Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Kemp mss., 1913-1946, consist of the correpondence and writings of Harry Hibbard Kemp, 1883-1960, author. Sometimes known as the "Kansas poet," Kemp was born in Youngstown, Ohio, attended Mt. Hermon Preparatory School in Massachusetts and the University of Kansas at Lawrence. His first wife Mary Pyne died in 1920 and later he married Frances McClernan. A tramping trip around the world and across the United States resulted in lecture engagements for the "tramp poet." During residence in New York City he organized The Poets Theater and later in Provincetown on Cape Cod the Provincetown Pilgrims Association.

The letters date from the time of Kemp's imprisonment in England for stowing away on a boat, through 1922 about publication of his novel, poems, and playlet, to a series of letters from Kemp to his friend Rawson W. Haddon of the Mattatuck Historical Society in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Correspondents include William Rose Benet, Harry Bull, Ida Eugenie Goldman, Horace Brisbin Liveright, Lawton Machall, Frederick James Smith, and Frances Evelyn (Maynard) Greville, countess of Warwick.

The writings consist of [1] Backfire: a scenario, carbon with minor holograph corrections of T.D., [6]pp., 28cm. [2] David's Flock, drama in 3 acts (incomplete with 3rd act missing), T.D., 41pp., 28cm. [3] Don Juan Notebook, A.D.S., [184]ll., 18cm., bound in faded blue boards, working copy for translation of Gabriel Tellez' portrayal of Don Juan, published as The Love-Rogue, New York, Lieber & Lewis, 1923 (PQ6435 .E5B8), inscribed to Rawson [W.] Haddon. [4] John Gregory, an autobiographical novel, T.D., incomplete draft-- pp. 5-772, partial drafts--pp. 1-5, 1-18, 1-20a, 1-20b, 3, 11-42, 21-133, 30-52, -99, 264, 421-423, 28cm., accompanied by proposed bookjacket entitled "Myself and the World by Harry Kemp," title pages, holograph insertions of 3 pages in 28cm., and Names and Aliases of 2 pages in 28cm.; published with many changes as Tramping on Life, New York, Boni and Liveright, 1922 (Lilly PS3521 .E48 Z5). [5] Poems: Ad Hominem, T.D.S., 1p., 28cm.; Alas, Poor Man!, carbon of T.D., 1 p., 28cm., inscribed to Rawson [W.] Haddon; Clique to Clacque, A.&T.D., 2 drafts, 28cm.; The Daughters of Heth, A.D.S., 2 pp., 28cm., inscribed to Mr. Chase; Eight Lines for the New Year, T.D.S., 1p., 28cm., inscribed to Rawson [W.] Haddon; Sing Heigho, A.D.S., 6 drafts, 28cm., 1921; In The Little House, carbon of T.D., 2pp., 28cm., comprising I Always Longed--, Superstition, Imprisonment, Spring Delayed; The Innkeeper's Wife, carbon of T.D.S., 1p., 28cm., printed in The New York Times; The Morning Wind, A.D.S., 1p., 28cm., Apr. 4, 1922, inscribed to Rawson [W.] Haddon; My Epitaph, A.&T.D., 2 drafts, 12 & 28cm.; Paris, To Helen, A.D.S., 1p., 28cm.; Sonnet To Henry S[tark] Goodspeed, Counselor-At-Law, A.&T.D., 2 drafts, 28cm.; The Song of the Plow, A.D.S., 1p., 28cm.; Spring Delayed, A.D., 1p., 28cm.

Other materials include a photograph of Harry Hibbard Kemp made by Robert Edwards inscribed to Rawson [Woodman] Haddon, and a folder of printed pieces.

Collection size: 53 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.