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Allan H. Stevenson papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Ste

Scope and Content of the Collection

Research notes, original manuscripts and typescripts of published and unpublished works, professional correspondence, and photographs of watermarks used for research by Allan H. Stevenson.

There is extensive correspondence with such prominent bibliographers and paper historians as Fredson Bowers, Sir Frank Francis, Frederick Goff, E. J. Labarre, Herbert Schulz, J. S. G. Simmons, Archer Taylor, and Bé Van Ginneken. There are related materials in the James M. Wells Papers in the Newberry Library Archives concerning Stevenson’s projects at the Newberry. Another collection of Stevenson’s papers is found in the Manuscripts Division of the Princeton University Library.


  • Creation: 1944-1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1952 - 1970



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Allan H. Stevenson papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Allan H. Stevenson papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Allan H. Stevenson

Expert on paper history; scholar on the works of Renaissance dramatist James Shirley.

Allan Henry Stevenson (1903-1970) was best known for his innovative work on watermarks as a means of dating early printed books. Born in Canada, Stevenson came to the U.S. as a child. He graduated from Rice University (B.A.; 1924, M.A., 1926) and took a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1949. He taught at Rice, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1952 he left teaching to continue his research as a professional bibliographer. His research was supported by a number of grants (e.g. from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, the Fulbright Commission, and the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia) as well as by his wife, Rachel Waples Stevenson, a pioneering television producer in Chicago, whom he met at Rice and married in 1949.

Allan Stevenson developed a new method for the bibliographical description of botanical books while cataloging the collection of Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt between 1956 and 1961; his best-known work was a study of the Constance Missale Speciale, using watermark evidence to prove its date. Stevenson was member of many learned societies and was particularly active in the Bibliographical Society (London), the International Association of Paper Historians, and the Paper Publications Society.


6.8 Linear Feet (12 boxes)


Research notes, original manuscripts and typescripts of published and unpublished works, professional correspondence, and photographs of watermarks used for research by paper historian Allan H. Stevenson.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Biographical materials, 1944-1970
Box 1
Series 2: General Correspondence, ca. 1952-1969
Boxes 1-6
Series 3: Works, ca. 1952-1969
Boxes 6-9
Series 4: Miscellaneous and Artifacts, n.d.
Boxes 9-12

Collection Stack Location

4a 30 5


Gift, Rachel (Mrs. Allan) Stevenson, 1993.

Processed by

Sarah Cusk, July 1997.

Inventory of the Allan H. Stevenson papers, 1944-1970, bulk 1952-1970
Sarah Cusk, July 1997
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States