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Douglas Southall Freeman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0019
Douglas Southall Freeman (1886 – 1953) was an American historian, biographer, newspaper editor, and author best known for his multi-volume biographies of Robert E. Lee and George Washington. The collection spans the years 1902-1911, and consists primarily of correspondence between Freeman and his parents.

Dates

  • 1902-1911
  • Majority of material found within 1904 - 1908

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

1.18 Cubic Feet (2 full-sized and 1 half-sized legal document boxes)

Biographical Note

Douglas Southall Freeman (May 16, 1886 – June 13, 1953) was an American historian, biographer, newspaper editor, and author. He is best known for his multi-volume biographies of Robert E. Lee and George Washington, for which he was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes.

He was born at Lynchburg, Virginia on May 16, 1886, the son of Bettie Allen and Walker Burford Freeman. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1904, after which he went to Johns Hopkins University to earn his Ph.D. in History in 1908. A year later he entered the newspaper field as editorial writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In 1910 he took a post on the State Tax Commission where he served two years, returning to the Times-Dispatch in 1913. In 1915 he switched to the afternoon daily News Leader as Editor. in 1925 he became one of the first radio news commentators. He edited the News Leader through two World Wars, finally retiring on June 30, 1949.

Freeman's 4-volume biography of Robert E. Lee won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1934. Later he produced a 4- volume edition of "Lee's Lieutenants," becoming a foremost authority on Confederate military history. His knowledge of the Civil War and of other military matters won him an assignment as lecturer at the National War College. At various times he served as guest professor or lecturer at Columbia University, Dartmouth, and the College of William and Mary. In 1945 he served briefly as advisor to John J. McCoy, Assistant Secretary of State. Freeman received honorary degrees from a number of American Universities including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Dartmouth.

From 1949 on he devoted full time to his biography of George Washington, the most comprehensive biography of Washington ever undertaken. This was to be a massive 8-volume work of which he had completed 5 volumes when he died of a heart attack aged 67 years on June 13, 1953.

Douglas Southall Freeman married in 1914 and had three children.

Scope and Contents

The collection spans the years 1902-1911, and consists primarily of correspondence between Freeman and his parents. The collection consists of approximately 600 letters and 2 manuscripts in typescript. The bulk of the correspondence is dated 1904-1908 when Freeman was a student at Johns Hopkins University. The letters describe in detail student life at that time. In addition to the correspondence between Freeman and his parents, there are approximately 50 other letters to and from various correspondents; and there are also 2 manuscripts in typescript entitled "The Term Benefice in Feudal Law and Usage," and "Rabby," both of which are undated.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Douglas Southall Freeman were presented to the Johns Hopkins University Library by his widow in 1955.

Related Materials

Related correspondence of the Freeman Family can be found in the Allen Weir Southall Collection MS.0020.

Processing Information

This is no known processing information for this collection.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA