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"The world needed John Brown and John Brown came, and time will do him justice." Frederick Douglass (1886)

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Stutler-Boyer Disconnection

The preeminent John Brown documentary scholar and collector is Boyd B. Stutler, who died in 1970, and whose papers are now held in the archives of the State of West Virginia. Although Stutler intended to write a biography of Brown from the 1950s, the work was never completed. There are probably a number of reasons for what Stutler referred to as his “dalliance,” that proved to undermine his biographical effort. But it is also probably true that the rise of other John Brown writers in late 1950s and 1960s further discouraged him from completing his work. Most notable in this regard were Truman Nelson, Richard O. Boyer, and Stephen B. Oates, all of which brought notable works about John Brown to publication. Of these three, however, Richard O. Boyer’s correspondence with Stutler is the slightest in the Stutler Collection. Furthermore, of these three successful authors, Stutler—who was typically generous in his support of researchers—offered little or no assistance to Boyer.

[The complete entry is available only in the forthcoming book, John Brown: Emancipator]

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