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Oscar Wilde Firkins papers

Identifier: ua-00715

Scope and Content

Correspondence in the collection consists largely of letters from Harold de Wolf Fuller and H. R. Mussey, managing editors of the Nation. Correspondence from editors of other periodicals and publishers are also included. Letters from George E. Vincent, Cyrus Northrop, Richard Burton, Sara Teasdale and Vachel Lindsay round out the correspondence found in Professor Firkins' papers.

Professor Firkins' lecture notes include his files on the Arthurian legend, drama, the novel, poetry, the Romantic Movement, and the short story. The collection of Professor Firkins' manuscripts includes essays, plays, reviews and books, as well as 234 unpublished poems in typescript. Notebooks include a Firkins bibliography of periodical contributions as well as notes on English poets, English authors and other topics.


  • Creation: 1909-1932


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Oscar W. Firkins (1864-1932)

Oscar W. Firkins was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1864. He attended the University of Minnesota, earning his B.A. in 1884 and M.A. in 1898. He joined the faculty of the University in 1891 as assistant in rhetoric and became professor of comparative literature in 1918.

Professor Firkins was a world renowned literary critic. He was a reviewer of poetry for the Nation, dramatic critic for the Weekly Reviewand a contributor to Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Review of Literature, Yale Review, and the North American Review. Professor Firkins was also a prolific writer of memoirs, criticisms, plays and poetry.

A purist in regard to literature, Professor Firkins would only read a text as it was originally written. If he wanted to read an author who's original work was not in English, he would learn the necessary language. Because of this, Professor Firkins could read over a dozen languages and speak seven. He remained as the only professor in the comparative literature department from 1918 until his death on March 7, 1932, four months before his planned retirement from the University.


2.5 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


Collection contains the papers of Oscar Wilde Firkins, professor of comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

Francis Brown Barton papers

Joseph Warren Beach papers

Ina Ten Eyck Firkins papers

James Gray papers

Fred Beal Snyder papers

Frank Keller Walter papers

William Watts Folwell papers

Related Materials at Another Institution

The Minnesota Historical Societylibrary holds a collection of Oscar W. Firkins' family papers.

Oscar Wilde Firkins papers, 1909-1932
Archives Staff; updated by Karen Spilman
July 1960; January 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

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