LITTLE ELM, Texas – Edwin Bruce Kirkham was born on January 11, 1938 to Edwin Hubert and Cora Vivien (Hall) Kirkham in White Plains, NY. He graduated from White Plains High School in 1956 and attended Lehigh University, where he earned an a 1961 Bachelor of Arts with Honors and a 1963 Master of Arts. In 1968 he earned a PhD in Philosophy in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He married Kathleen Ann Bristol in Sharon, Connecticut, in June 1960. They had three children: Heather Ann Kirkham, Edwin Keith Kirkham, and Brian Buckhout Kirkham.
In 1968 he was recruited from Ball State University, where he rose to professor of English. While at Ball State, he founded the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library and was its executive secretary for 25 years. In his honor, the annual lecture is called the Kirkham Lecture. After retiring in 2000, he was named Professor Emeritus by the university and Sagamore of the Wabash by the Indiana Governor.
He opened an online used books store in 1985, The Melancholy Lobster Bookshop, named for the lonely status of crustaceans in the state of Hoosier.
In 2000, he and his wife moved to Augusta, where they were active in the community. He served on the boards of Westside Neighbors, Old Fort Western, The Friends of the Maine State Museum, and the Kennebec Historical Society, where he served as a librarian. In 2020, he and his wife moved to Little Elm, Texas.
He is the author of four books, more than a dozen articles in refereed academic journals, and numerous academic notes and reviews. He was a member of the American Association of University Professors, The Modern Language Association, The American Studies Association, The Midwest Modern Language Association, the Ohio-Indiana American Studies Association, Friends of Indiana Libraries, founding member of The Friends of Libraries USA.
He is survived by his wife Kathleen; Daughter Heather (Kirkham) Coy and husband Jay from Evansville, Ind., Edwin Keith Kirkham and wife Beth (Hall) Kirkham from Bath, Brian Buckhout Kirkham and wife Kelli (Vernon) Kirkham from Dallas; and grandsons Natalie (Kirkham) Spencer, Nora Kirkham, Charlotte (Kirkham) Meeker, Jordan (Kirkham) Kavanaugh, Evan Kirkham, Chase Coy, Nash Coy; Great-grandson, Maxwell Phillip Spencer; and Sister Barbara Kirkham.
Obituary: Cassie M. Courteau