About the Dalhousie Kipling Collection
The Dalhousie Rudyard Kipling Collection was assembled by Halifax lawyer, James McGregor Stewart, who felt Kipling was the most important man in his lifetime. Stewart set out to collect everything by and about Kipling that he could. He amassed a collection of forty-one literary manuscripts; 773 letters written by Kipling to family, friends and editors; 2,600 published books and pamphlets; 2,375 newspaper issues; 1,288 periodical issues; eighty-three original illustrations; selected contemporary criticism; Kipling autographs; forty pieces of sheet music based on Kipling poems; fifteen records; and Kipling ephemera such as wall hangings, publicity posters and calendars.
Collection highlights include three manuscript drafts of the poem “Our Lady of the Snows”; first editions of Kipling’s six railway series titles published in India; a 1881 edition of School Boy Lyrics; files of the newspapers Kipling worked on when a journalist in India; issues of Kipling’s school newspaper, United Services College Chronicle (1881-1882); a thirty-three year correspondence with British newspaper editor H.A. Gwynne; over thirty editions respectively of Kipling’s most famous poems “If” and “The Recessional”; first American and British editions of The Jungle Books and Captains Courageous; original manuscript, revised typescript and original ink sketches for the Kipling short story, “The Record of Badalia Herodsfoot”. The list could go on as the Dalhousie Kipling Collection has no major gaps in the coverage of Kipling’s work and life.
A research collection of international significance and reputation, the Dalhousie Kipling Collection has been described by prominent Kipling scholar Dr. Thomas Phinney as “the single most comprehensive collection”. British bibliographer Barbara Rosenbaum, after spending ten years locating and describing Kipling papers for The Index of English Literary Manuscripts, noted, after her visit to the Dalhousie Kipling Collection, that “in terms of Kipling materials as a whole—including printed material—I would be hard pressed to say that Dalhousie’s collection is surpassed at all”.
The definitive bibliography of Kipling’s published work for fifty years was compiled by James Stewart. He based his bibliography on the collection he assembled and subsequently donated to Dalhousie University. The Stewart bibliography is readily available: Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliographical Catalogue. By James McG. Stewart. Edited by A.W. Yeats. Toronto: Dalhousie University Press and University of Toronto Press, 1959.
More from Vessels of Light: A Guide to Special Collections in the Killam Library, by Karen E. M. Smith.