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Robert Knoll, English Papers

Title: Robert Knoll, English Papers

Creator: Knoll, Robert E., 1922-

Dates: 1955-1999

Quantity: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Collection Number: RG 12-10-24

Language: English

Restrictions: None

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Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Robert Knoll, English Papers (RG 12-10-24). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Born in Liberty, Nebraska, on 3 February 1922, Robert E. Knoll graduated from Omaha North High School in 1940. He attended the University of Nebraska, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1943. Knoll served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1950 with a doctorate in Shakespearean studies. Knoll joined the English department faculty at the University of Nebraska in 1950. He taught at UNL for 40 years and held several distinguished titles including the George Holmes Professor of English and the Paula and D.B. Varner Professor of English. Robert Knoll married Virginia Koehler in 1953 and they had three children. He died on 8 January 2009.

Knoll received numerous honors and awards throughout his career, including being honored as a Fulbright lecturer, fellow of the National Humanities Institute, and Rotary's "Nebraskan of the Year." In 1988 the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Knoll "Nebraska Professor of the Year." After retiring in 1990, he wrote Prairie University: A History of the University of Nebraska. He has authored more than 30 essays, books, and reviews and has contributed to several television features. Knoll served as president of the Central Renaissance Conference and was one of the founding trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America. Knoll was also chairman of the Wright Morris Festival and served on the board of governors for the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation.

Scope and Content:

The Knoll Papers mainly relate to his career as an author. They consist of correspondence and subject files compiled by Knoll, manuscripts and publications authored by Knoll, biographical materials, and a few photographs and miscellaneous items. The correspondence and subject files contain letters between Knoll and various noted authors including Ezra Pound, Wright Morris, and William Carlos Williams. Most of the materials in the correspondence and subject files relate to Knoll's research and publications on Robert McAlmon and Weldon Kees and to the publication of his own books.


Bird, William Augustus, 1888-1963

Boyle, Kay, 1902-

Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965

Kees, Weldon, b. 1914

Knoll, Robert E., 1922-

McAlmon, Robert, 1896-1956

Morris, Wright, 1910-1998

Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972

Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963

Authors, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, Boxes 1-3

This series consists of files compiled by Knoll on various 20th Century authors, including Kay Boyle, Weldon Kees, Robert McAlmon, and Wright Morris. The files have been placed in alphabetical order based on the author's last name. Some files contain correspondence between Knoll and the individual authors as well as newspaper clippings and published articles about the authors. The majority of the materials relate to the production of Knoll's books on Robert McAlmon and Weldon Kees. There are photographs of McAlmon and his contemporaries used to illustrate Knoll's book McAlmon and the Lost Generation.

The correspondence relating to Kees includes transcripts of Kees' letters from the 1940s (Box 1, Folder 8). The Weldon Kees permissions consist of copyright permission requests from Knoll to various publishers and authors for use of their materials in his book, Weldon Kees and the Midcentury Generation. Of particular interest is the correspondence between Knoll and Ezra Pound while Pound was in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington D.C.

Additional materials relate to Knoll's participation on projects related to Weldon Kees, such as the festival celebrating the life of Kees in Iowa City.

Series 2: Manuscripts and Publications, Box 3

This series contains manuscripts of Knoll's writings, including an article on the founders of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska and a memoir Knoll wrote in 1997. The publications in this series include articles and reprints of works authored or edited by Knoll. Among the publications in this series are Robert McAlmon: Expatriate Publisher and Writer, Storm Over the Waste Land, and Experiment at Nebraska: The First Two Years of a Cluster College. The publications in this series are arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Biographical Materials, Box 4

The biographical materials in Series 4 include a transcript of an oral history interview conducted with Knoll by George Round as well as curriculum vitae and faculty record sheets detailing Knoll's career. Various press releases and newspaper clippings relating to Knoll and his career are also included in this series. The majority of these items date from 1970 to 1990. Additional items in this series are items that Knoll collected or are associated with his work, such as a program for the 1973 Willa Cather Centennial Festival, a memorial service program for Bernice Slote, and the 1984 Fall-Winter edition of "The Shakespeare Newsletter." Knoll served as a member of the Willa Cather Centennial Festival committee and was guest editor of the April 1964 "Shakespeare Anniversary Issue" of Nebraska English Counselor. This series contains several group photos of the UNL English department faculty and staff, slides of Robert Knoll, and a few photographs of Wright Morris.

Container List: Series 1: Correspondence and Subject FilesBox 1. Folder 1. Correspondence, William Bird, 1956-1962 1994 Box 1. Folder 2. Correspondence, Kay Boyle, 1959-1984 Box 1. Folder 3. Correspondence, Nancy Cunard, 1963 1965 Box 1. Folder 4. Letters and publication permissions, "World of Weldon Kees," 1981-1985 Box 1. Folder 5. Letters and publication permissions, "World of Weldon Kees," 1985-1991 Box 1. Folder 6. Correspondence, program information, Weldon Kees in Iowa, 1985-1999 Box 1. Folder 7. Correspondence, program information, Weldon Kees in Iowa, 1962, 1992-1994 Box 1. Folder 8. Correspondence, program information, Weldon Kees in Iowa, 1992-1995 Box 1. Folder 9. Reviews and comments, "World of Weldon Kees," 1987-1995 Box 2. Folder 1. Correspondence, photos, "Robert McAlmon and the Lost Generation," 1956-1962, 1974, undated Box 2. Folder 2. Correspondence, "Robert McAlmon and the Lost Generation," 1956-1963 Box 2. Folder 3. Correspondence, "Robert McAlmon and the Lost Generation," 1964-1997, undated Box 2. Folder 4. Robert McAlmon, reviews, 1959-1990, undated Box 2. Folder 5. Correspondence, Victoria McAlmon, 1956-1967, undated Box 2. Folder 6. Wright and Josephine Morris, 1972-1977, 1998 Box 2. Folder 7. Wright Morris (see also photographs, box 4) Box 2. Folder 8. Wright Morris, profile, Poets and Writers Magazine, 1997 Box 3. Folder 1. Thesis, Peter Jovanovich, Three Writers of the Great Plains (photocopy), 1972 Box 3. Folder 2. Ezra Pound, 1956-1957, 1973, 1996 Box 3. Folder 3. William Carlos Williams, 1959 Box 3. Folder 4. Correspondence, 1963, 1988-1989 Series 2: ManuscriptsBox 3. Folder 5. Manuscripts, "Price of Teaching in the University," 1988, Oct. 13 Box 3. Folder 6. Manuscripts, Rotary Club speech, 1989, Jan. 24 Box 3. Folder 7. Manuscripts, "Times of My Life: 1850-1950" chapters 1-3, 1997, Summer Box 3. Folder 8. Manuscripts, "Times of My Life: 1850-1950" chapters 4-8, 1997, Summer Box 3. Folder 9. Manuscripts, "Persona in Four Centuries," undated Box 3. Folder 10. Manuscripts, "Founders of the Graduate College," undated Box 3. Folder 11. Publications, 1955, 1957 Box 3. Folder 12. Publications, 1964 Box 3. Folder 13. Publications, 1972, 1975, undated Series 3: Biographical MaterialsBox 4. Folder 1. Oral history, with George Round, 1975 Box 4. Folder 2. Vitae, faculty record sheets, obituary, 1970-1989, 2009 Box 4. Folder 3. Press releases, newspaper clippings, 1977-1991, undated Box 4. Folder 4. Program, Willa Cather Centennial Festival, 1973 Box 4. Folder 5. Program, Bernice Slote memorial, 1983 Box 4. Folder 6. The Shakespeare Newsletter, 1989, Fall-Winter Box 4. Folder 7. Photographs, Robert E. Knoll Box 4. Folder 8. Photographs, faculty, staff, UNL English Department Box 4. Folder 9. Photographs, Wright Morris, Morris grave site
Related Material and Resources: Additional Robert Knoll materials appear in several collections in the UNL Archives & Special Collections. A list of these collections is available in the repository. Books by Robert Knoll can be located through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries on-line catalog.

If you have questions about the Archives & Special Collections, please email "archives@unl.edu."
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