Rufus Wilmot Griswold was born February 13, 1815 in Benson, Vermont. He was an editor and literary critic best known for his anthologies of American poetry and prose which were widely disseminated in the mid 19th century and for his often tumultuous and contentious relationships, both personal and literary.
He had a strained relationship with Edgar Allan Poe that continued even after Poe’s death, with an obituary written under the pen name of “Ludwig” that was highly derogatory towards the deceased. Griswold subsequently became Poe’s literary executor under mysterious circumstances and continued to defame Poe in a written “Memoir of the Author,” included in a posthumous collection of his works, that combined false accusations with character assassination that was not refuted for many years and became the standard Poe biography.
He was married three times, had three children and, after a period of declining health, passed away in New York on August 27, 1857.
Scope and Content Note
The Rufus Wilmot Griswold Collection (1815 – 1857) consists of one Hollinger box (0.417 linear feet) and includes holograph letters, photographs, articles and photostats of letters written by and to Rufus Wilmot Griswold.
The collection was formed in the 1930’s by Joy Bayless of Nashville, Tennessee while researching her biography of Rufus Wilmot Griswold which was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 1943. No records have survived as to when or how the Collection was acquired by the Vanderbilt Library.