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Women's Literary
Papers and Manuscripts

Selected Primary Sources

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Manuscripts and Archival Resources

Historical manuscripts and archives include the papers, letters, diaries, photographs, account books, ledgers, and records of individuals, families, and organizations. Unpublished finding aids to manuscript and archival collections are available in Special Collections, and a growing number of these have been posted on the Library's server for access via the Internet.

In general, University of Delaware manuscript finding aids include biographical notes, scope and content notes, series outlines, series descriptions, and container lists. All complete finding aids, including container lists, are available in the repository. In addition to the unpublished finding aids and inventories, Special Collections maintains a database of literary and historical correspondence and manuscripts.

A selected listing of these sources is included below, along with their manuscript collection numbers. For assistance of any kind, please contact a Librarian in Special Collections.

MSS 99 F252 Sara Teasdale Letters to Orrick Johns, 1909-1914, 44 items.

Letters from the American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) to fellow poet and literary editor (of The Mirror), Orrick Johns. Teasdale praises and critiques Johns's poetry, and discusses her own writing and her work in general.

MSS 105 Emily Holmes Coleman Papers, 1852-1988 (bulk dates 1930-1970), 50 linear ft.

Papers of the American expatriate writer. During the 1920s, Emily Coleman (1899-1974) was associated with the group of writers in Paris who contributed to transition magazine; in the latter decades of her life she was actively involved with Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker. In addition to Coleman's manuscripts, personal notebooks and diaries, family correspondence, and memorabilia, the papers include extensive literary and personal correspondence from such figures as Djuna Barnes, Antonia White, Peggy Guggenheim, George Barker, Kathleen Raine, Dylan Thomas, and others.

MSS 113 Alice Dunbar-Nelson Papers, 1895-1942, 12 linear ft.

Papers of the African-American author and social activist, Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935 ), who resided in Wilmington, Delaware. The papers include substantial personal, professional, and literary correspondence; manuscripts of Dunbar-Nelson's poetry, fiction, essays, and journalism; diaries and scrapbooks; and material relating to her work for the NAACP, the American Friends Service Committee, and other social and political organizations. Of particular note are the extensive correspondence between Dunbar-Nelson and her first husband, the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the detailed diaries Dunbar-Nelson maintained throughout most of her adult life.

MSS 114 Elva de Pue Matthews Papers, 1917-1962 (bulk dates 1917-1949), 2 linear ft.

Correspondence, literary manuscripts, and papers of American author Elva de Pue Matthews (1889-1962). The papers relate primarily to Matthews's literary activities,and include important correspondence from such figures as R.P. Blackmur, Floyd Dell, Waldo Frank, Emily Coleman, Genevieve Taggard, Jacques and Marissa Maritain, William Troy, and others.

MSS 131 Kay Boyle Papers, 1930-1991 (bulk dates 1960-1986), 6 linear ft.

Kay Boyle (1902-1992) was a prominent American expatriate, living in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s; she continued her career as a poet, short story writer, novelist, journalist, teacher, and political activist after returning to the States. This collection of her papers consists of correspondence; manuscripts of Boyle's essays, plays, translations, and critical works; and research notes. Of particular note is the material relating to two unpublished works focusing on a history of modern Germany and a history of German women.

MSS 142 Sara Teasdale Letters to Joyce and Aline Kilmer, 1912-1932, 58 items.

Letters from the American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) to fellow poets Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) and his wife Aline (1888-1941). Teasdale wrote four letters to Joyce Kilmer before he was killed in battle in World War I. Afterwards, she continued a warm correspondence with Aline Kilmer, exchanging personal news and reports of writing projects. The letters include two poems and a photograph.

MSS 149 Gertrude Käsebier Papers, 1894-ca. 1940 (bulk dates after 1934), .3 linear ft.

The work of American photographer Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) was admired by Alfred Stieglitz; she was a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement. These papers consist of manuscripts of reminiscences, including Käsebier's autbiographical notes, and newspaper clippings collected by immediate family members to document the personal experiences of the noted American pictorial photographer.

MSS 183 Collection of Diane Di Prima Letters and Poetry, 1957-1971, 31 items.

This small group of papers relating to the American poet and small press publisher Diane Di Prima (1934- ) includes a collection of her letters to her parents and the manuscripts for a collection of poems.

MSS 198 Gertrude Käsebier Collection, ca. 1865-1951 (bulk dates 1890-1934), .5 linear ft.

A sample of American photographer Gertude Käsebier's (1852-1934) portrait work and pictorial assignments is available in this collection, which consists of periodicals featuring her work and a group of Käsebier's family photographs.

MSS 200 Katherine Hoskins Papers, 1888-1988 (bulk dates 1950-1969), 4 linear ft.

The papers of the American poet Katherine Hoskins (1909-1988) include manuscripts of her published and unpublished work, personal notebooks, family correspondence and memorabilia, printed material, and a small collection of literary correspondence.

MSS 258 Florence Reynolds Collection related to Jane Heap and the Little Review, 1883-1978 (bulk dates 1908-1947, 1976-1978), 5 linear ft.

This collection includes material relating to the American expatriate author Jane Heap (1883-1964), who was co-editor with Margaret Anderson of the Little Review. The papers belonged to Florence Reynolds (1879-1949), who was Jane Heap's lifelong friend and benefactor, and include correspondence from Heap and Margaret Anderson, photographs, manuscripts, artwork, memorabilia, and a complete run of the Little Review.

MSS 262 Kay Boyle Papers relating to the Citizens' Mission to Cambodia, 1960-1979 (bulk dates 1966, 1979), 1 linear ft.

In 1966, the American author and activist Kay Boyle (1902-1992) accepted an invitation from "Americans Want to Know" to join a fact-finding mission to explore controversial American foreign policy in Cambodia. These papers include Boyle's diaries, correspondence, reference sources, reports, and speeches from her work as a member of the Citizens' Mission to Cambodia.

MSS 287 Kay Boyle Papers relating to Research on Irish Women, 1920-1988 (bulk dates 1976-1981), 2.3 linear ft.

Kay Boyle's interest in women's struggles for civil and economic rights brought her to Ireland in 1976 to begin research for a book about the women of Ireland. The project was not completed, but this collection includes Boyle's notebooks, letters, books, peridoicals, clippings, photographs, drafts, poems, interviews, audio notes, and pamphlets.

MSS 362 Berta Ruck Travel Journals, 1928-1937, 6 vol.

These volumes of hybrid diaries, workbooks, and scrapbooks were compiled by Welsh novelist Berta Ruck (1876-1978). The journals include partial drafts of her works in progress; photographs, postcards, pressed flowers, and other momentoes of her journeys; correspondence; and clippings of reviews of Ruck's novels or real life incidents she incorporated into her fiction. Ruck's travels span the European continent and North Africa.

MSS xxx Elizabeth Jennings Papers 1940-1994, 5 linear ft.

English poet Elizabeth Jennings (1926- ) was linked to a group active in England in the 1940s and 1950s that was known as The Movement. Several groups of her papers contain correspondence from Jennings to her parents dating from 1957-1959, numerous drafts of poems, notebooks, including childhood notebooks, radio scripts, manuscripts of critical works, and the manuscript of Jennings's unpublished autobiography.

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Related Collections

MSS 103 John Malcolm Brinnin Papers, 1930-1981 15.5 linear ft.

American poet, editor, teacher, and former director of the YMHA Poetry Center in New York, John Malcolm Brinnin lived from 1916 to 1998. His papers contain important groups of correspondence and manuscripts from a number of significant women authors including Dore Ashton, Djuna Barnes, Elizabeth Bishop, Elizabeth Bowen, Kay Boyle, Jean Garrigue, Denise Levertov, Marianne Moore, Katherine Anne Porter, Kathleen Raine, Anne Sexton, Edith Sitwell, Jean Stafford, Alice B. Toklas, and Helen Vendler.

MSS 110 Archive of Pagany, 1925-1970 (bulk dates 1929-1933), 5.5 linear ft.

This American little magazine was founded and edited by Richard Johns (1904-1970) and flourished during the 1930s. The archive comprises Johns' correspondence with and manuscripts from many of the most significant American authors of the period, including such women authors as Kay Boyle, Mary Butts, H.D., Josephine Herbst, Josephine Johnson, Meridel Le Suer, Janet Lewis, Harriet Monroe, Marianne Moore, Katherine Anne Porter, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Muriel Rukeyser, and Gertrude Stein.

MSS 111 Louis Untermeyer Papers, 1902-1972 (bulk dates 1912-1935), 5 linear ft.

The papers of American author and editor Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) include correspondence and manuscripts from many women authors including Leonie Adams, Grace Conkling, Nathalia Crane, H.D., Edna Ferber, Phyllis McGinley, Harriet Monroe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Muriel Rukeyser, Genevieve Taggard, Sara Teasdale, and Sylvia Townsend Warner.

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