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Collections and Critiques

Original Manuscript of Kipling's "Recessional" on View in Memorial Exhibit


A copy of an unpublished poem by Rudyard Kipling which was rejected by an English magazine at the height of his career, and the author's original manuscript of the famous poem "Recessional," rescued from his wastebasket, are included in a memorial exhibition of Kipling's works now on display in the Widener Memorial Room and the Treasure Room of the Harvard University Library.

The unpublished poem, a relatively unknown work, is entitled "Sons of the Suburbs," and was written by Kipling in 1916. The verses, describing the reactions of the average English suburbanite under front line fire, were rejected during war time by the English magazine "Blighty.'

"After" Original Title of "Recessional

Kipling's handwritten copy of "Recessional" composed in 1897, reveals that the author had originally intended entitling the poem "After." This copy was retrieved from Kipling's wastebasket by the late Sara Norton, of Cambridge, daughter of Charles Eliot Norton '46, and friend of the Kiplings. Miss Norton was visiting the Kiplings in 1897 at the time Kipling was writing "Recessional" and when he threw a draft of the poem into the wastebasket, she recovered the page, and the author allowed her to keep it.

Proof Sheets of "Kim"

The author's proof sheets of "Kim" with corrections and insertions in Kipling's own handwriting are also on exhibit.

Other manuscripts in the author's own handwriting include the complete original copy of the short story "Without Benefit of Clergy," and the poem "Recall." A bound volume of seven poems in Kipling's handwriting, among them "McAndrew's Hymn," "Song of the English," "Judgment of the Sea," "The Flowers," and "Hymn before Action," given to the Library by Dr. Eleanor B. Kilham, of Beverly, Mass., is also shown.

One of the most valuable volumes on display is a copy of Kipling's first printed book, "School Boy Lyrics," privately printed in Lahore, India, in 1881, when Kipling was still in school.

Cover Designs by His Father

Included also are rare first editions of "Departmental Ditties," and "Plain Tales from the Hills." Many of the first editions collected by Mrs. Livingston are paper bound and their covers are known to have been designed by Kipling's father. These paper bound items include "Soldiers Three," "The Phantom Rickshaw," "Wee Willie Winkle," "Under the Deodars," and "In Black and White."

Original drawings made by W. A. S. Pape to illustrate the "Jungle Book" stories form a part of the display.

Regret To Yale Kipling Club

A little known poem of Kipling's, written to the Yale Kipling Club in 1896 in regret that he could not accept an invitation to a literary dinner in his honor, is shown. The poem is written in Irish dialect and parodies literary gatherings.

Most of the volumes in the exhibit are from the collection of Mrs. Flora V. Livingston, Curator of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Room and a personal friend of Mr. Kipling.

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