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Special Collections: Literary History

Burke Collection Overview

The Kenneth Burke papers contain the personal and professional papers of the philosopher of language Kenneth Duva Burke (1897-1993). Spanning over eight decades, from 1906 to 1993, the multifaceted papers illuminate not only the personal and intellectual life of Burke, but also the lives of his correspondents, many of them major twentieth-century figures. The Burke papers used to be managed as three different collections - Burke 1, Burke 2, Burke 3. Due to the high use of this collection it was decided to merge all three of these Burke collections into one, with series for each previously separate collection outlined below:

  • Burke-1 contains correspondence and follows Burke’s original order, chronological and then alphabetical by the correspondents' last names.
  • Burke-2 contains correspondence, largely from the mid- to late twentieth century. Some typescripts, photographs, verse, articles, and clippings are also interfiled. As a whole, the collection uniquely documents significant historical and cultural conversations of its time.
  • Burke-3 offers a rich source of materials related to Kenneth Burke’s writings from 1915 to 1969. The series consists primarily of manuscripts, notes, correspondence, reviews, and annotated news clippings.