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Fielding Hudson Garrison Papers 1910-1957
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Collection Scope and Content Note


While a prolific historian and outstanding biographer in his own right, Garrison apparently had little sense of the potential historical interest in his own correspondence and papers. In response to a request from Mrs. Leroy Crummer in 1934 for copies of her husband's correspondence with Garrison, he replied that, when "faced with the dire necessity of moving tons of unbound paper to Baltimore when I came over here, I made short work of it." He had offprints of his publications bound, but as for his personal correspondence, only a few volumes of letters were similarly preserved. He described these as "mainly autograph items," mostly from European celebrities. A list of the volumes which Garrison had bound is attached to a letter from J.H. Bryson. The first nine volumes in the list were letters; the remainder are publications.

The National Library of Medicine has received three of the volumes of letters from Garrison's daughters (see below). At least two other volumes were loaned by one of the daughters to a scholar who lost them during a move. A sixth volume, described as "Mencken Letters," is believed to be in the possession of one of Garrison's grandchildren. The location of the other three volumes of letters is unknown.

Franz L. Tietsch, a witness to Garrison's will, noted in a 1941 letter to Dr. Judson B. Gilbert that Garrison "declined to make provisions for the disposal of his books, papers and sundry writings," and that Mrs. Garrison then disposed of much of it after his death. The materials in the Fielding H. Garrison collection in the National Library of Medicine therefore have been assembled from a variety of different sources. The original provenance and order of the material, however, has been retained whenever possible within the collection. An index at the end of the finding guide makes it possible to identify material from an individual correspondent in any of the four series which make up the collection.

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