Information for Researchers
Collection Title: Charles Augustus Keeler Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1858-1949
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-H 105
Keeler, Charles Augustus, 1871-1937.
Number of containers: 12 boxes, 14 cartons
Linear feet: 22.5
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, diaries, notes, and clippings concerning Keeler's literary works and his life in Berkeley. Correspondents
include: William Frederic Bade, Mary Bird Clayes, Ina Donna Coolbrith, Mary Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Bernard Maybeck, C.
Hart Merriam, John Muir, and August Vollmer.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
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.
Materials Cataloged Separately
- Photographs, and drawings by Louise Mapes (Bunnell) Keeler, have been transferred to the Bancroft Pictorial Collection.
The initial gift of Charles Keeler Papers was a gift to the Library from Mrs. Merodine Keeler McIntyre and Miss Eloise Keeler,
September 9, 1958. Additional materials were received from Mrs. McIntyre August 26, 1968 and March 9, 1971. A collection of
six autograph poems, given to the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Main Library by Charles Keeler, was transferred
to the Manuscripts Division in November 1961 and has been placed in the Keeler Papers.
Charles Augustus Keeler was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 7, 1871. His father died a few years later, and, in l875,
his mother married James K. Bartlett, a prominent physician. Through Dr. Bartlett's extensive library, Keeler was introduced
to the world of art and literature. He was educated in both public and private schools and spent summers and other spare time
pursuing his interest in biological science. In 1887, the family moved to Berkeley, California. Keeler continued high school
and entered the University of California with the Class of 1893 but family illness prevented him from earning a degree. Instead,
he accepted a position with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. In 1893, the year of his marriage to Louise
Mapes Bunnell, the Academy published his first book,
Evolution of Colors of North American Land Birds. Although he seemed headed toward a career in science, Keeler realized that he wanted to devote his life to writing poetry
and drama. His first book of poems, A Light Through the Storm, was published in San Francisco in 1894. During his lifetime
he published more than a dozen books, primarily poetry, many illustrated by his wife. In addition, he gave hundreds of readings
of his poetry and plays.
In 1899, Keeler went to Alaska as a member of the Harriman Expedition. In 1901 he and his wife, and their daughter, Merodine,
spent three months touring the South Seas. Louise Keeler died in 1907. In 1911 Keeler embarked on a two-year world tour to
give poetic and dramatic recitations. When he returned to Berkeley, he and his three children settled down in a studio which
he had built on El Camino Real in the Claremont Hills. In 1921 he married Ormeida Curtis Harrison, an educator and poet. Both
were active in the California Writers' Club and other community organizations. Also in 1921 he accepted a position as secretary
of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. In 1925 he organized the First Berkeley Cosmic Society.
Keeler died in 1937. His papers, consisting of letters, manuscripts of his writings, diaries, notes, and clippings, were given
to The Bancroft Library in 1958 by his daughters, Merodine McIntyre, and Eloise Keeler, with additions in 1968. The collection
also contains correspondence and Papers of other family members including his first wife, Louise; their children, Merodine,
Leonarde, and Eloise; and his second wife, Ormeida. Portraits have been removed to the pictorial collection.
A key to arrangement which describes the collection in greater detail follows.