MS - 066: Dissertation of George S. Warthen - "A Study of the Rolliad"

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MS - 066: The Papers of George Saylor Warthen

(1 box, .27 cubic feet)

Inclusive Dates: 1924-1954

Processed by Jason Kowell
August 2005

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF


George S. Warthen was a professor of English at Gettysburg College from 1924 until his death in 1954. Born on September 25, 1900 in Salisburg, North Carolina, Warthen later moved to Virginia where he attending high school and college. After graduating from the University of Virginia (1921), Warthen taught at U of VA for three years before receiving a Masters from Harvard in 1924. Afterwards he began teaching at Gettysburg College as an Assistant Professor of English and became a full Professor in 1948 shortly after receiving his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1948. In addition to teaching English classes focusing on 17th and 18th Century literature, Warthen headed the English department and served on various faculty committees.

As part of his graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, Warthen wrote a dissertation entitled “A Study of the Rolliad” in 1947. The Rolliad was a series of satirical essays on English politics and government written by numerous authors that ran until 1812.

“Someone hit on the happy idea of a mock review of a mock epic, and thus Criticisms of the Rolliad began. The successive numbers of this production appeared, from time to time, in The Morning Herald, and won instantaneous popularity; when collected in book-form, they ran through twenty-two editions. Each number professed to be a commentary on a new epic that had just appeared. This mythical composition, The Rolliad, took its name from one of the chief butts of its wit, John Rolle, M.P. for Devonshire, whose stolid toryism had latterly found vent in an attempt to cough down Burke.” (

Series Description

The Warthen collection is divided into two series.  Series I: “Other Satires” and Series II: A Study of the Rolliad.

Scope and Content Notes

This collection is the typed manuscript “A Study of the Rollaid” as well as the handwritten notes by Warthen. The majority of the collection is the manuscript, which consists of four chapters and an appendix. The notes are generally simple lists, mostly of other sources used by Warthen. These notes were for personal use and are for the most part check lists of other works or names.  Series I is a miscellaneous collection of handwritten lists and notes. Most are labeled as “other satires”, however a few have categories such as “history” or “biographies.” Series II are the typed chapters of Warthen’s manuscript, entitled “A Study of the Rolliad.”

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF