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Fremont Rider Autograph Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01

Biographical History

Arthur Fremont Rider (1885-1962) was an American editor, author and librarian.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of George Arthur and Charlotte Elizabeth (Meader) Rider, he was educated in the public schools in Middletown, Connecticut and later in Syracuse, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1905 with a PhB (Bachelor of Philosophy) and went on to the New York State Library School in Albany. Syracuse University awarded him the honorary LHD (Doctor of Humane Letters) in 1937.

Rider's first career as editor and publisher began in 1907. Over the course of more than thirty years, he served as associate editor of The Delineator, editor of The Monthly Book Review for nearly ten years, managing editor of Publisher's Weekly, editor of The American Library Annual, and managing editor of Library Journal. During World War I he published the International Military Digest, which he edited at the United States Military Academy. From 1914-1933 he was president of the Rider Press, periodicals printers in New York City, and for a time was associated with B. W. Dodge & Co., publishers.

In 1933 he was named Librarian of Wesleyan University's Olin Library, a position he retained until his retirement in 1953. He was the author of numerous magazine articles and books, including a biography of Melvil Dewey. He wrote on library policy, among other subjects, and in his book The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library (1944) he was an early proponent of microcard technology. Not content with the theoretical, he was also the inventor of a book truck, stack shelving, and other library equipment.

As chairman of the American Genealogical Index from 1934, and as founder (1951) of the Godfrey Memorial Library (which he continued to direct after his retirement from Wesleyan), he was a leader in the assembly of American genealogical data.

Fremont Rider married his first wife, Grace Godfrey, on October 21, 1908; he and his second wife, Marie Gallup (Ambrose), were married on June 6, 1951.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Fremont Rider Autograph Collection comprises 391 items mounted in ten binders. Items range from letters and notes to postcards, signed documents, and at least one drawing, and span more than one hundred years (1826-1953). Each page gives additional information about the writer such as his or her profession or notable accomplishments, and portions of this information have been transferred to the inventory below. The information on the pages in the binders is Rider's own and has not been altered; the inventory below, however, has been supplemented where appropriate with additional research.

Of the 391 items in the collection, 264 are addressed to Rider, 125 are addressed to other correspondents, and there are two odd items (see Moffatt and Rice). The collection contains no letters from Fremont Rider himself.

The collection contains letters written to Fremont Rider personally, to the Rider Press, or to him as Wesleyan University Librarian, as well as autographs and signed items that he "happened upon casually," as he said in a letter (25 Jun 1954) to Wharton Miller of the Syracuse University Library, explaining that he had never been an assiduous collector. Among the correspondents are Sherwood Anderson, Rex Beach, James Warner Bellah, Melvil Dewey, Theodore Dreiser, John Nance Garner, Francis Hackett, Jack London, John L. Lewis, Christopher Morley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alfred E. Smith, Rex Stout, Robert A. Taft, Booth Tarkington, Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, and Sumner Welles.

The earliest item in the collection is an 1826 certificate of ordination signed by Thomas C. Brownell, a Connecticut Episcopal bishop. The earliest letter, dated August 25, 1831, is signed "Hanniball" and is addressed to the noted slave leader Nat Turner. (Its authenticity has not been established.) In a 1922 postcard Franklin Delano Roosevelt answered a publisher's inquiry by stating that his reading interests centered around the U.S. Navy. Many of the other letters are from Episcopal bishops and other members of the clergy, authors, librarians, publishers, or individuals associated with colleges or universities.

Other letters not addressed to Fremont Rider include those from Irving Bacheller, Richard Harding Davis, Eugene Debs, William Lloyd Garrison, Robert LaFollette, William Howard Taft, and Stewart Edward White. Among the recipients of these letters are B. D. Godfrey of Newtonville, Massachusetts, and Edward Campion Acheson and Richard Lawrence DeZeng, both of Middletown, Connecticut.

The collection also includes a detailed card index listing each item with name of sender, recipient, date and other pertinent information.

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are arranged alphabetically by name of sender.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has several other collections of autographs. See for example the following:

Argosy Autograph Collection
Frances Ward Harrington Autograph Collection
Graeme O'Geran Presidential Autograph Collection
Howes Norris Jr. Autograph Cartoon Collection
Gordon N. Ray Collection of Victorian Autographs

Subject Headings


Rider, Fremont, 1885-1962 -- Archives.


Authors -- Autographs.
Autographs -- Collectors and collections.
Bishops -- Autographs.
Clergy -- Autographs.
Deans, Cathedral and collegiate -- Autographs.
Governors -- Autographs.
Novelists -- Autographs.
Politicians -- Autographs.
Social reformers -- Autographs.

Genres and Forms


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Fremont Rider Autograph Collection
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Fremont Rider, 1954, with some later additions.

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