Finding aid of the Charles King Collection 1887-1974

Cheryl Miller
Autry Library
Autry National Center of the American West
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 667-2000 ext. 383
© 2008
Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Charles King Collection 1887-1974

Collection number: MSA.2

Autry Library

Autry National Center of the American West

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Cheryl Miller
Date Completed:
June 2006
Encoded by:
Cheryl Miller
© 2008 Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles King Collection 1887-1974
Dates: 1887-1974
Collection number: MSA.2
Creator: King, Charles, 1844-1933
Collection Size: .2 linear feet
Repository: Autry National Center. Institute for the Study of the American West
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Physical location: Autry Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit or contact library staff at (323) 667-2000.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Library, Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification] Charles King Collection 1887-1974, MSA.2. Autry Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA

Acquisition Information

Purchased from N. Henry.

Container List

Articles and stories by Charles King (MSA.2.1)
"Captain Santa Claus" Harper's Monthly, Dec. 1887 "Cavalry tilts in the sunny South" Outing, Aug. 1890 "A Soldier's tribute to a soldier" The Dial, March 1892 "Heroines of the Army" The Dial, Feb. 1893 "Uncle Sam in the fair" Lippincott's Magazine, Jul-Dec. 1893 "Long Distance Riding" Cosmopolitan, Jan. 1894 "Captain dreams again" Cosmopolitan, Sept. 1898 "The Code of the Corps: A story of West Point" Lippincott's Magazine, Jan.-Jun 1901 "Like Father, like son" Lippincott's Magazine, April 1902 "A Lass of the Laramie" Lippincott's Magazine, Jan-June 1905 "The boy that couldn't stand fire" Lippincott's Magazine, Dec. 1904 "Indians and two young lieutenants" NewYork Herald, New York Tribune, Aug. 1924
Articles about Charles King (MSA.2.2)
"Captain Charles King" by Philip Reade, Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, Dec. 1888 "Captain Charles King, Chronicler of the frontier" by Don Russell, Westerners Brand Book, Chicago, March 1952 "Frontier Army Life revealed by Charles King, 1844-1933" by Hazel Manning Flock, Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1964 "Charles King: Soldier and novelist" by Clell T. Peterson, American Book Collector Dec. 1965 "Captain remembered for descriptive novels" by Paul L. Hedren, Casper Wyoming Star-Tribune, March 31, 1974 "The Merry Partners," p. 153, p. 204, no date
Images (MSA.2.3)
1 page of published portraits of Charles King, McClure's, June 1894
Advertisements (MSA.2.4)
Lippincott's Dec. 1887 Lippincott's March 1890 Lippincott's Nov. 1893

Biography / Administrative History

Charles King was born October 12, 1844, in Albany, New York. The family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin one year later. Son of Rufus King, Charles followed in his father's footsteps and joined the militia. At the age of 12, he was a "marker" for the Milwaukee Light Guard. In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, King received an appointment to West Point, and in his senior year, he became Cadet Adjutant. Upon graduation, he began his lengthy military career, serving in the Fifth Cavalry in Nebraska, Arizona, Kansas, and Wyoming. He retired in 1879.
Returning to Wisconsin, King taught at the University of Wisconsin, and at various military academies throughout the state. At the beginning of the Spanish American War, he was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers, served in the Philippines. He served in the National Guard during World War I, ending his career in 1929. Charles King died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1933.
King's long military career became subject matter for his many books. He started writing articles and short stories in 1880, and soon graduated to serials. His first novel, The Colonel's Daughter, was published in 1882; it was in print for more than 50 years. King also wrote non-fiction accounts of famous battles. His Campaigning With Crook focused on the1876 wars against the Sioux and the Cheyenne in Kansas. King published over 60 books during his life time.
King was the only United States Army officer to write fiction from his own acquaintance with army life and Indian warfare on the plains during 1870-1880. He was a pioneer in writing realistic fiction about the western frontier at a time when the usual western novel was the dime novel. King's depictions of life in the West, though, are sentimental, romanticized, and frequently include stereotypes of the worst kind. He is only truly effective in his descriptions of the day-to-day life of the Army soldier in the garrison on the frontier.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Charles King Collection contains 22 items ranging in date from 1887 to 1974. It is organized into four series: Articles and Stories by Charles King, Articles about Charles King, Images, and Advertisements. The bulk of the collection is the photocopies of in the Articles and Stories by Charles King series and the Articles about Charles King series. The Images series contains a single page with reproductions of seven portraits of Charles King at various dates. The Advertisements are original pages removed from Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, and include descriptions of King's novels.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
King, Charles, 1844-1933
Authors, American -- 19th Century -- Biography
Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Biography
Soldiers -- United States -- Fiction
Western stories.
Short stories.
War stories, American.