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Barnes Family papers

 Collection 0022-LIT
The Barnes family papers consist of the papers of Djuna Barnes's grandmother, Zadel Barnes Gustafson (1841-1917), her father, Brian Barnes (1865-1934) (born Henry Budington, but also known as Wald Barnes, Wald Gustafson, Brian Eglinton Barnes, and Harold Barnes), and her half-sister Muriel (b. 1899) and half-brother Duane (b. 1902). Zadel Barnes was a journalist, poet, and women's rights activist, and her papers consist of poems, a short story, two scrapbooks, correspondence which includes a letter from John Greenleaf Whittier, and legal documents. Brian Barnes was an amateur poet and composer. His papers comprise the bulk of the Barnes family papers and consist of numerous literary works and musical scores, as well as correspondence, artworks, and miscellaneous items. The papers of Duane and Muriel Barnes consist of four postcards from Djuna Barnes and miscellaneous items. The Barnes family papers also contain ninety-one family photographs, spanning four generations of the family, and sixteen photographs of artworks produced by Brian Barnes and his father-in-law John Faulkner. A collection of thirty-four books owned by Barnes family members and ranging from 1846 to 1973 has been cataloged and is availabe through the University of Maryland Library catalog.


  • 1880-1985

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


18.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Barnes Family papers consist primarily of materials produced by Brian Barnes and Zadel Barnes Gustafson. These materials consist of manuscripts for various literary works, art work, sheet music, correspondence, a scrapbook, legal documents, articles, and books dating from 1846 to 1973. There is a large collection of photographs of the Barnes family dating from the 1850s to 1911 that spans four generations. There are also photographs of paintings by Brian Barnes and by John Faulkner, member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and father of Frances Faulkner. In addition, the collection contains works or possessions of other Barnes family members: a poem and a painting by Muriel Barnes; music by Duane F. Barnes; four postcards from Djuna Barnes to Muriel and Duane; and drawings by Djuna Barnes in her grandmother's scrapbook. Items in the collection created by non-family members include a poem and letter to Zadel Gustafson from the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier; a poem by Rita A. Walsh (identity unknown); and a drawing by E. Lass (also unknown).

Family History

The Barnes family name can be traced to southeastern England and derives from the Norse "bjorn," meaning warrior. Colonial records indicate that at least ten or twelve Barneses emigrated to America before 1650. A descendant of these early emigrants was Shamgar Barnes, who died in 1750 in Middletown, Connecticut, where the family resided for five generations. Duane Barnes (1814-1900), a great-great grandson of Shamgar Barnes, was a schoolteacher, bookseller, and poet. Among his fourteen children was Zadel Barnes, grandmother of the most prominent literary figure of the family: journalist, illustrator, dramatist, novelist, and poet, Djuna Barnes. The Barnes family is distinctive for its longstanding tendency to select unconventional names and for a particularly high rate of solitary life and divorce much before this became commonplace. The Barnes family even had one divorce in the seventeenth century.

Zadel Barnes (1841-1917), daughter of Duane Barnes and Cynthia Turner, began her career as a journalist at age thirteen and continued to contribute articles and fictional pieces to leading magazines and newspapers throughout her life, including the Pall Mall Gazette, Leslie's Weekly, and Harper's Monthly Magazine. She initiated and edited the National Philanthropist in London in 1884. She was a feminist who wrote and lectured in various countries on women's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, and abolition. She claimed to have known Harriet Beecher Stowe and leading feminists of the mid-nineteenth century and was mentioned in passing in the memoirs of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Andrew Field, Djuna Barnes's biographer, described her as belonging to "that undergrowth of literary nationalism that flourished after the Civil War," a generation "conspicuous for the role of women in it." Of her literary works she was best known for "Meg--A Pastoral, and Other Poems," published in Harper's in 1878. She also published a novel, Can the Old Love?, in 1871 and edited Zöphiel--Or the Bride of Seven in 1879. Her works were published under the name Z. B. Budington and Z. B. Gustafson, as well as Zadel Turner Barnes.

She was married for twenty years to Henry Aaron Budington. The son of a successful sheep farmer and abolitionist Republican, Budington was also a journalist and worked for the Springfield Republican, for which Zadel Barnes wrote editorials. He described himself as a spiritualist, and his writings reveal a mixture of his righteous Methodist upbringing and the mystico-scientific ideas characteristic of his time. Zadel Barnes finally rebelled against his stringent moral standards, as did their son, Henry.

After her divorce from Budington in 1877, Zadel Barnes married Axel Gustafson and lived for a time in Great Britain. Mr. Gustafson was a writer and an activist in the temperance movement; he and Zadel co-authored The Foundation of Death, a popular pro-temperance book, in 1884. Some hold that Zadel Barnes Gustafson established a writer's salon in London where she entertained various pre-Raphaelite figures including Oscar Wilde. Although she did reside in London during this time and befriended notable figures including Swiss royalty and the daughter of Karl Marx, it is uncertain whether her literary salon actually existed. After her separation from Gustafson, Zadel returned to Connecticut where she lived with her son Brian and his family. A powerful and independent woman, Zadel Barnes Gustafson served as a role model for the young Djuna Barnes.

Djuna Barnes's father (1865-1934) was named Henry Budington but rejected his name because he disliked his father. He used several names throughout his life, including Brian Barnes, Brian Eglinton Barnes, Harold Barnes, Wald Gustafson, and Wald Barnes. He appears to have begun his adult pursuits as an engineer, for, at an early age, he designed a "wind plane" which he named the Barnes Air-Ship. However, he seems to have dedicated most of his life to artistic creation. Although he never gained public recognition for his works, he was a prolific writer of poems and novels, composer of operas, and painter. He built a home on the estate of his wealthy brother, Justin, located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, an area popular among bohemians of the time. Here he lived with his mother Zadel Barnes Gustafson; his wife, the British-born Elizabeth Chappell; and their children, Thurn Barnes (b. 1891 or before?), Djuna Barnes (b. 1892), Zendon Barnes (b. 1900), Saxon Barnes (b. 1902), and Shangar Barnes, a.k.a. Charles Chappell (b. 1904). He is known to have had several mistresses. One of his lovers was Marguerite Amelia d'Alvarez, an opera singer who worked with Oscar Hammerstein and who was the model for the character Kate Careless in Djuna Barnes's novel Ryder. Brian Barnes and Elizabeth Chappell divorced in 1912, a considerable time after his long-time lover and eventual second wife, Frances (Fanny) Faulkner, joined the family at Cornwall-on-Hudson. Frances Faulkner was the daughter of John Faulkner, a prominent Irish painter who was an associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1861 to 1870 and lived in the United States during the 1870s. Frances Faulkner had three children with Brian Barnes: Muriel (b. 1899), Duane (b. 1902), and Brian (b. 1904). The responsibility of caring for their father fell to Muriel and Duane after Djuna and her siblings left the estate.


The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1
Zadel Barnes Gustafson
Series 2
Brian Barnes
Series 3
Duane and Muriel Barnes
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Barnes Family papers were purchased by the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in April 1990 from Kerron Barnes, the son of Duane Barnes, grandson of Brian Barnes and Frances Faulkner, and half nephew of Djuna Barnes.

Related Material

Materials related to this collection can be found in the Papers of Djuna Barnes. In Series I: Correspondence, there are folders containing materials of Zadel Barnes Gustafson; Wald Barnes; Shangar Barnes (Charles Chappell); Elizabeth Chappell Barnes; Zendon Barnes; Saxon Barnes; Duane Barnes; Reon Barnes; Peter and Romney Barnes; Muriel Barnes; and Nicholas Barnes. There may be additional information in Miss Barnes's address and phone books and in Appendix A: Unprocessed Material. There are twenty-three pictures of family members in the Djuna Barnes photograph collection.

Separated Materials

All publications have been removed from the collection and cataloged. For a full list of publications separated from the collection, please contact the curator at

Processing Information

This guide is a re-drafting of a guide produced by Ann Horn in 1990 and a revision of one prepared in 1993 by Gene Walsh. The first guide does not describe the processing undertaken at the time of acquisition, although some notes of changes remain within the collection itself. For example, much of the music was grouped by the composer in titled casings. These groups provide the basis for much of the music's present order. The covers were photocopied and placed within the envelopes containing the beginning of each group. Notes on these photocopies state: "Because of the conservation problems inherent in the cardboard cover casings of these materials, it was deemed better to dispose of the covers and retain the information on a photocopy."

In 1994, the guide was completely re-arranged, with new series and subseries headings, but the folder-level arrangement of the collection itself was not substantially changed. In general, primary headings previously designated according to type of item, such as "Manuscripts/ Typescripts," or by size of item were changed to fall under the individual author or owner, since the overwhelming majority of items in the collection are by or of Brian Barnes. The original guide provided overly detailed item-level descriptions. These were discarded in favor of simpler, more general descriptions, with detailed listings moved into appendices. One very significant change made by Walsh is the creation of Series III: Duane and Muriel Barnes. The items in this series had been interspersed throughout the rest of the collection by genre. For example, music by Duane Barnes was grouped under the general category of "Music" overwhelmingly made up of works by Brian Barnes. Likewise, a poem by Muriel Barnes was among the poetry ordered alphabetically, which also consisted overwhelmingly of works by Brian Barnes. Items by, of, or about either Brian Barnes, Zadel Barnes Gustafson, or Muriel Barnes found grouped under the title "Miscellaneous" were removed and placed in the series of these individuals. These include all items, except work papers and correspondence, of Series II, Subseries 3; Zadel Barnes Gustafson's scrapbook, autograph book, and certificate of appreciation; the manuscript and mounted copies of the poems "Her Knight" and "The Love Song of the Wind" by Z. B. G.; and the seascape painting by Muriel Barnes. The photographs of artwork were separated from the rest of the photograph collection, which is mostly composed of group and individual family portraits.

In the latest revision, books were moved into their own series, Series VI: Books; they were formerly subseries of Series I, II, and III, with ownership documented by inscriptions. The subseries were then completely reorganized: "Manuscripts" were retitled "Literary works." The broad "memorabilia" categories were broken up as appropriate, separating out literary works, legal documents, memory books, and correspondence. In Series II: Brian Barnes, a number of subseries were created: literary works, music, art, correspondence, and miscellaneous.

Other changes of order include moving the poem "Boy of Mine" by Rita A. Walsh from a folder of alphabetically arranged poems to Series V: Miscellaneous with other works by individuals not of the Barnes family. Two stories by Brian Barnes, "Brian's Own" and "Kinks," formerly grouped in one folder, were separated, as there was no evident reason for that placement. Two poems written by Zadel Barnes on brown paper were placed with her other poems, rather than with memorabilia. Individual pages of Brian Barnes's work notes, previously placed primarily among items of poetry, were removed and placed with Series II, Subseries 1; most of these items are not obvious references to the works with which they were previously grouped, but they do reflect Mr. Barnes's writing process. The music was restored to its original order, as indicated by the information on the photocopied covers that once enclosed it; formerly, many pieces belonging in The Red Pavilion Series were intermingled with the miscellaneous music.

A photocopy of a typed untitled poem marked "for Fanny" was removed from the files of poetry, since it is not authored by Brian Barnes, and placed in Series II, Subseries 5, with Brian Barnes's miscellaneous items. And a half sheet of music entitled "Off She Goes" with the note "copied by ? Barnes" (possibly "copied by T. Barnes") was removed from the files of Brian Barnes's music and placed with his miscellaneous items. The handwriting is obviously not his, and a note from the original guide states that it was found in his "Record" book of manuscript poetry.

The photograph collection was completely reorganized by subject and made into one series, with family photographs at the beginning of the series and photographs of artwork at the end. The photographs were arranged by subject and re-numbered. Because of the re-numbering, several items had to be removed from their black box frames; the items this affects have been noted in Appendix XV. Clippings of Duane Barnes's hair, formerly inside photo #5's black box frame, were moved to an envelope for preservation. All photographs were arranged in new Mylar sheets, with some exceptions for size, and arranged in a box. The two extant negatives were placed with their corresponding photographs.

In 2006, the photographs were rearranged and the subjects renamed.

The entire collection was placed in new acid-free folders and boxes, with some items enclosed in custom-built enclosures.
Guide to the Barnes Family papers
Processed by Ann Horn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742