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James Merrill Papers (MSS083)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Box 1-112, Folders 1-2880

Journals, Box 113-124, Folders 2881-2954

Ouija Material, Box 125-126, Folders 2955-2977

Manuscripts, Box 127-170, Folders 2978-5326

Material Towards Books, Box 170-182, Folders 5327-5497

Audiovisual, Box 183-262

Personal Papers, Box 263-282, Folders 5498-5615

Ephemera, Box 283-302, Folders 5616-5834

Realia, Box 303-310



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James Merrill Papers (MSS083), 1926-2003 | MSS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: James Merrill Papers (MSS083), 1926-2003Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1926-2003

ID: MSS/MSS/083

Primary Creator: Merrill, James Ingram

Extent: 175.5 Linear Feet

Languages: English, Greek,Modern(1453-)

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection holds a wide variety of materials that document James Ingram Merrill's entire life.

The extensive correspondence is between Merrill and his family, friends, business associates, and others. Thousands of pages of heavily annotated notebooks, typescripts, worksheets, and galleys show Merrill's work towards poems, fiction, and drama. The audiovisual and personal material document other aspects of Merrill's life.

Collection Historical Note

James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City on March 3, 1926, and grew up in Manhattan and Southampton. He was the son of Charles Merrill, co-founder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, and his second wife, Hellen Ingram. He began writing poems as a child, and at age sixteen, while he was in prep school, his father had a book of them privately printed under the title Jim's Books.

Merrill's studies at Amherst College were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945. Another book, The Black Swan, was privately printed in 1946 while he was still in college. Following his graduation in 1947, he taught for a year at Bard College. His first trade book, First Poems, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1951 to critical acclaim. In 1956 he used a portion of his inheritance to found the Ingram Merrill Foundation, which has since awarded grants to hundreds of artists and writers. Over the next decade he published two novels, The Seraglio (1957) and The (Diblos) Notebook (1965) as well as two books of poems, The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace (1959) and Water Street (1962). His 1966 collection of poems, Nights and Days, won the National Book Award and brought his work a wider audience.

He went on to earn numerous awards for his poetry, including the Bollingen Prize for Braving the Elements (1972), the Pulitzer Prize for Divine Comedies (1976), and a second National Book Award for Mirabell (1978). In 1983, his epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover (1982) won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

On February 6, 1995 James Merrill died of a heart attack in Tucson, Arizona. His last book, A Scattering of Salts, was published a month later.

Administrative Information

Repository: MSS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Some Restrictions. Contact Curator.

Use Restrictions:

Some Restrictions. Contact Curator.

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Method: Most of the material was donated by James Merrill. Other portions of the collection were purchased from various individuals.

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Box 1-112, Folders 1-2880],
[Series 2: Journals, Box 113-124, Folders 2881-2954],
[Series 3: Ouija Material, Box 125-126, Folders 2955-2977],
[Series 4: Manuscripts, Box 127-170, Folders 2978-5326],
[Series 5: Material Towards Books, Box 170-182, Folders 5327-5497],
[Series 6: Audiovisual, Box 183-262],
[Series 7: Personal Papers, Box 263-282, Folders 5498-5615],
[Series 8: Ephemera, Box 283-302, Folders 5616-5834],
[Series 9: Realia, Box 303-310],
[All]

Series 9: Realia, Box 303-310Add to your cart.
Box 303Add to your cart.
Item 1: The Lawrenceville Medal for Eminent Achievement, Box 303, 1991: October 11.Add to your cart.
The Lawrenceville Medal for Eminent Achievement: 3.5" diameter silver medal with red and black ribbon necklace, engraved on back "James I. Merrill '43, October 11, 1991". In wooden box.
Item 2: The National Arts Club Medal, Box 303, 1989: February 23.Add to your cart.
The National Arts Club: 2.5" diameter bronze medal, with lady on front holding award with words "Medal of Honor", engraved on back "For Distinction in Literature, James Merrill, February 23, 1989". In box.
Item 3: Brandeis University Creative Arts Award Medal, Box 303, 1985.Add to your cart.
Brandeis University Creative Arts Award: 3" diameter bronze medal with woman, man/horse, and boy with trumpet on front, engraved on back "Poetry, James Merrill, 1985". In box.
Item 4: The Elmer H. Bobst Award Medal, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
The Elmer H. Bobst Award for Contributing to Arts & Letters: 3" diameter bronze medal, with face of Elmer H. Bobst on front, with wording on back "The Bobst Library, New York University" with image of the library building. In box.
Item 5: The New York Public Library Literary Lions Medal, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
The New York Public Library Literary Lions Award: 2" diameter bronze medal with orange ribbon necklace, with lion's head on front, with wording on back "A Decade of Literary Lions." In box.
Item 6: American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award Medal, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
The Golden Plate Award Medal: 2.5" diameter gold medal with purple ribbon necklace, wtih seated woman statue on front with words "Gathering of the Greats", with wording on the back "American Academy of Achievement, Banquet of the Golden Plate".
Item 7: Connecticut Commission on the Arts Medal, Box 303, 1983.Add to your cart.
Connecticut Commission on the Arts Arts Award: 3" diameter bronze metal with Connecticut state crest on front, engraved on back "Arts Award, James Merrill, 1983." In box.
Item 8: The Sabrina Society of Amherst College Medal, Box 303, 1963.Add to your cart.
The Sabrina Society of Amherst College: 2.75" diameter golden medal, with seated lady statue on front, with wording on back "It Asks of Us a Certain Height, Robert Frost At Amherst, 1963" with building and trees. In box.
Item 9: National Book Award, Box 303, 1979.Add to your cart.
National Book Award award, wooden frame holding a mock printing press block with an excerpt from Article I of the US Constitution. Metal printing plate not securely attached to frame.
Item 10: Presidents Club of Florida Award, Box 303, 1992.Add to your cart.
The Presidents Club of Florida State University Honors James I. Merrill as a Member.
Item 11: American Academy of Achievement nametag, Box 303, 1991.Add to your cart.
Nametag inscribed "James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry." Salute to Excellence Weekend ribbon in separate envelope.
Item 12: Salute to Excelence Weekend ribbon, Box 303, 1991.Add to your cart.
Ribbon with words "1991 Salute to Excellence Weekend, June 27-29, Guest of Honor".
Item 13: American Academy of Arts and Letters Pin, Box 303, 1989: December 1.Add to your cart.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters: 1x1" pin with horse with wings, engraved on back "James Merrill, December 1, 1989".
Item 14: Button of unidentified man, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Button of a photo of an unidentified man.
Item 15: The Changing Light at Sandover, Box 303, 1983.Add to your cart.
By James Merrill, New York: Atheneum, 1983. Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Book with burgundy leather cover in red book box.
Item 16: Pair of eye glasses, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Green glasses (broken) in red leather case.
Item 17: Camera, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
JM's camera.
Item 18: Stationery with envelopes, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
"James Merrill, 165 East 72nd Street, Apt. 9A, New York, New York 10021" and envelop with address on back flap. Stored in VII. Personal Papers - General, 14. Miscellany, folder 61.
Item 19: Stationery: Name cards, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Box of name cards with name James Merrill.
Item 20: Photograph, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
2.75x6" photo stand-up wooden cutout of James Merrill as a young boy.
Item 21: Silver cup, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Silver cup, with "James Ingram Merrill" engraved with leaves, in brown flannel bag with words "Tiffany & Co., New York."
Item 22: Silverware, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Silver silverware includes: baby spoon with engraving of "This little piggy went to market" and "Jim," baby fork, butter knife, spread knife, spoon with long skinny end.
Item 23: Baby boots, Box 303, ca. 1926.Add to your cart.
Pair of bronzed baby boots, engraved on each bottom is "Jimmy Merrill 1926." Each came in a plastic sack with handwritten label by Hellen Ingram Plummer, "James Ingram Merrill's first shoes, 1927."
Item 24: Baby shoe, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
One baby shoe, coated so gold/copper in color and stiff.One baby shoe, coated so gold/copper in color and stiff.
Item 25: Poster: The whole view of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Box 303, no date.Add to your cart.
Poster 38x12", "The whole view of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall" in mailing tube.
Item 26: Jimmy Merrill figurine, no dateAdd to your cart.
Wooden figurine of Merrill as a child.
Box 304Add to your cart.
Item 26: Death mask, 1995.Add to your cart.
Death mask of James Merrill made out of white plaster and bronze.
Box 305Add to your cart.
Item 27: Plastic canvas piece, no date.Add to your cart.
Plastic canvas piece, with green background and words "Pieces, ""James," and "March" with additional decoration.
Item 28: Citation, 1984: December 4.Add to your cart.
New York University Presidential Citation for James Merrill, in burgundy leather folder.
Item 29: Blank scrapbook, no date.Add to your cart.
Box 306Add to your cart.
Item 30: Family tree (1/2), no date.Add to your cart.

Family tree to be filled out. The Record of My Ancestry: The ____ (left blank) Family, Book of Origins, Private and Personal, with Historical Notes, Coats-of-Arms and Photographs. Traced by ___ (left blank).

Surnames included: Merrill, Wilson, Ingram, Hill, Caldwell.

Box 307Add to your cart.
Item 31: Family tree (2/2), no date.Add to your cart.

Family tree to be filled out. The Record of My Ancestry: The ____ (left blank) Family, Book of Origins, Private and Personal, with Historical Notes, Coats-of-Arms and Photographs. Traced by ___ (left blank).

Surnames included: Merrill, Ingram.

Includes letter from "mama" to "son," suggesting that her copy of the book (this copy) should be xeroxed.

Box 308Add to your cart.
Item 32: American Families: Genealogical and Biographical Book, no date.Add to your cart.
American Families: Genealogical and Biographical Book. A Compilation of The American Historical Company, Inc. New York.
Box 309Add to your cart.
Item 33: Graduation hood: Amherst, 1968.Add to your cart.
Graduation hood from Amherst College in purple, white, and black.
Item 34: Graduation hood: Yale, 1982.Add to your cart.
Graduation hood from Yale University in blue, white, and black.
Box 310Add to your cart.
Item 35: Baby clothes, no date.Add to your cart.

Includes:

White muslin-like, long dress with long sleeves; lace around the collar and bottom of sleeves; two buttons close the back.

Yellow muslin-like short-sleeve shirt with buttons up the front; buttons around the middle and pocket with button.

Beige cotton tank top.

Beige shirt with buttons up the front; embroidered ribbing up the front and around the collar.

Light beige jumper dress without sleeves; button at the top of each shoulder; embroidered flowers and dots along the bottom edge.

White muslin-like short; button close on each side.

Box OversizeAdd to your cart.
Item 36: Poster announcing poetry reading by JM, no date.Add to your cart.
Poster 11x14", announcing poetry reading by JM. Located in oversize.
Item 37: Poster announcing poetry reading by JM (U of Western Ontario), no date.Add to your cart.
Poster 16x24", announcing poetry reading by JM at the Unversity of Western Ontario. Located in oversize.
Item 38: Poster announcing poetry reading by JM (Princeton U), 1967.Add to your cart.
Poster 14x22", announcing poetry reading by JM at Princeton University. Located in oversize.
Item 39: Poster: Mary McCarthy tribute at Vassar College, 1990.Add to your cart.
Poster 15x23", announcing Mary McCarthy tribute at Vassar College. Located in oversize.
Item 40: Poster: A Different Person (4 copies), 1993.Add to your cart.
Poster 10.5x16.5", announcing the publication of A Different Person. 4 copies. Located in oversize.
Item 41: Homemade Ouija board, no date.Add to your cart.
29" x 23" framed and mounted.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Box 1-112, Folders 1-2880],
[Series 2: Journals, Box 113-124, Folders 2881-2954],
[Series 3: Ouija Material, Box 125-126, Folders 2955-2977],
[Series 4: Manuscripts, Box 127-170, Folders 2978-5326],
[Series 5: Material Towards Books, Box 170-182, Folders 5327-5497],
[Series 6: Audiovisual, Box 183-262],
[Series 7: Personal Papers, Box 263-282, Folders 5498-5615],
[Series 8: Ephemera, Box 283-302, Folders 5616-5834],
[Series 9: Realia, Box 303-310],
[All]


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