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Hamlin Garland Papers

Contact Information
Claude Zachary
(213) 740 2587

Special Collections
DML Room 206


The novelist Hamlin Garland occupies a special place in the collections at this university. Although pre-eminently a regional writer, with roots in the upper Midwest and travel experiences that took him to the mountainous Far West and to the Klondike, Hamlin Garland toward the end of his career had acceded to the informal title of “Dean of American Letters,” serving as Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1918-1932, and receiving a Pulitzer Prize in 1922 as well as numerous other awards including four honorary doctorates, one of which was from USC for his life’s work. The author was well known in his day for his harshly realistic stories of frontier conditions, for a biography of U. S. Grant, as a lecturer on literary topics, for a series of adventure novels about the West, and for his autobiographical A Son of the Middle Border.

Garland (1860-1940) chose to retire to Southern California in 1930 in order to be near his daughters. His final decade became a time for reworking his memoirs as well as pursuing a side interest in paranormal psychology. Four volumes of his “literary log” and two books on psychic experiments appeared during this time. The author also drew close to the University of Southern California, where he lectured in the English Department and was inducted into the Epsilon Phi and Phi Beta Kappa Societies. At his death, his personal library, his extensive correspondence, some memorabilia and a quantity of manuscript materials came to USC’s Doheny Memorial Library as a cornerstone collection in American Literature. The Hamlin Garland Papers are housed in Special Collections, and a Finding Aid is available.