The third collection in The Kenneth Burke Papers, Burke-3, measures 18 linear feet and offers a rich source of materials related to Kenneth Burke’s writings from 1915 to 1969. The collection consists primarily of manuscripts, notes, correspondence, reviews, and annotated news clippings. Highlights include Burke’s letters to Malcolm Cowley (1915 to 1929; 1931), early fiction, responses to student writing at Bennington, speeches, articles, and drafts of Permanence and Change, A Grammar of Motives, and A Rhetoric of Motives.
An inventory for Burke-3 was developed by Anthony Burke with his father Kenneth Burke, likely in the early 1970s. Anthony Burke created the alphabetical-numerical designations and with Kenneth Burke’s help integrated codes and identified materials. Inventory titles enclosed in quotations typically correspond to Kenneth Burke’s writing on original folders.
Burke-3 was placed on deposit in Special Collections Library in August 2002. In 2008, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries began purchase of the collection from the Kenneth Burke Literary Estate.
A recent microfilming project, coordinated by the University Libraries Department of Preservation and Digitization Department and carried out by Backstage Library Works in Bethlehem, PA, allows us to make Burke-3 materials available through Interlibrary Loan or purchase. An inventory of the 35 reels can be found by searching the Libraries online catalog: Kenneth Burke papers. Boxes 1-15 [microform], 1915-1967.
Photograph: Kenneth Burke at Bennington College, Vermont, where he taught from 1943 to 1961. One of five undated photographs in Burke-3 including Burke’s students.