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Walter Lowenfels Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Incoming Correspondence

Outgoing Correspondence

Files related to edition of Where is Vietnam?

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Walter Lowenfels Papers, 1966-1967 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: Walter Lowenfels Papers, 1966-1967Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1966-1967

ID: MS/MS/ms074

Primary Creator: Lowenfels, Walter (1897-1976)

Extent: 7.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 09/30/1966

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Walter Lowenfels collection includes letters primarily to Walter Lowenfels or Marjorie Elizabeth (Nan) Braymer, arranged alphabetically by sender, concerning contributions to Where is Vietnam?, payments, editorial policy, criticism, little magazines, sales of worksheets, reactions to book's publication, and including biographical and bibliographic sketches of many correspondents. Principal correspondents include: George Abbe, Robert Bly, Nan Braymer, Kirby Congdon, James Dickey, Richard Eberhart, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, David Ignatow, Sybil Kaufman, Harry Lewis, Marya Mannes, Morton Marcus, Felix Pollak, David Rogers, John Tagliabue, others, including Lynn Deming, Doubleday editor of anthology, circa 365 items; Lowenfels letters (largely carbons), March 1966-Oct. 1967, to various poets, publishers, others, soliciting, accepting, rejecting poems for book, discussing textual and editorial changes, and answering various oriticisms of book, circa 450 items; biographical sketches of contributors drafted from information sent to Lowenfels, drafts of the foreword and table of contents of the anthology, circa 313 pages

Also included are manuscript, typescript and photocopies of poems submitted to or chosen by Lowenfels, arranged alphabetically by author, some with comments by Lowenfels or Nan Braymer; ts. draft of entire book; one printer's copy and two galley proofs of book; copies of permission to reprint poems and various copyright materials; clippings of announcements and reviews concerning book; clippings, pamphlets, announcements, and instruction concerning peace read-ins; and various peace publications and other miscellaneous items, 340 items.

Collection Historical Note

Walter Lowenfels (May 10, 1897 – July 7, 1976) was an American poet and journalist. Born in New York City, Lowenfels graduated from a preparatory school in 1914, and served in the military during World War I, after which he began writing poetry. He worked for his father's company from 1914 until 1926. He met Lillian Apotheker, who later co-edited several of the anthologies of poetry he edited, in 1924, and the couple married in 1926. In 1925, with the financial assistance of Apotheker, he published his first collection of poems, Episodes & Epistles.

In 1930, while in Paris, Lowen co-founded Carrefour Press with Michael Fraenkel, which published the pamphlet Anonymous: The Need for Anonymity. The pamphlet was a manifesto declaring the need for anonymous publication in order to "avoid artistic competition and alienation." Carrefour later anonymously published Lowenfels' play USA with Music, but was forced to reveal the identity of the playwright in 1932 when it filed a plagiarism suit against composer George Gershwin. Thereafter, the publishing house attributed its publications to their authors, effectively ending the anonymity movement.

In 1938, he published Steel 1937, which began with an open letter to Philip Murray, the CIO organizer behind the unionization drive at Little Steel. The poems in the book commemorated the 18 steelworkers killed by US Steel during the 1937 Little Steel Strike, and also discussed the Spanish Civil War. Following the publication of Steel 1937, Lowenfels quit writing poetry and would not resume for 17 years.

In 1938, Lowenfels moved to Philadelphia where he became involved in the Civil Rights movement and the struggles of working people. He began writing for the Pennsylvania edition of the Daily Worker, later rising to the position of editor, which he held from the late 1930s until 1953. As a journalist and editor, his work focused on the lives of working people, especially African Americans.

At 2 a.m. on July 29, 1953, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Lowenfels' cabin in New Jersey and arrested him. He was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the US government, a violation of the Smith Act. During the trial, he also took up the translation of poetry by French and Italian authors. He also completed Sonnets of Love and Liberty. He was convicted in 1954, but his conviction was overturned in higher courts shortly thereafter for lack of evidence.

Following his release, Lowenfels stopped editing the Pennsylvania Worker and returned to writing poetry. He became best known as an anthologist of avant-garde poetry. He edited an anthology of Walt Whitman's poetry, but his most famous anthology was the 1967 Where is Vietnam?, a compilation of the poetic responses to the Vietnam War. He was active in the anti-Vietnam War peace movement, serving as the associate editor of the anti-war publication Dialog.

In total, he wrote more than two dozen books of poetry. He also wrote an autobiography, My Many Lives, the second half of which is published in The Portable Walter, an anthology of his writings.

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 783. Purchase from Henry Wenning, September 30, 1966.

Accession number 793. Purchase from Henry Wenning, November 18, 1966.

Accession number 826. Gift from Walter Lowenfels, May 19, 1967.

Accession number 1005. Purchase from Henry Wenning, November 12, 1968.

Accession number 2012.012. Purchase from Between the Covers, February 29, 2012.

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

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Incoming Correspondence],
[Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence],
[Series 3: Files related to edition of Where is Vietnam?],

Series 1: Incoming CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
circa 365 items
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Letters to Lowenfels Abbe - BlyAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Letters to Lowenfels Bodones - DanaAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Letters to Lowenfels DemingAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Letters to Lowenfels Dickey - GavronskyAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Letters to Lowenfels Gelbin - HollanderAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Letters to Lowenfels Hughes - KinnellAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Letters to Lowenfels Kizer - MarcusAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Letters to Lowenfels Marshall - PillsburyAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Letters to Lowenfels Pollak - RutsalaAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Letters to Lowenfels Rukeyser - StaffordAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Letters to Lowenfels Stanley - ZinnesAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Letters to Lowenfels Colin - no dateAdd to your cart.
Series 2: Outgoing CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Alphabetically arranged by addressee, with some names cataloged.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Lowenfels outgoing Abbe - BlyAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Lowenfels outgoing Bowers - DegnanAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Lowenfels outgoing DemingAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Lowenfels outgoing Dialog - GinsbergAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Lowenfels outgoing Gitlin - LardasAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Lowenfels outgoing Laughlin - PollakAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Lowenfels outgoing Rabinowitz - StarbuckAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Lowenfels outgoing Stone - ZinnesAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Lowenfels outgoing Allie - no dateAdd to your cart.
Series 3: Files related to edition of Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Biographical sketchesAdd to your cart.
Sketches drafted by Lowenfels, others, of selected contributors to Where is Vietnam?, arranged in groups of three and four on typescript. and typescript (carbon) sheets, annotated, often with bibliographic information. Circa 100 pages
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Typescript printer's copy of Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
With autograph printer's notes. Typescript, Typescript (carbon), Typescript (photocopy). Includes title page, acknowledgments, poems, biographical notes, and a corrected version of the foreword. 124 pages.
Folder 37: Two galley proofs of Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
One is noted as the final galley proof. Printed. 142 pages, 2 items
Box 3-4Add to your cart.
Folder 23-31: Manuscript, typescript, typescript carbon and photocopy, clippings, of poems submitted to or selected by Lowenfels for consideration for Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
Some include notes on places of publication, comments by Lowenfels or Nan Braymer. Alphabetically arranged by author. A full list of titles has been indexed above. circa 283 items
Item 1: Poems considered Abbe - BinderAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Poems considered Black - DuganAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Poems considered Eigner - GeorgakasAdd to your cart.
Item 4: Poems considered Gibson - KatzmanAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Poems considered Kelley - LowenfelsAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Poems considered Major - RayAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Poems considered Reed - RogersAdd to your cart.
Item 8: Poems considered Rosenberg - Yip Wai LimAdd to your cart.
Item 9: Poems considered...and the burning - Because you too...Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 32-33: Drafts of table of contents for Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
Includes typescript and autograph notes designating additions to and deletions from anthology, with textual comments on poems, notes on alterations of poems, reminders on acknowledgements and dates of original publications of poems. Notes on these drafts appear to have been exchanged among Nan Braymer, Lyan Deming, and Lowenfels. drafts of table of contents, one marked final, loose sheets. Typescript, Typescript (carbon), and Typescript (photocopy) with autograph notations. Circa 83 pages.
Folder 34: Drafts of foreword to Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
Drafts, one apparently final, with attached title page and table of contents. Two apparently full drafts are in loose sheets, with numerous insertions, deletions and with significant variations from final draft. One draft, though similar to final draft, is incomplete. Two drafts vary from final draft but duplicate each other. There are other fragmented drafts. Typescript, Typescript (carbon), and Typescript (photocopy) with autograph notations. Circa 171 pages
Folder 35: Typescript draft of complete book, described by Lowenfels as "3rd copy of script."Add to your cart.
Excludes final table of contents (see Box 5, Folders 32-33) to which poems in this draft correspond by author and title. Includes title page, acknowledgments, and one heavily corrected version of foreword (see Box 5, Folder 34) Typescript, Typescript (carbon), and Typescript (photocopy), Typescript with autograph notations. Circa 295 pages
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Copies of agreement for permission to reprint poems, addresses of possible contributors and of publishing houses, miscellaneous acknowledgment materialAdd to your cart.
Includes permission from Wesleyan University Press to reprint The fire-bombing by James Dickey, and a Walter Appreciation Week letter from Nan Braymer. Typescript, Typescript (carbon), and Typescript (photocopy) with autograph revisions.
Folder 39: Clippings and photocopies of clippings of newspaper and magazine announcements, advertisements, and reviews concerning Where is Vietnam?Add to your cart.
Included in the chronological arrangement are clippings or photocopies from: Author's Guild Bulletin, Barnard Bulletin, The Christian Century, Commentary, The Courier Post (Camden, N.J.), Jeane Afrique, The Lambertville Beacon (New Jersey), The Nation, The National Observer, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Paperback Book Guide, Paperbound Books in Print, People's World Publishers' Weekly, and The Worker. Printed, Printed(photocopy), Typescript (carbon). 26 pages, 24 items
Folder 40: Clippings, pamphlets, announcements, instruction, concerning peace read-insAdd to your cart.
Includes lists of participants, held February-May, 1966. Clippings, Typescript (carbon), printed items and printed items photocopied. Circa 26 items
Folder 41: Various peace publicationsAdd to your cart.
Includes first issue of Liberation USA, Fallout, Kauri/Gargoyle, March-July, 1966, and sections of the S[ausalito]-B[elvedere] Gazette; a collection of workshop poetry produced at a meeting of the Federation of Religious Liberals, White Sulphur Springs, November 12-14, 1965; miscellaneous other items conc. Lowenfels, promotion of Where is Vietnam? Printed items, clippings. Circa 11 items

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Incoming Correspondence],
[Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence],
[Series 3: Files related to edition of Where is Vietnam?],

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