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This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.
|Size||5.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1100 items)|
|Abstract||Beatrice Witte Ravenel, writer and poet of Charleston, S.C. The bulk of this material comprises writings by Ravenel, and consists of manuscripts and typed drafts, published stories and poems, clippings, reviews, and magazine copies. Her correspondence with fellow authors, poets, and publishers is especially full for the 1920s, and includes letters (chiefly in typescript) of Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. Volumes include two scrapbooks of letters and clippings, 1919-1927; a book of poems, 1890-1917; a sketchbook of her charcoals and water colors; and one unpublished chapter from a biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1723-1793) by Harriott Horry Ravenel, Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law.|
|Creator||Ravenel, Beatrice Witte, 1870-1956.|
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Beatrice Witte Ravenel (24 August 1870-15 March 1956), daughter of Charles Otto and Charlotte Sophia Reeves Witte, was born in Charleston, S.C. Her father was a German-born businessman and civic leader in Charleston. Beatrice was educated at the Charleston Female Seminary, and, in 1889, enrolled in the women's division of Harvard University. While in college, she played a prominent role in a group of literary young men and women, including William Vaughn Moody, Trumball Stickney, and Norman and Hutchins Hapgood. She wrote for the Harvard Monthly and the Advocate, and published poems in Scribner's Magazine, the Chap-Book Magazine, and the Literary Digest.
In 1900, she married Francis Gualdo Ravenel, whose mother, Harriot Horry Ravenel, was a well-known writer and biographer. In 1904, Beatrice and Francis had a daughter, Beatrice St. Julien Ravenel. After the birth of her daughter, Beatrice Witte Ravenel lived on a plantation south of Charleston. This was the setting for several of her best poems, which primarily deal with the Yemassee Indian heritage of the Carolina low country. Francis Ravenel was no businessman, and, by the late 1910s, the sizable fortune left Beatrice by her father was gone. She helped support the family by writing fiction for Ainslee's, Harper's, and the Saturday Evening Post, and, after 1919, she wrote editorials for the Columbia (S.C.) State.
In the late 1910s, Beatrice began writing poetry again, and, in the early 1920s, came abrupt change in her verse. She ceased to write the sentimental abstractions of the waning genteel tradition and began producing free verse of notable economy of diction, precision of language, and vivid imagery. The formation of the South Carolina Poetry Society brought her into contact with other poets, including visitors such as Amy Lowell, with whom she formed a strong friendship.
In 1926, six years after Francis Ravenel's death, Beatrice married Samuel Prioleau Ravenel. After her second marriage, she no longer had to support herself and daughter through writing. The Ravenels traveled extensively. Though she wrote little poetry during her later years, one sequence based on the West Indies, unpublished in her lifetime, is among her most accomplished work. Beatrice Witte Ravenel died on 15 March 1956 at the age of 85. Her best known work is The Arrow of Lightening, a book of poetry published in 1926.
[Source: Robert Bain, Joseph M. Flora, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr., eds., Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1979): 371-372.]Back to Top
The bulk of this material comprises writings by Ravenel, and consists of manuscripts and typed drafts, published stories and poems, clippings, reviews, and magazine copies. Her correspondence with fellow authors, poets, and publishers is especially full for the 1920s, and includes letters (chiefly in typescript) of Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. Volumes include two scrapbooks of letters and clippings, 1919-1927; a book of poems, 1890-1917; a sketchbook of her charcoals and water colors; and one unpublished chapter from a biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1723-1793) by Harriott Horry Ravenel, Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law.Back to Top
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Letters from writers, poets, and publishers; clippings; scrapbooks; a day book; and a sketchbook. Included is correspondence from Amy Lowell, Hervey Allen, Josephine Pinckney, Norman Hapgood, Edwin Markham, and Dubose Heyward. There are two scrapbooks--one of published poems and short stories; the other of correspondence and clippings surrounding the publication of The Arrow of Lightening. A sketchbook of charcoals and water colors of Beatrice Witte Ravenel and an unpublished chapter of a biography on Eliza Pinckney Lucas, written by Beatrice Witte Ravenel's mother-in-law, Harriot Horry Rutledge Ravenel, are also included.
Drafts of poems and short stories, mostly typed, some handwritten, of Beatrice Witte Ravenel.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Off-prints of short stories from Harper's and Ainslie's magazines and copies of Ainslie's magazine containing short stories written by Beatrice Witte Ravenel.
Processed by: Carolyn Hamby, March 1996
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.Back to Top