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Arthur Llewellyn Griffiths papers

Call Number: MS 1352

Scope and Contents

The Arthur L. Griffiths Papers consist of writings by Griffiths, which he gave to the library during the period 1928-1944. Most of the writings concern his early adventures as an educator, official, and explorer in the Philippines in 1901-1903. Two-thirds of the collection is taken up by a manuscript draft of his memoirs, Wild Days in the Philippines, sent to Yale in 1944 after Griffiths completed a typescript version. Concerning this work he wrote to the librarian:

This takes in my personal adventures of forty years ago and closes with a perhaps spiritual reference to Bataan and Corregidor under the title heading of "The Crucible of Bataan and Corregidor". The final chapter has the heading, "The Star Spangled Banner Floats Forever"; this also in a highly thrilling and spiritual sense.

I put so much of my very soul into the writing of this book, and was so harrowed by recalling the past thrilling experiences, that I suffered from a "nervous stomach" for almost two years, and was carried to the hospital three times.

I wrote it out in pencil before I typewrote it and the pencil writing took up 37 pencil pads 9 by 13 inches, or 1,514 pages. I have every reason to believe that the book will have a wide circulation and be produced in the moving pictures.

There are, in fact, 39 pads as Griffiths prepared another draft of the final chapter.

Griffiths also wrote a memoir of Herbert Lucker, one of his co-appointees under the U.S. Philippine Commission in 1901. He sent a copy of it to the Alumni Records Office, and an electrostatic copy has been added to the collection.

The writings in the collection are all drafts of transcriptions; nothing is printed, and many items are not in final form. But in his letters to the library and the Alumni Records Office, Griffiths frequently expressed the hope that some of them would soon be published; and in 1951 he withdrew the manuscripts of three novels (Dageet: A Romance of the Head Hunter Mountains, Hell's Eden, and Jean Laurie) to send them to his literary agent. His only book-length publications, however, were Wild Scottish Clans and Bonnie Prince Charlie (1910), and One Wonderful Rose (1920), a novel co-authored with his second wife, Bertha J. (Weeks) Knowlton Griffiths. His Yale poem, Lux et Veritas with music by Leonard M. Thomas, appeared in Songs of Yale, and his The Blue of Eli Yale in the Yale Alumni Magazine. His poems Katahdin and The Pine Cone were published as broadsides (1927), and the latter was considered for adoption as Maine's state poem. He also wrote articles on the Philippine insurrection, which appeared in The Arena, (1904) and Pine Tree Magazine(1907), and on the Scottish clan system.

Many of the writings were on deteriorating paper. The collection was microfilmed and the originals discarded.


  • 1926-1944


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. The collectrion is available only on microfilm, patrons must request Film HM 152 for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for 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 Arthur L. Griffiths, 1933.


2 Reels (2144 frames)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Memoirs, stories, poems, a novel and essays by Griffiths based on his experiences in the Philippines, where he served under Governor-General William Howard Taft from 1901-1903. Also included is a memoir about Herbert Lucker, another Yale graduate, who served with Griffiths in the Philippines, but died in 1902.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur L. Griffiths was the son of Charles W. and Emma Brown Knight (Gregory) Griffiths. After a year at Bowdoin, he entered Yale as a sophomore and graduated in 1901. In that year Yale alumnus William Howard Taft, then Governor-General of the Philippines, asked Yale to select three men to work in the Philippines to establish an educational system. Griffiths was one of the three chosen; the others were Herbert Lucker (Sheffield Scientific School, 1901) and Walter Gilliam (Yale Graduate School, ex-1900). They were stationed in different parts of the Philippines, working under the U.S. Philippine Commission. (During the first year, Lucker died of Asiatic cholera and Gilliam of smallpox.) Griffiths, in addition to his educational responsibilities, accompanied a Government Exploring Expedition in search of gold and was captured for a time by head hunters. In 1902 he was appointed Lietenant-Governor of the Province of Lepanto-Bontoc and was later sent to the Sulu Archipelago, were he abolished slavery.

He returned to the United States in 1903. After receiving an M.A. from Yale in 1905, Griffiths held a variety of jobs in New England in brokerage and banking, and numerous small companies. He was married twice and had two sons.

Guide to the Arthur Llewellyn Griffiths Papers
Under Revision
compiled by John Espy
October 1982
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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