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Rudyard Kipling Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: SEH
Date: Mar 1993

Biographical History

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English author and poet. His best-known works include the novels and short story collections The Jungle Book (1894), Just So Stories (1902), Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), and Kim (1901), as well as a number of poems such as "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), and "If--" (1910).

Kipling was born in Bombay, India, into an artistic family: his father was a sculptor, pottery designer, and professor of architectural sculpture and two of his aunts were married to painters (Georgiana to Edward Burne-Jones and Agnes to Edward Poynter). At the age of six and he his sister were sent back to England to school, as was common with the children of British colonial India. After six unsatisfactory years with a Mr. and Mrs. Holloway, Rudyard and Trix were taken in by their aunt Georgiana.

Kipling attended the United Services College in Devon and then went to Lahore in what is now Pakistan to become assistant editor of a small newspaper. In addition to editing, Kipling contributed a great many stories to the paper (approximately 39 in one year) and several travel sketches. In 1889 Kipling returned to London via a roundabout eight-month journey that took him to Rangoon, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, and various cities in the United States and Canada. Upon his arrival in London he began building a reputation as a writer, publishing two novels in two years along with several short stories.

In 1892 Kipling married Carrie Balestier and shortly thereafter the couple moved to the United States, settling in Vermont, where Kipling began writing the Jungle Book stories and produced four novels in four years. In July 1899, despite their pleasant life in Vermont, Kipling decided to return to England and came to Torquay on the Devon coast. Kipling soon earned a reputation as "the poet of the Empire" and when he and his family paid a Christmas visit to the British colonies in South Africa (which became an annual tradition) they were warmly received.

In 1907 Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author," becoming the first English-language recipient.

After World War I, during which Kipling's only son John was killed, he wrote (1923) a two-volume history of his son's regiment, the Irish Guards, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history. He also became a "roving correspondent" for the British press. Among his other occupations, in 1922 he developed "The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer" for the University of Toronto, a statement of duties and responsibilities to be recited by graduates in engineering; the ritual is sometimes called the Kipling Ritual and is still in use today. In 1925 he became Lord Rector of St. Andrews University in Scotland, though his writing began to slow somewhat in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Kipling died in 1936 and his ashes were interred in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, in the company of other luminaries of British literature including Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Rudyard Kipling Collection contains the papers of the British author, novelist, poet, and journalist, as well as three small collections of Kipling material formerly owned by H.H. and S.S. McClure, E.W. Martindell, and Alan D. Wilson.

Correspondence contains more than 950 items (over 750 authored by Kipling) and spanning 1889-1935, includes incoming and outgoing letters as well as third-party correspondence. Writings include holographic and/or typescript manuscripts and published versions of Kipling's prose, speeches, verse and dramatic works as well as production records, notes, and miscellany. Memorabilia consists of legal material, photographs, portraits and caricatures, printed materials sketches by Kipling, writings by other, and miscellany.

McClure material contains correspondence (7 items), writings (including notes on Kipling's lawsuit against Putnam), and memorabilia (clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous).

E.W. Martindell material contains correspondence (1 item), writings (including 29 uncollected Kipling verses), and memorabilia (clippings with a short explanatory piece by Martindell).

Alan D. Wilson material consists of correspondence (15+ items), writings about Kipling, and memorabilia relating to Wilson.

Arrangement of the Collection

Outgoing and incoming correspondence is arranged chronologically. Third-party correspondence (neither from nor to Kipling) is arranged alphabetically by sender. Writings and Memorabilia are arranged alphabetically by type. The three smaller collections are arranged alphabetically by type of material.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has made a concerted effort over the years to ensure that its manuscript and rare books holdings complement each other. As a result, many of our manuscript collections are supported by books, pamphlets, serials and other items which are cataloged in the Rare Books Collection. Please be sure to search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

Subject Headings


Kipling, Caroline, 1865-1939.
Kipling, Elsie.
Kipling, John Lockwood, 1837-1911.
Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936.
McClure, H. H.
McClure, S. S. (Samuel Sidney), 1857-1949.

Corporate Bodies

S.S. McClure Company (New York, N.Y.)


Dramatists, English.
English literature -- 19th century.
English literature -- 20th century.
English literature -- Illustrations.
English literature -- Manuscripts.
English poetry -- Manuscripts.
Journalists -- England.
Novelists, English.
Poets, English.
War stories, English.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Drafts (documents)
Galley proofs.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Rudyard Kipling Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchases, gifts of Chancellor William Pearson Tolley, David J. Holmes, Lisa Lewis.

Table of Contents




McClures Material

E. W. Martindell Collection

Alan D. Wilson Collection