University of Delaware Library

Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906.

Paul Laurence Dunbar letters to Reginald Wright Kauffman

1905


Descriptive Summary

Identification: MSS 099, F948


Creator: Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906.


Title: Paul Laurence Dunbar letters to Reginald Wright Kauffman


Inclusive Dates: 1905


Extent: 2 items


Abstract: In 1905, African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) responded to an inquiry from Reginald Kauffman (1877-1959), an associate editor of the Saturday Evening Post, who was soliciting Dunbar for poems or stories.


Language: Materials entirely in English.



Citation

MSS 099, F948, Paul Laurence Dunbar letters to Reginald Wright Kauffman, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Shelving Summary

Box 66, F948: Shelved in SPEC MSS 099 manuscript boxes

Location

Special Collections, University of Delaware Library / Newark, Delaware 19717-5267 / Phone: 302-831-2229 / Fax: 302-831-6003 / URL: http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/

Source

Purchase, December 2012.

Processing

Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, March 2014.


The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://www.lib.udel.edu/cgi-bin/askspec.cgi


Biographical Notes

Paul Laurence Dunbar

African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), though most widely known for his dialectic verse, also wrote short stories, novels, essays, and poetry in standard English.

Dunbar's first book of poetry, Oak and Ivy, was self-published in 1893. His next book of poetry, Majors and Minors, published by Hadley & Hadley in 1896, received the positive attention of American novelist William Dean Howell; who praised Dunbar's dialectic poems in a review published in Harper's Weekly . This positive critical reception in a popular American periodical launched Dunbar's career. Paul Laurence Dunbar would write numerous collections of poetry, several novels, collections of short stories, as well as participate in reading tours in the United States and England.

Reginald Wright Kauffman

American writer and editor Reginald Wright Kauffman (1877-1959) was an Associate Editor of the Saturday Evening Post when he corresponded with Dunbar in 1905.

Kaufman, who wrote numerous works of fiction and screenplays for Hollywood film productions, was also the editor of the Bangor Maine Daily News and an accredited correspondent with the United States Navy.

Between 1914 and 1934, a number of Kauffman's stories and novels were produced as Hollywood films, including The House of Bondage, (1914) adapted from his novel of the same title, and School for Girls (1934), based on his story " Our Undisciplined Daughters."

Sources:

"Reginald Wright Kauffman." Columbia Historic Preservation Society, Columbia, Pennsylvania. http://columbiahistory.net/notables/reginald-wright-kauffman/ (accessed March 5, 2014).

"Paul Laurence Dunbar." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/bic1/ (accessed March 5, 2014).


Scope and Content Note

In 1905, African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) responded to an inquiry from Reginald Kauffman (1877-1959), an associate editor of the Saturday Evening Post, who was soliciting Dunbar for poems or stories.

The two typed and signed letters, dated October 4 and November 13, 1905, reveal Dunbar's sense of humor and the difficulties of trying to survive as a writer. Lamenting the financial proposition of "verse writing," Dunbar wrote, "I have been contemplating for a long while the institution of a pension committee for ancient and decayed verse writers" and then offered a deprecating anecdote about his "fame" (October 4).

Dunbar wrote on November 13 of being an invalid and needing an attendant, but then followed with a humorous anecdote about the lack of respect for his writing. Dunbar concluded his letter by mentioning the poem "Sling along," which he had enclosed (no longer with the letter). Both letters provide insight into the professional life of a poet in the early twentieth century.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names
Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906--Correspondence.
Kauffman, Reginald Wright, 1877-1959--Correspondence.
Topical Terms
African American poets--20th century--Correspondence.
American poetry--20th century.
Form/Genre Terms
Correspondence.
Occupation
Poets.
Editors.
Personal Contributors
Kauffman, Reginald Wright, 1877-1959, correspondent.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 099 Miscellaneous Literary and Historical Manuscripts.

MSS 113 Alice Dunbar-Nelson Papers

MSS 099, F65 Paul Laurence Dunbar letter to Ginger R. Percy

MSS 099, F315 Paul Laurence Dunbar: "On the Death of Walter Class"

MSS 099, F315 Paul Laurence Dunbar: "Life"


Arranged chronologically.


Detailed Contents List

Paul Laurence Dunbar typed letter signed to Reginald Wright Kauffman, 1905 October 4   [Box 66 F948]

Paul Laurence Dunbar typed letter signed to Reginald Wright Kauffman, 1905 November 13   [Box 66 F948]