TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Administrative Information

Biography of Joseph Kirkland

Scope and Content of the Collection

Organization

Selected Search Terms

Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1842-1938, bulk 1880-1890

Series 2: Works, 1847-1894

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1863-1939

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Inventory of the Joseph Kirkland Papers, 1842-1939


The Newberry Library
Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-7324
USA
Phone: 312-255-3506
Fax: 312-255-3646
E-Mail: specialcolls@newberry.org
URL: http://www.newberry.org

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Lisa Janssen, 2005.

©2005.


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Creator Kirkland, Joseph, 1830-1894
Title Joseph Kirkland Papers
Dates 1842-1939
Extent 0.4 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract Correspondence, mainly written by Chicago lawyer and author Joseph Kirkland to and from members of his family, and copies of letters he wrote to Hamlin Garland. Also, a few of Kirkland's works, and some miscellaneous material including biographical, genealogical and social information regarding Kirkland, his family and his literary career.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Collection Call Number Midwest MS Kirkland
Collection Stack Location 3a 40 11

Administrative Information

Cite As

Joseph Kirkland Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Provenance

Gift of Joseph Kirkland's granddaughters, Mrs. Boyd Hill and Mrs. Morrow Krum, 1945.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2005.

Access

The Joseph Kirkland Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Joseph Kirkland Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

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Biography of Joseph Kirkland

Chicago lawyer and author.

Joseph Kirkland was born in Geneva, New York in 1830 and lived mostly in the East until he entered private business in Illinois in 1856. He first worked as an auditor for the Illinois Central Railway, then a supervisor of mining operations for a coal company. During the Civil War he was aide-de-camp to Generals George McClellan and Fitz-John Porter, and afterwards he tried establishing a coal-mining enterprise before becoming an agent for the Internal Revenue Service. Finally, in 1880 at age fifty, he was admitted to the Illinois bar and practiced law for the next ten years. However, what he really wanted was to become a serious author, which meant his writing career came rather late in life.

Kirkland had been developing his literary talent by experimenting with play-writing and writing book reviews for the Chicago Dial. During the 1870's and 1880's he had poems, articles and stories published in various Chicago newspapers and periodicals, but his literary reputation, albeit a modest one, rests on the publication of the first of his three novels, Zury: The Meanest Man in Spring County (1887). The book, based on his own experiences and his keen ear for Midwestern speech and character, received good reviews and sold well, though the following two novels, The McVeys in 1888 and The Captain of Company K in 1889 were not as accomplished. Because of Zury Kirkland has been credited as a pioneering realist, the first to present a truthful portrayal of Midwestern farm life, and apparently the novel inspired both Stephen Crane and Hamlin Garland.

In 1889 Kirkland was the literary editor of the Chicago Tribune, which two years later printed his series of letters from Nicaragua where he had gone as a special correspondent, and he continued to be published in Century, Scribner's and Atlantic. His last works were local histories, The Story of Chicago (1891) and The Chicago Massacre of 1812 (1893).

Joseph Kirkland married Theodosia B. Wilkinson and they had four children. He died in Chicago of a heart attack in 1894.

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Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, literary works, and a small miscellany of Joseph Kirkland, 1842-1939. The letters are mainly from Kirkland to his wife and children in which he describes his life in Chicago while they are abroad and the progress of his novel-writing, a few letters from his wife and daughters to him and to each other, plus several others. Included are copies of transcriptions of twenty letters Kirkland wrote to Hamlin Garland in 1887 and 1888, the originals of which are elsewhere.

Among the works are articles, notes, some poems, two plays, a story and a journal kept when the young Kirkland went to England in 1847. The miscellaneous material consists of articles about Kirkland, biographical sketches, and a long sketch on the Kirklands and their Chicago neighbors, genealogical information, obituaries, three photographs of Kirkland and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

Narrative descriptions of the subject matter, types of material, and arrangement of each series are available through the Organization section of the finding aid.

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Organization

Papers are organized in the following series:

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Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Newberry Library's public catalog. Researchers desiring additional materials on a particular topic should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

  • Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940
  • Kirkland family
  • Kirkland, Joseph, 1830-1894

Subjects

  • American literature -- 19th century
  • Chicago (Ill.) -- Intellectual life -- 19th century
  • Chicago (Ill.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century
  • Correspondence -- Illinois -- Chicago, 1801-1850
  • Correspondence -- Illinois -- Chicago, 1851-1900
  • Correspondence -- Illinois -- Chicago, 1901-1950
  • Great fire, Chicago, Ill., 1871 -- Personal narratives
  • Journalists – Illinois – Chicago – History – 19th century -- Sources
  • Journals (notebooks) -- England
  • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Novelists -- Midwestern
  • Photographs – 1851-1900
  • Realism in literature
  • Travel literature -- England

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Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1842-1938, bulk 1880-1890

Letters from Joseph Kirkland to his wife and family, filled with fatherly advice, and detailing his life in Chicago while they are abroad. They cover such topics as building construction, social events, and the progress of composing and publishing his novels. There are letters from his wife and children and several between relatives. There are also copies of transcriptions of twenty letters Kirkland wrote to Hamlin Garland in 1887 and 1888, in which Kirkland discusses Zury and gives Garland advice about writing.
Arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Joseph Kirkland to Caroline Kirkland (7 letters), 1882-1889)
1 2 Joseph Kirkland to Elizabeth Kirkland, Nov., 1842; Feb. 24, 1843
1 3 Joseph Kirkland to Ethel Kirkland Ennis, June 24, July 30, 1887
1 4 Joseph Kirkland to John Kirkland (15 letters), 1883-1885
1 5 Joseph Kirkland to Louisa Kirkland Sanborn (9 letters), 1885-1888
1 6 Joseph Kirkland to Theodosia W. Kirkland (18 letters), 1883-1888
1 7 Joseph Kirkland to "Dearest Folks" (6 letters), 1883-1890
1 8 Joseph Kirkland to Eve H. Brodlique, Nov. 8, 1892
1 9 Joseph Kirkland to Hamlin Garland (20 letters) copies, 1887-1888
1 10 Joseph Kirkland to Louise C. Shuler, July 18, 1887; Jan. 13, 1888
1 11 Caroline Kirkland to Family, July 16, 1889
1 12 Caroline Kirkland to Louisa Kirkland Sanborn, July 5, 1888; Feb. 9, 19-
1 13 John Kirkland to Joseph Kirkland, Jan. 10, 1882
1 14 Louise Kirkland Sanborn to Joseph Kirkland, Aug. 30, 1887
1 15 Dorothy Anne Dondore to Louisa Kirkland Sanborn (3 letters), 1929-1930
1 16 John T. Flanagan to Louisa Kirkland Sanborn, Nov. 17, 1938
1 17 J. Forman Wilkinson to Theodosia W. Kirkland, Nov. 15, 1888

Series 2: Works, 1847-1894

An address, several articles, two plays, some poems, a story, and a few miscellaneous notes, including reminiscences of the Chicago Fire of 1871. Also, a journal kept in 1847 when the youthful Kirkland went to London.
Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Box Folder Contents
1 18 Address: "The Opening of the War" (incomplete), 1880
1 19 Article: "An Experiment in Play-writing", Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 1879
1 20 Articles published in magazine Figaro, 1892
1 21 Journal, July 29-Aug. 17, 1847
1 22 Notes on the Chicago Fire, 187-; misc. notes, 1894
1 23 Play: Double Charade, 187-
1 24 Play: The Dummy, 188-
1 25 Poems: 1875-1894
1 26 Story: "Zury's Soft Spot", Feb. 24, 1893

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1863-1939

Several articles regarding Joseph Kirkland, biographical and genealogical studies, obituaries, photographs of Kirkland, a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of miscellaneous poems and articles and a long sketch and notes about the Kirkland family and friends, possibly written by Louisa Kirkland Sanborn.
Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Box Folder Contents
1 27 Articles: biographies of Joseph Kirkland, 1894
1 28 Article: "Joseph Kirkland", by Dorothy Anne Dondore, 1930
1 29 Article: "Joseph Kirkland, Pioneer Realist", by John T. Flanagan, 1939
1 30 Article: "Roadside Meetings of a Literary Nomad", by Hamlin Garland, 1929
1 31 Article: "The Story of Chicago", in Figaro, 1892
1 32 Biographical and literary study of Joseph Kirkland in preparation for a (incompleted) thesis, 1939
1 33 Genealogy of the Kirkland/Kirtland Family, 1894
1 34 Obituaries of Joseph Kirkland, 1894
1 35 Photographs: Joseph Kirkland, 1863, 1884, 1892
1 36 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1877-1898
1 37 Signature of Joseph Kirkland, n.d.
1 38 Sketches on the Kirklands and their Chicago neighbors, 19-