Guide to the Palmer C. Holt Papers circa 1948-2017
Cage 876

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Palmer C. Holt Papers
Cage 876
Date [inclusive]
circa 1948-2017
23.0 boxes
General Physical Description note
8 linear feet of shelf space
This collection consists of materials related to Palmer C. Holt's scholarship on Edgar Allan Poe, including his hand-written concordance of poems, fiction, and sketches by Poe. Holt's scholarship largely relates to sources and traditions that Poe borrowed from and imitated. Holt's completed concordance consists of a file, arranged alphabetically by word, that locates the occurrence of those words in particular tales and poems by Poe. The collection also includes Holt's supporting documentation.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description] Palmer C. Holt Papers, circa 1948-2017

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Palmer C. Holt (1920-2000) was an independent Edgar Allan Poe scholar and collector who, as a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the late 1940s, began tracing Poe's often-debated use of sources in his creative work. During a busy lifetime of teaching at the secondary level, Holt assembled and annotated an extensive library of the works that Poe borrowed from, created a hand-written concordance of the writer's poetry and fiction as a tool for studying their sources and analogues, and in 1959 and 1962 published two articles from his findings. The publication of important, annotated scholarly editions of Poe's writings after 1968 increasingly duplicated Holt's largely unpublished findings, but he nevertheless persisted in his meticulous research, often with results that enriched and superseded those of more conventionally situated scholars. Illness in his retirement prevented Holt from realizing his long-planned book on Poe's use of sources, but its basic findings and conclusions can be recovered from the working papers included in this collection and the annotated books in his donated library.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of papers of Poe scholar Palmer C. Holt, nearly all of which relate to his research on Poe's sources. It includes correspondence, notes, articles (drafts and finished work), worksheets for his Poe concordance and its planned expansion, and the concordance itself. It also includes a small amount of material from Holt's student years, notes from Poe scholar Alexander Hammond's work with the papers, and miscellaneous papers.

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Arrangement note

This collection is arranged in three series:

Series 1. Holt papers on Edgar Allan Poe sources, Holt miscellaneous papers, and collection documentation, circa 1948-2011. This series includes correspondence, articles about Poe by Holt, notes on Poe's sources, student papers by Holt, and miscellaneous items.

Series 2. Holt material for Poe Concordance expansion, circa 1962-1996. Contents include concordance worksheets for its unfinished expansion keyed to James A. Harrison, editor, Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1902), volume XIV: Essays, Miscellanies, Literati, Autography. Includes plan, analysis, and comment on the concordance, arguing that it reflects a scholar's critical sensibility, not a machine compilation; also "Editorial Comments" and several folders of photocopies of Holt's worksheets. A descriptive item list by Alexander Hammond for the contents of boxes 1-4 is filed with this series.

Series 3: Edgar Allan Poe Concordance, circa 1951-1958. This series consists of 20 drawers of cards, organized alphabetically by word, tracing the usage of words in works by Poe, and several folders of photocopies of Holt's worksheets, organized according to title of work by Poe.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 2017
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Palmer Holt donated his Poe concordance and supporting documentation to the Washington State University Libraries in 1996 (MS.1996.02); after his death, his family supplemented this donation with a gift of additional papers in 2003. The Department of English at Washington State University transferred the last of the latter research material in 2010 (MS.2010.06).

Processing Information note

Alexander Hammond and Cheryl Gunselman processed this collection in 2016-2017.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Palmer C. Holt Poe Collection. This book collection contains approximately 558 volumes from Holt's library.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Holt, Palmer C. -- Records and correspondence
  • Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849


  • Literature.

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Collection Inventory

Series 1. Holt papers on Edgar Allan Poe sources, Holt miscellaneous papers, and collection documentation circa 1948-2011 

Box Folder

Holt collection census and supplement. 1995-2003 

1 1

Holt source file. 2003 

1 2

Pollin: additional Holt materials. Includes notes and articles (offprints) by Holt, correspondence from Burton Pollin to Alexander Hammond about the collection, and collected research material (reproductions). 1995-2003 

1 3

Miscellaneous Holt material. 1985-2011 

1 4

Miscellaneous articles, correspondence, and drafts by Holt. 1949-1950 and undated 

1 5

Article manuscripts and related correspondence. 1951-1952 and undated 

1 6

Poe's Compilations (outline, introduction, and bibliography). undated 

1 7

Poe's 'Palaestine': Source Study (typescripts). undated 

1 8

Holt notes and essay draft on Anthon, Rees, Bailey. undated 

1 9

Holt notes and transcriptions for "Compilations" II, III, V, VI. undated 

1 10

Greek Classic Poets. Includes offprint, notes, article manuscripts, and related correspondence. circa 1960-1962 

1 11

Poe's 'To Science,' Four Sources and "Structural Unity in Poe's 'To Helen." Article manuscripts and related correspondence. 1963 and undated 

1 12

Holt notes on words and names: data sheets keyed to Harrison, Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. undated 

1 13

Holt working notes: Gibbon and Poe studies. undated 

1 14

Drafts: Gibbon article, Poe's Reading, Poe's Colloquy. undated 

2 15

Holt working notes (miscellaneous). Most are keyed to Harrison, Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. undated 

2 16

New York Public Library research. Includes correspondence and research notes. 1964 and undated 

2 17

Notes: Critical Studies of Edgar Allan Poe. Includes lists of secondary studies of Poe, and notes on specific critical works. undated 

2 18

Miscellaneous queries; notes on projected study of Sources for Poe (see folders 26, 27-29). undated 

2 19

Pollin: notes and corrections of Dictionary of Names/Titles. undated 

2 20

Mabbott Poe edition (Poems); notes on "Israfel." undated 

2 21

Mabbott Poe edition (Tales and Sketches II); source for "MS Found." undated 

2 22

Notes on Trelawny, "MS Found," Pym, Folio Club, "Cask." undated 

2 23

Notes: Hoffman's Poe, Poe, Poe... undated 

2 24

Notes: Moskovitz, Poe biography. undated 

2 25

Article manuscript: "Amenities of Seeking Poe Sources," including plans for book (see folders 19, 27-29). undated 

2 26

Holt notes I (bundles and folded sheets), overview of projected book on Poe sources (bundled by Alexander Hammond; see folders 19, 26). undated 

2-3 27-29

Holt notes II (topic bundles). undated 

3 30

Holt notes III (topic bundles). undated 

3 31

Holt notes IV (bundles), on Henry Neele as source. undated 

3 32

Miscellaneous clippings and ephemera. circa 1950s-1990s 

3 33

Holt notes and papers (student work from the University of Chicago). circa 1940s 

3 34

Poe Studies Association newsletter and "Poe Studies." circa 1970s-1980s 

3 35

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Series 2. Holt Material for Poe Concordance Expansion circa 1962-1996 

Box Folder

Poe concordance I (overview and plan for project, with concordance sheets). 

3 36

Poe concordance II (concordance sheets). 

3 37

Poe concordance III (concordance sheets). 

3 38

Poe concordance IV (concordance sheets). 

3-4 39-41

Poe concordance V (concordance sheets). 

4 42-43

Concordance note sheets (photocopies). 

4 44-51

Collection documentation: descriptive item list by Alexander Hammond for the contents of boxes 1-4. 2017 

4 52

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Series 3: Edgar Allan Poe Concordance circa 1951-1958 

Box Folder

Edgar Allan Poe concordance, produced by Holt circa 1951-1958 


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