University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

O. Henry:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Henry, O., 1862-1910
Title: O. Henry Collection
Dates: 1884-1959, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts and letters written by the American short-story writer known as O. Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter. Some of the manuscripts were written for his daughter Margaret and include drawings by Porter. Correspondents include his wives (Athol Estes Porter and Sara Coleman Porter), members of the Roach family (Athol's parents), and others.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-3302
Extent: 2 boxes (.84 linear feet), 3 oversize folders (osf)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Jamie Hawkins-Kirkham, 2011

Note: This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


1.1 Unidentified fragment, handwritten manuscript / fragment, mounted on a larger sheet of paper, 1 page, undated. Characters: Honeybird, Charlie.
1.2 Unidentified fragments, handwritten manuscripts / fragments, some with revisions, 5 pages, undated.
1.1 Unidentified play?, handwritten manuscript / fragment mounted on a larger sheet of paper, 1 page, undated. Characters: Professor, Cherry Kee, Tee Pee.
1.3 Unidentified story, handwritten manuscript / incomplete with revisions, 14 pages, undated. Characters: Mr. Peters, Mr. Stickney, Rufe Tatum, George W. Tapley.
1.4 Untitled poem for Isaac Melasky, signed handwritten manuscript, 1 page, 11 November 1885. Written in Isaac Melasky autograph book.
1.5 Illustrated comic verses for his daughter, 4 handwritten manuscripts / verses with drawings, 4 leaves, undated. Drawn for Margaret Porter Sartin.
1.6 Lo, the poor Indian (play), handwritten manuscript / incomplete with revisions and some typed paste-ins, 32 pages, undated.
1.7 Options. A poor rule, handwritten manuscript / fragments, 2 pages, undated. Pages numbered 44 and 46. From the Hanley Collection.
1.1 Poetry, handwritten manuscript / copy in an unidentified hand of poem by Porter in Effie Hofer's album, 1 page, 2 August 1885.
1.8 Pome, handwritten manuscript, together with 4 colored drawings, 5 leaves, 1905? Send to Margaret Porter Sartin as a valentine. Included with these: enveloped addressed by Porter to his daughter, postmarked 14 February 1905.
1.9 The venturers, signed handwritten manuscript, 47 pages, undated.
1.1 A winter's night (poem), typescript, 2 pages, undated. Included with this: envelope addressed by Porter to his wife, postmarked 16 August 1894.


1.10 2 ALI to Daily, Nettie Roach, 15 April no year, undated. Included with these: ALS addressed to Colonel Daily from your Uncle Ikey, undated; ALS to Mike from Bill the Brute, undated. These are possibly from Porter to Nettie Daily.
TLS to Johnson, Robert Underwood, 24 March 1904. From the DeGolyer Collection.
ALS to Porter, Athol Estes, undated.
AL / incomplete to Porter, Athol Boyers, 5 April 1889.
1.11 13 ALI, AL / incomplete, AL / copy to Roach, Martha Boyers, 1898-1902, undated. One letter also addressed to P. G. Roach.
1.10 ALI to Roach, Martha Boyers, 14 September no year.
ALI, ALS to Roach, Peter Graham, 21 June 1896, 3 May 1898.
1.12 5 ALS, ALI, AL / incomplete to Sartin, Margaret Porter, 1898-1906, undated.
1.13 4 ALS to Woodrow, Wilson, Mrs., undated. From the Hanley Collection.

Letters I:

1.14 5 ALS, ALI to various persons, 1910, undated. Includes letters to J. W. Corrigan, J. O. Cosgrove, Dr. J. E. Gignoux. From the Hanley Collection.


osf 1 Porter, Athol Estes. ALS to Porter, 3 April no year.
1.15 Sartin, Margaret Porter. 2 ALS to Porter, undated.
Taylor, Henry Ryder, 1850- . ALS, ALI to Porter, 1 May and 16 May 1895. Concern The rolling stone.


2.1 Unidentified author. Get well soon (verse), handwritten manuscript, 1 page, undated. Included with this: financial notes, 2 leaves, undated. Perhaps by Vincent Lanfear.
osf 2 Unidentified author. O. Henry itinerary, mimeo, 1 page, undated. Pasted on back of photostat map of downtown area of Austin, Texas.
2.1 Unidentified author. ALS Lillie to Roach, Martha Boyers, 17 September 1927 (Nashville).
Unidentified authors. Notes and letters pertaining to Porter, handwritten and typed manuscripts, 6 items, undated.
Unidentified authors. Roach family genealogies, handwritten manuscript, 2 pages; handwritten manuscript, 4 pages on 3 leaves; undated.
Black (J. H.) & Co., Detroit. Bill to John T. Hofer, 20 September 1888.
Colbert, Naomi. ANS to Sartin, Margaret Porter, undated.
Cosgrave, John O'Hara, 1864-1947. TccL to Porter, Sara Coleman, 5 December 1910. From the Hanley Collection.
Grahame, Kenneth, 1859-1932. ALS to Cosgrave, John O'Hara, 11 August 1909. From the Hanley Collection.
2.2 Hall, James King, 1875- . Letter of recommendation for Porter, handwritten letter signed by Hall and three other doctors, 1 page, 26 May 1884. Letterhead: Porter and Dalton, Dealers in Drugs.
Henry, O., 1862-1910:
osf 3 Map decorations, 3 sketches / photostats, 1 page each, 1887-1889. Attached to each: handwritten manuscript / notes in unidentified hand.
2.7-8 Old Damus, drawing, circa 1884 or 1885. Accompanied by explanatory newspaper clipping and documents re the origin and authenticity of the drawing, plus original picture frame. From the Stark Collection.
2.9 Photograph of O. Henry, standing in front of a building or home, undated.
2.1 Johnston, Renzi Melville, 1850-1926. TLS to Porter, Athol Estes, 7 December 1896. Letterhead: Houston Daily Post.
Menn, Alfred E. The pen forever stilled, signed handwritten manuscript, 2 pages on 1 leaf, undated. Included with this: envelope addressed by Menn to Martha Boyers Roach; visiting card; The blessing of thorns (poem), handwritten manuscript, 2 pages on 1 leaf, undated.
Nelson, J. N. Letter of recommendation for Porter, handwritten letter signed by Nelson and endorsed by W. U. Steiner and J. D. White, 1 page, 26 May 1884.
2.3 O'Quinn, Trueman E. The Venturers by O. Henry comes to the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin June 11, 1959, 2 typescripts / photocopies, 93 pages, undated. Gift, 1982 (G1202); not described in card catalog.
Porter, Athol Estes:
2.4 Diary, handwritten manuscript entries in Excelsior diary, 13 pages, 1894.
2.1 3 ALS to Roach, Martha Boyers, 1895-1896, undated.
ALS to Roach, Peter Graham, 18 June no year.
Porter, Sara Coleman. ALS to Cosgrave, John O'Hara, undated. From the Hanley Collection.
Porter, Sara Coleman. ALS to Gignoux, J. E., 15 April 1910. From the Hanley Collection.
2.5 Roach, Martha Boyers. 2 ALS to Hofer, Effie Roach, May and 22 October 1896.
Roach, Peter Graham, 1833-1930. 2 ALS to Hofer, John T., 22 October 1896, 27 January 1900. One also addressed to Effie Hofer.
Rush, Carrie. ALS to Daily, Nettie Roach, 10 July 1919 (East Pittsburg, Pennsylvania).
Sartin, Margaret Porter. 4 ALS to Hofer, Effie Roach, 1906-1926. Included with these: signed Christmas card; visiting card with AN from Margaret to Nettie Roach Daily.
Sartin, Margaret Porter:
2.5 AL / copy to Hofer, Harry, 30 December 1909.
ANS on Easter card to Porter, Athol Estes, undated.
ALS to Roach, Peter Graham, 19 January 1906.
Sitherwood, Sara Frances Grimes, 1859- . ALS to Roach, Peter Graham, 7 January 1924.
Taylor, T. Edwin. 2 ALS to Daily, Nettie Roach, 1902.
Ward & James, Attorneys-at-Law, Austin, Texas. ALS to Presler, Herman re Porter legal fee, 27 January 1897. Written on verso is Presler's AL / draft reply.
2.6 Miscellaneous envelopes.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author's outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author's incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date