The William Arnold Autograph Collection is part of a larger collection of books and manuscripts dealing with American, especially Rhode Island, history. The entire collection was donated to the Providence Public Library in 1923 by Mr. Frederick Augustus Arnold. In an effort to support collections at other Providence libraries, the following transfers of materials were made: items representing “Americana” before the year 1801 were transferred to the John Carter Brown Library; items relating to American poetry were transferred to the John Hay Library; and publications concerning the Arnold family were transferred to the Rhode Island Historical Society. The remaining materials constitute the William Arnold Autograph Collection. The collection was named for William Arnold, an ancestor of Frederick A. Arnold. The collection consists mainly of legal documents and correspondence, but also includes poems, portraits, business records, and ephemera dating from 1655 to 1922.