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David Hunter Strother, Artist, Artwork and Papers

 Collection
Collection Number: A&M 2894

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, memorabilia, photographs, journals, drawings, and sketchbooks of a nineteenth century illustrator and writer for Harpers Magazine whose pseudonym, "Porte Crayon", was a household word. Other highlights of his career, all of which are reflected in this collection, are authorship of Virginia Illustrated (1857) and Charleston and its Resources (1878), his work as illustrator for Blackwater Chronicle (1853), service during the Civil War as a Union officer, stint as a newspaper editor, and Consul-Generalship to Mexico (1879-1885). According to Strother's biographer, Cecil D. Eby Jr., his writings linked the two traditions of literature in the south, "the genteel romanticism of the sentimental novelists and the earthy realism of the frontier humorists." In 1872-1875 Strother wrote The Mountains, which Eby considers the first important presentation of West Virginia in literature. The collection includes roughly 590 drawings and sketches, 44 volumes of journals, and several boxes of correspondence.

This collection is organized into thirteen series, including:
Series 1. Journals; 1840-1888; boxes 1-6 and reels 1-4
Series 2. Manuscripts and Correspondence; 1778-1925, undated; boxes 7-9
Series 3. Oversize; 1798-1882, undated; box 10
Series 4. Sketchbooks; 1843-1887; undated; boxes 11, 13-15
Series 5. Artwork by Others; 1858-1909; undated; box 12
Series 6. Artworks; 1833-1887, undated; undated; boxes 16-25
Series 7. Framed Original Artworks; 1844-1887, undated; boxes 26-41 and 3 framed items
Series 8. Framed Facsimiles; 1845-1859, undated; boxes 42-49
Series 9. Exhibit; ca. 1996; boxes 50-53
Series 10. Newspapers; 1795-1887; box 54
Series 11. Addendum of 2015/06/13, undated
Series 12. Addendum of 2007/02/08, 1862-1970
Series 13. Addendum of 2021/06/04, undated

Dates

  • 1744-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1833-1887

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Special access restriction applies. Also, we encourage researchers interested in the journals to use the microfilm copies when possible to preserve the integrity of the fragile originals.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Extent

14.92 Linear Feet (Summary: 14 ft. 11 in. (3 document cases, 2.5 in. each); (9 document cases, 5 in. each); (2 large flat storage boxes, 3.5 in. each); (11 small flat storage boxes, 3 in. each); (23 large flat storage boxes, 3 in. each); (5 large flat storage boxes, 2.5 in. each); (3 flat storage boxes, 1.5 in. each); (4 folders, 0.5 in.); 4 reels of microfilm; 3 framed paintings.)

Language

English

Overview

Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, memorabilia, photographs, journals, drawings, and sketchbooks of David Hunter Strother (1816-1888), a nineteenth century illustrator and writer for Harpers Magazine whose pseudonym, "Porte Crayon", was a household word. Other highlights of his career, all of which are reflected in this collection, are authorship of Virginia Illustrated (1857) and Charleston and its Resources (1878), his work as illustrator for Blackwater Chronicle (1853), service during the Civil War as a Union officer, stint as a newspaper editor, and Consul-Generalship to Mexico (1879-1885). According to Strother's biographer, Cecil D. Eby Jr., his writings linked the two traditions of literature in the south, "the genteel romanticism of the sentimental novelists and the earthy realism of the frontier humorists." In 1872-1875 Strother wrote The Mountains, which Eby considers the first important presentation of West Virginia in literature. The collection includes roughly 590 drawings and sketches, 44 volumes of journals, and several boxes of correspondence. An addendum of 2015/06/13 includes one drawing. An addendum of 2007/02/08 includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, announcements, and photographs regarding Strother and related families of the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia. An addendum of 2021/06/04 contains an abridged transcription by Cecil D. Eby Jr., of Strother's diary, 1879-1880, when Strother was General Consul to Mexico. For contents of the addenda and link to the digital collection: Drawings of David Hunter Strother, please see the Scope and Content Note.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL: https://wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu/

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series 1-10: Acquired from Strother, John, 1986/12/20
Series 11: Purchase, Zamboni and Huntington, 2015/06/13
Series 12: Acquired, source unidentified, 2007/02/08
Series 13: Acquired, source unidentified, 2021/06/04

Separated Materials

Separated to A&M 435, Rare Signatures: letter, dated March 6, 1796, to Col. David Hunter of Berkeley County, Va., from John Marshall (subsequently Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court) regarding a dispute over land ownership.

Separated to A&M 435, Rare Signatures: commission, dated March 11, 1862, to David H. Strother, from Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton regarding officer's commission, appointing David H. Strother as "Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, with the rank of Captain."

Separated to A&M 435, Rare Signatures: commission, dated April 9, 1866, to David H. Strother, from Andrew Johnson and Edwin Stanton regarding officer's commission, appointing David H. Strother as "Brigadier General."
Title
David Hunter Strother, Artist, Artwork and Papers
Author
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

Contact:
1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US
304-293-3536