Name of the collection: JOSEPH J. FIREBAUGH PAPERS
Inclusive years: 1934-1990
Quantity: .6 linear foot
Acquisition: This collection was donated to the Genesee Historical Collections Center by donor no. 250 in 1995.
Access: There are no restrictions on access to this collection.
Photographs: There were no photographs.
Processed by: Paul Gifford, October 2008.


Joseph Jesse Firebaugh was born May 15, 1912, in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from North High School in 1928. From 1933 to 1936, he attended the University of Colorado, receiving a B.A. in English in 1936.  He continued there in graduate school for a year, and then from 1938 to 1941, taught as an instructor in English at the University of Arkansas.  He went to Duke University in 1941 and received an M.A. in English in 1942.  From then until 1949, he taught at New Mexico State College, University of Missouri, the State College of Washington, the University of Denver, and at the University of Florida.  In 1949 he began graduate study at the University of Washington, from which he received his Ph.D. in 1952, his dissertation being Henry James and the Law of Freedom.  He then taught as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan (1952-1953) and at Queens College (1953-1956).  In 1956, he was hired as Professor of English, as part of the original faculty of the Flint College of University of Michigan.  He remained at this institution until his retirement in 1976.  He and his wife then moved to Ann Arbor, and from 1982 he continued to teach part-time at the University of Michigan.  He died June 17, 1992, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


This collection consists mainly of Firebaugh’s articles in academic journals as well as his doctoral dissertation and master’s thesis.  In addition to these, there are some unpublished papers, some poems, some correspondence, and other items. 


Personal, 1938-1978

Correspondence, 1967-1990 (6 items)

University of Colorado paper and literary magazines,   1934-1935

             Unpublished papers, undated

                         “Urbanism or Urbanity?”

                         “Every Man His Own Critic”

                         “James, Conrad, and the Scepter of Wealth”

Poems (2 items)

Articles, 1940-1955

“The Vocabulary of Time Magazine.”  American Speech (Oct.    1940): 232-242

“Samuel Rogers and American Men of Letters.”  American Literature 13, no. 4 (Jan. 1942):  331-345

“On Being Unacademic.”  College English 7, no. 7 (Apr. 1946): 412-416

“Reading and General Education.”  School and Society 69, no. 1779 (Jan. 29, 1949): 74-79

“The Humanism of Thornton Wilder.”  The Pacific Spectator 4, no. 4 (Autumn 1950): 426-438

“Dorothy Canfield and the Moral Bent.”  The Educational Forum 15, no. 3 (Mar. 1951): 283-294

“The Pragmatism of Henry James.”  Virginia Quarterly Review 27, no. 3 (Summer 1951): 419-435

“Tietjens and the Tradition.”  The Pacific Spectator 6, no. 1 (Winter 1952): 23-32

“Teachers and Graduate Training.”  The Journal of Higher Education 23, no. 5 (May 1952): 254-259

“Humorist as Rebel:  The Melville of Typee.”  Nineteenth-Century Fiction 9, no. 2 (Sept. 1954): 108-120

“The Ververs.”  Essays in Criticism 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1954): 400-410.

“Coburn:  Henry James’s Photographer.”  American Quarterly 7, no. 3 (Fall 1955): 215-233.


Articles, 1956-1988

“Contemporary American Drama.”  The Bulletin of the English Association:  South African Branch, Cape Town 1, no. 1 (1956): 7-9

“Inadequacy in Eden:  Knowledge and ‘The Turn of the Screw’.”  Modern Fiction Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 1957): 57-63

“The Idealism of Merton Densher.”  Texas Studies in English 37 (1958):  141-154

“A Schopenhauerian Novel:  James’s The Princess Casamassima.”  Nineteenth-Century Fiction 13, no. 3 (Dec. 1958): 177-197

“Farce and the Heavenly Destination.”  Four Quarters 16, no. 4 (May 1967): 10-17

“The Essential Matter of Composition.”  ADE:  Bulletin of the Association of Departments of English, no. 17 (May 1968): 19-22

“Chinua Achebe and the Plural Society.”  The Journal of African-Afro-American Affairs 1, no. 1 (June 1977): 66-87

“The Two Tenses of Jean Stafford.”  Four Quartets 2, no. 2, 2nd ser. (Fall 1988): 45-53

Book reviews, 1971-1991

The Critical Ideas of Francis Jeffrey (M.A. thesis, Duke University, 1937)

Henry James and the Law of Freedom (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1952)