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Hal and Barbara Borland papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 570

Scope and Contents

The collection contain writings, correspondence, printed material, and personal papers documenting the journalism and literary career of Hal Borland, and the literary career of his wife, Barbara Dodge Borland, spanning the years 1904 to 1990.


  • 1904 - 1990


Physical Description

44.21 linear feet (61 boxes, 1 portfolio)

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 59-60: Restricted Fragile Material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Box 62 (audiovisual material): Restricted Fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Hal and Barbara Dodge Borland Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Hal and Barbara Dodge Borland, 1965-1991.


Organized into two groupings: I. 1965 and 1981 Acquisitions, 1921-1981. II. April 1991 Acquisition, 1904-1990.

Material within this collection has been organized by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time. Researchers should note that material within each acquisition overlaps with/or relates to material found in other acquisitions. For instance, correspondence and writings can be found in all two groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section.

Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.


44.21 Linear Feet ((61 boxes) + 1 portfolio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Hal and Barbara Dodge Borland Papers contain writings, correspondence, printed material, and personal papers documenting the journalism and literary career of Hal Borland, and the literary career of his wife, Barbara Dodge Borland, spanning the years 1904 to 1990.

Hal Borland (1900-1978)

Harold Glen Borland, American author, journalist, and naturalist, was born in Sterling, Nebraska to William Arthur and Sarah Clinaburg Borland on May 14, 1900. Borland grew up in Flagler, Colorado, where his parents owned and edited a weekly newspaper. From 1918 to 1920 Borland attended the University of Colorado where he studied engineering while also working for Denver Post and Flagler News. Realizing that his true avocation was as an author, Borland moved to New York where he attended Columbia University’s School of Journalism, obtaining a Bachelor in Literature in 1923. Borland also worked as a reporter for the Brooklyn Times, United Press, and King Features Service at this time.

After graduation Borland spent several years traveling across the United States working for various newspapers, including stints in Salt Lake City (Utah), Carson City (Nevada), Fresno and San Diego (California), and Marshall (Texas), before returning to Colorado in 1925 to work for Stratton Press.

While living in New York Borland met his first wife, Helen Alice Le Bene (circa 1900-1944), who was also a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism (1923). Hal and Helen Borland had three sons: Harold Glen, Junior, Donal W., and Neil F. Borland. Helen Borland also pursued a career as a journalist, publishing articles and book reviews in magazines. She died at the age of forty-four in 1944.

In 1926 Borland moved to Philadelphia, where he would live until 1937, working for Curtis Newspapers, Philadelphia Morning Sun, and Philadelphia Morning Ledger.

In 1937 Borland began writing for the New York Times, first as a staff writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine (1937-1943) and then in 1942 as an editorial writer for the New York Sunday Times, a position he would hold until his death in 1978.

Parallel to his career as a journalist, Borland wrote short stories, novels (including westerns under the pseudonym Ward West), biographical novels, non-fiction, and a play. Borland began writing poetry and novels while still a student, with his publications including Heaps of Gold (1922), a collection of verse, and Rocky Mountain Tipi Tails (1924), a young adult novel.

However, Borland is perhaps best known for his nature writing. He was involved in a number of conservation efforts and his editorials for the New York Times, and later for the Berkshire Eagle (1958-1978), Pittsburgh Press (1966-1978), and Torrington Register (1971-1978), focused largely on the natural world and his experience as an outdoorsman. Borland’s nature writing for the New York Times was compiled in Sundial of the Seasons: A Selection of Outdoor Editorials from the New York Times (1964) and Twelve Moons of the Year (1979). In addition to his journalism, Borland’s nature writings also include An American Year: Country Life and Landscapes Through the Seasons (1946), Beyond Your Doorstep: A Handbook to the Country (1962), Countryman: A Summary of Belief (1965), Hill Country Harvest (1967), and Homeland: A Report from the Country (1969), among others. For his writing on the outdoors he won the Meeman Award for Conservation Writing (1966), John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing (1968), and the Interpretive Naturalists Award (1973).

On August 10, 1945 Borland married Barbara Ross Dodge, who was also an author and had studied at the Columbia School of Journalism. In 1952 they moved to Salisbury, Connecticut. Hal and Barbara Borland collaborated on a number of writing projects together, including stories for Collier's and Good Housekeeping.

Borland died of emphysema on February 22, 1978 in Sharon, Connecticut.

Barbara Dodge Borland (1904-1991)

Barbara Ross Dodge was born to Harry George and Grace Cross Dodge in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1904. Dodge attended Crosby High School and Saint Margaret's School, where she excelled at poetry. She continued her education at Oberlin College (1922-1923) and then Columbia University's School of Journalism (1923), but left both institutions before receiving a degree in order to pursue a writing career. Dodge served as an editor for a number of publications before running the New York City Writers Workshop from 1934 to 1938. Dodge had one daughter, Diana Butler Thomson (1935-2000). In 1945 Dodge married Hal Borland, with whom she collaborated on a number of short stories and articles, which were published in Colliers, McCalls, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and others (1946-1956). In 1962 Dodge published The Greater Hunger. Dodge wrote a column about gardening for the Berkshire Eagle and published This is the Way My Garden Grows: And Comes into My Kitchen in 1986. Following Borland's death, Dodge edited and published Hal Borland's Twelve Moons of the Year (1979).

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization, at or around the time of acquisition. Further description was carried out in 2012. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below and titled according to month and year of acquisition.

As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

Material in the first group (formerly Uncat ZA MS 319) arrived at the library in multiple accessions between 1965 and 1981. Though the material was merged under one call number, different levels of processing were applied to the various accessions at the time of acquisition. During processing in 2012, some files were shifted into new containers for preservation purposes, but no further arrangement was applied.

The collection is comprised of material formerly classed as: Uncat ZA MS 319 and Uncat ZA MS 117.

This finding aid was revised in 2023 to add this processing note to contextualize oppressive and harmful descriptive language used in a folder title in the 1965 and 1981 Acquisitions. This folder title contains oppressive and harmful language in its transcribed title of a printed work. The use of this title is not an endorsement of the language it contains. Original descriptive language has been retained to promote searchability and discoverability.

Guide to the Hal and Barbara Dodge Borland Papers
by H. Dean and Andrea Benefiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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