Karle Wilson Baker Papers, c.1800s-1963 | East Texas Research Center

Collection Overview

Title: Karle Wilson Baker Papers, c.1800s-1963Add to your cart.

ID: A/2

Primary Creator: Baker, Karle Wilson (1878-1960)

Extent: 30.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 00/00/1974. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Authors -- Texas, East, Baker, Karle Wilson, 1878-1960, Diaries, Manuscripts, Women authors

Forms of Material: Correspondence

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Karle Wilson Baker Papers include diaries; manuscripts; correspondence with publishers, editors, writers, fans, friends, and organizations; newspaper clippings and other biographical materials; photographs; and historical research materials, including some original materials dating back to the 1830's.

Collection Historical Note

Karle Wilson Baker, writer, daughter of William Thomas Murphey and Kate Florence (Montgomery) Wilson, was born on October 13, 1878, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her first name was originally spelled Karl; the e was added later, first appearing in Kate Wilson's diary in 1893. She attended public schools, Little Rock Academy, and Ouachita Baptist College and returned to graduate from Little Rock Academy, a high school, in 1898. She attended the University of Chicago periodically from 1898 to 1901 and later attended Columbia University (1919) and the University of California at Berkeley (1926–27). The only university degree that she held, however, was an honorary doctorate of letters conferred in 1924 by Southern Methodist University.

From 1897 to 1901 Karle Wilson alternately studied at the University of Chicago and taught at Southwest Virginia Institute in Bristol, Virginia. In 1901 she joined her family, which had moved to Nacogdoches, Texas. She went back to Little Rock to teach school for two years but returned to Nacogdoches, and there, on August 8, 1907, she married Thomas E. Baker, a banker. They had a son and daughter. Karle Baker devoted the remainder of her life to maintaining her household, to writing, and to teaching (from 1925 to 1934) at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College (now Stephen F. Austin State University). She wrote personal and historical essays, novels, nature poetry, and short stories. Her early writing appeared in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Century, Harper's, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner's, Putnam's, and the Yale Review, under the pen name of Charlotte Wilson. Yale University Press published her first volume of poetry, ninety-two lyrics collected under the name of the title poem, Blue Smoke (1919), which received favorable reviews in the United States and England. Yale also published a second collection of her poems, Burning Bush (1922), as well as two prose volumes, The Garden of Plynck (1920), a children's fantasy novel, and Old Coins (1923), twenty-seven short allegorical sketches. Baker was anthologized in The Best Poems of 1923, English and American, published in London, and in 1925 she won the Southern Prize of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, a competition open to poets living in the states of the former Confederacy.

In 1931 a third volume of her poems, Dreamers on Horseback, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. By that time, however, she had begun to concentrate mainly on prose writing. As early as 1925 she had written The Texas Flag Primer, a Texas history for children that was adopted for use in the public schools. In 1930 The Birds of Tanglewood, a collection of essays based on her birdwatching, appeared. Tanglewood was the name that she gave to an area around her parents' second home in Nacogdoches. A second reader for children, Two Little Texans, was published in 1932. Her most notable prose works were two novels published when she was in her late fifties and early sixties. Family Style (1937), a study of human motivation and reaction to sudden wealth, is set against the background of the East Texas oil boom (see EAST TEXAS OILFIELD). Star of the Wilderness (1942) is a historical novel in which Dr. James Grant, a Texas revolutionary, figures. It later became a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

In 1958 Baker was designated an honorary vice president of the Poetry Society of Texas, of which she was a charter member. She had served in 1938–39 as president of the Texas Institute of Letters, of which she was a charter member and the first woman fellow. Still other recognition was given her by the Authors League of America, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Poetry Society of America. She died on November 9, 1960, and is buried in Nacogdoches.

Edwin W. Gaston, Jr., "BAKER, KARLE WILSON," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 31, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Subject/Index Terms

Authors -- Texas, East
Baker, Karle Wilson, 1878-1960
Diaries
Manuscripts
Women authors

Administrative Information

Repository: East Texas Research Center

Accruals: Accurals were made up until 1986.

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Acquisition Method: Gift

Related Materials:

An account of Karle's girlhood activities can be found in the Kate Florence Montgomery Wilson Journal, East Texas Research Center manuscript collection A-97.

Pamela Lynn Palmer Collection on Karle Wilson Baker.  ETRC Personal & Family Collection A-180

Charlotte Baker Montgomery Papers. ETRC Personal & Family Collection. A-173


Box and Folder Listing


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[Box 21],
[Box 22],
[Box 23],
[Box 24],
[Box 25],
[Box 26],
[Box 27: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title],
[Box 28: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 29: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 30: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 31: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically],
[Box 32: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically (cont.)],
[Box 33: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically (cont.); correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 34: Correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 35: Correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 36: Correspondence with organizations and institutions],
[Box 37: Correspondence with organizations and institutions],
[Box 38: Correspondence with schools and colleges],
[Box 39: Correspondence with students, writers and scholars],
[Box 40: Correspondence from writers and scholars],
[Box 41],
[Box 42],
[Box 43],
[Box 44],
[Box 45],
[Box 46],
[Box 47],
[Box 48],
[Box 49],
[Box 50],
[Box 51],
[Box 52],
[Box 53: Publications, 1903-1914],
[Box 54: Publications, 1915-1919],
[Box 55: Publications, 1920-1922],
[Box 56: Publications, 1923-1937],
[Box 57: Journal, Diary, Manuscripts],
[Box 58: Clippings, Correspondence, Texas History Research],
[Box 59],
[Bundle 1: Maps and Chronology],
[Bundle 2: Texas History],
[Bundle 3: East Texas Oil Field],
[Bundle 4: Publications],
[All]

Bundle 1: Maps and ChronologyAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Houston County Oil Strike, The Houston Post, 1934Add to your cart.
Item 2: "A Hundred Miles of Memories," Natchitoches, LA to Bucareli, TX,, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: "Land for Sale," [Wood County?], 1876Add to your cart.
Item 4: Map of Pedro de Lara Grant and Nacogdoches Co. Creeks, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Houston Co. Oil Wells, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Texas map, issued with 1928 Texas Almanac, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Map of East Texas Counties, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 8: "Map of East Texas Oil Field", 1935Add to your cart.
Item 9: Map of Texas with inset showing East Texas Oil Field, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 10: Chronology for Star of the Wilderness, 1820-1935Add to your cart.

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Box 10],
[Box 11],
[Box 12],
[Box 13],
[Box 14],
[Box 15],
[Box 16],
[Box 17],
[Box 18],
[Box 19],
[Box 20],
[Box 21],
[Box 22],
[Box 23],
[Box 24],
[Box 25],
[Box 26],
[Box 27: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title],
[Box 28: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 29: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 30: Short prose works arranged alphabetically by title (cont.)],
[Box 31: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically],
[Box 32: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically (cont.)],
[Box 33: Correspondence with publishers and editors of anthologies and serials, arranged alphabetically (cont.); correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 34: Correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 35: Correspondence with literary organizations],
[Box 36: Correspondence with organizations and institutions],
[Box 37: Correspondence with organizations and institutions],
[Box 38: Correspondence with schools and colleges],
[Box 39: Correspondence with students, writers and scholars],
[Box 40: Correspondence from writers and scholars],
[Box 41],
[Box 42],
[Box 43],
[Box 44],
[Box 45],
[Box 46],
[Box 47],
[Box 48],
[Box 49],
[Box 50],
[Box 51],
[Box 52],
[Box 53: Publications, 1903-1914],
[Box 54: Publications, 1915-1919],
[Box 55: Publications, 1920-1922],
[Box 56: Publications, 1923-1937],
[Box 57: Journal, Diary, Manuscripts],
[Box 58: Clippings, Correspondence, Texas History Research],
[Box 59],
[Bundle 1: Maps and Chronology],
[Bundle 2: Texas History],
[Bundle 3: East Texas Oil Field],
[Bundle 4: Publications],
[All]

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