Selected Special Collections
Rudyard Kipling Collection
Early editions of Rudyard Kipling's writings; related papers and research materials
[Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936, full length portrait (?), seated, facing right]. Prints and Photographs Division. The Library of Congress.
Four complementary collections in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division richly document the life and works of the British author, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). The William Montelle Carpenter Collection, presented to the Library by his widow, Mrs. Lucile Russell Carpenter in 1941, contains autograph manuscripts of Kipling's stories and poems, original letters, drawings, corrected galley proofs, photographs, auction catalogs, books about Kipling, pamphlets, periodicals, and an unusually large collection of early printed editions. Among the manuscripts is the earliest known draft of "Mowgli's Brothers," the first story of The Jungle Book, which Kipling inscribed to Susan Bishop. The collection also includes such items of associational interest as a copy of Euclid's Elements which Kipling annotated while studying at the United Services College at Westward Ho, North Devon, and a set of dessert plates on which Kipling painted fruit and wrote verse. The Carpenters based their biographical sketch, Rudyard Kipling, a Friendly Profile, on material in their 1,675 item collection. Some material is described in William Montelle Carpenter's A Few Significant and Important Kipling Items!
The Library also offers some black and white images from this collection as captured by the Prints and Photographs Division.
The Kipling collection of Rear Adm. Lloyd H. Chandler, given to the Library in 1937 and 1938, is known through his publication A Summary of the Work of Rudyard Kipling, Including Items Ascribed to Him, which was published in 1942. Chandler secured texts of 846 prose and 1,100 verse pieces written or attributed to Kipling and annotated them in preparation of a special edition of Kipling's works. He located items, particularly from Kipling's years as a journalist in India, that had not been collected previously. There is a total of 476 volumes in the two collections as well as a typescript collection index which includes published Kipling editions, periodicals containing Kipling works and pamphlets and a file of correspondence.
The H. Dunscombe Colt Kipling Collection of some 2,500 items was given by Mrs. H. Dunscombe Colt to the Library in 1984 and 1987. It contains printed editions, variants, periodicals, books about Kipling, books Kipling owned, a few photographs and drawings, manuscripts, letters, clippings and realia. Photocopies of 450 letters in this collection were given to the Kipling archive at the University of Sussex, UK by Mrs. Colt in 1994. The collection also includes unique items such as the copy of Kim that stopped a bullet and saved the life of a French soldier in World War I and Kipling’s tobacco bowl.
There are another 500 items to be found in the Kipling Collection that are various Kipling editions, transfers from the Library existing general collection, copyright deposits and later acquisitions of Kipling materials for the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. This collection includes galley proofs submitted for copyright registration, early editions and later published materials. There are some Kipling materials that are presently being acquired and added to the Collection either by purchase, donation or transfer.
A Checklist of Letters Written by Rudyard Kipling in Library of Congress Collections is available to assist researchers in locating letters by Kipling in the four above mentioned collections, as well as Manuscript Division collections. Also see: Colt Kipling Miscellany.
Digitized Items from the Kipling Collection