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May Swenson Papers (MSS111)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Manuscripts

Material Toward Books

Manuscripts By Others

Personal Papers

Ephemera

Audiovisual

Realia



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May Swenson Papers (MSS111), 1929-1998 | MSS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: May Swenson Papers (MSS111), 1929-1998Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1929-1998

ID: MSS/MSS/111

Primary Creator: Swenson, May (1919-1989)

Extent: 224.0 Boxes

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The May Swenson Papers contain manuscript and editorial material toward most of her books including Another Animal (1954), A Cage of Spines (1958), To Mix with Time: New and Selected Poems (1963), and Half Sun Half Sleep (1967). This material includes drafts of individual poems as well as letters to and from various editors, friends, and readers. Swenson’s correspondents include John Hall Wheelock, and Burroughs Mitchell, but the most fascinating portion of the May Swenson Papers is her correspondence with the American poet Elizabeth Bishop. The two were close friends and Washington University holds 268 of their letters written from 1950 to 1979, the year of Bishop’s death.

Collection Historical Note

Anna Thilda May "May" Swenson (May 28, 1913 – December 4, 1989) was an American poet and playwright. Born in Utah, Swenson grew up as the eldest of 10 children in a Mormon household where Swedish was spoken regularly and English was a second language. She received a B.S. from Utah State University in 1939 and taught poetry at as poet-in-residence at Bryn Mawr, the University of North Carolina, the University of California at Riverside, Purdue University and Utah State University. From 1959 to 1966, she worked as a manuscript reviewer at New Directions publishers. Swenson left New Directions Press in 1966 in an effort to focus completely on her own writing. She also served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1980 until her death in 1989.

Her poems were published in Antaeus, The Atlantic Monthly, Carleton Miscellany, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Saturday Review, Parnassus and Poetry. She received much recognition for her work, including: Guggenheim fellowship (1959), Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship (1960), Ford Foundation grant (1964), Bollingen Prize for poetry (1981), and MacArthur Fellowship (1987).

Since her first collection of poems, Another Animal, was published by Scribner in 1954. Swenson's other collections of poems include A Cage of Spines (1958), To Mix with Time: New and Selected Poems (1963), Half Sun Half Sleep (1967), Iconographs (1970), New & Selected Things Taking Place (1978), and In Other Words (1987). Posthumous collections of her work include The Love Poems (1991), Nature: Poems Old and New (1994), and May Out West (1996). She is also the author of three collections of poems for younger readers, including Poems to Solve (1966) and More Poems to Solve (1968); a collection of essays, The Contemporary Poet as Artist and Critic (1964); and a one-act play titled The Floor, which was produced in New York in the 1960s. As translator, she published Windows and Stones: Selected Poems of Tomas Tranströmer (1972), which received a medal of excellence from the International Poetry Forum.

Administrative Information

Repository: MSS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

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 Source: Gift and Purchase

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 1448. Laid in material, January 2, 1976

Accession number 1541. Gift of May Swenson, January 22, 1982

Accession number 1640. Purchase, November 5, 1984

Accession number 1646. Purchase from May Swenson, December 17, 1984

Accession number 1801. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, September 12, 1989

Accession number 1829. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, March 10, 1990

Accession number 1843. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, September 26, 1990

Accession number 1847. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, October 9, 1990

Accession number 1854. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, October 28, 1990

Accession number 1856. Gift of the Harry C. Smith, October 4, 1990

Accession number 1868. Gift of Diane Ackerman, March 6, 1991

Accession number 1869. Gift of Peggy Lockard, Pepper Publishing, March 6, 1991

Accession number 1876. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, May 2, 1991

Accession number 1885. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, June 11, 1991

Accession number 1918. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, June 28, 1991

Accession number 1927. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, August 7, 1991

Accession number 1935. Rozanne Knudson, October 21, 1991

Accession number 1936. Gift of Rozanne Knudson, December 30, 1991

Accession number 1948. Unknown, April 22, 1992

Accession number 1951. Gift of the Estate of May Swenson, July 27, 1992

Accession number 22750. Unknown, October 23, 2003

Accession number 22770. Unknown, October 23, 2003

Accession number 22780. Unknown

Accession number 22915. Purchase from Rozanne Knudson, October 13, 2003

Accession number 22942. Purchase from Carole Berglie, December 2, 1999

Accession number 22943. Unknown, Purchase

Accession number 22944. Estate of May Swenson, unknown

Accession number 23017. Unknown

Accession number 23018. Unknown

Accession number 23019. Unknown

Accession number 23020. Unknown

Accession number 23021. Unknown

Accession number 23029. Gift of Rozanne Knudson, November 3, 2003

Accession number 23035. Purchase from Rozanne Knudson, 2004

Accession number 23046. Rozanne Knudson, unknown

Accession number 23055. Unknown, September 8, 2004

Accession number 23056. Rozanne Knudson, unknown

Accession number 23070. Rozanne Knudson, January 2005

Accession number 23913. Gift of unknown, 2007

Accession number 23925. Gift of unknown, October 23, 2007

Accession number 23960. Purchase from the Estate of May Swenson, August 10, 2010

Accession number 2013.009. Purchase from Carole Berglie, January 1, 2013

Accession number MSS2016-015. Purchase from Carole Berglie, May 15, 2016

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


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts],
[Series 3: Material Toward Books],
[Series 4: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 5: Personal Papers],
[Series 6: Ephemera],
[Series 7: Audiovisual],
[Series 8: Realia],
[All]

Series 5: Personal PapersAdd to your cart.
Personal Papers consists of Swenson's general, medical, legal, financial materials, etc.
Sub-Series 5.1: Activity recordsAdd to your cart.
Box 169Add to your cart.
Folder 5414: Activity recordsAdd to your cart.
Consists of index cards contains information about Swenson's poetry reading, publications and miscellaneous activities.
Sub-Series 5.2: Address booksAdd to your cart.
One address book typed on 3X5 index cards.
Box 170Add to your cart.
Folder 5415-5416: Address booksAdd to your cart.
3 items
Sub-Series 5.3: ApplicationsAdd to your cart.
Box 170Add to your cart.
Folder 5417Add to your cart.
Item 1: American Heritage FoundationAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Unidentified applicationAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.4: AwardsAdd to your cart.
Box 170Add to your cart.
Folder 5418: Brandeis University Creative Arts Award, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 5419: Utah State University Centennial Recognition Award Honorary Degree, 1987Add to your cart.
Located in oversize.
Sub-Series 5.5: Birth certificateAdd to your cart.
Box 170Add to your cart.
Folder 5420: Birth certificateAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.6: CalendarsAdd to your cart.
Box 170Add to your cart.
Folder 5421-5423Add to your cart.
Three date books from 1983, 1988, and 1989. Two blank calendars from 1978 and 1987. Blank 1978 calendar located in oversize.
Sub-Series 5.7: Commonplace bookAdd to your cart.
Box 171Add to your cart.
Folder 5424: Commonplace bookAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.8: Contemporary AuthorsAdd to your cart.
Box 171Add to your cart.
Folder 5425: Contemporary AuthorsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.9: Contracts, 1953-1995Add to your cart.
Box 171Add to your cart.
Folder 5426-5427: Contracts, 1953-1995Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.10: Copyright information, 1966-1992Add to your cart.
Box 171Add to your cart.
Folder 5428-5429: Copyright information, 1966-1992Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.11: DeathAdd to your cart.
Materials relating to Swenson's death.
Box 172Add to your cart.
Folder 5430: Design for bench on Swenson's grave.Add to your cart.
Includes two memorial program for December 9, 1989
Folder 5431: May Swenson Symposium: Celebrating a Poet's Life and Work, Utah State UniversityAdd to your cart.
4 items. Two posters located in oversize.
Folder 5432: Memorial bookAdd to your cart.
Folder 5433: Memorial for Swenson at Jane Mayhall's house.Add to your cart.
2 items
Folder 5434: A Memorial Tribute to May Swenson, The Academy of American Poets.Add to your cart.
2 items
Sub-Series 5.12: DiplomasAdd to your cart.
Box 172Add to your cart.
Folder 5435: Logan High School diploma, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 5436: Utah State Agricultural College diploma, 1934Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.13: Driving test materialAdd to your cart.
Box 172Add to your cart.
Folder 5437: Driving test materialAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.14: Family historyAdd to your cart.
Box 173Add to your cart.
Folder 5438-5440: Family historyAdd to your cart.

Includes family tree information, copies of photographs, reminisces about Swenson by her brothers and sisters, and a copy of the Swenson Coat of Arms.

Also, includes information about Helen Richards and Edith Morgan, childhood friends of Swenson.

Sub-Series 5.15: FinancialAdd to your cart.
Box 173Add to your cart.
Folder 5441: Airline receiptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5442-5443: Bank books, 1977-1989Add to your cart.
Box 174Add to your cart.
Folder 5444: Bank receipts, 1955-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 5445: Bank statements, 1979-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 5446: Blue Cross Blue Shield bills (Medicare)Add to your cart.
Box 175Add to your cart.
Folder 5447-5448: Canceled checks, 1979-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 5449: Charitable contributionsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5450: Charles Scribner's Sons invoicesAdd to your cart.
Box 175-176Add to your cart.
Folder 5451-5453: Check stubs, 1958-1993Add to your cart.
Box 176Add to your cart.
Folder 5454: Citibank billsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5455: Credit card receiptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5456: Electric billsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5457: Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States statementsAdd to your cart.
Box 177Add to your cart.
Folder 5458-5460: General receipts, 1977-1998Add to your cart.
Box 178Add to your cart.
Folder 5461: General travel receiptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5462: Homeowners insurance billsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5463: Hotel receiptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5464-5465: Income and expenses lists, 1978-1988Add to your cart.
Box 179Add to your cart.
Folder 5466-5467: Medical bills, 1971-1989Add to your cart.
Includes notes on medical history by Swenson.
Folder 5468: Medical journalAdd to your cart.
Folder 5469: Pharmacy receiptsAdd to your cart.
Box 180Add to your cart.
Folder 5470: Property tax receiptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5471: Record bookAdd to your cart.
Folder 5472: Rent receiptsAdd to your cart.
Box 180-181Add to your cart.
Folder 5473-5475: Royalty statements, 1955-1993Add to your cart.
Box 181Add to your cart.
Folder 5476: Social Security informationAdd to your cart.
Folder 5477-5478: Taxes, 1977-1988Add to your cart.
Box 181-182Add to your cart.
Folder 5479-5482: Telephone bills, 1976-1988Add to your cart.
Box 182Add to your cart.
Folder 5483: Train ticketsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5484: Water billsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.16: Health insurance cardAdd to your cart.
Box 183Add to your cart.
Folder 5485: Health insurance cardAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.17: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation applications, 1952-1960Add to your cart.
Box 183Add to your cart.
Folder 5486-5492: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation applications, 1952-1960Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.18: JournalsAdd to your cart.
One journal is written entirely on postcards. Two journals from Swenson's European trip in 1960.
Box 183-184Add to your cart.
Folder 5493-5497: JournalsAdd to your cart.
3 items. One journal is written entirely on postcards. Two journals from Swenson's European trip in 1960.
Sub-Series 5.19: Legal papersAdd to your cart.
Box 184Add to your cart.
Folder 5498Add to your cart.
Item 1: Contract of sale for house in Sea Cliff.Add to your cart.
Item 2: Copies of court filings for the Estate of Margaret H. Swenson.Add to your cart.
Item 3: Miami police department report for auto theftAdd to your cart.
Item 4: Nassau County police department report for home theftAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.20: Membership cardsAdd to your cart.
Box 184Add to your cart.
Folder 5499Add to your cart.
Item 1: Friends of Libraries U.S.A.Add to your cart.
Includes handouts for a readathon in 1986.
Item 2: National Audubon SocietyAdd to your cart.
Item 3: National Organization for WomenAdd to your cart.
Item 4: New York Public LibraryAdd to your cart.
Item 5: PEN American CenterAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Poetry Society of AmericaAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Public CitizenAdd to your cart.
Item 8: United Amateur Press Association of AmericaAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.21: National Endowment for the Arts grant application, 1972-1973Add to your cart.
Box 184Add to your cart.
Folder 5500-5501: National Endowment for the Arts grant application, 1972-1973Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.22: The New Yorker Magazine Participation TrustAdd to your cart.
Box 184Add to your cart.
Folder 5502: The New Yorker Magazine Participation TrustAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.23: NotebooksAdd to your cart.
Box 184Add to your cart.
Folder 5503: NotebooksAdd to your cart.
3 items
Sub-Series 5.24: NotesAdd to your cart.
Box 185Add to your cart.
Folder 5504-5506: NotesAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.25: OrganizationsAdd to your cart.
Box 186Add to your cart.
Folder 5507: AARPAdd to your cart.
Folder 5508-5511: The Academy of American PoetsAdd to your cart.

Charter and By-Laws

Meeting minutes

Miscellaneous

Box 186-189Add to your cart.
Folder 512-5523: The American Academy of Arts and LettersAdd to your cart.

Ceremonial Programs

Charters and By-Laws

Membership books

Miscellaneous

Proceedings

Box 189Add to your cart.
Folder 5524: The Authors League of AmericaAdd to your cart.
Folder 5525: The Edward MacDowell AssociationAdd to your cart.
Box 189-190Add to your cart.
Folder 5526-5527: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationAdd to your cart.
Box 190Add to your cart.
Folder 5528: National League of American Pen WomenAdd to your cart.
Folder 5529: New York Foundation For the ArtsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5530: PEN American CenterAdd to your cart.
Folder 5531: The Poetry Society of AmericaAdd to your cart.
Folder 5532: Poets' Corner, The Cathedral Church of St. John the DivineAdd to your cart.
Folder 5533: Poets HouseAdd to your cart.
Folder 5534: United Amateur Press Association of AmericaAdd to your cart.
Box 190-191Add to your cart.
Folder 5535-5538: YaddoAdd to your cart.

Annual reports

By-laws

Meting minutes

Miscellaneous

Sub-Series 5.26: PassportAdd to your cart.
Box 191Add to your cart.
Folder 5539: PassportAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.27: Pedigree ChartAdd to your cart.
Box 191Add to your cart.
Folder 5540: Pedigree chartAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.28: Permissions filesAdd to your cart.
Box 192Add to your cart.
Folder 5541: Permissions filesAdd to your cart.
Consists of index cards, arranged by publisher, from the 1950s to 1987
Sub-Series 5.29: PlaybillsAdd to your cart.
Box 193Add to your cart.
Folder 5542Add to your cart.
Item 1: The Floor, The American Place TheatreAdd to your cart.
Item 2: The Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary, Utah State Agricultural College, 1931Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.30: Poetry contestsAdd to your cart.
Box 193Add to your cart.
Folder 5543: The American Academy of Poets Copernicus Award and Edgar Allan Poe AwardAdd to your cart.
Folder 5544: Artists FoundationAdd to your cart.
Folder 5545: Bollingen Prize in Poetry of the Yale University LibraryAdd to your cart.
Folder 5546: Creative Artists Public Service Program (CAPS) fellowshipAdd to your cart.
Folder 5547: Hallmark Honor Prizes, Kansas City Poetry ContestAdd to your cart.
Folder 5548: Harold Morton Landon Translation AwardAdd to your cart.
Folder 5549: International Poetry ForumAdd to your cart.
Folder 5550: The Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 5551: The Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 5552: Lavan Younger Poets Award, 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 5553: The Lenore Marshall Prize for PoetryAdd to your cart.
Folder 5554: Marshall Prize, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 5555: National Books Awards, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 5556: National Books Awards, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 5557: New York City High School Poetry Contest, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 5558: Poetry in Public Places, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 5559: Unidentified, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 5560: Unidentified, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 5561: University and College Poetry Prizes 1979-1983 Selections for AnthologyAdd to your cart.
Folder 5562: Whitman Citation, 1981Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.31: Postcard collectionAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5563: Postcard collectionAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.32: Report cardsAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5564Add to your cart.
Item 1: The Public Schools of Logan City Utah, 1922Add to your cart.
Item 2: Logan High School, 1926-1927Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.33: ResumesAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5565: ResumesAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.34: Scholarships and awards in Swenson's memoryAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5566Add to your cart.
Item 1: May Swenson Creative Writing Scholarship Endowment FundAdd to your cart.
Item 2: May Swenson Poetry AwardAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.35: Social Security cardAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5567: Social security cardAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.36: TeachingAdd to your cart.
Box 194Add to your cart.
Folder 5568: American Life as Seen by Contemporary WritersAdd to your cart.
Folder 5569: Breadloaf Writers' ConferenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 5570: On Teaching How Poetry Can't Be TaughtAdd to your cart.
Folder 5571: Purdue UniversityAdd to your cart.
Consists of lessons and exercises.
Box 195Add to your cart.
Folder 5572: Unidentified class notesAdd to your cart.
Folder 5573: University of North Carolina - GreensboroAdd to your cart.
Folder 5574: Utah State UniversityAdd to your cart.
Folder 5575: Washington University in St. Louis, Visiting Hurst ProfessorAdd to your cart.
Folder 5576: Workshop in Poetry at the "Y"Add to your cart.
Folder 5577: The Writing and Reading of PoetryAdd to your cart.
Folder 5578: The Writing of Poetry and Short Fiction, University of California, RiversideAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.37: TravelAdd to your cart.
Box 195Add to your cart.
Folder 5579: TravelAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.38: Who's Who in AmericaAdd to your cart.
Box 195Add to your cart.
Folder 5580: Who's Who in AmericaAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5.39: Yearbook pageAdd to your cart.
Box 195Add to your cart.
Folder 5581: Yearbook pageAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts],
[Series 3: Material Toward Books],
[Series 4: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 5: Personal Papers],
[Series 6: Ephemera],
[Series 7: Audiovisual],
[Series 8: Realia],
[All]


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