Skip to main content

Hunter T. Stagg papers

Identifier: M 261

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, notes, typescripts, reviews, bills and miscellaneous materials dating from 1917 to 1981. The bulk of the collection focuses on correspondence throughout the 1920s and 1930s, especially that of James Branch Cabell and Carl Van Vechten (including copies of letters written to Van Vechten from Stagg obtained from Yale University by Edgar MacDonald). Other notable correspondents include: Essie Robeson (wife of Paul Robeson, see 3.5), Marjorie K. Rawlings, Tom Rutherfurd (Rutherfoord), Gertrude Stein, Alice Toklas, Frances Newman, Langston Hughes, Ben Ray Redman, Ellen Glasgow, and Montgomery Evans. Much of the Evans correspondence are copies of letters from Stagg to Evans from the Morris Library, Southern Illinois University. These were provided by Dr. Edgar MacDonald during his research of Hunter Stagg.


  • Creation: 1917 - 1981


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Hunter Taylor Stagg was born in the city of Richmond, the younger son of Thomas E. and Sarah Stagg on 29 May 1895. Kicked in the head by a horse at the age of seven, Stagg became prone to seizures later in life. Stagg attended the Richmond school run by John Peyton McGuire and in 1921 joined with three other "literary minded" individuals (Mary Dallas Street, Emily Clark (Balch) and Margaret Freeman (who married James Branch Cabell in 1950) to establish The Reviewer, a literary magazine. "Hunter Stagg was an avid literary lionizer, the one of the four who sought meetings with writers for the thrill of associating with creative artists. His handsome appearance, his considerable charm, his genuine appreciation for writing aided him in establishing the friendships he cherished including that of Cabell. Carl Van Vechten, leader of avant-garde cultural circles in New York, responded to Hunter's appeal and opened literary doors for him." -- from the Ellen Glasgow Newsletter #15 which also provides extensive lists of acquaintances met during these years. The Reviewer moved to North Carolina in 1924 and Stagg held several reviewing positions in Richmond before moving to Washington, D.C. in March 1938 to live with his sister, Helen Winston, and her family. He lived with Mrs. Winston until her death in the late 1940s. After spending some time in New York with Margaret Freeman recuperating from his sister's death, Stagg returned to D.C. and got a job managing a bookstore. Stagg only worked intermittently throughout his life and was prone to alcoholism. Chronically without funds, Stagg forfeited a portion of his library and his furnishings when he did not meet the storage payments. He was eventually committed to St. Elizabeth's in Washington, D.C. and died there, 23 December 1960. He was buried in the Stagg family section of Hollywood Cemetery. As of 2002, his grave had no marker or tombstone.


2.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection is arranged alphabetically within each series.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the the Special Collections and Archives department by Mr. Robert Saylor (widower of Stagg's niece Charlotte Nance Saylor) in 1988. Edgar MacDonald provided additional material. Also, a collection of correspondence from Mrs. Elizabeth Norfleet was deposited in 1994.

Uniform Title

A Guide to the Hunter T. Stagg papers, 1917-1981
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Collection number M 261
Betsy Pittman
2002 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the VCU James Branch Cabell Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 901 Park Avenue
Richmond Virginia 23284 USA US
(804) 828-1108