Guide to the Walter Blair papers, 1933-1987 and undated
Walter Blair (1900-1992) was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1929 to 1968 and a specialist in American folklore and humor. Collection contains early drafts, edited manuscripts, and proofs of Blair's publications, as well as bibliographic information and correspondence regarding publication of materials and other professional services. The bulk of the material is comprised of draft manuscripts of his work which he wrote with Hamlin Hill (Texas A&M), America's Humor from Poor Richard to Doonesbury (Oxford, 1978). There is also a smaller amount of other materials such as correspondence and reviews related to other publications, including Native American Humor: 1800-1900 (1937), Horse Sense in American Humor (1942), Tall Tale America: A Legendary History of Our Humorous Heroes (1944), Half-Horse Half-Alligator: The Growth of the Mike Fink Legend (1956), and Mark Twain and Huck Finn (1960). Forms part of the Jay B. Hubbell Center for Literary Historiography.
- Collection Number
- Walter Blair papers
- 1933-1987 and undated
- Blair, Walter, 1900-
- 3 Linear Feet, Approx. 1350 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
This collection contains early drafts, edited manuscripts, and master proofs of Blair's publications, including American Humor from Poor Richard to Doonesbury (co-authored with Hamlin Hill of Texas A&M, Oxford, 1978), which makes up the bulk of the Writings Series, as well as manuscripts of, reviews of, and correspondence regarding his earlier publications, including Half Horse Half Alligator, Horse Sense in American Humor, Mark Twain and Huck Finn, and Mike Fink: King of the Mississippi Keelboatmen. The collection also contains several reviews of Blair's publications. Biographical information and related materials, including newspaper clippings, magazine articles and newsletters regarding Walter Blair, and various professional correspondence comprises the remainder of the collection. Among the biographical information is a series of humorous Christmas cards that Blair circulated among his acquaintances, as well as a special issue of Studies in American Humor in honor of Blair. The bulk of the correspondence is comprised of letters to and from various university presses regarding publication of Blair's manuscripts, and letters to colleagues at various universities also regarding his manuscripts and other professional services.
Forms part of the Jay B. Hubbell Center for Literary Historiography.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Walter Blair Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Contains various newspaper clippings, magazine articles and newsletters concerning Walter Blair, including a special issue of Studies in American Humor in Blair's honor. Also contains an entry on Blair in Who's Who and a series of cartoons and Christmas cards he circulated among his acquaintances.
Contains primarily professional correspondence with various presses regarding publication and with colleagues at various universities regarding professional services.
Contains early drafts and master proof manuscripts of Blair's writing. Drafts of chapters for America's Humor from Poor Richard to Doonesbury makes up the bulk of the material in this series, but the series also includes drafts of Blair's earlier publications. In addition, the series includes correspondence regarding publication of these materials.
Walter Blair (1900-1992) was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1929 to 1968. His research focused on American folklore, humor, and tall tales, and he is considered a pioneer in the field of American humor studies. Blair graduated from Yale University in 1923 and received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 1931. He served as chair of his department from 1951-1960 and won the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Mark Twain Circle in 1992, as well as the Jay Hubbell Award from the American Literature Section of MLA. He was the author of many publications, including Native American Humor: 1800-1900 (1937), Horse Sense in American Humor (1942); Tall Tale America: A Legendary History of Our Humorous Heroes (1944); Half-Horse Half-Alligator: The Growth of the Mike Fink Legend (1956); Mark Twain and Huck Finn (1960); and American Humor from Poor Richard to Doonesbury (co-author with Hamlin Hill, Oxford, 1978).
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Blair, Walter, 1900---Humorists, American
- Blair, Walter, 1900---Manuscripts
- Blair, Walter, 1900-
- Jay B. Hubbell Center for American Literary Historiography
- Folklore -- American
- Publishers and publishing -- Correspondence
- Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
- Tall tales -- American
- Wit and humor -- American -- 19th century
- Wit and humor -- American -- 18th century
- Wit and humor, Pictorial
- Wit and humor -- American -- 20th century
The Walter Blair papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1980-1981.
Processed by Clare Callahan, June 2013
Encoded by Clare Callahan, June 2013
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1980-1981