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Curated by Dr. James A. Butler, the Wister Family Papers houses a wide variety of materials dedicated to the life, works, and correspondence of the prominent Philadelphia family who inhabited the Belfield estate and other lands that are now a part of the La Salle Campus. Our aptly – located collection is the third largest compilation of Wisteriana – behind only the Library of Congress and the University of Wyoming.

The collection contains a significant amount of material about Owen Wister, considered the father of the cowboy novel, including many first edition and rare copies of The Virginian, and dozens of pieces of correspondence to George Lorimer, the editor of the famed “Saturday Evening Post,” and others, as well as miscellaneous ephemera. Also available is a substantial amount of material about The Virginian in popular culture, including information about the five movie versions and the 1960s television series.

Highlights include:

- The Ethel Langhorne Wister Chichester Papers, with many photographs and photograph albums of Philadelphia society and the Wisters’ European travel

View Photographic Materials from the Ethel Chichester Papers


Drawing by John Caspar Wister
- The John Caspar Wister Papers, a collection of landscape drawings, writings (some in manuscript) and World War I photographs and diaries by the former director of the Tyler Arboretum and prominent horticulturalist

View John Caspar Wister's papers, drawings and photographs in our Digital Library

View the box list for the John Caspar Wister Papers in Special Collections.

- The Starr Family Papers, which are concerned mainly with financial matters and estates, and include a full inventory of Belfied at the time of Mrs. Sarah Starr’s death

- William Wister Haines material; Haines, a twentieth century novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, is represented by printed works, as well as visual materials related to his career as a screenwriter

- Sara Yorke Stevenson Papers, an extensive collection of manuscript material -- and some photographs -- collected by Frances Anne Wister to write a biographical account of Stevenson, prominent archeologist, co-founder (and curator of the Egyptian and Mediterranean sections) of the University Museum at Penn, women's rights activist, newspaper columnist, and civic leader

See all Digital Wisteriana.

See our online Belfield exhibit here

View the correspondence of Owen Wister in our Digital Library



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