Traffics and Re-discoveries 

 Rudyard Kipling Collections at the Library of Congress

Debra D. Wynn (Library of Congress)

In the call for papers earlier this year the stated intention for this conference was to “encourage new approaches to Kipling scholarship and to foster dialogue between the two different kinds of Kipling readers”. The conference organizers were very gracious to allow me to present a paper on a topic that would be of interest to all Kipling readers. As one of the catalog librarians assigned to work on the Kipling Collections at the Library of Congress, it is definitely in my personal interest to encourage all approaches to Kipling scholarship. It is also an honor and a great opportunity to meet with so many international Kipling scholars, critics and enthusiasts to talk about the Kipling Collections at the Library of Congress.

First, let me briefly describe the Kipling Collections that are in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress. A brief summary is also provided in your conference packets. The Chandler Kipling Collection was given to the Library in 1937 and 1938 by Rear Admiral Lloyd H. Chandler who gathered Kipling texts from 846 prose works and over 1,100 verse pieces in preparation for a Kipling bibliography. The library has the 294 loose-leaf volume typescript Admiral Chandler compiled in that endeavor which was never fully published. In 1930 an abbreviated bibliography “The works of Rudyard Kipling, a special edition compiled and annotated by Lloyd H.Chandler” was published as the companion volume to the 1929 Grolier Club exhibition catalog on Kipling. (NB. The handout included in the conference packet gave an erroneous publication date for Chandler’s bibliography which was indeed published in 1930 and not 1942. The author of the paper sincerely regrets her error) The Carpenter Kipling Collection was presented to the Library in 1941 by Mrs. Lucille Russell Carpenter and includes around 1,675 Kipling items owned by her husband William Montelle Carpenter, businessman, Kipling enthusiast and collector extraordinaire. In 1984 and 1987 the ca. 1,500 item H. Dunscombe Colt Kipling Collection, another extraordinary collection was given by Mrs. H. Dunscombe Colt to the Library.

Less well known, but also of importance is the Library’s own Kipling Collection. In 1870, the United States Congress passed a law that required authors who wanted copyright protection to deposit two copies of every book, pamphlet, map, print, piece of music, recording, etc. printed or produced within the United States with the Copyright office, now conveniently centralized in operation for the United States at the Library of Congress. Many of the items in the over 500 item and still expanding Kipling Collection were acquired through past copyright deposits made in compliance to this law. In addition, there have been transfers from the Library’s existing general collections and later individual item acquisitions of Kiplingiana specifically for the Rare Book and Special Collections Division either purchased or given by other donors.

These four collections, totaling over 6,000 items contain printed editions, printing variants, pirated editions, auction catalogs containing Kiplingiana, magazines and journals, association copies, manuscripts, letters, photographs, drawings, realia and ephemera either written by Kipling or related to Kipling’s life and work. They have been a rich source for Kipling scholars in the past and we hope, by finally making our cataloging records for these materials online that new and returning users can better discover or re-discover the known or new treasures in these collections.

Of course, it should come as no surprise to any Kipling scholar or any true Kipling enthusiast that there are many, many Kipling materials to be found at the Library of Congress. The standard published bibliographies such as Florence Livingston’s Bibliography of the Works of Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1927 and her Supplement published in 1938 and the 1959 Rudyard Kipling, a Bibliographical Catalogue, compiled by James McG. Stewart and edited by A.W. Yeats also list the writings, pirated editions and other Kipling rarities to be found in the Library of Congress’ collections. These bibliographies as well as earlier bibliographies compiled by E.A. Ballard, E.W. Martindell and Lloyd H. Chandler reflect the strengths of their compilers and their own private collections. Many of these early collections were broken up and in part acquired by new collectors and have ended up in a myriad of private and public institutions. The Library of Congress Kipling collections remain a valuable resource and new generations of scholars are not just moving down well-worn paths but are lighting out into new territory in use of these collections. Recently Thomas Pinney published his 6 volume collection of The letters of Rudyard Kipling, the final volume being published in 2004. Andrew Rutherford’s edition of Early Verse of Rudyard Kipling, 1879-1889, Unpublished, Uncollected and Rarely Collected Poems was published in 1986. New biographical and critical treatment of the life and works of Rudyard Kipling continue to be published. In the past some materials in our collections had restrictions placed upon their use by either their sensitive nature or by the request of their donors. For example when Charles Carrington wrote Rudyard Kipling, his Life and Work, there is internal Library evidence that certain materials were withheld by intervention of the donors and their use was restricted in some instances to just a few select scholars. Many letters were not available for examination until after 1960, five years after the 1955 publication of Carrington’s “official” Kipling biography. Over the passage of time circumstances around collections have changed. Just this year, in 2007, the world of Kipling scholarship has opened up; there are no longer any such donor restrictions on the collections and copyright for Rudyard Kipling’s unpublished manuscripts are now in the public domain in the United States. Kipling would not have been pleased.

Yes, some things have not changed. The Kipling Society is alive and well and its members are actively engaged in continued understanding, interpretation, scholarship and promotion of Kipling’s work. Scholars and the curious have managed at particular skill to navigate their way through the incredible wealth of material by and about Kipling with the help of these published bibliographies and, at the Library of Congress, through the card catalogs and typewritten lists of materials compiled when these collections were acquired. But we’re in a new century now and the potential for online access to the catalogs and to the content itself is presenting new challenges and opportunities to the Library of Congress. My guess is that scholars and Kipling enthusiasts alike would welcome better access to the materials they’ve heard and read about and also to those rarities they may have guessed or suspected must be at somewhere in the Library of Congress.

Staff at the Library of Congress have recently begun to re-catalog the four major Kipling Collections in the Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections Division for inclusion into the Library of Congress online catalog. It had become apparent that many of the items in these particular collections needed renewed cataloging attention. The existing card catalog files for the Chandler, Carpenter and LC’s own Kipling Collection had been compiled in the early 1960’s. When the Colt Kipling Collection arrived in the mid and late 80’s scholars only had access to a typewritten inventory list of materials but no true catalog yet existed for the entirety of these materials. In late December of 2006 a colleague and I were assigned to dedicate the majority of our time cataloging the Kipling collections. I am happy to report that we are making substantial progress. My colleague and I are finding incredible items of interest. I would now like to highlight some of the unusual unpublished items discovered or re-discovered in the process of cataloging these collections.

There are a number of source materials such as photographs, letters, sketches, proofs, manuscripts, ephemera and printed editions related to Rudyard Kipling’s From Sea to Sea, a round the world journey out of India through Asia, across North America and then to England in 1889. Foremost, are the non-book materials compiled by Mrs. Edmonia Taylor Hill with the many photographs taken by her husband Samuel Alexander “Alec” Hill. An illustrated edition of stories based on the Sea to Sea articles Kipling was writing for the “Pioneer” newspaper back in India was envisioned using Mr. Hill’s photographs, but proved to be too expensive. According to a handwritten note by Mrs. Hill three photograph albums were made from Mr. Hill’s photographs covering the India and Asian portions of the Sea to Sea trip. Throughout the Carpenter Collection in particular, much of the Hill materials acquired by William M. Carpenter have many of these very enlightening personal notes written by Mrs. Hill which gives a different slant and provides further understanding to the interpretation of these source materials.

In addition, we have a small file of related images that were not included in the Sea to Sea photograph album that Mr. Carpenter acquired from Mrs. Hill. These items and a few others that include Kipling portraits, caricatures and photographs are available for viewing through the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs online catalog on the Library of Congress website. There are dozens more visual items related to the 1889 Sea to Sea trip in the Carpenter Kipling Collection that are not yet in digitized form but the albums, photographs and scrapbooks related to this trip as well as other visual collections in all the Library’s Kipling collections are being described in the Library’s online catalog. This type of ephemeral material recognized as a rich resource today was not considered a high priority for attention in earlier cataloging practice. As a result, these materials have been forgotten and underutilized.

Kipling proceeded on his American portion of his Sea to Sea journey without the Hills and without Mr. Hill’s camera. He writes in a letter to Alec Hill on July 2, 1889 from Livingston Montana:

“You should be with me. I haven’t even a kodak and I’m moving among the lordliest scenery in a wilderness of Indians, cow punchers, herds of horses wandering loose over the prairie, pink and blue cliffs, cascades, tunnels and snow clad mountains that would make your very camera’s mouth water with envy”. (Letters of Rudyard Kipling, edited by Thomas Pinney, 1990, vol. 1, pp. 326-327)

In one scrapbook compiled by William M. Carpenter, the collector takes Kipling’s wish to heart and later attempts to re-create some of the North American leg of Kipling’s 1889 Sea to Sea trip, this time taking photographs himself.

The Library of Congress is a big place. It is the largest library in the world and has over 130 million items. By chance, I had stumbled on the Carpenter Kipling Collection images in the Prints & Photographs Division database while working on another project. That also got me thinking: what else does the Library of Congress have that would be of interest to Kipling scholars that is outside of the known Carpenter, Colt, Chandler and Rare Book Kipling collections? I went to the Manuscript Division.

The Library of Congress Manuscript Division has over 50 million items (not all Kipling!). Their archivists are also involved in projects to convert their older finding aids from established collections and produce new online finding aids for newly acquired collections. With the help of their capable staff I was pointed toward a couple of in-house card files and databases where I could track down some references. As it happens, there are also scattered Kipling letters in various collections in their division. Many are now known as evidenced by inclusion in Thomas Pinney’s monumental edition of Kipling’s letters but some additional unrecorded letters have turned up in odd places. In a handout in your conference programs there is a brief list of the collections in the Manuscript Division that contain individual letters. There are two Manuscript collections that I would like to mention in particular.

I would like to mention the papers of Theodore Roosevelt. It is no surprise to find Theodore Roosevelt papers in the Library of Congress; the Manuscript Division has the papers of twenty three American presidents. Not being particularly knowledgeable about Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of this project, it did come as a surprise to me to find a couple dozen letters between Roosevelt and Kipling. Additionally, there are the Kermit and Belle Roosevelt family papers which contain additional letters from Kipling to Roosevelt’s son Kermit. In a letter addressed to Theodore Roosevelt on July 18, 1918. Kipling couldn’t make out from the reports if Roosevelt’s youngest son Quentin, a World War I pilot who had been shot down over France had been killed or if he was in enemy hands. Kipling and Roosevelt’s bond of friendship and comfort Kipling tries to provide is very evident in this letter which was not found in the Theodore Roosevelt papers as would have been expected, but in the Roosevelt family papers. This particular letter is not included in Pinney’s collected letters of Kipling. Now staying with Roosevelt but returning to Rare Books and Special Collections there is a nice association copy of Kipling’s 1919 poem “Great Heart” on the death of Theodore Roosevelt inscribed by Kipling to Roosevelt’s son Kermit in the Colt Kipling Collection.

We are finding other surprises. Many of you may have heard the story about how one of Kipling’s books stopped a bullet and saved a young man’s life. This story was related in the July 1952 Kipling Journal. Maurice Hamonneau was a young soldier in the French Foreign legion in World War I. He narrowly escapes death due to his French translation of Kipling’s Kim carried fortuitously in his left breast pocket. A grateful Hamonneau sends his battle-scarred copy of Kim along with his Croix de guerre military medal he subsequently received to Rudyard Kipling. Kipling, of course, is flabbergasted and deeply moved. He accepts these valuable tokens on the condition that they would be returned once Hamonneau had a son. The collection of fourteen letters documents the budding friendship from the initial contact in 1918 until 1932 when at Hamonneau’s request, Kipling returns the medal and the copy of Kim back to Maurice Hamonneau for Hamonneau’s son Jean. This collection of items is in the H. Dunscombe Colt Kipling Collection, the special binding incorporates a Croix de guerre medal on the inside front cover. The only access to the Colt Kipling collection was through an inventory list that was compiled on site from Library staff when the collection was acquired in 1987, but was only available on site. There is now a catalog entry for it now in the Library of Congress online catalog accessible by any library user anywhere with an internet connection. These letters are not included in Pinney’s edition of Kipling letters.

My final example is from an item that I re-discovered the end of June, again described by William M. Carpenter in his “A few significant and important Kipling items!”. This item is a hand lettered and illustrated theater program on a small 10 x 7 cm. card drawn by Rudyard Kipling for a performance of the 1853 Tom Taylor play “Plot and Passion”. This card records the performance by an amateur theatrical group in Lahore, India (Pakistan) on December 20, 1883 starring Rudyard Kipling in the role of Desmarets, “Head of the secret department”. William M. Carpenter indicates that this program card was given to Miss Plowden, a close friend of the Kipling family, on the morning of the performance. On the back of the card is a poem with twelve lines of verse from 1883. The text of this poem is included as the final two stanzas in “Preadmonisheth ye ghoste of Desmarets”, a 6 stanza verse cited in Andrew Rutherford’s Early verse by Rudyard Kipling, 1879-1889, but Rutherford fails to note this miniature program with the abbreviated poem with only the final two stanzas. The abbreviated version is also not listed in Stewart’s Bibliography. It was easy to overlook; I had to use a magnifying glass myself to read it:

“What know ye of “Plot and Passion”- as we took their meaning then?
When our Goddesses were women, and our men were more than men;
When Life and Death were counters, and we slaked them boldly both-
And the guillotine might follow on a lover’s broken oath,
When the “ladies from the Fauberg” broke the bank of Petiot
At Paris of the Empire in the days of long ago.

Yet I linger for a moment- mark the progress of your play;
Watch some guileless little gamin act the part of Desmarets.
But your woods have lost their passion,
And your speech is strange and cold,-
You can neither love nor hate Sires, as we did in days of old.
Ah me for jaded glories of “Le Petit Denisot.”
Where I schemed and died at Paris in the days of long ago.”

My colleagues and I are usually amazed and delighted, sometimes puzzled at the unusual materials we’re privileged to process at the Library of Congress. The Kipling Collections are no different in that regard. There is much rich material to use and much more to discover. Many items in LC’s collections may already be well known to many of you. As scholars, critics, and enthusiasts, going back and re-reading Kipling can always reveal fresh insights. It shouldn’t be any different that a library in reassessing, and reprocessing its collections wouldn’t also achieve similarly insightful results and turn up new items along the way, even unpublished ones. We welcome renewed traffic to our Kipling collections and hope you will make some new discoveries as we share our rediscoveries with you.


Image sources for PowerPoint presentation:

Slide 1: Traffics and Re-Discoveries: Kipling Collections at the Library of Congress:

Reproduction of 1891 portrait of Kipling painted by John Collier. The Kipling Society: (used without prior permission:

Slide 2: Selected titles from the Rudyard Kipling Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Division (RBSCD), Library of Congress.

Castle line & ms. poem “Of swine” Rudyard Kipling, 1900. (Colt)
The King. Rudyard Kipling. With original manuscript, 1899. (Colt)
Mandalay. Original ms. Rudyard Kipling [n.d.] (Colt)
Corrected galley proofs. “Wireless” Rudyard Kipling. Scribner’s Magazine, August, 1902. (Colt)
“William the Conqueror”. Rudyard Kipling. Typescript with handwritten corrections by Rudyard Kipling.
1893. (Carpenter)

Slide 3: Selected items from the Library of Congress Kipling collections:

Kipling bookplate on front paste-down of: Echoes from old Calcutta : being chiefly reminiscences of the days of Warren Hastings, Francis and Impey / by H.E. Busteed. Calcutta : Thacker, Spink and Col, 1882 (LC Colt Kipling Collection)

“Portrait of two of Kipling’s children, John and Josephine” from album: Photographs from the Kipling Collection of William M. Carpenter. 1880-1943. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

“Sons of the suburbs” / Rudyard Kipling. Page proof of unpublished poem, 1917. (LC Colt Kipling Collection)
Slide 4: Kipling bibliographies:

Kipling bibliographies pictured:
Catalogue intimate and descriptive of my Kipling collection: books, manuscripts and letters, with reproductions of rarities; how I got them, why I prize them and what I failed to get; with inferences and opinions solely my own and probably wrong / Ellis Ames Ballard. Philadelphia : Privately printed, 1935 (LC General Collections)
A few significant and important Kipling items! / William M. Carpenter. [Chicago : Special Book Co., 1930]. Copy shown inscribed on inside front cover to L.H. Chandler by the author (LC Chandler Kipling Collection)
Fragmenta condita : the unrecorded portion of my Kipling collection / Appendix to “A bibliography of the works of Rudyard Kipling” / by E.W. Martindell. Ashford, Middlesex : Printed privately, 1922. Copy shown inscribed to L.H. Chandler by the author. (LC Chandler Kipling Collection)
Bibliography of the works of Rudyard Kipling / by Flora V. Livingston. New York : Johnson Reprint Corp., [1970]. First published in 1927. (LC General Collections)
Supplement to Bibliography of the works of Rudyard Kipling / by Flora V. Livingston. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1938. Copy shown inscribed to Mrs. [Lucile] Carpenter by the author on t.p. verso (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)
Rudyard Kipling, a bibliographical catalogue / by James McG. Stewart ; edited by A.W. Yeats. Toronto : Dalhousie University Press, 1959 (LC General Collections)
Slide 5: Professor S.A. and Mrs. Edmonia Hill items:

“Professor and Mrs. S.A. Hill at Belvedere House at afternoon tea” In album: Photographs from the Kipling Collection of William M. Carpenter, 1880-1943. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

“[Bottom 2/3 of small sheet of pen and ink caricature sketches of Prof. & Mrs. Hill and Rudyard Kipling by Rudyard Kipling at Allahabad ‘to entertain Mrs. Hill, when she was ill, when they were planning the trip to Japan’. Jan. 1889]” In scrapbook: Hill Collection of sketches, verses, autograph manuscripts, ca. 1884-1890. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)
Slide 6: “From Sea to Sea”:

“Moulmein Burma, elephant loading teak” in collection: From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling photos taken by Prof. Hill but not used in the album of photos intended for illustration, 1889. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

“Red and gold pagoda, Moulmein” and “Burman and Chinaman”. In album: From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling photographs, 1889. Also in collection: Mrs. Hill marked photographs, 1889 with captions “At Moulmein, Burma” and “S.S. Africa”. “Cryptomeria Avenue, fifty miles long leading to Nikko” in album: From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling photographs, 1889. Also in collection:Mrs. Hill marked photographs, 1889 with caption “Nikko”.(LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

Undated ALS from Mrs. S.A. Hill to William M. Carpenter accompanying: From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling photographs / [photographs taken by S.A. Hill, 1889]. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

“Village teahouse at Arashima” [detail] photograph from: From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling photographs / [photographs taken by S.A. Hill, 1889]. (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)
Slide 7: From Sea to Sea on “The City of Berlin”:

“In the City of Berlin” holograph poem. 1889. Accompanying “List of saloon passengers United States and Royal Mail steamer “City of Berlin” from New York for Liverpool, Wednesday, Sept. 25th, 1889”. Detail of ship’s menu on the verso of which the poem was written (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)
Slide 8: Theodore Roosevelt items:

ALS from Kipling to Theodore Roosevelt, dated July 18, 1918. Kermit and Belle Roosevelt papers, Box 15 (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division)

“Great-heart” / by Rudyard Kipling. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, Page & Co., 1919. Poem eulogizing Theodore Roosevelt inscribed by Kipling to Roosevelt’s son Kermit Roosevelt. (LC Colt Kipling Collection)

“[Kermit Roosevelt and his wife Belle, both full-length, standing]” [detail], 1928. (LC Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, LC-USZ62-127298)

“Portrait of Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt, ca. 1917” [detail]. National Museum of the US Air Force (used without prior permission)
Slide 9: Maurice Hamonneau items:
How “Kim” saved the life of a French soldier: a remarkable series of autograph letters of Rudyard Kipling, with the soldier’s Croix de Guerre, 1918-1933. Collection of 14 unpublished letters from Kipling to Maurice A. Hamonneau and related materials (LC Colt Kipling Collection):
1. Detail of front cover binding incorporating the Croix de Guerre medal.
2. ALS from Kipling to Maurice A. Hamonneau dated December 12, 1918.
Kim : roman / Rudyard Kipling; traduit avec autorisation de l’auteur par Louis Fabulet et Ch. Fountaine Walker. Paris : Mercure de France, 1913. With bullet hole in front cover. (LC Colt Kipling Collection)
Slide 10: “Plot and Passion” theater program, 1883:
Program: “Plot and Passion” Dec. 20th, [1883]. Hand-drawn illustrated theater program with unpublished poem by Rudyard Kipling. Presented to Miss Plowden (LC Carpenter Kipling Collection)

Digital images of some Kipling items are available from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Online Catalog (PPOC) from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division website at:
All titles are searchable in the Library of Congress online catalog at