The Kenneth Burke Letters to Lily Batterham Burke, measuring .46 cubic feet, dates from 1918 to 1933 (bulk 1919, 1922-1929) and offers a unique opportunity to see Kenneth Burke’s life and work within the Modernist culture of the 1920s. The collection consists primarily of letters written by Burke to his first wife Lily Batterham Burke (1891-1961). Topics of the letters vary from Burke’s accounts of daily matters such as finances, commuting, Andover, and family life, to reports about his reading, writing, translations, activities, and meetings with friends and editors.
The collection was purchased by The Pennsylvania State University Libraries in 2008 from Kenneth Burke’s daughters, France Burke and Jeanne Elspeth Burke Hart.
Photograph: The envelope of a letter written by Kenneth Burke to Lily Batterham, circa 20 January 1919, from his parents’ home in Weehawken, New Jersey. Kenneth Burke and Lily Batterham were married in a high Episcopal church in Manhattan, New York City, on 17 May 1919.