The women of the Semper Fidelis Club had good reason to ask that Alan McKillop be the man to choose the volumes to be added in Stockton Axson’s honor to the Rice library. McKillop came to Rice in 1920, just a few months after receiving his doctorate from Harvard. He would remain for his entire career, retiring as Trustee Distinguished Professor in 1968. His interests were largely in 18th century British prose and poetry and he was in fact the guiding intelligence behind the development of the Axson 18th Century Drama Collection. As a young faculty member he became close to Axson, sometimes taking up Axson’s administrative duties when he was slowed by ill health, and served as department chair himself for decades.
I found this letter from Axson to McKillop not in McKillop’s papers but in George Williams’. It was written in 1930 on the occasion of McKillop’s promotion to a full professorship in English:
I don’t know how this letter wound up in Williams’ papers but my best guess is that it was given to him by either McKillop or his wife. And much as McKillop lauded Axson in his memorial tribute, Williams lauded McKillop, though while he was still alive to enjoy it:
Bonus: McKillop was also the founding and long serving editor of The Flyleaf, the publication of the Friends of Fondren. The July 1972 issue was gratefully dedicated to him and contains an interesting interview of him by his English Department colleague Will Dowden. As always, the other stuff in there is pretty interesting too. I particularly enjoy the list of gifts.flyleaf1972224fond
Extra Bonus: I found this note from an alumnus in the ARA papers a while ago.