Special Collections Department
William Carlos Williams Collection
Manuscript Collection Number: 146
Accessioned: Purchases and gifts, 1972-1985
Extent: .3 linear ft.
Content: Letters, galley proof, brochure, story, articles, and poem.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Partially processed by Stuart Dick and Tim Murray, revised July 1993 by Anita Wellner
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
From 1902-1906 Williams studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. During these years he began his friendships with Ezra Pound, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and painter Charles Demuth. Williams interned at French Hospital and the Nursery and Child's Hospital in New York from 1906 to 1909. In 1909 William Carlos Williams financed the publication of his first collection of poetry titled Poems.
Following his internship, he studied pediatrics for a year at the University of Leipzig. While in Europe he made several visits to London to see Ezra Pound, and during those visits met William Butler Yeats.
In 1910 he returned to begin a general practice in Rutherford, New Jersey. By 1912 he had married Florence Herman, who was the Flossie mentioned in his poems. His interactions with his patients influenced his poetry and stories throughout his life.
Another significant influence on writing was his interest in art and particularly the work of the French post-impressionists and cubists, some of which he viewed at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery "291." Many of his essays on the arts were collected in A Recognizable Image (1978).
In the 1920s a wide variety of Williams writings were published. Two prose pieces, Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920) and The Great American Novel (1923), were followed by Spring and All (1923), a volume which combined prose and verse. His study of historical figures, In the American Grain (1925), was followed by the novel, A Voyage to Pagany (1928) and by his translation, in collaboration with his mother, of Philippe Soupault's novel, Last Nights in Paris (1929).
Throughout his career Williams displayed an allegiance to the small literary magazines and was frequently published by them. He also coedited Contact with Robert McAlmon and Marsden Hartley from 1920 to 1923. Williams's novel, White Mule (1937), was serialized in the literary magazine Pagany from 1930-1933.
During the 1930s Williams continued to write prose, fiction, and poetry, including The Knife of the Times and Other Stories (1932), January (1932), Collected Poems, 1921-1931 (1934), White Mule (1937), and Life Along the Passaic River (1938).
Although Williams wrote a variety of prose, fiction, and poetry in the next two decades, his greatest achievements were the epic poem Paterson, which appeared in five books (1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958); his long poem, The Desert Music (1954); Pictures From Brueghel (1962), and two important plays, A Dream of Love (1948) and Many Loves (1961).
During the last fifteen years of his life, Williams began to receive recognition for his work. In 1949 he became a fellow of the Library of Congress and in 1950 he received the first National Book Award for poetry. He was also awarded the Bollingen Prize (1953) and posthumously the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1963. He died on March 4, 1963 in Rutherford.
Biographical information on each recipient of Williams's letters is found in the series notes.
Source:Garraty, John A. (ed.) Dictionary of American Biography. Supplement Seven 1961-1965. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981. pp. 788-791.
Scope and Content Note
In his fifty-three letters to Fred Miller, Williams offers advice and encouragement about Miller's literary work, discusses his own writing, responds to Miller's views of socialism, and comments on current events. The letters indicate that Williams was instrumental in getting Miller's Gutbucket and Gossamer published by Oscar Brown.
The eight letters written by William Carlos Williams to bookseller George Kirgo discuss the sale of copies of his books and his copies of some Hemingway volumes to Kirgo, as well as purchasing copies of books written by others. In the letters Williams also comments on his daily life. Also included with this group of letters are three letters to Kirgo from Florence Williams ordering several books and commenting on her husband's health.
The collection also includes four letters from Williams to Orrick Johns concerning Johns's writing and containing remarks about the beginnings of the Provincetown Players.
The collection of letters and manuscripts related to Emanuel Romano provide insight into Williams's interest in art. The eight letters from Williams discuss Romano's art work and his own current writing project. In addition to the Williams letters, there are two essays written by Williams describing his reactions to Romano's art and one letter from Romano in which he expresses his own attitude toward his work. One of these essays was printed in the brochure for a 1968 Gotham Book Mart (New York) exhibition of Romano's work titled "Portraits of Poets and Writers."
A set of galley proofs for Williams's collection of poems, Pictures From Brueghel and Other Poems, completes this collection.
Related collections:Ms 103 John Malcolm Brinnin Papers
Ms 110 Pagany Archive
Ms 199 Michel Farano Papers
The fifth series is comprised of the galley proofs of William Carlos Williams's collection of poems, Pictures From Brueghel and Other Poems.
I. Letters to Orrick Johns, 1916-1939 II. Letters to George Kirgo, 1950-1954 III. Letters to Fred Miller, 1934-1962 IV. Letters to Emanuel Romano, 1951-1957 V. Williams's Pictures From Brueghel and Other Poems, 
Series I. Letters to Orrick Johns, 1916-1939 Consists of four letters from Williams to Johns. American poet Orrick Johns was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1887. Some of his earliest poems, "Songs of Deliverance," were printed by Harriet Monroe in Poetry, a Magazine of Verse. His work was also published in Alfred Kreymborg's Others, A Magazine of the New Verse. His published books included a novel, Blindfold, and several collections of poetry, including Asphalt and Black Branches. He later was an editor of the New Masses. His autobiographical Time of Our Lives: The Story of My Father and Myself details his literary work and social activism. F1 Johns, 1916-1939 1916 Oct 11 ALS 2 p Oct 30 TLS 1 p 1939 Feb 21 TLS 1 p Mar 18 TLS 2 p Series II. Letters to George Kirgo, 1950-1954 Consists of ten letters from Williams to Kirgo, as well as four letters from Florence Williams to Kirgo. Also includes a check, an envelope and a packing list which have no related letters. Bookseller George Kirgo operated Kirgo's Books-By-Mail from New York City and was a friend of Williams. F2 Kirgo, 1950 1950 Aug 24 TLS 1 p Sep 21 TLS 1 p Nov 27 check 1 p Dec 8 TLS 1 p F3 Kirgo, 1951-1954 Four of the letters are from Florence Williams to Kirgo. 1951 [Sep 21] TCS 1 p Sep 15 TLS 1 p [ca. 1951 Oct 15] ANS 1 p Nov 23 ACS 1 p (Florence Williams to Kirgo) Dec 10 ACS 1 p (Florence Williams to Kirgo) Dec 26 ACS 1 p (Florence Williams to Kirgo) 1953 Feb 26 ANS 1 p (Florence Williams to Kirgo on the bottom of a letter to Williams from Mrs. Klendt) Dec 7 TLS 1 p [1953 Dec 10] AN 1 p (Note on verso of envelope) 1954 Nov 3 TLS 1 p Series III. Letters to Fred R. Miller, 1934-1962 In addition to the letters from William Carlos Williams to Fred Miller, this series includes a poem and a story written by Miller. Also includes several envelopes with no corresponding letters; a letter from Miller to his publisher, Oscar Baron; a letter from Ted Weiss to Williams; and a copy of the Massachusetts Review which contains an article about Williams. Fred Miller was an American writer, most of whose work was published in magazines and anthologies. In addition to short stories he wrote book reviews, jazz criticism, poetry, and biographical profiles. His friendship with William Carlos Williams spanned over thirty years, during which time Williams encouraged his writing and assisted in getting his work published. The publication of Miller's Gutbucket and Gossamer was due to Williams assistance. F4 Miller, 1934-1936 1934 Jul TLS 2 p 1935 Feb 13 TLS 2 p Mar 10 TLS 1 p Jun 11 TLS 1 p Sep 26 TLS 1 p 1936 May 8 TLS 1 p F5 Miller, 1937-1944 1937 Jun 18 TLS 1 p Sep 23 TLS 1 p 1941 Mar 12 ALS 2 p 1943 Jul 12 TLS 1 p 1944 Mar 15 TLS 2 p (AN by Williams on verso) F6 Miller, 1945 Jan-May 1945 Jan 20 TLS 2 p Feb 1 ANS 1 p Feb 27 ALS 7 p Apr 1 TLS 1 p [1945 Apr 4] ACS 1 p Apr 20 ALS 2 p May 25 TLS 1 p (with one page ANS) May 29 TLS 1 p F7 Miller, 1945 Jun-Dec Also includes a letter from Ted Weiss to Williams (September 14, 1945). [ca. 1945 Jun] ALS 2 p 1945 Jun 26 ALS 2 p Sep 8 TLS 2 p Sep 17 ALS 2 p [1945 Sep 23] ACS 1 p Dec 11 TLS 1 p F8 Miller, 1946 Jan-May 1946 Jan 5 ALS 2 p Feb 16 ALS 2 p Mar 29 TLS 2 p May 9 ALS 2 p [1946 May 29] ALS 2 p F9 Miller, 1946 Jun-Dec 1946 Jun 6 ALS 2 p Jul 9 TLS 2 p Jul 9 TLS 2 p (letter begun as AL) Jul 15 TLS 1 p [1946 Sep 16] ALS 2 p [1946 Dec 21] ALS 2 p F10 Miller, 1947-1949 Includes a typescript poem, "Where to Experience Love, If Not Outside a Cathedral?," written by Fred Miller and bearing autograph revisions by Williams. The poem is enclosed in the May 20, 1949 letter, in which Williams discusses the poem. [1947 Feb 27] ACS 1 p 1947 Mar 28 TLS 1 p [1947 Jul 12] ACS 1 p (with small bag of salt from the Great Salt Lake) 1948 Mar 8 ALS 2 p 1949 Apr 26 TLS 2 p May 20 ALS 2 p (with Ts poem by Miller) F11 Miller, 1950-1954 Includes one letter from Florence Williams to Miller.  Jan 24 TLS 1 p 1950 Oct 18 TLS 1 p Dec 8 TLS 1 p 1951 Jun 13 TLS 1 p 1953 Aug 24 TLS 1 p 1954 Jan 28 ALS 4 p (Florence Williams to Miller) F12 Miller, 1957-1961 Includes three envelopes without accompanying letters. 1957 Aug 23 TLS 1 p Sep 30 TLS 2 p 1958 Sep 3 TLS 1 p 1961 May 2 TLS 1 p Jun 5 ACS 1 p (Florence Williams to Miller) [n.y.] Feb 8 TLS 1 p [n.d.] ALS 1 p F13 "Gutbucket and Gossamer," 1950-1962 Typescript of Fred Miller's story, "Gutbucket and Gossamer," which was published by Oscar Baron's Alicat Bookshop Press in 1950. Also includes two letters from Miller to Oscar Baron concerning the story, and a copy of Miller's resume. F14 The Massachusetts Review, 1973 A copy of the Winter 1973 issue of The Massachusetts Review which contains a section titled "A Williams Garland." The sections consist of four articles related to William Carlos Williams, including portions of Man Orchid, an uncompleted novel on which Williams, Miller, and Lydia Carlin collaborated. This complimentary issue was accompanied by a note from editor Jules Chametzky. Series IV. Letters to Emanuel Romano, 1951-1957 In addition to the eight letters from Williams to Romano, this series includes a letter from Romano to Williams, and two manuscripts written by Williams concerning Romano and his work. Emanuel Romano was a portrait painter and friend of Williams. His work included portraits of numerous poets and writers, including William Carlos Williams, Carson McCullers, W.H. Auden, Tennessee Williams, Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, and Andre Gide. F15 Romano, 1951-1957 Includes one letter from Romano to Williams. 1951 Aug 23 TLS 1 p [1951 Sep 3] TLS 1 p Nov 7 TLS 1 p Nov 16 TLS 1 p 1952 Jan 11 TLS 1 p Mar 25 TLS 1 p 1957 Jan 2 TLS 1 p Apr TL 1 p (Romano to Williams, may be a transcription) Jun 25 TLS 1 p F16 Williams's Essays Related to Romano, 1957 Mar-1968 Oct Includes Williams's four page typescript essay titled "The Broken Vase." The cover sheet bears the statement, "Reflections written by William Carlos Williams on the paintings of Emanuel Romano March 1957." Williams has signed page three of the essay. Also includes a nine-page carbon typescript of Williams's essay on Emanuel Romano included in the brochure for Romano's October 3-26, 1968 exhibition titled "Portraits of Poets & Writers" held at Gotham Book Mart Gallery, New York. Also includes a copy of the brochure. Series V. Pictures From Brueghel and Other Poems Galley Proofs,  This collection of poems by Williams was first published by New Directions in 1962. F17 Pictures From Brueghel and Other Poems,  Includes 58 sheets of galleys. Removed to Galley Section of the Manuscript Collection.
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