Skip to main content

David McKain Papers

Identifier: 2004-0088

Scope and Content

The bulk of the David McKain Papers contain manuscripts of edited and unedited written works. The remainder of the collection is clippings, professional correspondence, genealogical research, and related documents. The collection includes materials from 1955-2011.


  • Creation: undated, 1955-2011


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


David McKain grew up in rural Pennsylvania (Bradford, PA), eventually attending the University of Connecticut. After a brief stint working for Holt, Rinehart & Winston and McGraw-Hill, McKain returned to the University of Connecticut to pursue his doctorate, which he completed in 1969. In addition to publication in numerous literary magazines such as Floating Bear, Evergreen Review, and Open Places, David McKain has edited two anthologies and published three volumes of his poetry: In Touch, The Common Life, and Spirit Bodies. While he has focused on poetry, his autobiography Spellbound: Growing Up in God's Country, won critical acclaim upon publication in 1988. Spellbound: Growing Up in God's Country won the Associated Writing Programs Award for Non-fiction in 1987 and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In his professional life, McKain has taught at the Avery Point campus of UConn, where he rose to the rank of full professor and was awarded 1983 Alumni Association Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 1983. He served as a visiting professor with his wife (Margaret Gibson) at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989.


11.05 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



David McKain was an award winning author and retired University of Connecticut faculty member (Avery Point Campus). McKain's papers contain manuscripts of edited and unedited written works, professional correspondence and related documents, as well as photographs and genealogical research on the McKain/McKean/McCain family history.


Series I: Personal and Professional Papers (undated, 1964-1995) documents McKain's professional life at the University of Connecticut and his involvement in civic organizations. The bulk of this series is typescript manuscripts of correspondence and related documents.

Series II: Works (undated, 1955-2011) contains typescript manuscripts with annotations and hand written notes for his poetry and his auto-biography Spellbound: Growing Up in God's Country.

Series III: Print Ephemera (undated, 1964-2009) includes newspaper clippings and flyers. The clippings chronicle McKain's civic and professional life. The bulk of the clippings are reviews of McKain's books. The flyers advertise either his work or announce a reading of his work (often with his wife, Margaret Gibson).

Series IV: Genealogy (undated, 1975-2008) consists of McKain's research into the McKain/McKean/McCain family history. This research was conducted for a sequel to Spellbound, which was never completed. The bulk of this series is notes, correspondence, clippings, maps, and photographs.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Dr. McKain in July 2004. Additional materials were donated by his wife, Margaret Gibson, in April 2019.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to literary manuscripts as well as the University, its history, administration, faculty, staff and students. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Separated Material

The following materials have been separated from the collection and is stored separately:

one photograph of David McKain, circa 1980.

The following materials have been separated from the collection and are cataloged separately:

Andover Bulletin, v. 79, #2, Fall 1995. Dodd Periodicals

Arizona Quarterly, v. 29, # 1, Spring 1973. Dodd Periodicals

AWP Chronicle, v. 23, #5, April 1991. Dodd Periodicals

Evergreen Review, No. 68, July 1969. Dodd Periodicals

Far Point, #1, Fall/Winter 1968. Dodd Periodicals

Letter Among Friends; A Quarterly of Poetry and Art, v. 5, #2, Spring 1983. Dodd Periodicals

Nadine, March 1972. Dodd

Occum Ridge Review, #16, Spring/Summer 1974. Dodd Periodicals

Open Places, #12-13, 16, May, 1972, Winter 1974. Dodd Periodicals

Poetry, v. 107, # 2, November 1965. Dodd Periodicals

Tar River Poetry, v. 26, #2, Spring 1987. Dodd Periodicals

University of Georgia Press Books for Fall 1988, . Dodd Periodicals

General note

Published Works:

Missing Title

  1. (Editor) Christianity: Some Non-Christian Appraisals, Mc-Graw-Hill, 1965.
  2. (Editor) The Whole Earth: Essay in Appreciation, Anger, and Hope, St. Martin's, 1971.
  3. In Touch, Ardis, 1975.
  4. The Common Life, Alice James, 1982.
  5. Spellbound: Growing Up in God's Country, University of Georgia Press, 1988; Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  6. Spirit Bodies, Ithaca House, 1990.
David McKain Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2006 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US