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William K. Bixby Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Personal papers

Washington University Papers

Burns Club Papers

Autographs and related items

Eugene Field material

John Paul Jones, Commemoration at Annapolis

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William K. Bixby Papers, 1678-1931 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: William K. Bixby Papers, 1678-1931Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1678-1931

ID: MS/MS/ms013

Primary Creator: Bixby, William K., 1857-1931

Extent: 19.0 Boxes

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The William K. Bixby Collection includes a variety of materials, ranging from Bixby's personal correspondence relating to his collecting interests, through his connection with Washington University and the St. Louis Burns Club, and including many items from his manuscript collection.

The correspondence in each series is arranged chronologically. Items in other subseries are arranged alphabetically. The correspondence in Series I relates primarily to Bixby's collecting interests, publication of items in his manuscript collection, and his work on the Capitol Decoration Committee of Missouri, 1921-1927, 681 items. Series II contains items relating to gifts made by Bixby to Washington University, 1913-1927, 66 items. Series III contains items relating to the Burns Club of St. Louis but is in no way a complete archive of the Club's activities or of Bixby's relation to it, 80 items. Series IV contains autograph letters and related documents of notable individuals, primarily of significance in American and English literature and history, 891 items. Series V concerns Eugene Field and includes correspondence, numerous original manuscripts, editorial materials, printed items, and miscellaneous personal items, 281 items. A list of the correspondents included in each series preceeds the section of the register devoted to that series. Included at the end of the register is a list of 15 items relating to John Paul Jones tipped in U.S. Congress. Joint Committee on Printing. John Paul Jones commemoration at Annapolis... (Washington, 1907).

Collection Historical Note

William Keeney Bixby, 1857-1931, was born in Adrian, Michigan, the son of Alonzo Bixby, a lawyer native to Batavia, New York. His father's interest in the South seems to have been a determining factor in his career. The senior Bixby, Adrian's prosecuting attorney, had lived in Texas and fought with the Texas Rangers at Reseca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista. He became intensely Southern in his sympathies and was considered a “copperhead” during the Civil War.

In 1875, after graduation from high school, William Bixby went armed with a letter from Jefferson Davis to the Governor of Texas, a Confederate veteran, who got the sixteen-year-old a job as night watchman and baggageman for the International Great Northern Railroad at Palestine, Texas. An Algerish touch to this story is the part played by the roughly dressed old man who frequently dropped around at night and pestered the boy with apparently idle questions about railroading. Because the boy was courteous and intelligent, at the end of a year the old man revealed himself as H. M. Hoxie, president of the railroad. The result was promotion to the post of general baggage agent in San Antonio for young Bixby. Now he could afford to marry Lillian Tuttle who was visiting her brother in San Antonio, from Bolton, New York. Mr. Hoxie's benign influence was not over. When he became president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the couple moved with him to St. Louis, where Bixby became printing and stationery buyer for all the Gould lines.

After several years in St. Louis, William McMillan, president of the Missouri Car and Foundry Company, offered the rapidly rising young man a still better job. Within the now-traditional year he again attracted signal attention to himself. His employers had made a ruinous contract for the purchase of pig iron and by his direct honesty Bixby renegotiated the contract, making a long-range, profitable ally for his company. At the age of thirty-one he became vice-president and general manager.

Soon the company became such a large factor in freight-car building that it found it advantageous to merge with the Peninsular Car Company, the first step in a series of mergers out of which came the American Car and Foundry Company, of which Bixby became President, and soon thereafter was elected chairman of the board. At the age of forty-eight, in 1905, he retired.

His aesthetic appreciation had always been keen and he was a voracious reader, reading books by the paragraph and the page rather than the sentence. He now devoted himself to collecting books, autographs, and paintings, with the same avidity with which he had pursued his business career.

Inevitably he accumulated duplicates of his books, and, in combination with Henry E. Huntington, he disposed of these by auction in 1916 and 1917. In 1918 he sold his English and American autographs to Huntington. Hardly slowed down, he started collecting again in 1920 and in 1929 sold the new collection to Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach.

Among his better-known treasures were the Mary Wollstonecraft copy of Queen Mab, the manuscripts of Burns's To Mary in Heaven,Kipling's Recessional,Thoreau's Walden,AndrÉ's Journal,Burr's Journal,Reade's The Cloister and the Hearth,Shelley's Note-Books, Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture.

His art collection was no less impressive. It included a fine Rembrandt, several paintings by Corot, a Franz Hals, and a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.

Mr. Bixby was a quiet but vigorous supporter of educational and charitable foundations in St. Louis, Washington University being a particular beneficiary. He was also generous in making available to scholarship his manuscript material. Thus the Bibliophile Society reproduced twenty-eight manuscripts, the Franklin Club of St. Louis reproduced two, the Society of Dofobs of Chicago two, and the Burns Club of St. Louis one. At Christmas he frequently distributed facsimiles of his manuscripts to his friends. The considerable rare book collection at Washington University had its basis in gifts from Mr. Bixby.

After his retirement as Chairman of the Board of the American Car and Foundary Company, Mr. Bixby's life seems to have been fuller than ever. He was a very active director of the St. Louis Union Trust Company. He served for a while as president of the Laclede Gas Company of St. Louis and later, in 1909, as receiver of the Wabash Railroad. From June 1928 to June 1930 he was president of the Washington University Corporation in St. Louis. While president of the City Art Museum he had a large part in persuading the city of St. Louis to set aside a portion of each tax dollar for support of the Museum. When president of the Missouri Historical Society he gave that organization Thomas Jefferson letters, the original Burr-Hamilton correspondence, Eugene Field letters, autograph material relating to the activities of Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. He was a director of the St. Louis Public Library, an original incorporator of the American Red Cross, vice-president of the American Federation of Art, and a director of the National Gallery of Art. He spent part of his time in foreign travel, which included big-game hunting in Africa and lacquer and jade hunting in China. However, most of his time and energy were devoted to the promotion of art, education and literature.

Howard S. Mott

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Gift of William K. Bixby

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 820. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lehmann, April 11, 1967.

Accession number 908. Laid in materials, April 8, 1968.

Accession number 1197. Laid in materials, June 2, 1970.

Accession number 1198. Laid in materials, June 9, 1970.

Accession number 22967. Unknown.

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal papers],
[Series 2: Washington University Papers],
[Series 3: Burns Club Papers],
[Series 4: Autographs and related items],
[Series 5: Eugene Field material],
[Series 6: John Paul Jones, Commemoration at Annapolis, 1906],

Series 1: Personal papersAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 1.1: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Individuals represented in Bixby's personal correspondence include Lawrence F. Abbott, Elmer Bragg Adams, Henry Augustus Brudenall-Bruce, 5th Marquess of Ailesbury, J.R. Aitken, Edwin Anderson Alderman, Charles Dexter Allen, Abram Piatt Andrew, William Loring Andrews, John Dustin Archbold, W.E. Baillie, Baillie's Institution, Erwin S. Barrie, Bernard Quaritch, Firm, John Bianchi, John Shaw Billings, Hiram Bingham, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Henry Stiles Bradley, Ira Hutchinson Brainerd, Clarence Saunders Brigham, William Brown, Adolphus Busch, J.L. Buskett, Wm. C. Buskett, Wm. N.C. Carlton, Andrew Carnegie, Stephen Grover Cleveland, Harris D. Colt, Sidney Colvin, Thomas Augustine Daly, Charles A. Decker, Alice P. DeHasse, Thomas W. Dewing, Franklin Dickey, Wm. K. Dickson, George Francis Dow, H. Rieman Duval, R. Henry W. Dwight, Edmund Henry Eitel, Ezsex Institute, Julia Sutherland Field, Roswell Martin Field, Joseph Wingate Folk, Worthington Chauncey Ford, Harry Buxton Forman, David Rowland Francis, Daniel Chester French, Mrs. Edwin D. French (Mary), Edwin David French, John P. Frieden, Robert Singleton Garnett, Frederick T. Gates, George Jay Gould, Thomas Watt Gregory, Henry Guppy, Frank Wakeley Gunsaulus, Henry Howard Harper, Henri Harpignies, Albert B. Hart, Burton Jesse Hendrick, Henry Sotheran, Firm, Louis Hertle, Walter M. Hill, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Herbert Hoover, David Franklin Houston, Joseph J. Houwink, Elbert Hubbard, Henry E. Huntington, Charles L. Hutchinson, Abraham Jacobi, Francis J.H. Jenkinson, Clare Jerrold, Walter Copeland Jerrold, Geo. S. Johns, Robert Underwood Johnson, Francis W. Kelsey, Charles Welbourne Knapp, M. Knoedler, Firm, Theodore W. Koch, Arthur A. Kocian, Frederick H. Kreismann, John LaFarge, Gardiner Martin Lane, Wm. C. Lane, Henry W. Lanier, Richard H. Lawrence, John Davison Lawson, James Wideman Lee, Frederick Wm. Lehmann, Paul Lemperly, Robert Todd Lincoln, Clarence C. Little, Charles Dealtry Locock, Henry Cabot Lodge, Amy Lowell, John Livingston Lowes, Edward Verrall Lucas, Wm. Gibbs McAdoo, V.F. McCalchy, Wallace MacMullen, Falconer Madan, Edwin Markham, Edward Percival Merritt, Sir Humphrey Summer Milford, Richard E. Miller, Edwin Knox Mitchell, Silas Weir Mitchell, Wm. Samuel Morse, Sir John Murray, John Murison, Charles Nagel, Alfred Edward Newton, Charles Dyer Norton, Sir Wm. Osler, Cora Herndon Painter, Sir Horatio Gilbert Parker, George F. Peabody, John Pickard, Henry Smith Pritchett, Herbert Putnam, Howard Pyle, Wm. A. Read, James A. Reed, Wm. Marion Reedy, Elisabeth Mills Reid, Whitelaw Reid, Geo. H. Richmond, Ernest Cushing Richardson, James Whitcomb Riley, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, Wm. Michael Rossetti, Henry Sherburne Rowe, Wm. H. Sampson, F. B. Sanborn, Walter Henry Sanborn, Charles M. Schwab, John C. Schwab, Sir John Shelley, Samuel Luckett Sherer, John Franklin Shields, Wm. Green Shillaber, Clement King Shorter, Francis H. Smith, Wm. R. Smith, Edwin Wm. Stephens, B.F. Stevens, Firm, Walter B. Stevens, Melville Elijah Stone, James Sullivan, Baroness Bertha von Suttner, Egerton Swarthout, Florence G. Sylvester, Frederick Oakes Sylvester, Wm. H. Taft, Wm. Watts Taylor, Slason Thompson, Kate Nichols Trask, Dwight Wm. Tryon, Emory S. Turner, Gabriel Weis, Wm. Henry Welch, Wellesley College, Harry Elkins Widener, Francis Wilson, Mary H. Wilson, George Parker Winship, John P. Woodbury, Sir Charles Theodore Wright, Lucien Wulsin.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 1874: Febraury 25-1903: December 9.Add to your cart.
(14 items, 25 pages)
Folder 2: 1904: February 9-1905: April 3.Add to your cart.
(14 items, 22 pages)
Folder 3: Including: Washington, George. Letters to Tobias Lear. Page proof., 1905: April 8.Add to your cart.
(3 items, 90 pages)
Folder 4: 1905: April 10-August 22.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 33 pages)
Folder 5: 1905: September 5-[1905?].Add to your cart.
(19 items, 45 pages)
Folder 6: 1906: January 29-April 26.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 44 pages)
Folder 7: 1906: June 5-October 23.Add to your cart.
(20 items, 42 pages)
Folder 8: 1906: November 3-December 10.Add to your cart.
(27 items, 40 pages, & 17 clippings)
Folder 9: 1906: December 10-December 20.Add to your cart.
(5 items, 10 pages)
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 10: 1907: January 4-February 19.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 42 pages)
Folder 11: 1907: March 25-November 24.Add to your cart.
(16 items, 37 pages & 1 card)
Folder 12: 1908: January 9-September 7.Add to your cart.
(16 items, 42 pages)
Folder 13: 1908: September 27-December 12.Add to your cart.
(11 items, 12 pages & 5 clippings & 2 bookplates)
Folder 14: 1909: January 7-February 24.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 46 pages)
Folder 15: 1909: April 20-December 16.Add to your cart.
(20 items, 28 pages & 7 clippings)
Folder 16: 1910: January 6-March 4.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 25 pages & 4 photos)
Folder 17: 1910: April 10-December 13.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 27 pages & 1 card & 2 checks)
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 18: 1911: February 2-September 19.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 72 pages)
Folder 19: 1911: September 11-October 30.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 22 pages)
Folder 20: 1911: October 31-November 4.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 26 pages)
Folder 21: 1911: November 4-November 8.Add to your cart.
(19 items, 26 pages)
Folder 22: 1911: November 9-November 28.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 28 pages)
Folder 23: 1911: DecemberAdd to your cart.
(5 items, 8 pages)
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 24: 1912: January 12-May 29.Add to your cart.
(14 items, 45 pages)
Folder 25: 1912: June 7-December 26.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 26 pages)
Folder 26: 1913: January 11-November 23.Add to your cart.
(14 items, 29 pages)
Folder 27: 1914: January 19-December 2.Add to your cart.
(7 items, 12 pages)
Folder 28: 1915: January 4-November 28.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 15 pages)
Folder 29: 1915: December 20-December 26.Add to your cart.
(12 items, 15 pages)
Folder 30: 1916: February 16-March 31.Add to your cart.
(12 items, 199 pages)
Folder 31: 1916: April 11-October 16.Add to your cart.
(29 items, 46 pages)
Folder 32: 1916: November 29-[1916?].Add to your cart.
(5 items, 6 pages)
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 33: 1917: January 11-April 9.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 27 pages)
Folder 34: 1917: May 10-December 7.Add to your cart.
(18 items, 27 pages)
Folder 35: 1918: January 9-[December].Add to your cart.
(18 items, 21 pages & 2 clippings.)
Folder 36: 1919: January 9-1921: May 8.Add to your cart.
(16 items, 49 pages)
Folder 37: 1921: September 11-November 23.Add to your cart.
(9 items, 24 pages)
Folder 38: 1922: January 3-December 20.Add to your cart.
(12 items, 13 pages)
Folder 39: 1923: January 4-November 11.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 22 pages & 1 photo.)
Folder 40: 1924: January 3-December 28.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 23 pages)
Folder 41: 1925: March 25-May 25.Add to your cart.
(16 items, 16 pages & 1 photo.)
Folder 42: 1925: June 13-December 12.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 15 pages)
Folder 43: 1926: February 3-July 14.Add to your cart.
(15 items, 18 pages)
Folder 44: 1926: July 17-December.Add to your cart.
(13 items, 13 pages & 1 photo.)
Folder 45: 1927: March 27-[no date].Add to your cart.
(13 items, 20 pages & 1 photo.)
Sub-Series 1.2: MiscellanyAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 46: Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Membership certificate for Wm. K. Bixby., 1896: OctoberAdd to your cart.
(1 item, 1 page) Located in oversize.
Folder 47: Congressional Country Club, Washington, D.C. Life mambership certificate for W.K. Bixby. Signed by Herbert Hoover., 1922: September 1.Add to your cart.
Folder 48: Childs, Marquis William, 1903-, American journalist. Interesting St. Louisans: Wm. K. Bixby[newspaper article]. Clipping from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday Magazine., 1929: November 3.Add to your cart.
(1 item, 2 pages in pieces)
Folder 49: [Bixby, Wm. K., 1857-1931, American collector]. Lists of books and manuscripts in his collection. Typescript & typescript [carbon] copies., [circa 1923].Add to your cart.
(1 item, 49 pages)
Folder 50: [Bixby, Wm. K., 1857-1931, American collector]. Memorandum of trip to India, British East Africa... in 1921-22 [travel diary]. Typescript [photocopy] with photographs. Bound in three-quarter zebra skin. Inscribed by Bixby to W.U., [1923].Add to your cart.
(1 item, 180 pages)
Folder 51: Bixby, William K., 1858-1931. Memorandum of trip to Iceland, North Cape, Norway, etc. [travel diary]. Typescript copy with photographs, bound in plain black cloth. One of 10 copies. Inscribed to W.U. by Bixby., [1924], June, 1924Add to your cart.
(1 item, 60 pages)
Box 7Add to your cart.
Item 1: Index to personal correspondenceAdd to your cart.
(1 card file)

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal papers],
[Series 2: Washington University Papers],
[Series 3: Burns Club Papers],
[Series 4: Autographs and related items],
[Series 5: Eugene Field material],
[Series 6: John Paul Jones, Commemoration at Annapolis, 1906],

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