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Katherine Mayo papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 345

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, diaries, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, research materials, and miscellanea documenting the personal life and literary career of Katherine Mayo, an author of several historical and investigative articles, essays, and books from 1896-1940.

Correspondence files document the detailed literary research Mayo conducted, and the strong public reaction generated by her writings. This is particularly true for the books: Justice to All (1917), The Isles of Fear (1925), and Mother India (1927). Diaries provide sporadic information on the daily activities of Mayo, while her writings include drafts of many works. Photographs and research materials further detail the foreign travels (South America, India, the Philippine Islands) and subsequent literary works produced by Mayo. Scrapbooks contain reviews and commentary relating to Mayo's publications. The papers provide information on such diverse topics as life in India, the Philippine Islands, and South America; the Pennsylvania State Police; George Washington; the Y.M.C.A. during World War I; war veterans of World War I; and the narcotics trade.

The Katherine Mayo Papers (27.50 linear ft.) are arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1898-1968; II. Diaries, 1886-1955; III. Essays and Newspaper Articles, 1890-1941; IV. Books, 1917-1940; and V. Photographs and Miscellanea, 1835-1940.
Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, 1898-1968, is arranged in chronological order and contains the incoming correspondence of Katherine Mayo (1898-1940) and M. Moyca Newell (ca. 1910-1968). The bulk of correspondence pertains to Katherine Mayo, and specificially her literary work on such books as Justice to All (1917), The Standard Bearers (1918), Mounted Justice (1922), Isles of Fear (1925), Mother India (1927), and Soldiers, What Next? (1934). Letters from publishers and individuals who read Mayo's works are included in this series.

Letters relating to Mayo's most familiar work, Mother India (1927), include correspondence from government figures in India, Great Britain, and the United States. This work elicited international comment and controversy, and both praise and condemnation, for its detailed view of Indian society. An earlier work by Mayo, Isles of Fear (1925), which examined life in the Philippine Islands, created a similar although less vocal reaction, as did her writings on the New York and Pennsylvania state police forces: Justice to All (1917), The Standard Bearers (1918), and Mounted Justice (1922). Soldiers, What Next?, published in 1934, also engendered a degree of controversy, as Mayo openly criticized the treatment of military veterans in the United States.

Prior to Mayo's success as a literary figure she was employed by Oswald Garrison Villard to conduct extensive field research for his biography of John Brown. Letters from Villard (ca. 1907-1913) detail Mayo's exhaustive research and include his encouragement regarding her own literary career. Letters from Harvard University's Peabody Museum and the Entomological News of Philadelphia (ca. 1900-1907) concern Mayo's work for those organizations. She lived with her father in South America during the early 1900s, and contracted to collect Indian relics and insect specimens.

Series II, DIARIES, 1886-1955, contains several volumes of diaries maintained by Katherine Mayo and M. Moyca Newell from 1886-1955. The diaries offer few insights into the thoughts of Mayo and Newell; rather, these volumes tend to briefly summarize the appointments and activities of a particular year or years.

Series III, ESSAYS AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, 1890-1941, contains drafts and printed copies of many of Mayo's first literary works. Mayo's work was published in such popular magazines and journals of the day as: Atlantic Monthly, Scribner's, The Outlook, and Nash's. Many of these essays formed the foundation (or an actual component) of Mayo's books.

Series IV, BOOKS, 1917-1939, contains manuscripts, notes, and photographs used in the research and writing of Mayo's books. Scrapbooks containing book reviews and speaking engagements are also arranged in this series. Several scrapbooks for Mother India (1927), in boxes thirty-seven through forty-one, document the widespread attention that book received.

Series V, PHOTOGRAPHS AND MISCELLANEA, 1835-1940, contains personal photographs of Mayo, including several portraits. Miscellanea includes a variety of ephemera, such as an autograph book; an account book of James Mayo, Katherine's father, dated 1835-1838; and a piece of the rope allegedly used to hang John Brown.

The Mayo Papers were donated to Yale University Library by M. Moyca Newell, 1951-1962, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Meade, 1962.

Dates

  • 1835-1968
  • Majority of material found within 1918 - 1940

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of M. Moyca Newell, 1951-1962, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Meade, 1962.

Arrangement

Arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1898-1968. II. Diaries, 1886-1955. III. Essays and Newspaper Articles, 1890-1941. IV. Books, 1917-1940. V. Photographs and Miscellanea, 1835-1940.

Extent

27.5 Linear Feet (69 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0345

Overview

Correspondence, diaries, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, research materials, and miscellanea documenting the personal life and literary career of Katherine Mayo, an author of several historical and investigative articles, essays, and books from 1896 to 1940. Correspondence files document the detailed literary research Mayo conducted and the strong public reaction generated by her writings. This is particularly true for such works as Justice to All (1917), The Isles of Fear (1925), and Mother India (1927). Diaries provide sporadic information on the daily activities of Mayo, while writings include drafts of many works. Photographs and research materials further detail the foreign travels (South America, India, Philippines) and subsequent literary works produced by Mayo. Scrapbooks contain reviews and commentary relating to Mayo's publications. The papers provide information on such diverse such diverse topics as life in India, the Philippine Islands, and South America; the Pennsylvania State Police; George Washington; the Y.M.C.A. during World War I; war veterans of World War I; and the narcotics trade.

Biographical / Historical

Katherine Mayo was born in Ridgeway, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 1867. She died in Bedford Hills, New York, on October 9, 1940. Mayo published several articles, essays, and books based on her travels and literary investigations from 1896-1938, including works on India and World War I. Mayo published articles in the New York Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly, and Scribner's Magazine, sometimes under the pen name Katherine Prence. She assisted Oswald Garrison Villard in the preparation of John Brown (1910), and Horace White in the preparation of Life of Lyman Trumbull (1913). Mayo wrote Justice to All (1917), The Standard Bearers (1918), That Damn Y (1920), Mounted Justice (1922), The Isles of Fear (1925), Mother India (1927), Volume II (1931), Slaves of the Gods (1929), Soldiers, What Next? (1934), The Face of Mother India (1935), and General Washington's Dilemma (1938). She was researching a book on the narcotics traffic at the time of her death. Mayo travelled extensively to research her literary topics, often in the company of her close friend and collaborator, M. Moyca Newell.
Title
Guide to the Katherine Mayo Papers
Author
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr.
Date
February 1984
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)