University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Katherine Hoskins Papers

1888 - 1988
(bulk dates 1950-1969)

Manuscript Collection Number: 200.
Accessioned: Purchase 1988.
Extent: 4 linear ft. (700 items)
Content: Letters, poetry, prose manuscripts, photographs, clippings, galley proofs, notes,
scrapbooks, yearbook, documents, programs, invitations, genealogical information, periodicals.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1991 by Wendy van Wyck.

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Table of Contents

+Contents List

Biographical Note

The American poet Katherine Hoskins is the author of four poetry collections and was a frequent contributor to numerous periodicals, including The Nation, New Republic, Poetry, the Sewanee Review, and New Yorker Magazine. Although she never publicized herself or her work, Hoskins was recognized and praised by her contemporaries. She received a Brandeis University Creative Arts Award in 1957 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958. Hoskins also corresponded regularly with literary figures of her day, including Wallace Stevens, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, and Malcolm Cowley. On the jacket of Excursions, Hoskins's last book, Lowell wrote "How much better she is than so many poets very much more famous! What other poet so well catches the pathos and sweetness of time in motion, the blood of our developing and fading lives."

Katherine de Montalant Hoskins was born on May 25, 1909, in Indian Head, Maryland. She was the daughter of Katherine Peck Lackey and Henry Ellis Lackey, a Rear-Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Although she did not attend school until she was eleven, Hoskins graduated with honors from Smith College in 1931. In 1935 she married Albert L. Hoskins, Jr., a former first lieutenant in World War I who worked as a probation officer in Boston Municipal Court. Katherine Hoskins had one daughter, Camilla, and lived in Weston, Massachusetts, until her death on May 26, 1988.

Hoskins' first book of poetry, A Penitential Primer, was published in 1945. Her other poetry collections include Villa Narcisse (1956), Out in the Open (1959), and Excursions (1967). Hoskins's poetry is based on common human experiences and everyday life. She said that her themes "consist of Nature and People wherever I happen to be--often, in thought at least, south of the Mason-Dixon line." She listed Spenser, Yeats, John Crowe Ransom, and Wallace Stevens as poets who influenced her work. Although Hoskins is best known for her poetry, she also wrote plays, short stories, and reviews.


"Obituaries," Boston Globe, June 15, 1988.

Scope and Content Note

The Katherine Hoskins Papers consist of manuscript and proof material relating to Hoskins' poetry, prose, and dramatic works, totaling approximately 700 items. The bulk of the literary papers date from the 1950s and the 1960s. Included is material toward two of her poetry collections, Out in the Open (1959) and Excursions (1967), and a draft of her unpublished novel, A Very Gallant Action. The dramatic works in the collection consist of five of Hoskins's plays which were produced but never published. In addition to literary manuscripts, the collection includes 161 pieces of correspondence (dating from 1922 to 1988), a scrapbook, clippings, miscellaneous personal papers, and 46 periodicals in which Hoskins' work appears. A portion of the collection is devoted to family papers, including papers from Hoskins' husband, Albert L. Hoskins, and her sister, Anne Lackey. Also present are over 200 pieces of correspondence from the Lackey and Hoskins families, dating from 1914 to 1983.

Series Outline

I.   Correspondence

II.  Poetry
     1.  Out in the Open
     2.  Excursions
     3.  Individual Poems

III. Prose

IV.  Dramatic Works.

V.   Scrapbook & Clippings

VI.  Miscellaneous Personal Papers

VII. Family Papers
     1. Lackey Family Papers
     2. Anne Lackey Papers
     3. Hoskins Family Papers
     4. Albert L. Hoskins, Jr. Papers
     5. Miscellaneous Family Papers

VIII. Published Materials
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