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William and Mary Howitt Papers

Notifications

Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

William Howitt (1792-1879) and his wife, Mary Botham Howitt (1799-1888) were both born into Quaker families of the English Midlands, he in Derbyshire and she in Staffordshire. Both early determined to make their living by their pens. William rejected his early apprenticeship as a builder-carpenter and at first supported his family as a druggist until their joint success as writers enabled them to devote themselves entirely to writing.

They both were professional writers in every sense, writing books on a wide range of topics from their experiences and interests. Early books included volumes of ballads and other poems, works on natural history and the countryside, descriptions of ancient castles and historic mansions, "homes and haunts of the poets," etc. They were liberal, even radical, in their views of social and political matters and actively supported the causes of abolition, women's rights, temperance, and the improvement of the conditions of the lower classes. In the years between 1846 and 1848, they took over the publication People's Journal, designed to "teach and enlighten" the working classes. This soon failed, and they launched their own periodical, Howitt's Journal, which survived only one year. During its life, however, their journal published Elizabeth Gaskell's earliest stories, and they were helpful in launching her literary career.

During a period of about ten years in Heidelberg, William produced works on student and social life in Germany. Together with Mary, he wrote a book on the literature of Northern Europe. Mary wrote many books for juvenile readers and translated works from Scandinavian literature, including the first translations into English of Hans Christian Anderson. In August 1847, the Howitts resigned from the Society of Friends. They had become interested in mesmerism and spiritualism, and in 1863, William produced "The History of Spiritualism. Beginning in 1852, William Howitt had spent two years in the gold mines of Australia, a visit which resulted in several books about that country. In later years, the Howitts spent their time in the Austrian Tyrol and in Rome. William died in Rome in 1879. Mary Howitt became a Roman Catholic in 1882, and died in Rome in 1888.

The collection contains mainly personal correspondence. Some translations from Swedish are included. There are scattered references to their developing interest in spiritualism after the 1840s, and in some letters, William Howitt expresses his positions on topics such as the degradation of the working classes because of drink, the decadence of politicians, and the evils of vivisection. There are also some manuscript copies of poems and stories by both Howitts.

Ser. 1 Correspondence: Miscellaneous recipients, many unidentified. Letters are largely concerned with matters relating to writers' publications, contributions to Journals, instructions to illustrators. Also includes letters to friends and others arranging visits and other personal matters. Ser. 2. Literary Works: Poems and short prose, fragments of articles, etc. Ser. 3. Pictures

The collection was largely purchased, 1966, 1968, 1969.

Other donations from Charles F. Jenkins, before 1951; Albert A. Merritt.

Formerly cited as Howitt Manuscripts, the collection was compiled from a few gifts and then a significant number of purchases 1966-1969. A complete, detailed inventory is included with the collection, and significant individual items are fully catalogued in the FHL Manuscript card catalogue.

Publisher
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

Miscellaneous recipients, many unidentified.

Howitt, Anna Mary to Bennett, W.C., n.d.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, Anna Mary to "My dearest Silverpen", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing to Miss Meteyard. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to ?, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is possibly writing to Mr. Ilge. Gift of Charles F. Jenkins.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Barnsby, Goudwyn, n.d.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Clifford Miss, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., Nov. 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Dear Friend", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is inviting friends to dinner. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to "Dear Sir", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to "Dear Sir", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., Nov. 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to DuBois, Miss, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is inviting Miss DuBois and her sister to dinner. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary?] to Dunn, Mrs., nd.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Flower, Mrs., n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is briefly discussing plans to visit a studio. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to Hall, (Mrs.), n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., Nov. 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dearest Eliza", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dear Friend", n.d. 2mo 18.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is inviting friends to a gathering. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Proctor, (Mrs.), n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M. to Shoberl, W. Esq., n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to Smith, Miss, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Tuke (?), --, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing the purchase of a house by the recipient of the letter. Purchased from Kenneth Rendell, 10/28/71.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to Williamson, Miss, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing the possibility of her translating a written work.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to (Lovett)?, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from the Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S. (fragment)

Howitt, William to Hill, Frederick, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, [Mary] to Constable, Mr., n.d. 1mo 16.
Box 1

A.L.

Howitt, Mary to "Barbara and Bessie", n.d. 2mo 4.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing about church work for part of letter. Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dear Friend", n.d. 2mo 7.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing upon the death of a friend. Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to "My door dear old Silverpen" (Miss Meteyard), n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing upon the death of the recipient's brother. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Dear Madam", n.d. 2mo 22.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing about an autograph collection. Purchased from Kenneth Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, [Mary] to Constable, [Mr.], n.d. March.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Enclosure: revised copy of verses "To the Reader."

A.L.

Howitt, Mary to Acton, Miss, n.d. 3mo 6.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing the publication of a book. Purchased from Peter Eaton, Ltd., London, 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Sir", n.d. 3mo 26.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is requesting that the recipient help gather signatures in support of a Petition introduced in parliament concerning the "property and earnings of married women." Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.L.S. facsimile

Howitt, M[ary] to "Barbara", n.d. 4mo 2.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

H[owitt], M[ary] to "Barbara", n.d. 4mo 11.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Marston, (Mrs.), n.d. 4mo 17.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 12/10/1966.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Dear Sir", n.d. 4mo 22.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is writing about the publication of a book. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to editor "Literary Gazette", n.d. 4mo 26.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is submitting a literary work. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 12/10/1966.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Hall, (Mr.), n.d. 5mo 5.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Enclosure: photograph (probably of Mary Howitt). Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Cowper (?), Mrs., n.d. 5mo 15.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.L.S.

H[owitt], M[ary] to [Wilson, William], n.d. 5mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is commenting on the recipient's book. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Potter, (Mrs.), n.d. 6mo 27.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary] to Hall, Mrs. S.C., n.d. 6mo 30.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dear old Friend", n.d. 7mo 1.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, M[ary?] to "My dear old Friend", n.d. 7 mo. 14.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dear Friend", n.d. 12 mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Waring, (Mr.), n.d. 7 mo 17.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Lovatt, William, n.d. 9mo 30).
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing literary and publication matters. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 12/10/1966.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Sir", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is thanking the recipient for mentioning her in his paper. Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, May to "My dear old Friend", n.d. 11mo 30.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Sir", n.d. 12 mo 8.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is submitting a literary work.

A.L.S.

Howitt W[illiam] to Moore, (?), 1827 3 mo 3.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Peter Eaton, Ltd., London, 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "My dear Friend", 1829 8mo 13.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Watts, Alarie A., 1830 5mo 13.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Schoberl, F., 1832 4mo 9.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing the publication of a literary work. Purchased from Conway Barker, 11/13/1967.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Martin, John (artist), 1833 12 mo 26.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is discussing book illustrations. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Dear Sir", 1834 12 mo 26.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Sir" from Nottingham, 1835 6mo 1.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Gift of Charles F. Jenkins

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Britton, John, 1836 10mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, Samuel, 1837 10mo 2.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, Samuel, 1837 10mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, S[amuel], 1837 10mo 31.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, Samuel, 1837 11mo 24.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to Williams, Samuel, 1837 12mo 3.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to [Longman Co.]?, 1838 1mo 25.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author is complaining about an article which quoted his work without proper citation. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Anna", 1840 5mo 13.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Freiligrath, Ferdinand, 1842.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Dear Sir", 1844 6mo 12.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Mary", 1844 11mo 18.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Fowler, John, 1846 1mo 22.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Dear Sir", 1846 3mo 13.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Bennett, W.C., 1846 6mo 7.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Gift of Albert A. Merritt.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1846 9mo 2.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Dear Sir", 1847 2mo 24.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, July 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Bennett, W.C., 1847 5mo 13.
Box 1

A.L.S.

[Howittt, William] to "Dear Sir", 1847 5mo 31.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.

Howitt, William to Fowler (?), 1847 7mo 5.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, W[illiam] to "My Dear Sir", 1847 8mo 4.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to ?, 1847 12mo 19.
Box 1

A.L.S.

Howitt, William, 1848 2mo 6.
Box 1

A.L.S. and undated fragment

Howitt, William to "Dear Friend", 1848 3mo 25.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Meteyard, Eliza, 1848 9mo 30.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "Dear Friend", 1848 10mo 25.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1849 2mo 2.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1849 8mo 31.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1849 9mo 7.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear" (Fowler), 1850 2mo 24.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Fowler, John, 1850 4mo 11.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Binney, Thomas, Rev., 1850 5mo 3.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Author wants to write to another minister but does not know if he has the right name, so he is asking Rev. Binney. Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1850 11mo 15.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to "My Dear Sir", 1850 11mo 29.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to John Fowler, 1850 12mo 7.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Hutchings, E., 1850 12mo 24.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Freiligrath, Ferdinand., 1857 6mo 1.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to DeMorgan, (Mrs.), 1860 10mo 17.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Cowper, (Mrs.), 1862 1mo 2 and 3mo 14.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

2 A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Hall, S.C., 1863 5mo 12.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Neunes, Mrs., 1863 9mo 22.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Meteyard, Miss, 1868 10mo 26.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to Meteyard, Miss, 1868 11mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Potter, (Mrs.), 1869 1mo 2-5mo 30.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

3 A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to Hall, Mr., 1873 9mo 1.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, William to ?, 1876 6mo 21.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, March, 1968.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to "Barbara", 1886 1mo 8.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Howitt, Mary to McMichael, Thomas C., 1886 3mo 20.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth W. Rendell, 1969.

A.L.S.

Scope and Contents

Poems and short prose, fragments of articles, etc.

Howitt, Mary: "The Fisher-Boy", poem, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1969.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "Oh children young...", verse, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "Old Fashioned Winter," verses, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "This World and the Next", verses, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "Traditionary Ballads", No. III, "The Lady Magdelene, A Legend of an English Hall", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kenneth Rendell, 10/28/71.

A.Ms.S.

[Howitt, William]: Fragment of a manuscript apparently re: Isaac Crewdson and the Beacon Controversy, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., May 1968.

A.Ms.

[Howitt, William]: Fragment re. James Naylor, consisting mainly of the quoting of Naylor's statement "There is a Spirit", n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.Ms.

[Howitt, William]: Fragment re. representation at Yearly Meeting., n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.Ms.

[Howitt, William]: Manuscript re. the Divine Will, etc., n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.Ms. (fragment)

Howitt, William: "The Pine-tree and The Furze-Bush", short story, n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, William: "A Life's Lesson", poem, 1856 12mo 15.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: Translation of Swedish verse, 1862 12mo 8.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., 1969.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "In Christ", poem addressed to William Howitt, 1863 3mo 23.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., Nov. 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "When life's hope shall fail thee...", poem., 1864 12mo.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Ximenes, January, 1983. $25.00.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, Mary: "Wealth I do no crave to own", poem, 1865 3mo 27.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., Nov. 1968.

A.Ms.S.

Howitt, William: "We have long acknowledged", statement re. Negroes, 1868 4mo 10.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

A.Ms.S.

The Hermitage, Highgate Rise (residence of the Howitts), 1854.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Purchased from Kingston Galleries, Inc., March 1968.

ink drawing

Print, Suggest