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Guide to the William Blackburn Papers, 1859-1985

Abstract

William Blackburn was a professor of English and creative writing at Duke University.

The collection includes correspondence, writings, teaching materials and notes, biographical and family papers, printed materials, scrapbooks, audiovisual material, and photographs from William Blackburn and his family.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Blackburn, William (William Maxwell), 1899-1972.
Title
William Blackburn papers, 1859-1985
Language of Material
English
Extent
20 Linear Feet, 15,000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The William Blackburn papers are arranged in the following series: Correspondence; Writings; Teaching Material; Duke University Literary and Artistic Projects; Biographical Data and Family Papers; Printed Material; Scrapbooks; Audiovisual Material; and Photographs. Correspondence includes Blackburn family letters, letters relating to Blackburn's teaching and career at Duke University, and typescripts of letters by and about Joseph Conrad. Writings include Blackburn's own writings and speeches as well as those of students and his son Alexander Lambert Blackburn. Clippings mostly concern Blackburn's academic work, literary events at Duke in which Blackburn was pivotal, and reviews of the work of his students (including Anne Tyler, William Styron, and Reynolds Price). The collection also includes numerous photographs of family members and some of literary figures.

Addition (2007-0129) (200 items; 0.6 lin. ft.; dated 1937-1972) contains correspondence between Blackburn and his daughter, Mary April Blackburn Hill.

Addition (2008-0071) (30 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; 1925-1973) includes correspondence between William Blackburn and his brother, Clark, as well as additional papers from Elizabeth Blackburn. Elizabeth's papers include correspondence and two literary compositions.

Addition (2010-0013) (200 items; 0.6 lin. ft.; dated 1928-1985) includes correspondence between Blackburn and his wife, Elizabeth, especially during the breakup of their marriage; notes about William Blackburn from his son, Alexander Blackburn; articles, speeches, and clippings; and materials from his students and colleagues.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

RESTRICTED: Selected correspondence is restricted; see container list for details.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Blackburn's personal and professional correspondence; letters to his students; and correspondence of several members of his family, especially of his son, Alexander Lambert Blackburn, his brothers George and Clark Blackburn, and his first wife Elizabeth Cheney Blackburn. Also contained in the series are copies of letters written by Joseph Conrad to his publishers and much of the correspondence between Blackburn and Reynolds Price.

Correspondence, 1916-1944
(10 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1945-1956
(11 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence, 1957-1964
(10 folders)
Box 3
Correspondence, 1965-1973 and n.d.
(10 folders)
Box 4
Correspondence, 1970-1972 and n.d.
(5 folders)
Box 5
Correspondence, 1859-1915 and n.d.
(6 folders)
Box 5
Correspondence, 1938-1946
(9 folders)
Box 6
Correspondence, 1947-1952
(9 folders)
Box 7
Correspondence, 1952-1964
(13 folders)
Box 8
Correspondence, 1965-1974 and n.d.
(9 folders)
Box 9
Correspondence, 1918-1972 and n.d.
(2 folders)
Box 9
Correspondence, 1926-1972
(8 folders)
Box 10
Letters by and about Conrad, 1898-1924
(8 folders)
Box 11
Correspondence, 1953-1962
(1 folder)
Box 12
Correspondence, 1944-1973 and n.d.
Box 12
Matthew Arnold's Literature and Dogma: An Essay Towards a Better Apprehension of the Bible, 1943
Box 13
Letters of Joseph Conrad to William Blackwood and David S. Meldrum, TS Drafts of Blackburn's apparatus, 1958
Box 13
[Houghton-Mifflin Anthology of English Literature], Correspondence and Questionnaire, 1947
Box 13
[Houghton-Mifflin Anthology of English Literature], TS copies of selected poems, 1947
Box 13
[Houghton-Mifflin Anthology of English Literature], TS copies of selected works, 1947
Box 13
Academic essays, 1930-1948 and n.d.
Box 13
Academic essays: Lady Magdalen Herbert and her Son George, Proof TS drafts, publication correspondence and notes, 1947-1951 and n.d.
Box 13
Non-academic essays and articles, 1928-1945 and n.d.
Box 13
An Awareness of the Arts: An Essay in Retrospect, Duke Alumni Register, April 1963
Box 14
Addresses and lectures, 1921; 1942 and n.d.
Box 14
Book reviews by Blackburn, 1946-1962
Box 14
Book review of Blackburn's Letters of Joseph Conrad to William Blackwood and Devid S. Meldrum, 1959
Box 14
ABC press release, 1963 (2 copies)
Box 14
Partial transcript, published in Mississippi Quarterly 31, 1978
Box 14
Notes and Fragments, n.d.
Box 14
Correspondence and grants, 1946-1955 and n.d.
Box 14
Alexander Lambert Blackburn, Diary of a Blackburn at Camp Desert Rock Operation, October 1957
Box 14
Alexander Lambert Blackburn, TS draft, The Earthly Comedy, 1971 (2 copies)
Box 14
Alexander Lambert Blacburn, ed., Sight 1, June 1953
Box 14
Alexander Lambert Blackburn, ed., Writers Forum 5, 1978
Box 14
Fred Chappell, Six Propositions about Literature and History, New Literary History 1, 1970
Box 14
Guy Davenport, The Aeroplanes at Brescia, The Hudson Review, n.d.
Box 14
Mac Hyman, ed., William Blackburn, TS draft, Love, Boy, n.d. (1), no apparatus
Box 14
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (2), Hyman to Angelo and Jo Bettoya, 1956-1962 and n.d.
Box 14
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (3), Hyman to Blackburn, 1947-1963
Box 14
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (4), Hyman to James Oliver Brown, 1953-1963
Box 14
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (5), Hyman to Dinah and Mitzi Hyman, 1953-1959 and n.d.
Box 15
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (6), Hyman to his parents, 1943-1950
Box 15
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (7), Hyman to his wife, 1952-1962 and n.d.
Box 15
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (8), Hyman to Alvin G. Manuel, 1957-1961 and n.d.
Box 15
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (9), Hyman to Random House, Inc., 1954-1960
Box 15
Mac Hyman, ed., Blackburn, Love, Boy (10), Hyman to Henry Maxwell Steele, 1954-1962 and n.d.
Box 15
Harry R. Jackson, TS draft, Report on Allen Building Takeover, 1969
Box 15
Diane Kelekyan, TS draft, William Styron: The Child in the Writer, 1972
Box 15
Kathryn Vale, A Grain, Perhaps of Wheat, 1964
Box 15

Course Material

(11 boxes)

Alpha by subject; quotation marks denote instances in which Blackburn's folder titles have been retained.

Joseph Additson and Sir Richard Steele
Box 15
Matthew Arnold
Box 15
Matthew Arnold and Baruch Spinoza
Box 15
Thomas Arnold
Box 15
Jane Austen
Box 15
Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher
Box 15
Bibliography
Box 15
William Blake
Box 15
Sir Thomas Browne (1 of 2 folders)
Box 15
Sir Thomas Browne (2 of 2 folders)
Box 16
Robert Browning (2 folders)
Box 16
John Bunyan
Box 16
Fanny Burney
Box 16
Robert Burns
Box 16
George Gordon, Lord Byron
Box 16
Thomas Campion
Box 16
Thomas Carlyle (4 of 5 folders)
Box 16
Thomas Carlyle (5 of 5 folders)
Box 17
Thomas Carlyle and German Literature
Box 17
Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present
Box 17
Benvenuto Cellini (2 folders)
Box 17
Philip Dormer Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield
Box 17
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Box 17
William Collins
Box 17
William Congreve
Box 17
Joseph Conrad
Box 17
William Cowper
Box 17
Daniel Defoe
Box 17
Charles Dickens
Box 17
John Donne (1 of 2 folders)
Box 17
John Donne (2 of 2 folders)
Box 18
John Donne and Izaak Walton
Box 18
John Dryden (2 folders)
Box 18
Early English drama
Box 18
T.S. Eliot (2 folders)
Box 18
Elizabethan Prose
Box 18
Notes for English 56, The Short Story
Box 18
Essays on Eighteenth-Century Thought
Box 18
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
Box 18
Gustave Flaubert
Box 18
John Fletcher
Box 18
John Ford
Box 18
E.M. Forster
Box 18
Freud and Literature
Box 18
... from Novelists
Box 18
Gawain-poet
Box 18
John Gay
Box 18
God and the Bible
Box 18
Oliver Goldsmith
Box 18
Thomas Gray
Box 18
Robert Greene
Box 18
Greek Tragedy
Box 18
The Harrowing of Hell in Medieval Drama
Box 18
William Hazlitt
Box 19
Thomas Heywood
Box 19
Aldous Huxley
Box 19
Jacobean Drama: Jonson to Shirley
Box 19
Samuel Johnson
Box 19
Ben Jonson
Box 19
Ben Jonson, The Alchemist
Box 19
Ben Jonson, Volpone
Box 19
Ben Jonson and John Donne
Box 19
Ben Jonson's Poetry
Box 19
James Joyce
Box 19
John Keats
Box 19
Henry King and Milton's Lycidas
Box 19
Thomas Kyd
Box 19
Charles Lamb
Box 19
William Langland, Piers Plowman
Box 19
D.H. Lawrence
Box 19
T.E. Lawrence
Box 20
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Box 20
Niccolo Machiavelli
Box 20
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Box 20
Christopher Marlowe, Edward II
Box 20
Christopher Marlowe, Hero and Leander
Box 20
Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta
Box 20
Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine
Box 20
Andrew Marvell
Box 20
Philip Massinger
Box 20
Thomas Middleton
Box 20
Thomas Middleton, Blurt, Master Constable, and Michaelmas Terme
Box 20
John Milton
Box 20
John Milton, Areopagitica
Box 20
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Box 20
John Milton, Samson Agonistes (2 folders)
Box 21
Minor Poets of the Seventeenth Century
Box 21
Minor Victorian Poets
Box 21
Miscellaneous
Box 21
Miscellaneous: Religious Essays
Box 21
Michel de Montaigne
Box 21
Sir Thomas More
Box 21
Thomas Nashe
Box 21
Margaret Lucas, Daughter of Newcastle
Box 21
Sir Thomas North
Box 21
Sean O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock
Box 21
Charles Osgood, The Voice of England
Box 21
Sir Thomas Overbury
Box 21
Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Box 21
Samuel Pepys
Box 21
Periodicals of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Box 21
Francis Petrarch
Box 21
Alexander Pope
Box 21
Alexander Pope: Lecture Notes
Box 21
Portraits
Box 21
Pre-Shakespearean Drama
Box 21
Ernest Renan
Box 21
Samuel Richardson
Box 21
Restoration Poets and Dramatists
Box 21
Thomas Sackville
Box 21
St. Paul and Protestantism
Box 21
Sir Walter Scott
Box 22
Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
Box 22
Second Shepherd's Play
Box 22
Seventeenth-Century Poets: Notes and Essays
Box 22
Seventeenth-Century Prose
Box 22
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Box 22
William Shakespeare, 1 and 2 Henry IV
Box 22
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Box 22
William Shakespeare, King Lear
Box 22
William Shakespeare, Othello
Box 22
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Box 22
William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida
Box 22
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis
Box 22
George Bernard Shaw
Box 22
Percy Shelley
Box 22
Sir Philip Sidney (2 folders)
Box 22
Tobias Smollett
Box 23
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
Box 23
Edmund Spenser's Shorter Poetry
Box 23
Baruch Spinoza (2 folders)
Box 23
Sir Richard Steele
Box 23
John Sterling (2 folders)
Box 23
Laurence Sterne
Box 23
Lytton Strachey
Box 23
Lytton Strachey, Elizabeth and Essex
Box 23
Lytton Strachley, Queen Victoria
Box 24
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt
Box 24
Jonathan Swift
Box 24
Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning-Bibliography
Box 24
William Makepeace Thackeray
Box 24
William Makepeace Thackeray, Henry Esmond
Box 24
James Thomson
Box 24
Cyril Tourneur, The Revenger's Tragedy
Box 24
C.F. Tucker Brooke and Shakespeare
Box 24
Tudor Drama
Box 24
Victorian England
Box 24
The Wakefield Master
Box 24
Wakefield Second Shepherd's Play
Box 24
Horace Walpole, Letters
Box 24
Izaak Walton
Box 24
Thomas Warton the Elder; Josiah Warton; Thomas Warton the Younger
Box 24
John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
Box 24
John Webster, The White Devil
Box 24
William Wordsworth
Box 25
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Box 25
Edward Young
Box 25
Essays, 1950 and n.d.
Box 25
Poetry, 1937 and n.d.
Box 25
Short Stories, n.d.
Box 25
English 143, 1944-1956 and n.d.
Box 25
English 144, 1945-1965 and n.d.
Box 25
English 143 and English 144, unidentified and n.d.
Box 25
English S-157, 1950
Box 25
Evaluations and testimonials, n.d.
Box 25
Memoranda, 1938 and n.d.
Box 25
Miscellaneous material relating to Blackburn's students, 1951-1952 and n.d.
Box 25
Correspondence related to compilation and publication, 1944-1945 (2 folders)
Box 25
Clippings and memoranda related to the Archive, 1953-1977 and n.d.
Box 25
Memoranda, 1950-1952
Box 25
Clippings, correspondence related to the festival, 1959-1971 and n.d.
Box 25
Blackburn's passports, 1923-1970
Box 26
Alien regisration documents for Blackburn's residences in Oxford and in Paris, 1923 and 1925
Box 26
Blackburn's notices of rank and salary, Duke University, 1933-1968
Box 26
Elizabeth Cheney Blackburn's response to Blackburn's divorce action, 1951
Box 26
Blackburn's Duke pay stubs, 1954-1969
Box 26
Blackburn's federal and North Carolina state income tax returns, 1959-1965
Box 26
Wachovia trust agreement, 1963-1964
Box 26
Life insurance premium contribution notice, n.d.
Box 26
Academic records, 1921-1943 and n.d.
Box 26
The Bonhomie, 1921
Box 26
Buzzing Boosters Club, 1920 and n.d.
Box 26
Campus and intercollegiate oratorical contests, 1920-1921
Box 26
Commencement, 1921
Box 26
Furman Glee Club programs, notices, 1918-1920 and n.d.
Box 26
The Furman Hornet, 1921 February 19
Box 26
Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, 1921 and n.d.
Box 26
Miscellany, 1921 and n.d.
Box 26
1945 and n.d.
Box 26
Blackburn's return to the U.S. aboard the USS Randolph, 1945 and n.d.
Box 26
Material relating to Blackburn's publications, 1969 and n.d.
Box 26
Material relating to Blackburn's Rhodes Scholarship, 1919-1924
Box 26
Academic records, 1944-1955
Box 26
Material relating his life at the Phillips Academy, 1946-1947 and n.d.
Box 26
Material relating to his life at Yale, 1948
Box 26
Material relating to his life in Greenville, South Carolina, 1938
Box 26
Academic records, 1919
Box 26
Material relating to his life at Furman, 1920-1922
Box 26
Material relating to his life at Yale, 1925-1926 (2 folders)
Box 26
Material relating to his work as an educator, 1935-1942
Box 26
Material relating to her education, 1944-1947
Box 26
Material relating to his work in the ministry, 1931 and 1942(?)
Box 26
Academic records, 1906 and 1908
Box 26
Author unidentified-Notebook, 1896(?)
Box 27
Authors unidentified, 1882, 1894, 1945, and n.d.
Box 27
Blackburn, 1945 and n.d.
Box 27
Blackburn, Biography, n.d.
Box 27
Alexander Lambert Blackburn, 1939-1968 and n.d.
Box 27
William Blackburn's Baby Book, 1900
Box 27
Journal, chronicling William Blackburn's infancy and daily life in Persia, 1900-1904
Box 27
Short stories, 1912
Box 27
Charles Stanley Blackburn--Biography, n.d.
Box 27
Charles Stanley Blackburn and Amy Waring Blackburn--Biography, 1896
Box 27
Charles Stanley and Amy Waring Blackburn, records of missionary work in Persia, 1897-1902 and n.d.
Box 27
David Blackburn, 1971
Box 27
William Maxwell Blackburn--Biography, 1899 and n.d.
Box 27
Constantine the Great, 1868(?)
Box 27
Oliver Cromwell, 1873(?)
Box 27
Maps and Charts for Bible History, January 1880
Box 27
Notes on geology and natural history, 1874(?)-1896(?) (1 of 2 folders)
Box 27
Notes on geology and natural history, 1874(?)-1896(?) (2 of 2 folders)
Box 28
Notes on religion, n.d.
Box 28
Queen Elizabeth and the Reformation, 1885(?)
Box 28
Eugene Grant, n.d.
Box 28
Linn Taylor, n.d.
Box 28
Malvina Waring, 1889(?) and n.d.
Box 28
William Blackburn Scholarship Fund, 1973-1985
Box 28
Blackburn memorial service, 1972
Box 28
Winter 1973
Box 28
Partial clipping, Winter 1973
Box 28
Poems collected by Blackburn, 1916-1919 and n.d.
Box 28
Blackburn--Poetry readings, 1956, 1965 and n.d.
Box 28
Blackburn--Donations to Perkins Library, Duke University, 1969 and 1977
Box 28
Miscellany, n.d.
Box 28
Memorabilia, 1862-1921 and n.d.
Box 28

Clippings

(1 box)
Clippings related to life at Furman, his Rhodes Scholarship
Box 28
Clippings related to Duke, life in Durham
Box 28
Clippings related to his family
Box 28
Clippings of reviews of his writings
Box 28
Articles by and about Blackburn's students
Box 28
The American Oxonian, April 1946
Box 28
December 1917
Box 29
June 1919
Box 29
April 1921 (2 copies)
Box 29
October 1921
Box 29
The Furman Magazine, Spring 1972
Box 29
Historical Bulletin of Huron College, Pierre University, and Scotland Academy, 1920 (2 copies, 1 without a cover)
Box 29
Huron College Bulletin, May 24, 1920
Box 29
Modern Fiction Studies, February 1955
Box 29
St. Andrew's Review, 1972
Box 29
Sight, June 1953
Box 29
The Archive, January 1949
Box 29
April 1963 (2 copies)
Box 29
November 1968
Box 29
Winter 1973
Box 29
October 1950
Box 29
[December 1950?]
Box 29
The Friends of Duke University Library, 1971 (2 copies)
Box 29
Inner Chords, 1971
Box 29
University Press Catalogues, 1938-1964
Box 29
Miscellany, 1907-1968 and n.d.
Box 29
Anthologies with Annotations by Blackburn
Box 29

Scrapbooks

(4 boxes)
Photo album of missionary work in Persia, [1896-1903]
Box 29
Cartoons, n.d.
Box 29
Family photo albums and two scrapbooks
Box 30
Scrapbook
Box 43
Cartoons, n.d.
Box 31

Audio/Visual

(4 boxes)
3.75 ips audio tape of Blackburn lecturing on the letters of Mac Hyman, 14 November 1969
Box 31
3.75 ips audio tape of Blackburn memorial service, 17 December 1973
Box 31
VHS copy of Blackburn's appearance on ABC's Meet the Professor, 1963
Box 32
Beta copy of Blackburn's appearance on ABC's Meet the Professor, 1963
Box 33
16mm film of Blackburn's appearance on ABC's Meet the Professor, 1963
Box 34

Photographs

(3 boxes)

Includes unsorted and unarranged photographs of family members, travels, student portraits, and other events from Blackburn and his family's life.

Photographs and postcards of students, family, travels
Box 35
Photographs and postcards of students, family, travels
Box 36
Photographs and postcards of students, family, travels
Box 37
Photographs and postcards of students, family, travels
Box 38

These materials are restricted.

Blackburn's grade books, 1927-1969 and n.d.
Box 39
Academic records: Blackburn family grades and grade reports, 1920-1955
Box 39

Volumes

(2 boxes)

These volumes were from Blackburn's personal library and include his annotations and notes.

The Golden Hind, ed. by Lumson and Smith. 1942.
Box 40
Shakespeare: Five Plays, ed. by Kittredge. 1941.
Box 40
Understanding Fiction, ed. by Brooks and Warren. 1959.
Box 40
Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry, 1st edition, ed. by Coggin and Witherspoon.
Box 41
Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry, 2nd edition, ed. by Witherspoon and Warnke.
Box 41
Mary April Blackburn Hill correspondence (incoming), 1945-1972
Box 42
Mary April Blackburn Hill correspondence, 1937-1972 (5 folders)
Box 42
Elizabeth Blackburn letters to Clark and Virginia Blackburn
Box 42

Includes correspondence between William and Elizabeth Blackburn written during the breakup of their marriage. Also included are articles, clippings, genealogical materials, a speech, interviews, and miscellaneous printed materials from students and colleagues.

Notes relating to William Blackburn from Alexander Blackburn's Meeting the Professor
Box 43
Letters of William Blackburn and Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as some letters from Alexander Blackburn, Mary April Blackburn, Clark Blackburn, lawyers, et al.
Box 43
Clippings
Box 43
Family history materials, including genealogy
Box 43
Articles and a speech
Box 43
Printed materials from about about students and colleagues
Box 43
Clipping
Oversize Folder 1

Historical Note

William Blackburn was an author, editor, and professor of English and literary composition at Duke University from 1926 until 1969. Born in 1899 to missionaries in Persia, Blackburn spent his childhood in Seneca, South Carolina, and completed his undergraduate studies at Furman University. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1943. His academic scholarship was on Elizabethan poetry; later in his career, he also edited the letters of Joseph Conrad.

Blackburn's influence at Duke, however, stems from his creative writing classes, where he taught and inspired many students who went on to become prominent contemporary writers. His former students include Fred Chappell, William Styron, Reynolds Price, James Applewhite, and Anne Tyler.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William Blackburn Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The William Blackburn Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift.

Processing Information

Processed by Melissa Delbridge, Tania Roy, Dan Breem, December 2003

Encoded by Melissa J. Delbridge, December 2003

Updated by Meghan Lyon, May 2010

Accessions 2007-0129, 2008-0071, 2010-0013 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.