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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.

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)
Related Names
Gould Adams Scratton, B. M. (Bride M.)
Language of Materials