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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • General
  • Existence and Location of Copies
  • Arrangement
  • Bibliography

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Hamlin Garland papers
    Creator: Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940
    Identifier/Call Number: mssGD
    Physical Description: 28.52 Linear Feet (30 boxes, 8 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1757-1973, bulk 1910-1941
    Abstract: This collection contains the papers of American novelist, playwright, and author Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) and consists primarily of letters written by Garland to his wife Zulime Mauna (Taft) Garland and to his daughters. Subject matter chiefly includes biographical information on Garland, his literary activities while on the lecture circuit, his experiences in England and Europe in 1924-1925, and general family matters. Business correspondence is concentrated in the years 1930-1940.
    Language of Material: English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Box 30: Audiovisual materials housed in cold storage; extended retrieval and delivery time required.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Hamlin Garland papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The majority of collection was purchased from Mary Isabel (Garland) Johnson Lord in 1968. 39 additional letters purchased from Constance (Garland) Harper Doyle in March 1968 have been incorporated into the collection.

    Biographical / Historical

    Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) was an American novelist, playwright, and author. Born on September 14, 1860, and raised on farms in Wisconsin and the Midwest, Garland was provided early on with the practical experience of farm and mid-western life that was to become the foundation for his realistic style of writing and unsentimental accounts of farm life in both his fictional and non-fictional accounts.
    Garland's literary career did not begin until 1884 when he left the West for Boston. He was just able to support himself teaching and lecturing on literature, and writing for journals such as the Transcript, American Magazine, Harper's Weekly, and Century. Only a portion of his writing dealt with reviewing or discussing literature; mainly Garland expressed his own views of life in the West through fiction, non-fiction, and verse. His early writings were praised for their accurate depiction of farm life in the Midwest. His famous Son of the Middle Border (1917) was based on the life of his father, Richard Garland, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Daughter of the Middle Border (1921) traced the homestead life of his mother, Isabelle Charlotte (McClintock) Garland. The popularity of these books prompted him to continue putting his family saga down on paper. The result was a series of books that cover his father's boyhood, his parents' lives, and his own life until roughly 1928.
    Garland married Zulime Mauna Taft (1870-1942) in 1899, sister to sculptor Lorado Taft. Though the Garlands lived in Chicago and New York, they spent summers in West Salem, Wisconsin, and upstate New York. The Garlands had two children, Mary Isabel (Garland) Johnson Lord (1903-1988) and Constance (Garland) Harper Doyle (1907-1988).
    Garland spent the last 10 years of his life residing in Hollywood, California, mainly occupied by an interest researching psychic phenomena. He also continued to write articles and books, and to give lectures for various literary groups. He died on March 5, 1940.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection primarily contains the personal papers of American writer Hamlin Garland, chiefly dealing with various family matters, Garland's experience travelling abroad and in the United States, and publication matters. The collection also contains diaries and notebooks from Garland's European and domestic travels. The correspondence consists chiefly of letters written by Garland to his wife, Zulime Mauna (Taft) Garland, and daughters, Mary Isabel (Garland) Johnson Lord, and Constance (Garland) Harper Doyle. The letters chiefly contain biographical information on Garland: his literary activities while on the lecture circuit, books and articles in progress, work with publishers, and general family matters. His business correspondence is concentrated in the years 1930-1940.
    A large number of letters to his daughter, Mary Isabel (Garland) Johnson Lord, during the years 1936-1937 describe his activities with Mr. & Mrs. Parent and his searches for buried Spanish and Indian crosses which lead to the published work, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses. Another large group of letters to his family shares his experiences in England and Europe in 1924 and 1925. In addition, the collection contains two typescript letters signed from Theodore Roosevelt, one to Hamlin Garland, 1903 June 30, and one to Mary Isabel Garland, 1917 August 15; and one William H. Taft typescript letter signed to Hamlin Garland, 1918 June 9 (GD 1129).

    Processing Information

    This finding aid was updated in 2022 by Melissa Haley as part of the American Presidential Papers Project with enhanced description of the presidential material present. In September 2022, Mari Khasmanyan added the audiovisual materials into the collection and included links to their digital reproductions.


    Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssGD 1-1167, mss FAC 1285.

    Existence and Location of Copies

    Selected audiovisual items from this collection have been digitized. Digital reproductions are available in the Internet Archive. 


    The collection is arranged in the following 8 series:
    1. Diaries (Boxes 1-6)
    2. Notebooks (Boxes 7-8)
    3. Manuscripts (Boxes 9-10)
    4. Correspondence (Boxes 11-27)
    5. Scrapbooks (Box 28)
    6. Ephemera (Box 29).
    7. Oversize folders (GD 1159-1166)
    8. Audiovisual materials (GD 1167)


    Åhnebrink, Lars. The Beginnings of Naturalism in American Fiction. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 1950.
    Holloway, Jean. Hamlin Garland, A Biography. University of Texas Press, Austin. 1960.
    Pizer, Donald. Hamlin Garland: Newspaper and Periodical Publications, 1885-1895: A Bibliography. Bulletin of Bibliography. Vol. 22, no. 2. Jan.- Apr. 1957.
    Pizer, Donald, ed. Hamlin Garland's Diaries. The Huntington Library, San Marino. 1968.
    Contemporary Authors, vol. 104, p. 160.
    Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 12, pp. 203-212; vol. 71, pp. 71-81; vol. 78, pp. 179-194.
    National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 8, p. 37.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American literature -- 20th century
    Authors, American -- 19th century -- Archives
    Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives
    Diaries -- United States
    Ephemera -- United States
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States
    Manuscripts for publication -- United States
    Notebooks -- United States
    Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940 -- Archives
    Garland, Zulime Mauna Taft, correspondent.
    Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
    Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930