By the terms of his bequest, a large part of Hamlin Garland's library came to the University of Southern California in 1939-40. The author died in March of 1940, and in November the University Library announced the acquisition by purchase of Garland's personal papers and correspondence. Although he had drawn quite close to USC during his final decade, receiving an honorary doctorate from the University in 1935, Garland long held out the idea of placing his papers with an institution in the East or Mid-West, geographically closer to the parts of the country he most closely identified with. He left final disposition of the archive to Mrs. Garland, however, who saw the merit of adding her husband's papers to the USC library's growing American Literature collection.
In the years immediately following, much Garland material which the author had loaned for exhibition was retrieved by USC. His first scholarly biographer, Eldon C. Hill at the the University of Miami (Ohio), also returned letters, books, and manuscripts which Hamlin Garland had placed at his disposal during the writing of Hill's dissertation. The Garland Collection moved out of cartons and file cabinets after 1950, when Professor Bruce E. McElderry (English) assumed the task of describing and analyzing the entire archive. Concurrently, Lloyd Arvidson of the library staff, with particular responsibility for the American Literature holdings, was preparing his Bibliography of the Published Writings of Hamlin Garland; and it became his next goal to draw up the detailed checklist of the Garland Collection, which the library published as a paper-bound octavo booklet in 1962.
Through the good offices of Professor Mark Rocha, an addendum to the Garland Collection was acquired in 1988, consisting for the most part of family memorabilia (photographs, scrapbooks, personal correspondence) belonging to Garland's two daughters.
John B. AhouseAmerican Literature Curator University of Southern California October 8, 1999