Guide to the Charles Edwin Blackburn Papers
1930-1976

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Blackburn, Charles Edwin
Title: Charles Edwin Blackburn Papers
Dates: 1930-1976 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 17 containers. (14 linear feet of shelf space.) (13,900 items.)
Collection Number: Cage 479
Summary: Correspondence, financial, and other papers related to family matters; the study and teaching of English; Coast Guard service, 1942-1945; and employment at Washington State University, 1951-1959 and 1964-1976, and the Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington, 1959-1964.
Repository: Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections

Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
(509) 335-6691
http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc/
mascref@wsu.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Charles Edwin Blackburn was born to William Brownlow Blackburn and Julia Agnes McDonald Blackburn on August 2, 1915, on a farm near Elberton, Washington. He was the youngest of eleven children. Blackburn attended Tekoa High School and graduated in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression.

The Depression played a large role in Blackburn's early adult years. His father died in April 1934 and the family moved from Tekoa to Moscow, Idaho, the following June. From 1934 to 1936 he held several different jobs. He worked in an office as a typist, he sold silk hosiery door-to-door, he worked a Comptometer in an office in Olympia, and for a time in 1935, was in the Civilian Conservation Corps. All the while he dreamed of getting to college -the one all-consuming goal in his life. Yet, he lacked the funds and an understanding of college admission procedures. In April 1936 he started work in the office of the West Coast Lumberman's Association in Seattle. In the fall of the year, while still working part-time, he enrolled at the University of Washington. He attended college and continued to work for the WCLA until December 1940, when he decided to devote his full attentions to school. While attending the U of W he met his future wife Alice Kiser. Both received their B.A. degrees in 1941, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. From 1941-1942, Charles attended graduate school, while Alice finished her fifth year studies to complete a Library Science degree.

America's entry into the Second World War delayed Blackburn's education for several years. He entered the service in the spring of 1942 and was assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Westport, Washington, as a radioman and yeoman. In 1944 he was transfered to the U.S.S. Casper (PF-12) as a radioman. In addition to his regular duties while on board the Casper he served as the ship's librarian and published the ship's newspaper, The Casper Clarion.

Charles Blackburn was discharged from the Coast Guard in late 1945; like so many young couples of the day, the Blackburns were faced with the task of rebuilding their lives. Blackburn returned to the University of Washington to continue his graduate education. In the fall of 1947, after only a year at the U. of W., he moved on to Yale University to complete his doctorate in American Studies. While at Yale, he taught English at Stone College (1948-1949) and the Junior College of Commerce (1949-1950), both in New Haven, Connecticut. During this time he was awarded a Yale University Fellowship (1949-1950) and a Sterling Predoctoral Fellowship (1950-1951).

Upon completing the Ph.D.in 1951, Blackburn joined the English faculty of Washington State University. He served as Chair of the Department of English from 1956-1957.

By 1959, however, the financial pressures of a growing family (children: Julia, 1947; Taft, 1949; Mary Beth, 1953) led Blackburn to look for a better paying position. In June of that year, he began a relatively short-lived career with the Boeing Company Industrial Products Division in Seattle, Washington. He started as a technical writer and over the next five years held several supervisory and administrative posts. Most of Blackburn's work was in marketing (writing and revising brochures and semi-technical documents) and administration (preparing and reporting the section's budget and coordinating his group with the European office). In addition, he was involved with the Boeing Employees' Good Neighbor Fund, a community service organization, from 1962-1964. Although Blackburn enjoyed his work and was promoted quickly, he found that he was not well suited to the business world. Therefore, from 1960 on he attempted to return to a position in academe.

In 1964, Washington State University again offered Blackburn a position in the English Department. WSU's attractive offer-- both in terms of salary and tenure considerations--in combination with Alice's appointment as Pullman City Librarian, brought the family back to Pullman.

From 1964-1976 Blackburn taught a variety of subjects: freshman/sophomore composition, technical writing, American Drama, 20th century Drama, and assorted literature classes. A talented actor himself, Blackburn had several roles with the New Pullman Summer Palace Theatre.

Blackburn died September 7, 1976 at age 61 in a Springfield, Oregon hospital where he had been a patient for two weeks after suffering a heart attack while on vacation.

Content Description

The collection consists of correspondence, financial, and other papers related to family matters; the study and teaching of English; Coast Guard service, 1942-1945; employment at Washington State University, 1951-1959 and 1964-1976; and employment at the Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington, 1959-1964.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

This collection is open for research use.

Restrictions on Use :  

Prior to January 1, 1998, researchers desiring access to correspondence written between 1941 and 1945 needed permission of Mrs. Alice Blackburn.

Preferred Citation :  

[Item Description]. Cage 479, Charles Edwin Blackburn Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Charles E. Blackburn Papers have been arranged in two series by the processor: Correspondence Series, 1940-1976, and Subject File Series, 1930-1976.

The first series, Correspondence Series, 1940-1976, comprises approximately one half of the collection and contains letters from many family members and friends. The original group headings have been retained and then arranged in what appeared to be the order of importance, i.e.: Blackburn Family, Kiser Family, General Family, Family and Friends, and Friends. Principal correspondents in this series are Alice Kiser Blackburn, Eva (Blackburn) Newsum, Fanny (Blackburn) Rasmussen and Faye Blackburn. The folders within each group have been arranged chronologically and the original order of the material within each folder has been preserved. All correspondence for the period 1941-1945, however, has been restricted until January 1, 1998.

The Subject File Series, 1930-1976, was assembled as a unit by the processor and brings together loosely ordered materials. The series contains papers from Blackburn's educational, professional, and personal life. These materials have been arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Blackburn's term as Vice-President and later President of the Boeing Employees' Good Neighbor Fund is represented by agency reports, annual reports, correspondence, elections and membership, materials, minutes and many predating his period of service. The remainder of this group of Boeing materials pertains to Blackburn's job assignment and is made up of a work diary, interdepartmental correspondence, personal materials, sales staff meeting minutes, and Boeing News.

The Business, Medical and Financial records include correspondence and receipts referring to the rental of the Blackburn home in Seattle, auto repairs, medical records, income tax forms, and record books.

The section of educational materials encompasses Blackburn's entire academic career including papers from high school, the University of Washington, Yale University and Washington State University. The four groups have been arranged in chronological order and folders within each group are alphabetically ordered. Class notes, papers and exams make up the bulk of this section. A copy of Blackburn's dissertation (entitled: James Freeman Clarke: An Interpretation of the Western Years, 1838-1840) and a bound volume of his research notes are included. The last box in the series contains approximately 4500 dissertation research note cards In addition, some papers from Mrs. Blackburn's undergraduate years at the University of Washington are part of this group. The WSU material is mostly concerned with departmental activities such as correspondence, salary and rank information, promotion and tenure statements, faculty evaluations, and a small number of items from his 1970-1971 sabbatical in New York City.

Also included in this Subject File Series are the papers of John P. Sebree, an uncle on Alice's side of the family. He lived with the Blackburn family from 1969 until his death in 1975. His materials include correspondence, medical records, a college yearbook, memorials and a copy of his will and trust declaration.

Acquisition Information :  

The papers of Charles Edwin Blackburn (MS 77-61) were donated to the Washington State University Libraries by Mrs. Alice Blackburn. Twenty-five additional items (MS83-35) were donated in 1983.


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1940-1976
Container(s)
Description
Blackburn family;
Box
Folder
1 1-11 Blackburn family, 1947-1975
643 items.
1 12 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1947-1948
40 items.
1 13 Julia Blackburn, 1960-1966
75 items.
1 14 Julia, Taft, and Mary Beth Blackburn, 1968-1976
65 items.
1 15 Mary Beth Blackburn, 1971-1976
200 items.
Box
Folder
2 16-21 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1941-1943
455 items.
3 22-27 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1943-1944
375 items.
4 28-32 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1944-1945
305 items.
5 33-37 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1944-1945
210 items.
6 38-42 Charles and Alice Blackburn, 1945
255 items.
7 43-49 Kiser Family, 1947-1976
420 items.
7 50-59 Family, 1940-1957
479 items.
8 60-68 Family, 1950-1965
470 items.
8 69-72 Family and Friends, 1936-1946
300 items.
9 73-85 Family and Friends, 1944-1961
940 items.
10 86 Family and Friends, 1958-1961
50 items.
10 87-98 Friends, 1946-1975
577 items.

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Series 2: Subject File, 1930-1976
Container(s)
Description
Boeing:
Box
Folder
11 99-101 Boeing News, 1961-1966
68 items.
11 102 Brochure and Newsletter Preparations, 1959
30 items.
11 103 Diary, 1959
1 item.
Good Neighbor Fund:
Box
Folder
11 104 Agency Reports, 1953-1964
20 items.
11 105 Annual Reports, 1961-1966
9 items.
11 106 Correspondence, 1963-1964
140
11 107 Elections and Membership, 1962-1964
17 items.
11 108 Events, 1963-1964
20 items.
11 109-113 General, 1963-1965
180
11 114 Minutes, 1962-1963
30 items.
11 115 Photos, 1963-1964
16 items.
11 116-120 Interdepartmental Correspondence, 1959-1964
176 items.
11 121 Hage Fund, 1963-1964
40 items.
11 122 Personal Materials, 1959-1964
30 items.
11 123 Sales Orientation Seminar, 1959-1960
7 items.
11 124 Sales Staff Meeting Minutes, 1959-1962
38 items.
Business, Medical, and Financial Records:
Box
Folder
12 125-126 Business Letters and Seattle House, 1962-1968
125 items.
Cars:
Box
Folder
12 127 Chrysler, 1967-1970
25 items.
12 128 Rambler, 1961-1975
100
12 129 Correspondence -- Financial, 1970-1976
60 items.
12 130 Diabetic Records, 1963
1 item.
12 131-132 Financial and Medical Records, 1951-1972
125 items.
12 133 Financial Records, 1966-1975
50 items.
12 134-136 Income Tax Reports, 1942-1969
67 items.
12 137 Record Books, 1942-1951; , 1967-1973
10 items.
Box
Folder
12 138 Calenders, 1961-1974
11 items.
12 139-141 Casper Clarion, 1944-1945
35 items.
12 142-143 Community Congregational Church, 1961-1975
150 items.
13 144 Democratic Party, 1962-1969
20 items.
Education:
Box
Folder
13 145 Diplomas, 1930-1941
4 items.
13 146 High School, 1932-1935
35 items.
Box
Folder
13 147 Tekoa Blade, 1934
1 item.
University of Washington:
Box
Folder
13 148 The Austin Tree, 1936
1 item.
Literature 58:
Box
Folder
13 149 Fictional Technique in Cross Section, 1937
1
13 150 This Road to Follow, 1937
1
13 151 Personal Values in Literature, 1937
1 item.
Philosophy I:
Box
Folder
13 152 Berkely in Review, 1937
1
13 153 Descartes in Review, 1937
1
13 154 Russell in Review, 1937
1
13 155 Various Tests, 1937; , 1940
4 items.
13 156 English Literature; The Bible as Literature, 1938-1939
1 item.
13 157 The Hurly Burly, 1938
1 item.
13 158 Newspaper Articles, Tempo Articles, 1938; , 1941
3 items.
13 159 Philosophy 101 Problem Papers, 1938
2 items.
13 160 Philosophy 102 Notes, 1939
1 item.
13 161 Literature 153, 161, 162, Zoology 16-17, History 140 Notes and Tests, 1939-1940; , 1946
8 items.
Literature, 1940
Box
Folder
13 162 164 Two Travelers in America
1
13 163 171 Notes on Some Long Winded Characters in Shakespeare
1
13 164 Philosophy 103 Notes, 1940
1 item.
13 165 The Fantasy Worlds of Three British Authors, 1941
1 item.
13 166 American Literature Notes, 1946
1 item.
13 167 English 221 John Calvin and Paradise Lost, 1946
1 item.
13 168 History 175 Notes, American Colonial History, 1946
1 item.
13 169 The Emerson Brothers and some dissertation correspondence, 1946-1949
30 items.
13 170 English 202 Notes and Tests, 1947
1 item.
History, 1947
Box
Folder
13 171 144 Notes
1
165:
Box
Folder
13 172 Among the Dry Bones
1
13 173 Tests and Book Reviews
3
13 174 The West in American History, Notes
1
Undated Material:
Box
Folder
13 175 Anthropology 60 American Indian Notes
1
13 176 History 144 Reading Notes
1
Literature:
Box
Folder
13 177 57 Notes
1
13 178 106 British Literature Notes
1
13 179 164 American Literature Notes
1
13 180 171 Shakespeare
1
13 181 Lord Byron and his Contemporary Critics
1
13 182 Philosophy Notes, Untitled Paper
2
13 183 The Steptoe Campaign of 1858
1
Alice Kiser Blackburn Papers
Literature, 1941
Box
Folder
13 184 162 The Culmination of Individualism in American Democracy
1
13 185 174 Hard Times: An Attack on Utilitarianism
1
177:
Box
Folder
13 186 Michael: The Conflict Between Woodsworth's Purpose and Art
1
13 187 Robert Burns: Prophet of an Unborn World
1
Box
Folder
13 188 Librarianship 196 The Land Lies South, 1942
1
Undated Material:
Box
Folder
13 189 History 182 Reading Reports
1
Literature:
Box
Folder
13 190 104 The Social Significance of Nana
1
13 191 162 Emerson's ""Individualism"" in his Times
1
13 192 164 The Mysterious Stranger
1
13 193 175 The Poet's Diary
1
13 194 Three Modern Poets and the Modern Ego
1
13 195 University of Washington Commencement Program, 1941
1 item.
Yale University:
Box
Folder
13 196 American Studies Notes, 1947
1 item.
History 180, 1947-1948
Box
Folder
13 197 Literature of American History
2
13 198 Political and Constitutional History
20
13 199 Literature 160 Twentieth Century, 1947
1 item.
American Studies, 1948-1949
Box
Folder
13 200 102 Repeal: Diminishing of the Theocracy
1
13 201 151 Term Paper Outlines
1
13 202 Art 61a Notes, 1948-1949
1 item.
13 203 English 160 Various Papers and Testes, 1948
5 items.
Government 152, 1948-1949
Box
Folder
13 204 Notes
1
13 205 Papers
8
History:
Box
Folder
13 206 31a, b Notes, 1948-1949
1
13 207 31b Notes, 1948
1
13 208 180 James Ford Rhodes: Man in the Web of Time, 1948
1
13 209 Sociology 114a, 1948
1 item.
American Studies, 1949
Box
Folder
14 210 151 Notes
1
14 211 Notes
1
14 212 Civil War Notes, 1949
1 item.
History 31, 1949
Box
Folder
14 213 American Thought and Civilization
1
14 214 Notes and Tests
1
Sociology, 1949
Box
Folder
14 215 115b Legal Realism: The Pragmatic Spirit in Law
1
14 216 Notes
1
Undated Materials:
Box
Folder
14 217 All the King's Men
1
14 218 The American Creed in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
1
14 219 Literary America 1790-1826
1
14 220 Parrington as an Economic Determinist
1
14 221 Various Papers
10
Dissertation:
Box
Folder
14 222 Copy, 1952
1
14 223-224 Research Materials, undated
101
14 225 European Trip Memorabilia, 1971
50 items.
14 226 Family History, undated
1 item.
General Correspondence:
Box
Folder
14 227 Columbia University (AKB), 1970-1971
50 items.
14 228 Correspondence with Publishers, 1938-1946
30 items.
14 229 Veterans Administration, 1946-1948
40 items.
14 230 Washington State University and Yale, 1951-1957
60 items.
Yale:
Box
Folder
14 231 Association of Yale Alumni, 1969-1975
50 items.
14 232 Correspondence, 1974-1975
15 items.
14 233 Graduate School, 1946-1948
60 items.
Job Hunting:
Box
Folder
14 234-236 English Department, Washington State University and Job Applications, 1961-1968
140 items.
14 237-238 General Applications, 1959-1964
75 items.
15 239-241 Yale and Job Hunting, 1949-1951; , 1959
150 items.
15 242 Memorabilia, 1938-1956
50 items.
15 243 Newspaper Clippings, 1949
7 items.
15 244 Photographs, 1934; , 1942; , undated
3 items.
15 245 Programs, 1965-1975
50 items.
John P. Sebree:
Box
Folder
15 246 College Yearbook and Church Directory, 1907; , 1970
3 items.
15 247-249 Correspondence, 1902-1975
120 items.
15 250-251 Medical Records, 1971-1975
130 items.
15 252 Memorials, 1939-1975
7 items.
15 253 Will and Declaration of Trust, 1970
2 items.
15 254 Short Stories, undated
7 items.
15 255 Speeches, 1961-1967
17 items.
15 256 Summer Theatre, 1966-1969
50 items.
Tekoa High School Reunion:
Box
Folder
15 257 Correspondence, 1953-1954
75 items.
15 258 News of Old Friends, 1954
1 item.
University of Washington:
Box
Folder
15 259 Clippings on Communist Investigations, 1949
25 items.
15 260 Survey of Scholarship at UW, 1946
1 item.
Washington State University:
Box
Folder
15 261 American Studies, 1964-1973
35 items.
15 262 Correspondence New York City Sabatical, 1970-1971
30 items.
16 263-266 English Department, 1966-1976
237 items.
16 267 Faculty Evaluations, 1972-1976
25 items.
16 268 Forms, Salary and Rank Information, 1958-1975
40 items.
16 269 French 525, 1974
10 items.
16 270 Graduate Examination Handbook, 1972
1 item.
16 271 Lectures - Civil Religion and Prophetic Faith, 1976
7 items.
16 272 Promotion and Tenure Statements, 1965-1969
25 items.
16 273 Senate Review, 1974-1975
6 items.
16 274 Student Strike and R.I.S., 1969-1970
45 items.
17 275 Notecards for Dissertation, undated
4500 items.

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Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Personal Names :
  • Blackburn, Charles Edwin, 1915-1976. --Archives  ( creator)
  • Corporate Names :
  • Washington State University. Dept. of English
  • Subject Terms :
  • Boeing Company --Employees--Records and correspondence
  • English literature--Study and teaching--Washington (State)--Pullman
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

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