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Home > Edwin Markham Archive: Correspondence

Edwin Markham Archive: Correspondence

The Edwin Markham Archive at the Horrmann Library, Wagner College, houses the personal library, manuscripts, and papers of American poet Edwin Markham.

The Archive contains over 6,000 letters from Markham's wide and varied correspondence. Our digitization project is ongoing; over 200 letters related to Markham's involvement in the Christian Socialist Movement have been digitized, transcribed, and made available for public access.

You may use this link to browse the collection or use the Advanced Search option at the top right of this screen to search the full text of the letters (select Collection: Edwin Markham Archive: Correspondence for best results).

American poet Charles Edwin Anson Markham was born in Oregon, spent the early part of his career in California, moved to Staten Island in 1901, and remained on the island until his death in 1940. Markham was a prolific letter writer and had correspondence with many important figures of his time, including Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Carl Sandburg, Herbert Hoover, Amy Lowell, and Throdore and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Markham is best known for his spirited protest against the exploitation of poor laborers in "The Man with the Hoe", inspired by Jean-Francois Millet's painting of the same title. Published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1899, almost overnight it became a literary sensation. Markham had "sounded a trumpet blast of social justice," one critic wrote, for the poor and oppressed people of the world. The response was astounding. It became the single most commercially successful poem ever published. Translated into forty languages, including Arabic and Japanese, it was read worldwide and remains anthologized today.