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William Everson Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Box 1

Manuscripts, Box 2

Bibliography and Criticism, Box 2

Miscellany, Box 2

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William Everson Papers, 1942-1971 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: William Everson Papers, 1942-1971Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1942-1971

ID: MS/MS/ms042

Primary Creator: Everson, William, 1912-1994

Extent: 2.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 09/15/1966

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The William Everson Papers include correspondence between the author and the well-known book dealer Henry Wenning. Wenning was a friend and confidante to a great number of authors, many of whom are included in Washington University's Modern Literature Collection. He acted as publisher for Everson's poetry collection, The Blowing of the Seed (1966), and much of this correspondence deals with this book. The collection also contains a number of poetry manuscripts and galley proofs bearing Everson's corrections.

Collection Historical Note

William Everson (September 10, 1912 – June 3, 1994), also known as Brother Antoninus, was an American poet, literary critic, and small press printer. Born in Sacramento, California, Everson attended Fresno State College, but left in 1935 to write poetry. In 1943, he was sent to a Civilian Public Service (CPS) work camp, Camp Angel, for conscientious objectors in Waldport, Oregon. Everson founded a fine-arts program in which the CPS men staged plays and poetry-readings and learned the craft of fine printing. During his time as a conscientious objector, Everson completed The Residual Years, a volume of poems that launched him to national fame.

In 1949, Everson converted to Roman Catholicism, joining the Dominican Order in 1951 and adopting the name "Brother Antoninus." Soon he became involved with the Catholic Worker Movement in Oakland, California. Everson's religious commitments removed him from the literary scene for a number of years, but the San Francisco Renaissance of the late 1950's drew him out and he reappeared in 1957. He left the Dominicans in 1969 to embrace a growing sexual awakening, and married a woman many years his junior. Everson was stricken by Parkinson's Disease in 1972, and its effects on him became a powerful element in his public readings.

Everson served as poet-in-residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz during the 1970s and 1980s. There he founded the Lime Kiln Press, a small press through which he printed highly sought-after fine-art editions of his own poetry, as well as of the works of other poets, including Robinson Jeffers and Walt Whitman.

Everson produced numerous books of poetry and prose under his given name and as Brother Antoninus. Much of his work arose from his political/ethical positions prior to his religious conversion (notably his War Elegies (1944) and Waldport Poems (1944), which were written and printed at the Waldport Work Center for conscientious objectors) and from his religious convictions after 1949. Critics have had both extremely positive and extremely negative reactions to Everson's poetry, much of which is autobiographical. Some have praised him for his honesty and intensity, while others have condemned him for dishonesty and pretentiousness.

Administrative Information

Repository: MS 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: Purchase and gift

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 780. Purchase from Henry Wenning, September 15, 1966.

Accession number 788. Purchase from Henry Wenning, November 3, 1966.

Accession number 806. Gift of William Everson, January 25, 1967.

Accession number 943. Purchase from Stonehill, July 12, 1968.

Accession number 1065. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 14, 1969.

Accession number 1070. Purchase from Henry Wenning, August 5, 1969.

Accession number 1135. Henry Wenning, January 21, 1970.

Accession number 1217. Purchase from Serendipity Books, September 1, 1970.

Accession number 1265. Gift of Henry Wenning, March 19, 1971.

Accession number 1284. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 23, 1969.

Accession number 1292. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 28, 1969.

Accession number 1295. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 28, 1969.

Accession number 1311. Gift of Henry Wenning, October 20, 1971.

Accession number 1752. Laid in material, February 1, 1988.

Accession number 23057. Purchase from Peter Howard, 2002.

Accession number MSS2016-018. Purchase from Ralph B, Sipper, August 8, 2016.

Accession number MSS2016-029. Purchase from Ralph B, Sipper, December 16, 2016.

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],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Box 2],
[Series 3: Bibliography and Criticism, Box 2],
[Series 4: Miscellany, Box 2],

Series 1: Correspondence, Box 1Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: William Everson/Henry WenningAdd to your cart.
The correspondence of Everson and Wenning, begins with the printing history of many early Everson works. Personal and philosophical topics become increasingly central, with references to individuals including James Lowell, Jonathan Williams, Mary Fabilli, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Clark Powell, James Laughlin, Kenneth Rexroth, Philip Whalen, etc. Many of the letters concern The blowing of the seed [collection of poems] by Everson and published by Wenning. Everson spends much time discussing a work in progress, Tongs of jeopardy [unpublished essay], dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In one long letter, 1966: September 26, he discusses Jacqueline Kennedy's actions and motives and relates them to events in his own life. He discusses to a limited extent the erotic and religious elements in his work. Everson items are autograph and typescript letters and post cards; those of Wenning are primarily typescript [carbon] copies.
Folder 1: 1963Add to your cart.
15 items, 26 pages
Folder 2: 1964: January - MayAdd to your cart.
15 items, 25 pages and 1 clipping
Folder 3: 1964: June - DecemberAdd to your cart.
16 items, 30 pages
Folder 4: 1965: January - JuneAdd to your cart.
17 items, 30 pages and 1 post card
Folder 5: 1965: July - DecemberAdd to your cart.
14 items, 24 pages
Folder 6: 1966: January - JuneAdd to your cart.
15 items, 28 pages
Folder 7: 1966: July - DecemberAdd to your cart.
15 items, 38 pages
Folder 8: 1967: January - JuneAdd to your cart.
6 items, 10 pages
Folder 9: 1967: July - DecemberAdd to your cart.
14 items, 27 pages
Folder 10: 1968Add to your cart.
10 items, 16 pages
Folder 11: 1969-1971, no dateAdd to your cart.
7 items, 9 pages
Sub-Series 2: GeneralAdd to your cart.
General correspondence includes one early letter from Everson to Mona Van Duyn, 1945: October 9, dealing with Everson's War Elegies. The bulk of the items falls between 1965 and 1966 and includes correspondence between Claude Fredericks, printer, and Henry Wenning, publisher of The Blowing of the Seed. Other correspondents represented include Tom Parkinson, David Meltzer, Joseph Blumenthal of The Spiral Press, Robert Boyle, and Robert Hawley of Oyez.
Folder 12: 1945: October 9 - 1965: August 11Add to your cart.
21 items, 24 pages and 2 envelopes
Folder 13: 1966: February 19 - 1972: January 4, no dateAdd to your cart.
25 items, 33 pages
Series 2: Manuscripts, Box 2Add to your cart.
Arranged alphabetically by title. Consists of collections of poems and single poems and prose
Folder 14: Contract for printing of The Blowing of the Seed [collection of poems] by William Everson. Printed document signed by Claude Fredericks and Henry Wenning, 1965: July 10Add to your cart.
1 item, 1 page
Folder 15: The Blowing of the Seed [collection of poems]. Typescript corrected in ink and signed by Brother Antoninus, 1965Add to your cart.
1 item, 13 pages
Folder 16: The Blowing of the Seed [collection of poems]. Typescript [photocopy], printer's copy, [1965]Add to your cart.
Folder 17: The Blowing of the Seed [collection of poems]. Page proof, incomplete, corrected in ink. Signed by Brother Antoninus, 1967, [1965]Add to your cart.
1 item, 7 pages and 1 envelope
Folder 18: Wenning, Henry. Bibliographical note concerning The Blowing of the Seed by William Everson. Typescript, corrected in ink, and typescript [carbon] copies, [1966]Add to your cart.
2 items, 4 pages
Folder 19: Eizo, pub. Prospectus for A Canticle to the Waterbirds [poem] by William Everson, with pictures by Allen Say, [1968]Add to your cart.
1 item, 3 pages
Folder 20: In the Fictive Wish [collection of poems]. Introduction. Typescript corrected in ink, [1952-1956]Add to your cart.
1 item, 13 pages
Folder 20.1: Foreward to A Man Who Writes Add to your cart.
Typescript, 4 pages
Folder 21: The Residual Years [collection of poems]. Rejected poems. Three proofs of one page, with an autograph note by Henry Wenning, [no date]Add to your cart.
4 items, 4 pages
Folder 22: University of Detroit. Fresco: The University of Detroit Quarterly [literary magazine] Volume IX, Number 3. Containing A Savagery of Love [poem] by Brother Antoninus and a bibliography annotated by Everson, 1959: SpringAdd to your cart.
1 item, 46 pages
Folder 23: Single Source [collection of poems]. Galley proof. Two sets of galleys, one corrected; one, incomplete, uncorrectedAdd to your cart.
2 items, 40 galleys
Folder 24: Duncan, Robert Edward. Single Source [review]. Typescript, on verso of unidentified printed sheets containing review notices concerning Everson's work. Review retyped and reparagraphed by Everson, [1966]Add to your cart.
1 item, 6 pages
Folder 25: "The Tongs of Jeopardy; Reflections On the Death of President Kennedy" [essay], 1963Add to your cart.
1 item, 14 pages
Folder 25.1: "The Tongs of Jeopardy; Reflections On the Death of President Kennedy" [essay], 1963Add to your cart.
1 item. 14 pages. Includes seven corrections in ink persumably by Everson.
Folder 26: Work done since the Masculine Dead [collection of poems]. Typescript with autograph corrections and an explanatory note by Everson on paper wrapper, 1942Add to your cart.
Located in oversize. 1 item, 53 pages
Folder 27: "A Canticle to the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy", [1959]Add to your cart.
Typescript, 1 page
Series 3: Bibliography and Criticism, Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 28: The original manuscripts of William Everson (Brother Antoninus): Part II. (The veritable years: 1949-1969). Typescript [photocopy], with a note by [Henry Wenning]: 1 of 9 copies, signed. Dated by Everson. In blue binder. Compiler unknown, 1971: June 24Add to your cart.
1 item, 361 pages
Series 4: Miscellany, Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Caedmon [record company]. The latest work from Caedmon [advertising flyer]. Advertising Carl Sandburg reading Fog and other poems (TC 1253), The savagery of love: Brother Antoninus reads his poetry (TC 1260), Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience, read by Archibald MacLeish (TC 1263), and Bhagavad-Gita (TC 1249)., 1968: AugustAdd to your cart.
1 item, 2 pages
Folder 30: Two photographs of William Everson, 1965: JulyAdd to your cart.
2 items
Folder 31: Reviews and clippings: [circa 1967]. Childs, James. "Brother Antoninus Poetry a Testament to Great Gifts of Man: Woman and God [book review]. Review of The Rose of Solitude [collection of poems] by Brother Antoninus. Photocopy of clipping from unidentified journal. With an autograph note by Everson. [no date]. Coor, John P. Monastery. "Poet Tells of Violent Search for God" [newspaper article]. Clipped from the San Francisco Inquirer and concerning William EversonAdd to your cart.
2 items, 5 pages
Folder 32: A slip of paper with Brother Antoninus' address at St. Albert's College. Two copyright registry slips for Everson works, taped to a cardAdd to your cart.
Folder 33: William Everson: An Anarcho-Pacifist Poet and Printer Emerges from Waldport, 1945-59 by Thomas ParkinsonAdd to your cart.
Typescript [photocopy], 10 pages

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Box 1],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Box 2],
[Series 3: Bibliography and Criticism, Box 2],
[Series 4: Miscellany, Box 2],

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