Skip to main content


Norfolk Poet's Club records

Identifier: MSS 14245

Scope and Contents Note

Norfolk Poet's Club Records (1912-1983; 2 cubic feet) include manuscripts of Josephine Johnson and Margaret Haley Carpenter; and correspondence of Mary Sinton Leitch, Josephine Johnson, Julia Johnson Davis, and William Stanley Braithwaite. There are also press releases, newspaper clippings, printed items, and scrapbooks about these poets and editors and their colleagues as well as their poetry and the creative writing process.


  • Creation: 1896; 1912-1983

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Historical Note

The Norfolk Poet's Club originally consisted of five women: Josephine Johnson, her sister Julia Johnson Davis, Mary Sinton Leach, Virginia Taylor McCormick, and Virginia Lynne Tunstall. In 1921, they sponsored the formation of a literary magazine called "The Lyric" (originally edited by John R. Moreland) which has been called "America's oldest traditional poetry magazine of independent and continuous publication," and has operated under different editorships for over 50 years. Source: Dealers notes

Josephine Johnson, one of the outstanding poets in the country, and a sonneteer of note, was awarded first prize for her collection of poems, "The Unwilling Gypsy," in the sixth book publication contest of the Kaleidograph Press, Dallas, Texas in 1936. Miss Johnson was vice-president of the poetry Society of Virginia, and a member of the Poetry Society of America, the Catholic Poetry Society, and the Writers' Club of Norfolk. She was born in Norfolk and attended the University of Virginia and Harvard College. Her poems have appeared in "The American Mercury", "The New Republic", "Harpers Magazine", "The London Mercury, "The Commonwealth", "The Personalist", "The New York Times", "The New York Sun", and the "Boston Transcript". Josephine Johnson "is a poet of a single theme-that of life's challenge to the spirit to endure.z' Source: Scrapbook

William Stanley Braithwaite (1878-1962)was a poet, editor, publisher, and anthologist who was born and raised in Boston, Massachussetts. In 1890 upon his father's death, he had to quit school and educate himself while working as a typesetter in a Boston printing firm. He developed a love of lyric poetry and wrote several poems that were published. Writing a regular column for the "Boston Transcript" he brought serious attention to the works of many African American poets and eventually edited "The Anthology of Magazine Verse". Throughout the years of compiling the Anthology, he remained committed to the notion that verse should be an expression of spiritual truth and eternal beauty beyond what he conceived of as the limits of merely political or racial concerns. He introduced the general poetry-reading public to a wide range of African American voices they might otherwise never have heard. Source: Dealers notes


2 Cubic Feet (4 oversize boxes) : 6 scrapbooks

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into 5 series. Series 1. Manuscripts; Series 2. Correspondence; Series 3. Press releases, newspaper clippings, and printed items; Series 4. Scrapbooks (and acccount book of poems sold to publications); Series 5. Miscellaneous (hobbies of Josephine Johnson and business receipts from 1896 {Turner Family])

Norfolk Poet's Club records
Ellen Welch
27 September 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States