Guide to the Grace Davidson Baldwin Papers 1923-1974
Cage 588

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Baldwin, Grace Davidson
Grace Davidson Baldwin Papers
Cage 588
Date [inclusive]
2.0 containers
General Physical Description note
1 linear feet of shelf space.
Drafts of poems, essays and plays, along with correspondence and photographs.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 588, Grace Davidson Baldwin Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Grace Davidson Baldwin was born in Bernyn, Illinois on August 24, 1897 to Charles C. and Jessie D. Baldwin. Her brother Frank G. Baldwin followed two years later. Some time between 1897 to 1923, Grace D. Baldwin moved to the Flathead area near Whitefish and Kalispell, Montana. It is unclear whether she was alone in this move or had come with her family. There are several photographs in this collection which show Miss Baldwin and friends hiking in the National Forests of this region from about 1923. Some of the photos included written references to her father being part of the group. She was clearly living and writing poetry about the area as early as 1924 and she was teaching at the Flathead County school by 1926. Miss Baldwin lived and worked for many years in Montana.

During the period c1923-1960 she wrote prodigiously and became known for her poems and epic verses. She fashioned her poems after those of Robert Frost whom she greatly admired. Baldwin primarily wrote tributes to and laments for the flora, fauna and people of the Flathead region. Photos of Baldwin and friends in hiking gear during the 1920s indicate that the Flathead area, including the South Fork River drainage system, were Baldwin's favorite places. Her poetry during that period references these Montana landscapes almost exclusively. Not surprisingly, some U.S. Forest Service pioneers like rangers Frank Liebig and Henry Thol became heroes preserved for all time in the poems contained in Baldwin's book, South Fork, The Hope, published in the 1960s. She also published her poems in popular history journals such as Frontiers. It is possible that she published under pseudonyms as well. Sometime in the early 1960s Miss Baldwin moved to Lewiston, Idaho where she worked as the chief librarian at the Lewis and Clark Normal School (later the Lewis and Clark State College) for approximately 10 years. Her poetry reflects the change. It becomes centered in the college, in her relationship with the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and in her reminiscences of Montana. Grace Davidson Baldwin married for the first time at age 77. In September 1974 she moved to New Zealand and married Frank Hutchinson. She died there sometime in 1980.

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Arrangement note

The Grace Davidson Baldwin collection contains four series, Ephemera, Photographs, Correspondence, and Plays, Essays and Poems. The Ephemera consists of odd newspaper clippings, professionally printed poems, a vocabulary building notebook, and one copy of the Flathead Bulletin, all arranged in rough chronological and alphabetical order. There are 90 photographs in the series, arranged into two chronological groups. The first (c1900-1963) are mainly photos of Baldwin camping in Montana and of Montana landscapes, though some old family photos from Illinois are included. The second group contains photographs (1958- 1974) of Baldwin taken in the 1950s and there are several photographs of unidentified people (possibly at a church gathering) as well as one of an old student, "Ferd". There are also a few snapshots of Baldwin's 1974 wedding to Hutchinson in New Zealand. The Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name and chronologically thereunder. These letters, though few in number, offer tantalizing glimpses into Baldwin's life. For instance, the 1932 letters kept in Baldwin's possession between one L. Sterling Gray and a poetry book publisher strongly suggest that Baldwin may have written and published under this pseudonym. Her letter to "Frank" dated February 4, 1973 recounts a 1938 accident in which she suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Her 1971 letter to an Idaho legislator suggests she was in the habit of writing to government officials and also politically active. The fourth series is arranged into the categories "plays, essays and poetry," thereunder it is arranged chronologically by date of manuscript. Of the three plays in the collection, two are definitely written by Baldwin for her Flathead school students to perform as class projects. The third play, " The Gates in the Mountains," is set in 1949. The author and date of this one act play are not specifically indicated. Baldwin kept many of her early college essays dating from c1920-1930. These manuscripts, complete with grade and teacher comments, are arranged chronologically. Baldwin began organizing her poems into theme categories sometime in the 1950s. During the 1960s she published these arrangements into a book called  South Fork, The Hope (re: the South Fork River, Montana). The poems in this series are kept in their original order. Where no order or arrangement was obvious, they have been arranged chronologically by date of document.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 2012
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Custodial History note

Elaine Thomas of Lewiston, Idaho had kept these papers for some years following the death of Grace Davidson Baldwin in New Zealand around 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of poet, teacher and librarian Grace Davidson Baldwin, were given to the Washington State University Libraries in 1991 by Mrs. Thomas.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Baldwin, Grace Davidson. --Archives


  • Idaho
  • Literature
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Ephemera 


Paper bag with donor's notes on provenance 

1 / 1

News-clippings, poems, book 

1 / 2

Flathead Bulletin, 1953 

1 / 3

"Word Study" vocabulary notebook 

1 / 4

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Series 2: Photographs 



1 / 5


1 / 6

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Series 3: Correspondence 


L. Sterling Gray, 1932 

1 / 7

Keith Tiwiman (sp?), poems 

1 / 8

Letters, 1938-1973 

1 / 9

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Series 4: Plays, Essays, and Poems 


Play: Her Name Montana  

1 / 10

Play: Great Gray Goose, 1930 

1 / 11

Essays and Stories, 1920-1930 

1 / 12

Arranged Poems: " South Fork, The Hope part I" 

1 / 13

Arranged Poems: "Part II/ rearrangement 7-1-73" 

2 / 14

Arranged Poems: "Part VII" 

2 / 15




2 / 16


2/ 17


2 / 18


2 / 19


2 / 20


2 / 21


2 / 22

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