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G. K. Chesterton Manuscripts

An inventory of his collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936.
Title: G. K. Chesterton Manuscripts
Inclusive Dates: 1914, undated
Quantity: 2 items (SC)
Abstract: The papers of the English author and journalist contain a signed, holograph manuscript poem, "A Christmas Song for Three Guilds" and a signed, holograph manuscript essay, "The Great Coincidence."
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on May 28, 1874 to Edward and Mary Louise (Grosjean) Chesterton. He married Francis Blogg on June 28, 1901.

Although Chesterton is known for his mystery/crime/detective fiction, he first gained popularity as a journalist. In addition to his many novels, Chesterton wrote pieces of poetry, literary criticism and history, and social commentary. Interestingly, he is remembered most for his creation, Father Brown, who first appeared in The Innocence of Father Brown in 1911, but Chesterton did not convert to Roman Catholicism until 1922.

Chesterton died on June 14, 1936 in England from complications caused by an edematous condition.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The G. K. Chesterton Manuscripts includes a signed, holograph manuscript poem, and an essay by the English journalist and author.

In "The Great Coincidence" Chesterton writes on the accuracy of his predictions with regard to the Boer War: "Facts fulfill the fancies.... Things may not be getting brighter; but they are getting clearer." Sardonically observing his profession, Chesterton remarks:

The word 'Informer'...does not mean anything low or vulgar. It does not mean spy or sneak. It means one who gives information. It means what 'journalist' ought to mean. The only difference is that the Common Informer may be paid if he tells the truth. The common journalist will be ruined if he does.
Now the quite plain point before the party journalist is this. If he really means that a corrupt bargain between a Government and a contractor ought to be judged by public opinion, he must (nowadays) mean Parliament; that is the caucus that controls Parliament. And he must decide between one of two views. Either he means that there can be no such thing as a corrupt Government. Or he means that it is one of the characteristic qualities of a corrupt Government to denounce its own corruption. I laugh; and I leave him his choice."

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936.


Authors, English -- 20th century.
Authors, English -- Political and social views.
Journalists -- Great Britain.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

G. K. Chesterton Manuscripts
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George and Lena Arents.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: SEH
Date: 15 Nov 1993
Revision history: 10 Sep 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 114 "A Christmas Song for Three Guilds" undated - signed, holograph manuscript poem (2 pages)
SC 114 "The Great Coincidence" Feb 1914 - signed holograph manuscript essay (4 pages)

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