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Charlton Laird Papers

 Collection
Identifier: AC 0076
This collection contains primarily manuscripts (published and unpublished), an unpublished autobiography, I'd Rather Write (ca. 1980), and personal and professional correspondence.

The manuscripts include scholarly and fictional, with both drafts and final copies, and speeches. Among the manuscripts are a proposed series of novels that were to follow Thunder of the River, with notes and comments by Helene Laird on the various plots in the initial stages of development.

The correspondence includes information on the Guide to Comparative Literature and Intercultural Relations, a book intended to provide a starting point for the study of influences upon English and American literature and culture. It was to be the result from the cooperative work of more than two hundred scholars and experts chosen for their competence in special fields. It began under the general direction of the Comparative Literature Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English, with Professor Arthur E. Christy, Columbia University, as editor, about 1939. Upon Christy's unexpected death in 1946, Laird assumed the editorship, but the project was plagued by delays and changes in sponsorship. Laird produced completed and edited the manuscript on two occasions, but each time the texts were outdated before details of publication could be worked out and was never published.

In addition, the collection contains correspondence with Sven Liljeblad, folklorist and linguist; Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Nevada author; Robert Gorrell, co-author and English professor at the University; Helen Carlson, author of Nevada Place Names, A Geographical Dictionary; and Max and Michaline Urban, friends and business partners with the Lairds in Max Urban & Co., Inc., promoting Latin American music in the U.S.

Dates

  • 1936-1980

Creator

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Extent

5.5 Cubic Feet

Abstract

This collection contains primarily published and unpublished manuscripts, an unpublished autobiography, and personal and professional correspondence, including publishers. The manuscripts include scholarly and fictional publications, with both drafts and final copies.

Biographical Note

Charlton G. Laird was a linguist and professor of English at the University of Nevada, 1945-1968. In addition to his own publications, he co-authored English text books with Robert M. Gorrell, and a language book with wife, Helen Gent Laird. His correspondence includes folklorist and linguist Sven Liljeblad and his wife, Astrid; Nevada author Walter Van Tilburg Clark; Max and Michaline Urban, promoters for Latin America music in the United States; and Helen S. Carlson, author of a book on Nevada place names. The collection also includes documentation of a book intended for the study of influences upon English and American literature and culture under the original editorship of Arthur E. Christy, Columbia University, in 1939. Upon Christy's death in 1946, Laird assumed editorship, and produced completed and edited manuscripts (missing from collection) on two occasions, but each time the texts were outdated before details of publication could be worked out and was never published. Laird also authored two published novels about early settlement on the Mississippi River, and the collection contains drafts of stories in the proposed series of novels that were to follow.

Charlton Grant Laird (1901 - 1984) was a linguist and professor of English at the University of Nevada, as well as a novelist and author of numerous scholarly and reference works. Laird received his B.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1925, and his M.A. in 1929. Further studies followed at Columbia University and as a Traveling Fellow in Europe in 1930 and 1931. He received his Ph.D. in 1940 from Stanford University. He became Professor of English, University of Nevada, in 1945, and Emeritus Professor in 1968. Prior to coming to Nevada, he taught at the University of Idaho, Purdue University, and at many institutes and workshops. He was author of numerous publications, including Modern English Handbook (with Robert M. Gorrell), Webster 's New World Thesaurus, You and Your Language, The Miracle of Language, Words, Word, Words; Pickett at Gettysburg, and Laird's Promptory. In addition to scholarly works, Laird had published two novels, West of the River and Thunder on the River. Laird was married to Floy Davis in 1925 until her death in 1944, and to Helene Gent in 1945, until her death in 1979. Among her several publications, Helene Laird also co-authored The Tree of Language with Charlton Laird.

Arrangement

Arranged by subject group.

Folders 8-26 were received as one folder titled "Speeches (Supposedly Popular)."

Folders 27-38 were received as one folder titled "Misc. Lit,"

Folders 39-63 were received as one folder titled "Misc. Old Copy."

Folders 68-77 were received as one untitled folder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Charlton Grant Laird; gift; 1981.

Related Materials

In 1982, John Garberson, journalism teacher at Nevada, began an autobiography/biography project with Laird. Uncompleted upon Garberson's death in 1984, the manuscript, Most of the Whole Truth, was transferred to the Archives, and is AC 151.

Separated Materials

This collection was the first of two collections deposited. After Charlton Laird's death in 1984, another group of records was transferred to the Archives. This collection, AC 284, encompasses 1927- 1982.

Photographs: 1 photograph of Charlton Laird, circa 1970; family members; and Floy Davis Laird(?). Transferred to photograph collection, #3211.
Title
Charlton Laird Papers
Status
completed
Author
Karen Gash
Date
Approximately 1999
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno NV 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)