratton in the 1920s. Several of these are autobiographical in nature, including "The Obsequies," "A Philanderer," and "Uncle Bertram." Folder 30 contains "Lavinia's Christmas Journey," a text written to accompany a slide show on art written during Scratton's employment by the Art League. The second section, Writings of Ezra Pound, contains annotated and corrected typescripts of Cantos XXVIII, XXIX, and XXX.

Personal Papers include certified copies of Scratton's marriage certificate and divorce decree; photographs of Bride Scratton, Constantin Brancusi, Ezra Pound and Mrs. Victor Rickard; and "Notes on my mother, Bride Scratton," a manuscript by her son Michael.

Series II, Peter Whigham Papers , is located in Boxes 2-3 and has been organized into three subseries: Peter Whigham Correspondence; Writings of Peter Whigham; Writings of Others. Peter Whigham Correspondence, which is alphabetically arranged, contains carbons of letters by Whigham and some original replies to him. Correspondence with Margaret Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Baron and Baroness Freytag von Loringhoven, Eugene Jolas, and archivists in Paris and Berlin concerns Whigham's proposed collection of the "literary remains" of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Other letters, including those of Betty Radice of Penguin Press, discuss Whigham's translations of Catullus. A 1962 letter from Florence Williams gives Whigham permission to dedicate his translation to William Carlos Williams.

The subseries Writings of Peter Whigham is alphabetically arranged by title and includes two folders of draft and collected research material for "The Baroness," Whigham's unfinished work on von Freytag-Loringhoven; typescripts and carbon typescripts of "Ezra Pound" and other articles and BBC scripts; corrected galley proofs of Clear Lake Comes From Enjoyment; and extensive notes, corrected typescript, and mock-up sheets for The Poems of Catullus. The subseries Writings of Others, alphabetically arranged by author, contains copies of BBC scripts on Ezra Pound by Michael Alexander and Denis Goacher; a translation of a Raffaelo Carrieri poem; and two unidentified typescripts, one of which concerns Pound.

Restricted Fragile material is housed in Box 4.


  • 1894-1966


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Bride Scratton/Peter Whigham Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Peter Whigham, 1966.


1.46 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains correspondence, writings and personal papers of Bride Scratton and of Peter Whigham, her nephew by marriage. The Scratton papers include letters from Ezra Pound to Scratton discussing their personal relationship, her writings, and Pound's social and political theories; manuscripts and typescripts of short stories and descriptive sketches by Scratton and typescript carbons of three Cantos by Pound; and a small amount of personal papers, including a copy of Scratton's divorce decreee and biographical notes on her by her son Michael.
The Peter Whigham papers contain correspondence concerning Whigham's planned biography of the poet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and manuscripts and typescripts of poems, translations, and radio scripts by Whigham.


Evelyn St. Bride Mary Goold-Adams was born in Shoeburyness, Essex on September 9, 1882, the only daughter of Evelyn Wynne Goold-Adams and Captain Francis Michael Goold-Adams, Assistant Superintendent of Experiments at the Royal Army's Gunnery School. Goold-Adams was killed in 1885 when a shell exploded prematurely, and Evelyn's mother remarried shortly thereafter and moved with her daughter to London. Bride attended a finishing school in Fontainebleau, was presented at Court, and met Edward ("Ned") Blackburn Scratton during one of her visits to Tulloch Lodge, owned by Sir Henry Oldham. She and Ned Scratton, an avid golfer who had inherited Prittlewell Priory in Essex, were married at St. Peter's Kensington on May 4, 1905.

The Scrattons settled first at Prittlewell Priory, and later moved to York. The couple had four children, the eldest of whom, a daughter, was diagnosed with mental retardation at an early age and raised apart from the rest of the family. Scratton served with the 1st Devon Yeomanry during World War I and saw service at Gallipoli; Bride was a volunteer at one of the military hospitals in York. In 1917, after Scratton demobilized, the family moved to Oxford, where Bride became friends with the novelist Mrs. Victor Rickard, who introduced her to Ezra Pound.

The Scrattons' marriage was troubled, and they seem to have lived apart after the war. Bride visited Paris, where the Pounds were living, in 1921 and again in 1922. In 1923 she visited Italy, likewise while Pound was there. In later years she remembered sitting with Pound and Eliot in a café in Verona, an incident said to be recalled in several lines of Canto LXXVIII. ("....So we sat there by the arena,/outside, Thiy and il decaduto.....")

Ned Scratton received a judgement of divorce on the grounds of adultery and custody of the couple's children in October 1923. Ezra Pound was the named co-respondent. Three weeks after the judgement, Ned Scratton married Gwen Stabler, whom he had met in Scarborough in the preceding year.

Bride moved to London and worked at a series of jobs, including saleswoman at Peter Jones, Ltd. and at the Claridge Gallery. She also wrote several short stories and articles. England, a collection of country house sketches, was published by Three Mountains Press in 1923, and her short story "Uncle Bertram" appeared in the February 1924 issue of Transatlantic Review. She became a Christian Scientist during this period.

Ned Scratton died of tuberculosis in May 1926 and Bride regained custody of her children over the objections of his widow and of the Scratton family. In 1929 the family moved to Cambridge, where she became a registered guide with the British Travel and Holiday Association; participated in amateur theatricals; and was Branch Secretary of the local chapter of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She remained in occasional touch with Pound; her niece, Jean Scratton, married Peter Whigham, who became a close friend of the Pounds in the 1950s.

Bride Scratton died of cancer in Cambridge on May 6, 1964.

PETER WHIGHAM, 1925-1982

Peter George Whigham, translator and poet, was born in Oxford and held a variety of jobs during his early career, including gardener, actor, and reporter for a Welsh newspaper. In 1949, while teaching at Worth Priory, he met and married fellow teacher Jean Scratton, a niece of Bride Scratton.

During the 1950s Whigham continued to teach, began to write poetry, and made contact with Ezra Pound, then confined at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the Insane. His interest in Pound was reflected in a series of BBC scripts he coauthored, including "Cathay" and "On Democracy." With Denis Goacher, another Pound disciple, Whigham edited Pound's translation of Women of Trachis (1956); produced a joint collection of poems, Clear Lake Comes from Enjoyment (1959); and published The Marriage Rite: Catullus, Rimbaud (1960), which contained Whigham's earliest translation of Catullus.

After Pound's release from St. Elizabeth's, the Whigham family visited him in Italy and settled at Castel Brünnenburg at the invitation of Mary de Rachewiltz, Pound's daughter. In 1966 Whigham published The Poems of Catullus; he and his family left Italy in the following year and settled in California. After an appointment as visiting lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Whigham joined the comparative literature department at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, where he taught until his death.

The Whighams separated shortly after their arrival in Santa Barbara, and Whigham married Priscilla Minn in 1969. During the next two decades, Whigham published several collections of original poems, translations from Latin poets, including Martial and Juvenal, and an edition of The Music of the Troubadours (1980). His Things Common, Properly: Selected Poems 1942-1982 was published by Black Swan Press in 1984. Peter Whigham was killed in an automobile accident in Orleans, California on July 6, 1987.

Processing Information

Former call numbers: ZA Pound Whigham; ZA Pound Whigham/Scratton.

Guide to the Bride Scratton/Peter Whigham Papers
Under Revision
by Diane J. Ducharme
October 2003
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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