Guide to the Charles Edwin Blackburn Papers 1930-1976
Cage 479

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Blackburn, Charles Edwin
Title
Charles Edwin Blackburn Papers
ID
Cage 479
Date [inclusive]
1930-1976
Extent
17.0 containers.
General Physical Description note
14 linear feet of shelf space. 13,900 items.
Language
English
Abstract
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.

Preferred Citation note

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

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical/Historical 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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Contents note

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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement note

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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1983

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Washington State University. Dept. of English

Personal Name(s)

  • Blackburn, Charles Edwin, 1915-1976. --Archives

Subject(s)

  • Boeing Company --Employees--Records and correspondence
  • Colleges and Universities
  • English literature--Study and teaching--Washington (State)--Pullman
  • Home and Family
  • Washington (State)
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence 1940-1976 

Blackburn family; 

Box Folder

Blackburn family 1947-1975   643.0 items.

1 1-11

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1947-1948   40.0 items.

1 12

Julia Blackburn 1960-1966   75.0 items.

1 13

Julia, Taft, and Mary Beth Blackburn 1968-1976   65.0 items.

1 14

Mary Beth Blackburn 1971-1976   200.0 items.

1 15
Box Folder

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1941-1943   455.0 items.

2 16-21

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1943-1944   375.0 items.

3 22-27

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1944-1945   305.0 items.

4 28-32

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1944-1945   210.0 items.

5 33-37

Charles and Alice Blackburn 1945   255.0 items.

6 38-42

Kiser Family 1947-1976   420.0 items.

7 43-49

Family 1940-1957   479.0 items.

7 50-59

Family 1950-1965   470.0 items.

8 60-68

Family and Friends 1936-1946   300.0 items.

8 69-72

Family and Friends 1944-1961   940.0 items.

9 73-85

Family and Friends 1958-1961   50.0 items.

10 86

Friends 1946-1975   577.0 items.

10 87-98

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 2: Subject File 1930-1976 

Boeing: 

Box Folder

Boeing News 1961-1966   68.0 items.

11 99-101

Brochure and Newsletter Preparations 1959   30.0 items.

11 102

Diary 1959   1.0 item.

11 103

Good Neighbor Fund: 

Box Folder

Agency Reports 1953-1964   20 items.

11 104

Annual Reports 1961-1966   9 items.

11 105

Correspondence 1963-1964   140

11 106

Elections and Membership 1962-1964   17 items.

11 107

Events 1963-1964   20 items.

11 108

General 1963-1965   180

11 109-113

Minutes 1962-1963   30 items.

11 114

Photos 1963-1964   16 items.

11 115
Box Folder

Interdepartmental Correspondence 1959-1964   176.0 items.

11 116-120

Hage Fund 1963-1964   40.0 items.

11 121

Personal Materials 1959-1964   30.0 items.

11 122

Sales Orientation Seminar 1959-1960   7.0 items.

11 123

Sales Staff Meeting Minutes 1959-1962   38.0 items.

11 124

Business, Medical, and Financial Records: 

Box Folder

Business Letters and Seattle House 1962-1968   125.0 items.

12 125-126

Cars: 

Box Folder

Chrysler 1967-1970   25 items.

12 127

Rambler 1961-1975   100

12 128
Box Folder

Correspondence -- Financial 1970-1976   60.0 items.

12 129

Diabetic Records 1963   1.0 item.

12 130

Financial and Medical Records 1951-1972   125.0 items.

12 131-132

Financial Records 1966-1975   50.0 items.

12 133

Income Tax Reports 1942-1969   67.0 items.

12 134-136

Record Books 1942-1951 1967-1973   10.0 items.

12 137
Box Folder

Calenders 1961-1974   11.0 items.

12 138

Casper Clarion 1944-1945   35.0 items.

12 139-141

Community Congregational Church 1961-1975   150.0 items.

12 142-143

Democratic Party 1962-1969   20.0 items.

13 144

Education: 

Box Folder

Diplomas 1930-1941   4.0 items.

13 145

High School 1932-1935   35.0 items.

13 146
Box Folder

Tekoa Blade 1934   1 item.

13 147

University of Washington: 

Box Folder

The Austin Tree 1936   1 item.

13 148

Literature 58: 

Box Folder

Fictional Technique in Cross Section 1937   1

13 149

This Road to Follow 1937   1

13 150
Box Folder

Personal Values in Literature 1937   1 item.

13 151

Philosophy I: 

Box Folder

Berkely in Review 1937   1

13 152

Descartes in Review 1937   1

13 153

Russell in Review 1937   1

13 154
Box Folder

Various Tests 1937 1940   4 items.

13 155

English Literature; The Bible as Literature 1938-1939   1 item.

13 156

The Hurly Burly 1938   1 item.

13 157

Newspaper Articles, Tempo Articles 1938 1941   3 items.

13 158

Philosophy 101 Problem Papers 1938   2 items.

13 159

Philosophy 102 Notes 1939   1 item.

13 160

Literature 153, 161, 162, Zoology 16-17, History 140 Notes and Tests 1939-1940 1946   8 items.

13 161

Literature 1940 

Box Folder

164 Two Travelers in America   1

13 162

171 Notes on Some Long Winded Characters in Shakespeare   1

13 163
Box Folder

Philosophy 103 Notes 1940   1 item.

13 164

The Fantasy Worlds of Three British Authors 1941   1 item.

13 165

American Literature Notes 1946   1 item.

13 166

English 221 John Calvin and Paradise Lost 1946   1 item.

13 167

History 175 Notes, American Colonial History 1946   1 item.

13 168

The Emerson Brothers and some dissertation correspondence 1946-1949   30 items.

13 169

English 202 Notes and Tests 1947   1 item.

13 170

History 1947 

Box Folder

144 Notes   1

13 171

165: 

Box Folder

Among the Dry Bones   1

13 172

Tests and Book Reviews   3

13 173

The West in American History, Notes   1

13 174

Undated Material: 

Box Folder

Anthropology 60 American Indian Notes   1

13 175

History 144 Reading Notes   1

13 176

Literature: 

Box Folder

57 Notes   1

13 177

106 British Literature Notes   1

13 178

164 American Literature Notes   1

13 179

171 Shakespeare   1

13 180
Box Folder

Lord Byron and his Contemporary Critics   1

13 181

Philosophy Notes, Untitled Paper   2

13 182

The Steptoe Campaign of 1858   1

13 183

Alice Kiser Blackburn Papers 

Literature 1941 

Box Folder

162 The Culmination of Individualism in American Democracy   1

13 184

174 Hard Times: An Attack on Utilitarianism   1

13 185

177: 

Box Folder

Michael: The Conflict Between Woodsworth's Purpose and Art   1

13 186

Robert Burns: Prophet of an Unborn World   1

13 187
Box Folder

Librarianship 196 The Land Lies South 1942   1

13 188

Undated Material: 

Box Folder

History 182 Reading Reports   1

13 189

Literature: 

Box Folder

104 The Social Significance of Nana   1

13 190

162 Emerson's ""Individualism"" in his Times   1

13 191

164 The Mysterious Stranger   1

13 192

175 The Poet's Diary   1

13 193
Box Folder

Three Modern Poets and the Modern Ego   1

13 194
Box Folder

University of Washington Commencement Program 1941   1 item.

13 195

Yale University: 

Box Folder

American Studies Notes 1947   1 item.

13 196

History 180 1947-1948 

Box Folder

Literature of American History   2

13 197

Political and Constitutional History   20

13 198
Box Folder

Literature 160 Twentieth Century 1947   1 item.

13 199

American Studies 1948-1949 

Box Folder

102 Repeal: Diminishing of the Theocracy   1

13 200

151 Term Paper Outlines   1

13 201
Box Folder

Art 61a Notes 1948-1949   1 item.

13 202

English 160 Various Papers and Testes 1948   5 items.

13 203

Government 152 1948-1949 

Box Folder

Notes   1

13 204

Papers   8

13 205

History: 

Box Folder

31a, b Notes 1948-1949   1

13 206

31b Notes 1948   1

13 207

180 James Ford Rhodes: Man in the Web of Time 1948   1

13 208
Box Folder

Sociology 114a 1948   1 item.

13 209

American Studies 1949 

Box Folder

151 Notes   1

14 210

Notes   1

14 211
Box Folder

Civil War Notes 1949   1 item.

14 212

History 31 1949 

Box Folder

American Thought and Civilization   1

14 213

Notes and Tests   1

14 214

Sociology 1949 

Box Folder

115b Legal Realism: The Pragmatic Spirit in Law   1

14 215

Notes   1

14 216

Undated Materials: 

Box Folder

All the King's Men   1

14 217

The American Creed in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut   1

14 218

Literary America 1790-1826   1

14 219

Parrington as an Economic Determinist   1

14 220

Various Papers   10

14 221

Dissertation: 

Box Folder

Copy 1952   1

14 222

Research Materials undated   101

14 223-224
Box Folder

European Trip Memorabilia 1971   50.0 items.

14 225

Family History undated   1.0 item.

14 226

General Correspondence: 

Box Folder

Columbia University (AKB) 1970-1971   50.0 items.

14 227

Correspondence with Publishers 1938-1946   30.0 items.

14 228

Veterans Administration 1946-1948   40.0 items.

14 229

Washington State University and Yale 1951-1957   60.0 items.

14 230

Yale: 

Box Folder

Association of Yale Alumni 1969-1975   50 items.

14 231

Correspondence 1974-1975   15 items.

14 232

Graduate School 1946-1948   60 items.

14 233

Job Hunting: 

Box Folder

English Department, Washington State University and Job Applications 1961-1968   140.0 items.

14 234-236

General Applications 1959-1964   75.0 items.

14 237-238

Yale and Job Hunting 1949-1951 1959   150.0 items.

15 239-241
Box Folder

Memorabilia 1938-1956   50.0 items.

15 242

Newspaper Clippings 1949   7.0 items.

15 243

Photographs 1934 1942 undated   3.0 items.

15 244

Programs 1965-1975   50.0 items.

15 245

John P. Sebree: 

Box Folder

College Yearbook and Church Directory 1907 1970   3.0 items.

15 246

Correspondence 1902-1975   120.0 items.

15 247-249

Medical Records 1971-1975   130.0 items.

15 250-251

Memorials 1939-1975   7.0 items.

15 252

Will and Declaration of Trust 1970   2.0 items.

15 253
Box Folder

Short Stories undated   7.0 items.

15 254

Speeches 1961-1967   17.0 items.

15 255

Summer Theatre 1966-1969   50.0 items.

15 256

Tekoa High School Reunion: 

Box Folder

Correspondence 1953-1954   75.0 items.

15 257

News of Old Friends 1954   1.0 item.

15 258

University of Washington: 

Box Folder

Clippings on Communist Investigations 1949   25.0 items.

15 259

Survey of Scholarship at UW 1946   1.0 item.

15 260

Washington State University: 

Box Folder

American Studies 1964-1973   35.0 items.

15 261

Correspondence New York City Sabatical 1970-1971   30.0 items.

15 262

English Department 1966-1976   237.0 items.

16 263-266

Faculty Evaluations 1972-1976   25.0 items.

16 267

Forms, Salary and Rank Information 1958-1975   40.0 items.

16 268

French 525 1974   10.0 items.

16 269

Graduate Examination Handbook 1972   1.0 item.

16 270

Lectures - Civil Religion and Prophetic Faith 1976   7.0 items.

16 271

Promotion and Tenure Statements 1965-1969   25.0 items.

16 272

Senate Review 1974-1975   6.0 items.

16 273

Student Strike and R.I.S. 1969-1970   45.0 items.

16 274
Box Folder

Notecards for Dissertation undated   4500.0 items.

17 275

Return to Table of Contents »