Overview

Title: Charlton Laird Papers
Creator(s): Laird, Charlton, 1901-1984
Collection Number: AC 0076
Dates (inclusive): 1936-1980
Physical Extent: 5.5 cubic feet
Preferred Citation: Charlton Laird Papers, AC 0076. University Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.
Repository: University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives
Permanent Link: http://dewey.library.unr.edu/xtf/view?docId=ead/AC 0076-ead.xml

Biographical Note

Charlton G. Laird was a linguist and professor of English at the University of Nevada, 1945-1968. In addition to his own publications, he co-authored English text books with Robert M. Gorrell, and a language book with wife, Helen Gent Laird. His correspondence includes folklorist and linguist Sven Liljeblad and his wife, Astrid; Nevada author Walter Van Tilburg Clark; Max and Michaline Urban, promoters for Latin America music in the United States; and Helen S. Carlson, author of a book on Nevada place names. The collection also includes documentation of a book intended for the study of influences upon English and American literature and culture under the original editorship of Arthur E. Christy, Columbia University, in 1939. Upon Christy's death in 1946, Laird assumed editorship, and produced completed and edited manuscripts (missing from collection) on two occasions, but each time the texts were outdated before details of publication could be worked out and was never published. Laird also authored two published novels about early settlement on the Mississippi River, and the collection contains drafts of stories in the proposed series of novels that were to follow.

Charlton Grant Laird (1901 - 1984) was a linguist and professor of English at the University of Nevada, as well as a novelist and author of numerous scholarly and reference works. Laird received his B.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1925, and his M.A. in 1929. Further studies followed at Columbia University and as a Traveling Fellow in Europe in 1930 and 1931. He received his Ph.D. in 1940 from Stanford University. He became Professor of English, University of Nevada, in 1945, and Emeritus Professor in 1968. Prior to coming to Nevada, he taught at the University of Idaho, Purdue University, and at many institutes and workshops. He was author of numerous publications, including Modern English Handbook (with Robert M. Gorrell), Webster 's New World Thesaurus, You and Your Language, The Miracle of Language, Words, Word, Words; Pickett at Gettysburg, and Laird's Promptory. In addition to scholarly works, Laird had published two novels, West of the River and Thunder on the River. Laird was married to Floy Davis in 1925 until her death in 1944, and to Helene Gent in 1945, until her death in 1979. Among her several publications, Helene Laird also co-authored The Tree of Language with Charlton Laird.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains primarily manuscripts (published and unpublished), an unpublished autobiography, I'd Rather Write (ca. 1980), and personal and professional correspondence.

The manuscripts include scholarly and fictional, with both drafts and final copies, and speeches. Among the manuscripts are a proposed series of novels that were to follow Thunder of the River, with notes and comments by Helene Laird on the various plots in the initial stages of development.

The correspondence includes information on the Guide to Comparative Literature and Intercultural Relations, a book intended to provide a starting point for the study of influences upon English and American literature and culture. It was to be the result from the cooperative work of more than two hundred scholars and experts chosen for their competence in special fields. It began under the general direction of the Comparative Literature Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English, with Professor Arthur E. Christy, Columbia University, as editor, about 1939. Upon Christy's unexpected death in 1946, Laird assumed the editorship, but the project was plagued by delays and changes in sponsorship. Laird produced completed and edited the manuscript on two occasions, but each time the texts were outdated before details of publication could be worked out and was never published.

In addition, the collection contains correspondence with Sven Liljeblad, folklorist and linguist; Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Nevada author; Robert Gorrell, co-author and English professor at the University; Helen Carlson, author of Nevada Place Names, A Geographical Dictionary; and Max and Michaline Urban, friends and business partners with the Lairds in Max Urban & Co., Inc., promoting Latin American music in the U.S.

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Charlton Grant Laird; gift; 1981.

Separated Materials

This collection was the first of two collections deposited. After Charlton Laird's death in 1984, another group of records was transferred to the Archives. This collection, AC 284, encompasses 1927- 1982.

Photographs: 1 photograph of Charlton Laird, circa 1970; family members; and Floy Davis Laird(?). Transferred to photograph collection, #3211.

Related Materials

In 1982, John Garberson, journalism teacher at Nevada, began an autobiography/biography project with Laird. Uncompleted upon Garberson's death in 1984, the manuscript, Most of the Whole Truth, was transferred to the Archives, and is AC 151.

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Arrangement

  • Arranged by subject group.
  • Folders 8-26 were received as one folder titled "Speeches (Supposedly Popular)."
  • Folders 27-38 were received as one folder titled "Misc. Lit,"
  • Folders 39-63 were received as one folder titled "Misc. Old Copy."
  • Folders 68-77 were received as one untitled folder.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of the University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno. Researchers wishing to find related materials are encouraged to use the following index terms:

People:

Subjects:



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Administrative Information

Collection processed by Karen Gash, Approximately 1999. Finding aid prepared by Karen Gash, Approximately 1999. This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 25, 2016.

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Detailed Description of the Records

box
folder
Contents
1
1
I'd Rather Write. Unpublished autobiography, 402 pgs, Circa 1980
box
folder
Contents
2
1
Untitled manuscript, with annotations. Plot concerns the Black Hawk War, 1832
2
2-3
West of the River. Manuscript
2
4
Seen but Not Heard: Language Learning and Language Teaching. Manuscript
2
5
Grandaddy Listens. Manuscript
2
6-7
The Greatest Thing in the World. Manuscript, for the I Personally Award
2
8
The Teacher in Modern Society
2
9
Confucius, An Early Exponent of Americanism
2
10
The Fourth Invention. Address given in Dubois, Idaho, 1940
2
11-12
The Value of Higher Education
2
13
Effects of the Depression. Lecture given Circa 1942
2
14
Consequences of the Depression
2
15
The Auditorium Balcony. Read at the re-dedication of Frazier Hall Auditorium, University of Idaho, Southern Branch., February 24, 1942
2
16
Lo, the Poor White Man
2
17-18
The Oldest Idahoans. Address on the Antiquity of the American Indian, 1937
2
19
Feudalism in the Modem World
2
20
See Rome and Wonder
2
21-22
The Antiquity of Man in Idaho
2
23
Sermon
2
24
Untitled address concerning the Lemhi and Salmon Valleys, Idaho
2
25
What's Behind a Name
2
26
Notes for talks at The Sunday Night Forum, Idaho
2
27
Original folder with written notes and comments
2
28
The Harmonium and the Miller's Son
2
29
Monk-Monko Brown. Poem
2
30
Borda Gardens. Poem
2
31
Television. Poem
2
32
Maxin.theCatacorr1bs, 1947
2
33
Untitled poems
2
34
Pyramid Lake. Poem
2
35
Going to Store's Party. Play
2
36
Overheard in the Bookstack
2
37
Idyll in a Ghost Town, or Home Is the Valley, Circa 1947
2
38
I Become a Museum. For the I Personally Award
2
39
Mountain Burial. By Allison Laird
2
40
The Magic Mountain of Mexico, 1948
2
41
Wild Wedding Night
2
42
Untitled. Page 2 has name or title, Eric Corey
2
43
The Church; Hopelessly Crippled. Poems. [See Folder 61]
2
44
University. Poem
2
45
Stonecaster. Poem
2
46
The Lord Hath Given. Poem
2
47
Professional Research. Poem
2
48
After Forty. Poem
2
49
Thoughts of a Young Man. Poem
2
50
Sesquicentennial Declaration Day Ode
2
51
Cynic. Poem
2
52
Untitled poem
2
53
To His Majesty, the Mud
2
54
Grooves. Poem
2
55
Made in His Image. Poem
2
56
Brother Rotarians, A Candidate! Poem
2
57
St. Marys. Poem, 1924
2
58
My-'Ell. Poem
2
59
Untitled poem
2
60
Capitol. Poem
2
61
Poems by Floy Davis
2
62
Poems by others
2
63
First chapter of a volume to be entitled My Golden Youth, and a poem. Only identification is with a letter to Floy and Charlton Laird that accompanies it signed, Bobby
2
64
Chapultepec Suite. Words by Charlton Laird for music by Max Urban
2
65
Conceived in Opportunism, 1947
2
66-67
How I was Possessed of a Devil. For the I Personally Award
2
68
Poems. Anniversary, Requisite, Uncradled, and one untitled
2
69
Subway Sambo; Prince
2
70
Yo-Ho-Ho and a Jug of Hard Cider
2
71
Tree Lore
2
72
Bullet Proof Culture, 1931
2
73
The Stork Racket or Burping His Way. By Corey Laird
2
74
Picking a Victim
2
75
Turned Turtle
2
76
Old Dutch Clock
2
77
Indian Treasure
2
78
A Teacher Must Be
2
79
Reading and Writing
2
80
Freshman English During the Flood. In "College English," Vol. 18: 3, December 1956
2
81
Three Whimsies Concerning Literature in the Lower Division
2
82
And Gladly Lecture: Notes on Teaching the Native Tongue to the Natives. Copy 1, 1969. Includes his article, Structural Linguistics: Notes for a Devil's Advocate, in "College English," Vol. 24:2, 1962
2
83
Prospectus of a book tentatively titled Language and Problem Solving
2
84
Goldilocks and the Three or More Rhetorics
2
85
A Window to the Mountains, 1947
2
86
Babes in the West, A Musical Comedy
2
87
Poem, Pyramid Lake, and untitled/unidentified parts of manuscripts, notes
2
88
Correspondence from Paul T. Corey concerning Corey's manuscript, Three Miles Square: Land O'Love; Sketches from Three Miles Square; Mid-American Sketches., 1933
2
89
Program: American Folk Blues and Joy Songs. Lyrics
box
folder
Contents
3
90
A Nonhuman Being Can Learn Language, 1972
3
91
The New Literature of the Golden West, 1962
3
92
Story ideas [original folder title.]
3
93
English teaching [original folder title]. What is Reading; Apology is Not Enough; Three Whimsies Concerning Literature in the Junior College; We Remake the English Department; and The Teacher in Modern Society
3
94
Five New Gretham Sermons and the Middle English Mirrur, Circa 1941
3
95
World Literature and the Absorbing Zorba
3
96
Wise Genius: Goethe as Seen from Nevada, 1949
3
97
The Pulse of English
3
98
Trouble in Linguistic Paradise
3
99
Grammar: Award to Conjure With
3
100
Language: Second Phase of the
3
101
Pursuit of Excellence Through the Knowledge of Language
3
102
Language-Ideas That Have Helped
3
103
What is English?
3
104
Language, Lindley Murray, and the Little Red Schoolhouse
3
105
The Four Forms of Discourse-New Style, Circa 1965
3
106-107
And Gladly Lecture: Notes 011 Teaching the Native Tongue to the Natives. Copy 2, as of February 1969
3
108
Basic Concepts from Language History
3
109
New Thought on the Same Old Language
3
110
Chaucer: The Old Philology and the New Criticism
3
111
Writing. Chapter 1-6. Title page states: This material is reproduced for private use only. It is not published or offered for sale. All rights are reserved by Ginn and Company
3
112
Untitled re-working of A Course in Modem English. Charlton Laird, Robert M. Gorrell, University of Nevada, and Raymond J. Pflug, College of San Mateo.
3
113
New Thoughts on the Same Old Language. Presented to the Penn State English Club, 1959
3
114
The Pulse of English, 1961
3
115
Comparative Literary Study
3
116
Reading and Writing
3
117
Diversions of Purley, 1966
3
118
Etymology, Anglo-Saxon, and Noah Webster, 1945
3
119
Contemporary Literary Study, 1957
3
120-121
The Future of American English. Under the title The Pulse of English, a version was read to the 1964 Advanced Placement Conference at Transylvania College. With correspondence
3
122
Pickett at Gettysburg. With correspondence, 1964
3
123
Language: Second Phase of the Rocket. With correspondence, 1965
3
124
Thinking About Language. [Proposed book?]
box
folder
Contents
4
125
Language Revolutions: By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them, 1964
4
126
Language. Baltimore Bulletin of Education, 1966-1967
4
127
Language: The Tool of the Writer, and Apology for the Social Sciences. [Note that articles which went into And Gladly Teche, or were rejected for it], Circa 1970
4
128
Talking, Writing, Reading. Written for The Volume Library, 1977 edition
4
129
The Four Forms of Discourse: New Style
4
130
A Non-Human Can Learn Language, Circa 1972
4
131-133
The Miracle of Language, 1953
4
134-143
Guide to Comparative Literature. General information and correspondence, 1941-1959; 1966
box
folder
Contents
5
144-150
Some Day I'll Bite [West of the River]
5
151-154
A Happy Life. First and second draft. [Unpublished]
5
155-164
Contains correspondence and preliminary manuscripts on a proposed series of novels with many of the same characters in Laird's novel, Thunder on the River. Titles were: Beaver Hat, Seed, The Rope, Stone House, Opal, and Clatty Woman. Includes notes and comments from Helene Laird
box
folder
Contents
6
165-172
General correspondence. Personal and professional, 1936-1977
6
173
Correspondence. E. J. Arnold concerning Manuel des Peches, 1937- 1944
6
174-175
Correspondence. Max and Micheline (Mischa) Urban; songwriters contracts and minutes of a special meeting of the directors of Max Urban & Co., Inc. Max Urban, director and president, Charlton Laird, director and secretary, 1946-1954.
6
176
Correspondence. Helene Laird, 1948
6
177
Correspondence. Walter Van Tilburg Clark, 1949; 1954
6
178
Correspondence. Sven and Astrid Liljeblad, 1951-1961
6
179
Correspondence. Sven Liljeblad concerning Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary, 1959- 1965
6
180
Correspondence. Helen Carlson and Nevada Place Names, 1960-1963
6
181-184
Correspondence. Publishers, 1946- 1969.
6
185
Correspondence. Reviewers comments, Growth of English, 1973 -1979
6
186-187
Fan mail [original title]
6
188-192
Miscellaneous. Testimonial; promotional materials and newspaper clippings, 1968
6
193
Vita, and list of publications