Barrett, Oliver R. Papers, 1933-1952

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Collection Overview

Title: Barrett, Oliver R. Papers, 1933-1952

Primary Creator: Barrett, Oliver R.

Extent: 2.0 cubic feet

Subjects: Barrett, Oliver R. (Oliver Roger), 1873-1950, Historians, Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865, Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967, United States--Civil War, 1861-1865

Forms of Material: Personal papers, Research materials

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of correspondence between Oliver R. Barrett and Carl Sandburg, as well as letters sent to each of them.

Oliver Barrett (1873-1950) was a Chicago lawyer and Lincoln collector. Carl Sandburg, an Illinois writer best known for his poetry, was also a Lincoln scholar who wrote several biographies on Abraham Lincoln. Barrett's collection of Lincoln materials caught the interest of Sandburg, and the two became friends and collaborators starting in the mid-1930s. When Sandburg wrote Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939), no one worked with him more extensively than Barrett did, and on the dedication of that work Sandburg began with Barrett. Sandburg published an entire book to acknowledge his indebtedness to Barrett. Lincoln Collector: The Story of Oliver R. Barrett's Great Private Collection was published in 1949.

This collection contains copies of correspondence sent between Barrett and Sandburg, as well as considerable correspondence from others to each of them, most of which relates to Sandburg's Lincoln books, some of which Barrett answered for Sandburg, and Lincoln collecting. Also included are Sandburg notes and writings, photographs, clippings, and information relating to Barrett's estate auction.

The Library acquired this collection in 2013. It was previously acquired by C.E. Van Norman at the auction of Barrett's estate in 1952.

Subject/Index Terms

Barrett, Oliver R. (Oliver Roger), 1873-1950
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967
United States--Civil War, 1861-1865

Administrative Information

Repository: Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

Related Materials: Barrett-Sandburg Papers at the Newberry Library For more information please see

Related Publications:

Irving Dillard. "Oliver Rogers Barrett, 1873-1950." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 43:3 (Autumn 1950), 169-186.

Philip Liebson. "The Barretts of Abbotsford Road." Caxtonian, 21:9 (Sept. 2013), 1, 3-10.

"Presentation of Barrett Manuscripts." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 45:1 (Spring 1952), 70-72.

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