Guide to the Wallace Irwin papers, ca. 1917-1959

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Arts and Humanities --Literature --American Literature

Guide to the Wallace Irwin Papers, ca. 1917-1959

Collection number: BANC MSS C-H 109

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1960
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Wallace Irwin Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1917-1959
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-H 109
Origination: Irwin, Wallace, 1875-1959
Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 8 cartons
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Some letters from family, friends, agents and publishers; manuscripts of short stories, novels, plays, poems, etc.; manuscript of his unpublished autobiography; clippings; scrapbooks; publishing agreements; photographs and snapshots; drawings; personalia. Manuscripts of writings of his wife, Laetitia M. Irwin, also included.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Wallace Irwin papers, BANC MSS C-H 109, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Material Cataloged Separately

Photoprints and drawings transferred to the pictorial collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1960.006--B and BANC PIC 1960.007--PIC)


Wallace Irwin -humorist, author and journalist -was born in Oneida, New York, March 15, 1875. When he was five the family moved to Leadville, Colorado. Both he and his brother Will (who also became a noted author and journalist) attended Stanford University and there earned reputations that, according to Wallace, "savored of brimstone." Editing two of the campus publications, Wallace brought down on his head the ire of certain faculty members whom he lampooned in verse. He was expelled, as was Will previously.
Wallace then went to San Francisco in pursuit of a newspaper career. He worked for a time as a reporter on The Report, the News Letter and the Examiner, and then as editor of the Overland Monthly. Acting on a suggestion from Gelett Burgess, Irwin amplified some verse he had composed for the Overland into a series of sonnets written in tough American slang. The Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum, begun as a literary prank, was published by Morgan Shepard and Paul Elder in pamphlet form. It enjoyed great popularity and went through several editions. Moreover, reviewers all over the country praised it.
Like most western authors, Irwin went to New York, and eventually joined the staff of Collier's. The magazine serialized his famous Letters of a Japanese Schoolboy, in which the character Hashimura Togo appeared, and so popular did it become that Irwin resigned from the staff in 1909 to syndicate his series and freelance. From then on he wrote independently, contributing articles and stories to several periodicals and producing several novels, including Seed of the Sun (1921), Lew Tyler's Wives (1923) and The Julius Caesar Murder Case (1935).
Irwin died in 1959 at his home in Southern Pines, North Carolina.

Scope and Content

Mrs. Irwin, the former Laetitia McDonald, and a novelist in her own right, presented a collection of their papers to the Bancroft Library in 1959, with a few additions in 1960. They include letters from friends, family, agents and publishers, ca. 1917-1959; manuscripts of their writings (novels, short stories, plays, etc.); the manuscript of Irwin's unpublished autobiography; clippings; scrapbooks; publishing contracts and agreements; photographs; and drawings. The papers are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows.

Container List

Boxes 1 - 3

Correspondence, ca. 1917-1959

Scope and Content Note

Letters addressed to the Irwins, arranged alphabetically according to name of correspondent, with miscellanies for single letters preceding each letter of the alphabet (a list of the major correspondents is appended); miscellaneous letters concerning Seed of the Sun, Lew Tyler's Wives,and the Hashimura Togo series; a few letters written by Mr. and Mrs. Irwin.
carton Ctns. 1-2

Manuscripts of short stories written by Irwin

Scope and Content Note

Arranged alphabetically by title; manuscripts of the Togo stories; and scenarios
carton Ctns. 3-4

Manuscripts of novels and plays

Scope and Content Note

Synopses and outlines of stories and novels
Ctn. 5

Manuscripts of poems, articles and essays

Scope and Content Note

Manuscript of his unpublished autobiography, "I Look at Me"; fragments of manuscripts
Ctn. 6



Stories, poems and articles clipped from magazines and newspapers; articles about the Irwins; book reviews, etc.

Ctn. 7

Scrapbooks of clippings


Contracts and agreements


Photographs and snapshots (including a Rollin Kirby illustration for a Togo story)


Drawings: removed to Pitorial collection. drawings

Ctn. 8

Printed material, including


The Teddysee (Removed for separate cataloging) by Wallace Irwin (1910)


The Hamadryads by Will Irwin and W.J. McCoy, written for the 1904 Bohemian Club High Jinks inscribed by Inez Irwin


A Treasury of Golf Humor(194?) containing the story, "Murder at the Thirteenth Hole" by Wallace Irwin;


Advance proofs for Africa, written for the Theodore Roosevelt luncheon, 1909


Copy of Welcome Homeprinted for the Theodore Roosevelt dinner, June 22, 1910.



Scope and Content Note

Includes passport, documents relating to appointment in the naval reserve, biographical data, etc.

Manuscripts of short stories, plays, novels, and articles and essays written by Laetitia Irwin



portfolio Portfolio

Oversize drawings

Scope and Content Note

Includes a drawing of Irwin by George Palmer Putnam and a Rollin Kirby illustration for a Togo story.


A Miscellany (single letters)


Adams, Franklin Pierce, 1881-


Letter, Dec. 17,1941


Adams, Samuel Hopkins, 1871-1958


Letter, June 23, 1933


Albright, Horace Marden, 1890-


Letter, May 4, 1923


Allardyce, Sir William Lamond, 1861-1930


Letter, Jan. 24, 1927


Atherton, Gertrude Franklin (Horn), 1857-1948


2 letters, 1920-1921


B Miscellany


Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937


Letter, July 19, 1917


Beebe, Charles William, 1877-


Letter, July 20, 1927


Bordeaux, Delmar B.


Letter, Dec. 10, 1943


Broughton, Joseph Melville, 1888-


Letter, Mar. 3, 1949


Brown, Harry Joe


Letter, Oct. 23, 1939


Burman Ben Lucien, 1895-


Letter, n. d.


Burt, [Maxwell] Struthers, 1882-


Telegram, Nay 2, 1941


Bailey, Thomas Andrew, 1902-


3 letters, 1955-1957


Bigelow, Poultney, 1855-1954


2 letters, 1945


Brandt and Brandt


38 letters, 1929-1953. Mainly from Carl Brandt. Some are addressed to Mrs. Irwin.


C Miscellany


Calder, William Musgrave, 1869-1945


Letter, Mar. 29, 1919


[Clemens, Samuel Langhore], 1835-1910


Note, Mar. 8, 1909


Clemens, Cyril, 1902-


5 letters, 1935-1957


Coblentz, Stanton Arthur, 1896-


2 letters, 1944


Costain, Thomas Bertram, 1885-


2 letters, 1927 & 1937


Croy, Homer, 1883-


2 letters, n.d.


D Miscellany


Doyle, Helen (MacKnight), 1872-


Letter, Jan. 25, 1933


Dyer, Frank Lewis, 1870-


Letter, Apr. 3, 1934


Durstine, Roy Sarles, 1886 -


2 letters, 1928 & 1937


Egan, Martin, 1872-1938


5 letters, 1925-1934


F Miscellany


Farrand, Max, 1869-


Letter, Sept. 3, 1930


Fadiman, Clifton, 1904-

See Writers' War Board


Field, Charles Kellogg, 1873-


6 letters, 1928-1940


Friedman, Phil Allan


3 letters, 1953


Greenslet, Ferris, 1875-1953

See Houghton Mifflin Company


Gulick, Sidney Lewis, 1860-1945


2 letters, 1921


H Miscellany


Hart, Albert Bushnell, 1854-1943


Letter, Jan. 8, 1921


Herrick, Robert, 1868-1938


Letter, n.d.


Hagedorn, Hermann, 1882-


10 letters, 1938-1954. Some written on behalf of the Roosevelt Memorial Association.


Hays, Will H., 1879-1959


2 letters, 1921-1932


Hoover, Herbert Clark, Pres. U. S., 1874-1964


3 letters, 1921-1930. One written for him by his secretary.


Houghton Mifflin Company


2 letters, 1919 & 1939. From Ferris Greenslet.


Howland, Harry S., 1877-


2 letters, 1917


Hurst, Fannie, 1889-


4 letters, 1921-1953


I Miscellany


Ives, Irving McNeil, 1896-


Letter, Mar. 4, 1949


Irwin, Donald (son)


10 letters, 1932-1949


Irwin, Wallace, Jr.


5 letters, 1950-1955


Irwin, William Henry, 1873-1948


3 letters, 1919-1946 & n.d.


K Miscellany


Kahler, Hugh MacNair, 1883-


Letter, Apr. 12, 1930


Kaltenborn, Hans Von, 1878-


Letter, Feb. 17, 1959


Krock, Arthur, 1886-


Letter, Apr. 17, 1930


Kahn, Julius, 1861-1924


2 letters, 1920 & 1921


L Miscellany


Lane, Franklin Knight, 1864-1921


Letter, n.d.


Leacock, Stephen, 1869-1944


Letter, July 8, 1922


[Lewis, Sinclair], 1885-1951


Letter, n. d. Signed: Ste. Clayre Lewyse


Laemmle, Carl, 1867-1939


2 letters, 1931 & 1937


La Farge, Christopher, 1897-

See Writers' War Board


Lambert, Sylvester Maxwell, 1882-


11 letters, 1938-1946


Liberty [magazine]


2 letters, 1926 & 1936. From Harvey Deuell and Fulton Oursler.


Littell, Robert, 1896-


2 letters, 1937-1938


Little, Brown & Company


16 letters, 1950-1952. Primarily from John Woodburn and addressed to Mrs. Irwin.


M Miscellany


MacAlarney, Robert Emmet, 1873-


Letter, n.d.


McCanse, Ralph Alan


Letter, Mar. 16, 1953


McCullough, Esther Morgan


Letter, June 2, 1956


McKeogh, Arthur, 1890-1937


Letter, Oct. 26, 1926


McKinley, William Brown, 1856-1926


Letter, Dec. 6, 1920


Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940


Letter, Nov. 24, 1929


McClatchy, Valentine Stuart, 1857-1938


2 letters, 1920-1921


Mason, Daniel Gregory, 1873-


6 letters, 1934-1942


Mayer, Grace M.


4 letters, 1956


Norris, Charles Gilman, 1881-1945


3 letters, 1921-1924


Oursler, Fulton, 1893-

See Liberty [magazine]


P Miscellany


Pearson, Edmund Lester, 1880-1937


Letter, n.d.


Pelley, William Dudley, 1890-


Letter, Feb. 2, 1925


Pershing, John Joseph, 1860-1948


Letter, Dec. 11, 1926


Phelan, James Duval, 1861-1930


2 letters, 1917 & 1924


Pictorial Review


3 letters, 1922-1928. Include letters from Arthur T. Vance.


Pollock, Channing, 1880-1946


2 letters, 1937-1941


Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950


4 letters, 1923-1934


R Miscellany


Rising, Lawrence


Letter, Jan. 24, 1933


Rinehart, Mary (Roberts), 1876-1958


2 letters, 1932-1933


Roosevelt Memorial Association

See Hagedorn, Hermann


S Miscellany


Siddall, John MacAlpine, 1874-1923


Letter, Dec. 24, 1918


Sisson, Edgar Grant, 1875-


Letter, Oct. 5, 1925. Written for Red Book Magazine.


Spaeth, Sigmund, 1885-


Letter, July 28, 1934


Sutro, Oscar, 1874-1935


Letter, Apr. 6, 1927


Satterlee, Herbert Livingston, 1863-1947


3 letters, 1923-1942


Stout, Rex Todhunter, 1886

See Writers' War Board


Sullivan, Mark, 1874-


2 letters, 1921 & 1932


T Miscellany


[Thompson, Dorothy], 1894-1961


Letter, June 20, 1931. Incomplete.


Vance, Arthur Turner, 1872-1930

See Pictorial Review


W Miscellany


Wells, Herbert George, 1866-1946


Letter, n. d. Addressed to Miss Van Dyke.


Physical Description: Wilbur, Ray Lyman, 1875-1949

Letter, Apr. 17, 1930


Writers' War Board


8 letters, 1943-1945. From Rex Stout, Clifton Fadiman and Christopher La Farge.