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Gordon Kinzer Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Kinzer, Gordon.
Title: Gordon Kinzer Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1924, undated
Quantity: 2 items (SC)
Abstract: Incoming correspondence about poet Rupert Brooke, including letters from Walter de la Mare and Frederick O'Brien.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Gordon Kinzer (1900-1966) was an American artist. His collection of letters focuses on Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), an English poet known for his wartime sonnets written during the First World War.

Born in Hamilton, Ohio on December 23, 1900, Gordon Kinzer studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). He moved to California in 1922, settling in Los Angeles by 1932. He died in Orange, California on April 14, 1966.

Rupert Brooke was born on August 3, 1887 in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. He attended King's College at Cambridge University and graduated with his B.A. in 1909. Upon graduating, Brooke took a job as schoolmaster at the Rugby School. He served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from 1914 to 1915. Brooke died on April 23, 1915 on a ship in the Aegean Sea of blood poisoning from a small mosquito bite on his lip. Brooke is best remembered for his sonnets that were inspired by his wartime experiences, such as The Soldier.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gordon Kinzer Letters consist of two incoming items concerning poet Rupert Brooke. The letter from Walter de la Mare deals exclusively with Brooke's stature as a poet:

A close study of Rupert Brooke's work proves, I think - quite apart from its wit and poetry and feeling, and so on - how intent a craftsman he was; with what self-sacrifice he laboured to give exact expression to what he intended to say...He had a rare mind; a rare desire to track down truth; and a rare character. What one must remember is that he was still a young man when he died, and that his work in a large measure was only a promise of his gifts.

The letter from Frederick O'Brien portrays the character of the young poet:

He was handsome, proud, individualistic, with much of the public school of England about him; the atmosphere of ordered carelessness, of accustomed phrases, and of classics; of close friendships and an admiring group...I liked him as did everyone almost, and especially the Tahitian girls who admired his blondeness. He liked to swim, to go on the reef at low tide, to make love, and to work at his verses.

These two letters thus represent both the artistic and personal sides of Rupert Brooke's personality.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, Correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by sender.

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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


Brooke, Rupert, 1887-1915.
De La Mare, Walter, 1873-1956.
Kinzer, Gordon.
O'Brien, Frederick.


Poets, American -- Correspondence.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Gordon Kinzer Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Sep 1987
Revision history: 21 Nov 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 46 De la Mare, Walter 17 Jul 1924 (1 typescript letter)
SC 46 O'Brien, Frederick undated (1 typescript letter)

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