Charles J. Finger Papers

MC 639

Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Adam Heien, 2018.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Finger, Charles J., 1867-1941
Title
Charles J. Finger Papers
Inclusive Dates
1893-1987
Identification
MC 639
Extent
4 linear feet (11 Boxes)
Language
Materials are in English.
Repository
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Due to their fragility, the original copies of the diaries in Series 2 are restricted. Microfilm is available for patron use. The original copy of the 8 mm film in Series 5 is also restricted. A copy on one-half inch VHS video tape is available for patron use.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

The Charles J. Finger Papers were donated to the Special Collections Department by his daughter, Helen Finger Leflar of Fayetteville, Arkansas on June 5, 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Norma Ortiz-Karp; completed in September 1989.

Preferred Form of Citation

Charles J. Finger Papers (MC 639), Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

Charles J. Finger (c. 1867-1941) was an Anglo-American writer of travel and adventure. Born in Willesden, England, December 25, 1867 (?), he received a middle-class education at King's College, London, and Frankfurt, Germany. When his parents emigrated to the United States in 1887, Finger remained in England supporting himself by doing odd jobs, and became involved with the Fabian Society of socialists.

In 1890, he joined the crew of a ship for Valparaiso, Chile, but jumped ship at Punta Arenas, Straits of Magellan, in Chile. From 1890-1895, Finger worked at various jobs from sheepherder to tour guide for the Franco-Russian Ornithological Expedition to Tierra del Fuego in 1893. Mid-1896 found him in New York, where he stayed with his parents while looking for employment. Soon he was on a steamer to Galveston, Texas. There he found a job in San Angelo, Texas, herding sheep; he began writing newspaper articles and became a United States citizen.

In 1898, Finger established the San Angelo Music Conservatory and from 1898 to 1904 he taught lessons and arranged concerts and tours. At this time, he met Dr. Boyd Cornick, M.D., and his son Philip Cornick, with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. Finger participated in Dr. Cornick's intellectual circle, gaining notoriety as a free thinker and Fabian Socialist. During this period, he wrote articles for the San Angelo Standard, Houston Labor Journal, and the magazine Searchlight. In 1902, he married Eleanor (Nellie) Ferguson, daughter of a sheep rancher. In September, 1903, their son, Hubert Philip, was born and named in part for Finger's friend, Philip Cornick.

In 1904, the Finger family moved to Alamagordo, New Mexico, where Finger worked for the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad Co., working his way up to general foreman for the railroad. When the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Co. of Texas bought the Northeastern, the Alamagordo office closed and Finger was out of a job.

1905 saw Finger in Ripley, Ohio, as auditor of the Ohio River and Columbus Railway Co. He eventually became a director of the company. Following a merger, Finger went to Columbus, Ohio, as general manager of the consolidated Ohio Southeastern Railroad until 1914, when he returned with his growing family to Ripley, Ohio. During this time, he continued to read eclectically and to write. By 1916, the Finger children included Hubert Philip (b. 1903), Julia Louise (Kitty) (b. 1904), Charles Ferguson, (b. 1907), Helen Grace (b. 1913), and Herbert Eric (b. 1915).

In 1916, Finger's writings came to the attention of William Reedy, founder of the liberal St. Louis literary magazine, Reedy's Mirror. In 1919, Reedy published three of Finger's short stories and hired him to take over Reedy's Mirror while he was on vacation. Soon after, Reedy died, the magazine folded, and once more Finger was seeking employment.

In 1920, the Finger family settled in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At first, Finger was considered an outsider, but he was eventually accepted because of his interest in the folklore and adventure lore of the region, which he reflected in his writings. His country house, Gayeta Lodge, was named for the Spanish, "galleta," (biscuit), for Finger a symbol of hospitality dating from his Patagonian days, and the lodge became a gathering place for artists, writers, and other intellectuals.

From 1920-1935 Finger published almost single-handedly All's Well, or The Mirror Repolished, a literary journal which continued in the tradition of Reedy's Mirror. From 1933-1940, he was also managing editor for the Bellows-Reeve Company and edited "Answers," a monthly journal devoted to answering queries about children's literature from readers.

Finger wrote thirty-six books in the last twenty years of his life. Tales from Silver Lands in 1924 received the Newbery Medal, and Courageous Companions in 1929 won the Longmans Juvenile Fiction Award. He was primarily a young adult adventure story writer, and much of what he wrote reflected his own exploits in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia as well as the American southwest. In addition to adventure tales, Finger wrote twenty-nine volumes for the "Little Blue Books" series, edited and published by E. Haldeman-Julius in Girard, Kansas. These volumes discuss such diverse topics as the life of Barnum, Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, and Oscar Wilde.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, presented an honorary LL. D. to Charles J. Finger in 1932. In 1944, he was honored posthumously by the Maritime Commission by having the freighter Charles J. Finger named after him. He died on January 7, 1941 of influenza and a coronary at Gayeta Lodge in Fayetteville.

Scope and Content Note

The papers consist of correspondence, most of which pertains to Charles J. Finger, and some to his daughter, illustrator Helen Finger Leflar. Also included are Finger's diaries, notebooks, manuscripts, indexes, and other papers as well as materials by Helen Finger Leflar, Mrs. Charles J. Finger's guest book, clippings, photographs, and film. The three indexes, prepared by Finger on index cards, comprise an index of his bibliography, and one each on music and literature.

Related Materials

Records relating to the Charles J. Finger Papers include:

Glenn Ward Dresbach Papers, 1907-1968, MS D81m

John Gould Fletcher Papers, MS F63

Finger-Keddie Correspondence, 1931-1939, MC 640

Vance Randolph Manuscripts, 1951-1954, MC 920

Charlie May Hogue Simon Letters, 1967-1976, MC 1134

Finger-Stone Correspondence, 1923-1941, MC 449

Charles J. Finger Letter, ca 1940s, MC 1535

Arrangement of the Papers

Material is arranged and described in six series

  1. Correspondence. Boxes 1-3.
  2. Diaries, Notebooks, Manuscripts, Indexes, and Other Papers. Boxes 4-6.
  3. Clippings. Box 7.
  4. Correspondence and Papers of Helen Finger Leflar and Others. Boxes 8-9.
    1. Correspondence.
    2. Papers.
  5. Photographs and Film. Box 10.
  6. Originals. Box 11.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

series 1: Correspondence,

1893-1947

Boxes 1-3

This series contains correspondence reflecting Charles J. Finger's personal as well as literary development.  He was a voracious, interesting, and widely-read correspondent.  Significant correspondents are Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, Philip Cornick, Glenn Ward Dresbach, John Gould Fletcher, James Keddie (See Finger-Keddie correspondence, MC 640), H.L. Mencken, Vance Randolph, William Marion Reedy, Carl Sandburg, George Bernard Shaw, Charlie May Simon Fletcher, George Stirling, Wilbur Stone (see Finger-Stone correspondence, MC 449), and Sara Teasdale Filsinger.

series I Box 1 Folder 1

May 25, 1893 - Dec 22, 1901, 1893-1901

series I Box 1 Folder 2

Jan 8, 1902 - Sept 23, 1902, 1902

series I Box 1 Folder 3

Oct 12, 1902 - Feb 2, 1903, 1902-1903

series I Box 1 Folder 4

Feb 15, 1903 - Feb 16 1904, 1903-1904

series I Box 1 Folder 5

Feb 27, 1904 - June 4, 1904, 1904

series I Box 1 Folder 6

June 14, 1904 - Apr 26, 1905, 1904-1905

series I Box 1 Folder 7

May 2, 1905 - Nov 4, 1905, 1905

series I Box 1 Folder 8

Feb 22, 1906 - Sept 30, 1907, 1906-1907

series I Box 1 Folder 9

Jan 14, 1908 - Jan 20, 1911, 1908-1911

series I Box 1 Folder 10

Mar 7, 1911 - Apr 19, 1911, 1911

series I Box 1 Folder 11

July 24, 1911-1913, 1911-1913

series I Box 1 Folder 12

Feb 14, 1916 - July 12, 1919, 1916-1919

series I Box 1 Folder 13

July 28, 1919 - ca. 1919, 1919

series I Box 2 Folder 1

Jan 2, 1920 - Jan 31, 1920, 1920

series I Box 2 Folder 2

Feb 5, 1920 - May 28, 1920, 1920

series I Box 2 Folder 3

July 7, 1920 - Nov 29, 1920, 1920

series I Box 2 Folder 4

Feb 22, 1921 - Nov 23, 1921, 1921

series I Box 2 Folder 5

Jan 7, 1922 - Oct 9, 1923, 1922-1923

series I Box 2 Folder 6

Oct 22, 1923 - Sept 22, 1925, 1923-1925

series I Box 2 Folder 7

Sept 23, 1925 - Aug 13, 1926, 1925-1926

series I Box 2 Folder 8

Aug 22, 1926 - Dec 24, 1926, 1926

series I Box 2 Folder 9

Dec 25, 1926 - Feb 19, 1927, 1926-1927

series I Box 2 Folder 10

Feb 21, 1927 - Dec 31, 1927, 1927

series I Box 2 Folder 11

Jan 3, 1928 - Feb 25, 1929, 1928-1929

series I Box 2 Folder 12

Mar 1, 1929-1929, 1929

series I Box 2 Folder 13

Apr 11, 1930 - Oct 3, 1931, 1930-1931

series I Box 2 Folder 14

Nov 24, 1931 - June 28, 1933, 1931-1933

series I Box 2 Folder 15

July 2, 1933 - May 29, 1934, 1933-1934

series I Box 3 Folder 1

Sept 28, 1934 - Nov 22, 1935, 1934-1935

series I Box 3 Folder 2

Jan 17, 1936 - June 8, 1936, 1936

series I Box 3 Folder 3

June 21, 1936 - Dec 20, 1937, 1936-1937

series I Box 3 Folder 4

Jan 1, 1938 - Mar 18, 1939, 1938-1939

series I Box 3 Folder 5

Mar 24, 1939 - Dec 28, 1939, 1939

series I Box 3 Folder 6

Jan 7, 1940 - July 28, 1940, 1940

series I Box 3 Folder 7

Aug 13, 1940 - Sept 16, 1940, 1940

series I Box 3 Folder 8

Sept 17, 1940 - May 3, 1947, 1940-1947

series I Box 3 Folder 9

Letters, n.d.

series I Box 3 Folder 10

Letters fragments, n.d.

series 2: Diaries, Notebooks, Manuscripts, Indexes, and Other Papers,

1890-1955

Boxes 4-6

This series contains diaries (1890-1897, 1938); notebooks (1898, n.d.); book reviews by Charles J. Finger; reviews of Finger's autobiography, Seven Horizons; indexes; and other papers.

Use Information

Due to their fragility, the original copies of the diaries in Series 2 are restricted. Microfilm is available for patron use.

series II Box 4 Folder 1

Diary, 1890

series II Box 4 Folder 2

Diary, 1890-1891

series II Box 4 Folder 3

Diary, 1896

series II Box 4 Folder 4

Diary fragments, 1890-1897, 1938, 1890-1938

series II Box 4 Folder 5

Notebook, 1898

series II Box 4 Folder 6

Notebook, n.d.

series II Box 4 Folder 7

Notebook fragments, n.d.

series II Box 4 Folder 8

Manuscripts: "How Lazy Sam Got His Rise," Aug 26, 1897; and introduction to Seven Horizons, Jan 1, 1930, 1897-1930

series II Box 4 Folder 9

Manuscripts: "Machines Big and Little - and Technocracy," Jan 12, 1933; "The Day," spring, 1937; "In Days When We Read Jules Verne...," 1938-1939(?), 1933-1939

series II Box 4 Folder 10

Manuscripts: "Lucius to His Friend Theonas, Many Greetings;" "Tales of a Man Who Tore Up A Book;" "Julio's Visit;" "Old George-Traveler;" "A Guatemalan Tale,", n.d.

series II Box 4 Folder 11

Manuscripts: "Notes on a Curious Report;" "The Tooth;" "Autobiographical,", n.d.

series II Box 4 Folder 12

Manuscripts: "Biography of Men Mentioned in Astoria Expedition;" part of a comic operetta, and other manuscript fragments, n.d.

series II Box 5 Folder 1

Book reviews, 1930, 1931, 1940, and n.d, 1930-1940

series II Box 5 Folder 2

Book reviews of Seven Horizons, 1930, and n.d, 1930

series II Box 5 Folder 3

Illustrations and prints, some of which were used in Finger's books, n.d.

series II Box 5 Folder 4

Papers and programs by and about Finger, 1904, 1916, 1935-1944, and n.d, 1904-1944

series II Box 5 Folder 5

Immigration landing card, certificate, and royalty receipts, 1933-1937, 1955, and n.d, 1933-1955

series II Box 6 Folder 1

Index 1: Bibliography of the opus of Charles J. Finger, n.d.

series II Box 6 Folder 2

Index 2: Bibliography of writers and some of their works, n.d.

series II Box 6 Folder 3

Index 3: Bibliography of composers and some of their works, n.d.

series 3: Clippings,

1920-1980

Box 7

series III Box 7 Folder 1

Clippings, July 29, 1920-June 8, 1980. (1 of 2), 1920-1980

series III Box 7 Folder 2

Clippings, July 29, 1920-June 8, 1980. (2 of 2), 1920-1980

series III Box 7 Folder 3

Clippings, n.d.

series III Box 7 Folder 4

Clippings, n.d.

series 4: Correspondence and Papers of Helen Finger Leflar and Others,

1913-1987

Boxes 8-9

subseries 1: Correspondence,

1913-1987

Box 8

This subseries contains letters to Leflar as illustrator of children's books, condolences for her father's death, letters for permission to use Charles J. Finger's literary works, and royalties from the opus of Charles J. Finger.  Significant correspondents include Katherine Murdoch Davis, Charles J. Finger (referred to in the correspondence as "Dad"), Lewis Gannett, Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni, Charlie May Simon Fletcher, and Wilbur Stone (see Finger-Stone correspondence, MC 449).

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 1

1930-1931 - Jan 2, 1941, 1930-1941

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 2

Jan 7, 1941 - Jan 13, 1941, 1941

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 3

Jan 14, 1941 - Jan 28, 1941, 1941

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 4

Feb 4, 1941 - Feb 25, 1941, 1941

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 5

Mar 10, 1941-1941, 1941

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 6

Apr 3, 1942 - Dec 14, 1943, 1942-1943

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 7

Jan 1, 1944 - Jan 5, 1966, 1944-1966

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 8

Feb 1, 1966 - Dec 2, 1966, 1966

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 9

Feb 10, 1967 - Dec 18, 1967, 1967

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 10

Jan 18, 1968 - June 27, 1969, 1968-1969

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 11

Oct 15, 1969 - Aug 5, 1971, 1969-1971

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 12

Dec 28, 1973 - May 30, 1978, 1973-1978

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 13

June 24, 1978 - Feb 13, 1987, 1978-1987

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 14

Letters, n.d.

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 15

Finger family, Apr 15, 1913 - Feb 15, 1966, 1913-1966

series IV: 1 Box 8 Folder 16

Other, July 6, 1920 - Apr 12, 1941, 1920-1941

subseries 2: Papers,

1925-1942

Box 9

This subseries contains a short autobiography and handwritten magazine as well as illustrations by Helen Finger Leflar. In addition, there is the guest book of Nellie B. Finger (Mrs. Charles J. Finger); and manuscripts by Grace Ferguson, a relative of Nellie B. Finger; Charlie May Simon, Arkansas writer; Wendy T. McElheny, a University of Arkansas graduate student; and R.B. Cunninghame Graham, British writer and correspondent of Charles J. Finger.

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 1

Helen Finger's autobiography, May 23, 1930, 1930

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 2

"The Pied Piper for Aug.", ca 1920s

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 3

Illustrations by Helen Finger (1 of 2), n.d.

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 4

Illustrations by Helen Finger (2 of 2), n.d.

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 5

Nellie B. Finger's (Mrs. Charles J. Finger) guest book, 1925

series IV: 2 Box 9 Folder 6

Manuscripts by Grace Ferguson, 1936; Charlie May Simon, 1942; Wendy T. McElheny, n.d.; and R.B. Cunninghame Graham, n.d, 1936-1942

series 5: Photographs and Film,

1890-1971

Box 10

The original copy of the 8mm film in series 5 is also restricted. A copy on one-half inch VHS video-tape is available for patron use.

series V Box 10 Folder 1

Photographs 1-8: Charles J. Finger, ca 1900-1938

series V Box 10 Folder 2

Photograph  9. Charles J. Finger with family members in New York City; Finger is second row center, 1896

series V Box 10 Folder 3

Photographs 10-15: Charles J. Finger with his children, 1907-1940

series V Box 10 Folder 4

Photographs 16-24: Children of Charles J. Finger, ca 1915-1971

series V Box 10 Folder 5

Photographs 25-30: Charles J. Finger with others, 1902-1937

series V Box 10 Folder 6

Photographs 31-39: Relatives of Charles J. Finger, 1901, and n.d., 1901

series V Box 10 Folder 7

Photographs 40-41: Gayeta Lodge and grounds, 1920-1921

series V Box 10 Folder 8

Photographs 42: Finger's studio at the St. Angelo Conservatory, Texas, ca 1902

series V Box 10 Folder 9

Photograph 43: Sheep dipping in Ozona, Texas with explanation by Finger on verso, ca 1898

series V Box 10 Folder 10

Photographs 44-49: Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, ca 1890s

series V Box 10 Folder 11

Photographs 50-57: Signed photographs from friends, 1925, 1926, and n.d., 1925-1926

series V Box 10 Folder 12

Photograph 58: John Newbery Medal for children's literature, bestowed on Finger in 1924, 1924

series V Box 10 Folder 13

Photographs 59-60: J.H. Field photographs taken after the Farmington tornado, 1924

series V Box 10 Folder 14

Photographs 61-63: Robert Frost and Fred Black, 1927; death mask of Jack London, n.d.; and W.H. Hudson, n.d., 1927

series V Box 10 Folder 15

Photographs 64-76: Ripley, Ohio, where Finger worked for the railroad, ca 1913

series V Box 10 Folder 16

Photographs 77-87: Vistas of the Andes, Patagonia, the American southwest, and Lake Walden, 1933, and n.d., 1933

series V Box 10 Folder 17

Film (Kodak Eight): Christmas at Gayeta Lodge, 1940

series 6: Original,

1890-1970

Box 11

Original materials that are restricted for access because of their fragility.

Use of these materials is permanently restricted due to their fragility.

series VI Box 11 Folder 1

Correspondence: Charles J. Finger, May 25, 1893 - Mar 24, 1939, 1893-1939

series VI Box 11 Folder 2

Correspondence: Charles J. Finger, Apr 26, 1939 - Oct 10, 1940, 1939-1940

series VI Box 11 Folder 3

Correspondence: Helen Finger Leflar, Jan 16, 1970, 1970

series VI Box 11 Folder 4

Diary, 1890, 1890

series VI Box 11 Folder 5

Diary, 1890-1891

series VI Box 11 Folder 6

Diary, 1896

series VI Box 11 Folder 7

Diary fragments, 1890-1897, 1938, 1890-1938

series VI Box 11 Folder 8

Photograph 43: Sheep dipping in Ozona, Texas with explanation by Finger on the verso, ca 1898

series VI Box 11 Folder 9

Photograph 63: W.H. Hudson, n.d.

series VI Box 11 Folder 10

Film (Kodak Eight): Christmas at Gayeta Lodge, 1940, 1940

END OF COLLECTION

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