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Robert Berkelman papers

Identifier: MC013

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains some of Berkelman's unpublished writings. The collection includes two drafts of a travel diary covering Berkelman's trips from 1927 to 1974 to Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the Near East, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Yugoslavia and other locations. Berkelman recalls his travels with extraordinary detail, and portrays an intimate look at each country he visited, usually in the company of his wife Yvonne. Also included is a critical analysis of many of Shakespeare's works, including Hamlet, MacBeth, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and his sonnets.


  • 1974, undated


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Robert Berkelman (1900-1975) was born in Duluth, Minnesota on June 29, 1900. He attended Duluth Central High School and then Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, graduating in 1923. In the year immediately following his graduation he worked as an Instructor in English at Appleton High School. Then in September, 1924 he was hired to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of Captain Evan A. Woodward, instructor of English at Bates College. This union between Professor Berkelman and Bates College would last for the next forty-six years, until his retirement in 1970.

In 1926, after two years at Bates, Professor Berkelman left the College to pursue graduate work. In 1927 he earned his A.M. from Yale University and returned to Bates the following academic year as an Instructor in English. That summer, 1927, Professor Berkelman did further graduate work at Columbia University. The summer of 1928 was spent representing Bates at the Harvard summer school for a selected group of art courses. In 1929 he married Yvonne Langlois (class of 1929), and in January 1931, he lectured for the College on a trip he took with his wife through England and Scotland. Professor Berkelman's love for world travel was well known and documented throughout his life. The summer of 1931 was spent in the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park. During this time period, from 1928 to 1931 he held the title of Assistant Professor in English at Bates.

In 1932, Professor Berkelman was recommended for promotion to associate professor of English by President Gray, a title he held for the next eleven years. That same summer, he and his wife traveled through Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Throughout his life, Professor Berkelman actively contributed writings to literary magazines and journals. He taught Shakespeare and Fine Arts at the Bates summer school in July and August of 1937. Then that fall, Professor Berkelman took a sabbatical leave to study and write at Columbia University and attend lectures, operas, symphonies and Broadway plays in New York City. In 1938, he was put in charge of editing The Bates College Catalogue for the 1938-1939 school year. In 1943 Robert Berkelman was promoted to the position of Professor of English in recognition of his contributions to the Bates College community. In 1946, Berkleman wrote the introduction and footnote interpretations for Antony and Cleopatra in a new series of the complete works of Shakespeare published by Simon & Schuster and edited by Oscar Campbell. In the fall of 1951, Professor Berkelman took a sabbatical leave from Bates once again to study at Columbia University.

Between 1953 and 1960 Professor Berkelman served as Secretary of the Faculty at Bates College. During this time period he continued to spend his vacation time with his family traveling the world. In June 1957 the Berkelmans sailed from Montreal to Liverpool, England, and while there visited Stratford, London and the English countryside. The fall of 1957 found Professor Berkelman back at Harvard University conducting independent research and writing. The spring semester of 1963 marked the twelfth time Professor Berkelman and his wife had gone abroad. This time it was off to Athens, Greece to study sculpture and architecture and then to the Greek islands, the Holy Land and Italy. But the traveling did not end here as each successive summer found Professor Berkelman taking one or more trips to a new destination.

From 1965 until 1970, when he retired, Professor Berkelman was chairman of the Department of English Literature. He taught his last English class at Bates in the spring of 1970, but continued to write, paint and travel abroad after his retirement. Robert Berkelman died in Lewiston, Maine at the age of seventy-five.


0.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Comprised of the unpublished writings of Robert Berkelman (1900-1975), Bates Professor of English. It includes travel journals kept while in Europe, Mexico, Russia and other locations, as well as his critical analysis of Shakespeare.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into two series: I. Travel Diary and II. Critical Analysis of Shakespeare's Works.

Acquisition and Custody Information

No provenance information available. Accession No.: xx-037.

Processing Information

Initially processed by Mary Riley, Special Collections Librarian.

Partial description by Caron Pelletier, 1999.

Additional arrangement and description by Kurt Kuss, 1999.

Final arrangement and description by Kat Stefko, 2005.

Finding aid revised by Pat Webber, 2023.

Guide to the Robert Berkelman papers, 1974, undated
Edited Full Draft
Kat Stefko
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
207-755-5911 (Fax)