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Ernest McGaffey letters and poems

Identifier: Midwest-MS-168

Scope and Content of the Collection

Four letters to Matthew Mills, a friend and fellow Chicago lawyer, written from Los Angeles in 1939. The letters are mostly about McGaffey’s poetry, his memories of his past and the publication of the volume, War. Also includes three late poems of McGaffey, one attached to an image of McGaffey as a youth.


  • Creation: 1939



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ernest McGaffey Letters and Poems are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ernest McGaffey Letters and Poems are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Ernest McGaffey

American poet and lawyer.

Born in Ohio in 1861, McGaffey was a minor poet of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After working as private secretary to Chicago Mayor Carter H. Harrison, McGaffey was admitted to the bar and subsequently practiced law in Chicago. He produced several volumes of poetry, including Poems of Rod and Reel (1892), Poems of the Town (1901), Cosmos (1903), and a late collection called War in 1939.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


Four letters and three poems from poet Ernest McGaffey, sent to Matthew Mills in 1939. Also includes one undated signed photograph of Ernest McGaffey.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Gift, W.E. Daignault, 1950; John Gregg, 2022.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2008.

Inventory of Ernest McGaffey Letters and Poems, 1939
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States