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Jan Garden Castro Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description



Notebooks, Journals, Diaries

Research Materials

Manuscripts By Others

Print Materials

River Styx

Civic and Cultural Activities

Educational Materials

Personal Papers

Audiovisual Materials


Born Digital Materials (Electronic Records)

Contact us about this collection

Jan Garden Castro Papers, 1957-2014 | MS Manuscripts

By Alicia Detelich

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Collection Overview

Title: Jan Garden Castro Papers, 1957-2014Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1970-2010

ID: MS/MS/ms136

Primary Creator: Castro, Jan Garden

Extent: 58.8 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 07/27/2005. More info below under Accruals.

Languages: English, French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Jan Garden Castro papers consist primarily of research materials, writings, and correspondence related to Castro's extensive career as a literary and art critic and her roles as a civic arts activist and co-founder/former Executive Director of River Styx literary magazine in Saint Louis, Missouri. Included are numerous original transcripts of Castro's interviews with notable artists and literary figures, as well as typescript drafts, photocopies and clippings of published book and art reviews written by Castro. Notable interviewees include Margaret Atwood, Allen Ginsberg, Quincy Troupe, Eavan Boland, Chakaia Booker, Howard Nemerov, and John Hollander. Additionally, the collection includes Castro's published and unpublished poetry, exhibit catalog essays, and other writings; materials related to the production of River Styx Magazine, Castro's educational and teaching materials, and assorted print materials and manuscripts collected by Castro throughout her career. The collection includes notebooks and diaries kept by Castro and a collection of audiovisual materials consisting of Castro's taped interviews with artists, her Double Helix cable tv show “The Writers’ Circle,” interviews of literary figures including Howard Nemerov and Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and poetry readings from the Duff's and River Styx PM Series. The original donations also included a large number of rare art books, which have since been transferred to Rare Books or the Art and Architecture Library. Finally, this collection contains 122 born-digital items (approx. 5 GB; 3871 total files); 71 floppy disks, 7 CDs, and 3 DVDs are currently accessible. The DVDs are surrogates; the files on these disks were compiled by former processing archivist Alicia Detelich and consist of scans, downloaded web content, and born-digital publications.For preservation and access purposes, most of the disks were imaged with either Guymager or FTK to maintain the original disk structure. In this collection, a disk image was not created for disks that Castro did not create herself, disks that would not boot, and disks that were inaccessible due to lack of hardware. Each item was assigned a Special Collections library identifier, scanned for viruses, run through a bulk-extractor program to remove Personal Identifiying Information (PII), and uploaded to WUSTL's server. Please contact Special Collections for more information about the born-digital material in this collection.

Collection Historical Note

Jan Garden Castro (1945-) is an American author, editor, poet, literary and art critic, teacher, and arts activist. Born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and currently residing in New York City, Castro attended Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison for her undergraduate studies, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1967 and a 1967 certificate from the famed Radcliffe College Publishing Course, which relocated to Columbia University in 2000. In 1974 and 1994 respectively, Castro earned a Master of Arts in Teaching and English and then a Master of Arts in Art History and Comparative Literature from Washington University, Saint Louis.

Castro's extensive writing career began in 1968, while she was living in San Francisco, with features on Pablo Neruda, David Harris, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, and others published in The Daily Californian and the San Francisco Express Times. Upon returning to Saint Louis around 1970, Castro published essays, reviews, and poems in local and national underground newspapers, and national literary journals. In 1972 she married Michael Castro in Graham Chapel at Washington University, and with him and several other local poets and artists founded River Styx literary magazine in 1975. Between 1975 and 1987, Castro served as an editor of River Styx, and as its first Executive Director – leading its multicultural and interdisciplinary direction during this period. She contributed significant material to the journal during this time, including editorial direction and interviews with Margaret Atwood, Quincy Troupe, and many other well-known artists and writers. The River Styx group also organized many poetry readings and local cultural events, most notably the River Styx PM series at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Duff's Poetry Series, held at Duff's restaurant in the Central West End. In 1975 Castro wrote and self-published her first poetry compilation, Mandala of the Five Senses. She also served as a teacher at several local secondary schools and colleges during this period and began to review books by Atwood, Gass, Morrison, Baldwin, Garcia Marquez, and others for The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

In 1985 Castro's first major book was published by Crown Publishers, an art history and biography of Georgia O'Keeffe titled The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe, which had ten printings 1985-1995 and sold over 100,000 copies. In 1988 she co-edited scholarly essays on Margaret Atwood titled Margaret Atwood, Vision and Forms (Southern Illinois University Press), which had two printings. Starting in 1980 Castro taught humanities as an adjunct professor at Lindenwood College (now University) in Saint Charles, Missouri and continued to publish poems and book reviews. In addition to her publishing and teaching activities, Castro also organized a number of cultural events in the Saint Louis area, including the 1987 Heart of Saint Louis Arts festival, and traveled throughout the country giving lectures on art history and the work of Georgia O'Keeffe.

During the 1990s Castro wrote literature and art reviews for the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and the Riverfront Times. She continued to publish poetry and read her poems at local artistic and cultural events, and otherwise kept involved with local arts. Additionally, Castro received fellowships from institutes including the Camargo Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1998, Castro began writing art reviews and interviews for Sculpture Magazine and has since published more than 16 cover stories for the journal. Her involvement with Sculpture continues to the present day and has included significant interviews with and essays on Louise Bourgeois, Maya Lin, Mel Chin, Cristina Iglesias, Sanford Biggers, Ai Wei Wei, Liza Lou, and numerous artists. Castro also writes articles for Ceramics: Art and Perception, has written catalog essays for many local and national artists, and has published fiction and flash fiction online at The Adirondack Review and Great Weather for the Media.

Castro’s poetry and art collaboration with Robert Charles Smith, The Last Frontier, was published in 2001. Smith, a Washington University art professor who designed the University City lions, created letterpress and electronic images on his Eclectic Press to accompany each poem by Castro. Some copies included a CD with Castro reading her poems to original compositions by Willem Von Hombracht. Smith created handmade silk and marbled paper boxes for the first twenty copies. 

In 2001-2002, Castro guest-curated and wrote the catalog for the exhibit Sonia Delaunay: La Moderne, a retrospective on Sonia Delaunay shown in Tokyo and three regional museums in Japan, and the Jane V. Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University. Castro's master's thesis and the Delaunay retrospective were based on ten years of original primary research in Paris and other locations.

During her career Castro has published more than 425 articles, essays, and interviews for a wide variety of publishing outlets. As of March 2014 she continues to publish frequently for several publications, including Sculpture Magazine (www.sculpturemagazine.art/), www.whitehotmagazine.org/, American Book Review (www.americanbookreview.org/ ), and Woman’s Art Journal (www.womansartjournal.org/ ).

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts


Accession No. 23074, 23082. July 2005

Accession No. 23908. 28 August 2007

Accession No. 23962. 2010

Accession No. 2014.006. 19 March 2014

Alternate Extent Statement: 5 GB (approx.); 3871 files

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.)

Technical Access Note: The library cannot provide access to all born-digital materials due to lack of required hardware/software. Requests for born-digtial material may require advanced notice. Please contact Special Collections for more details.

Acquisition Source: Gift, Purchase

Related Materials:

See Jan Garden Castro collection of Margaret Atwood materials, located at the Thomas Fischer Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Canada. Extent 8 boxes, 1.5 meters

See also Jan Garden Castro donation to Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

See also Jan Garden Castro Writings: Artists Mapping the Future, an electronic archive of Castro's writings on comptemporary art and artists.

For more information please see http://www.jancastro.com/.

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

Processing Information:

The original order of the collection as established by Castro has largely been maintained, with the exception of a number of miscellaneous and unlabeled folders that contained a wide variety of materials. These materials were filed into the appropriate series or subseries as determined by the processor. The order of materials within folders has mostly been maintained, with the exception of obvious filing mistakes. Folder titles were generally maintained, with the exception of miscellaneous and unlabeled folders; dates were also added to folders where appropriate, and some additional specifics were added when titles were unclear (i.e. 'Writings' may have been changed to 'Unpublished Writings 1971-1972'). Additionally, color photos, slides, and audiovisual materials were separated from their original locations within the Research and Educational Materials series, and have been rehoused together for preservation purposes. Finally, please note that not all folders have series titles or folder numbers included. For details about arrangement refer to finding aid.

See mss23962_BD_AccReport for information about born-digital content.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revised on 8/15/2018 by Elizabeth Winter under the supervision of Robert Manley

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Writings],
[Series 3: Notebooks, Journals, Diaries],
[Series 4: Research Materials],
[Series 5: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 6: Print Materials],
[Series 7: River Styx],
[Series 8: Civic and Cultural Activities],
[Series 9: Educational Materials],
[Series 10: Personal Papers],
[Series 11: Audiovisual Materials],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Born Digital Materials (Electronic Records)],

Series 9: Educational MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Consists of materials related to the learning and teaching activities of Jan Garden Castro. Materials include essays and lecture notes written as an undergraduate and graduate student at Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Washington University in Saint Louis. Additional materials include those related to Castro's post-graduate work undertaken with Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute in Colorado, as well as various institutes attended by Castro in the 1980s and 1990s (Camargo, American Academy in Rome, etc.). Also included are materials related to National Endowment for the Humanities seminars attended by Jan during the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, this series includes materials related to Jan's various teaching positions at Lindenwood College and other institutions of secondary and post-secondary education.
Sub-Series 1: Undergraduate WorkAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: High School Class Work - 1957-1963Add to your cart.
Essays written by Castro at Clayton High School
Folder 2: Undergraduate Essays - 1964-1967Add to your cart.
Essays written by Castro as an undergraduate at Cornell and University of Wisconsin Madison
Folder 3: Undergraduate Materials - 1964-1967Add to your cart.
Notes, clippings, poems, print materials
Folder 4: Undergraduate Materials - 1966-1967Add to your cart.
Notes, class materials, clippings
Folder 5: DiplomasAdd to your cart.
Clayton H.S. and University of Wisconsin - Madison
Folder 6: Clayton H.S. 1963 Class ReunionAdd to your cart.
Materials on 20 and 40 year reunions
Folder 7: Cornell ClubAdd to your cart.
Event info, correspondence re: reunion group - St. Louis chapter
Sub-Series 2: Graduate WorkAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: MAT Work 1971-1972Add to your cart.
Essays written by Castro at Washington University, 1971-1972
Folder 2: DiplomaAdd to your cart.
MAT from Washington University in St. Louis, 1974
Folder 3: Naropa InstituteAdd to your cart.
Transcript 1976, class materials, correspondence, notes
Folder 4: Naropa Institute - Play WritingAdd to your cart.
Lecture notes, handwritten drafts/exercises
Folder 5: Naropa Institute - Natural VoiceAdd to your cart.
Lecture notes, evaluation
Folder 6: Naropa Institute - Spontaneous PoeticsAdd to your cart.
Materials from Naropa Institute course taken by Castro ca. 1976
Folder 7: Sonia Delaunay EssayAdd to your cart.
Typed copy of essay for WU art history course 1990 - includes comments of professor and correspondence related to resubmission of essay
Folder 8: Hofmann, Schapiro, and Krauss EssayAdd to your cart.
2 Typed copies of essays, one with professor comments, Spring 1991
Folder 9: Egyptian Art EssayAdd to your cart.
2 Typed copies of essay, some research materials/notes
Folder 10: Delaunay EssayAdd to your cart.
Typed copy of essay with comments by Art History professor at Washington University; proposal for paper, related correspondence, May 1991
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Robert JensonAdd to your cart.
Syllabus of course taken by Castro, 2 papers written by Robert Jenson
Folder 2: E.H. Gombrich Essay 1Add to your cart.
Copies of essay written by JGC, correspondence re: enrollment in Art History program
Folder 3: E.H. Gombrich Essay 2Add to your cart.
8 more copies of essay, with comments from MLA association where JGC tried to have it published, correspondence, photocopies/notes
Folder 4: Plato - Lecture NotesAdd to your cart.
Notes on Plato from William Gass lecture 1991
Folder 5: Tableaux of Gender Inversion EssayAdd to your cart.
Copies of 1990 essay by JGC, one with comments
Folder 6: Surrealism - Lecture NotesAdd to your cart.
Notes and photocopies from graduate seminar ca. 1990-1991
Folder 7: Sonia Delaunay - MA ThesisAdd to your cart.
Bound copy of Castro Master's Thesis:Visual, Literary, and Philosophical Readings of Sonia Delaunay's Art; May 1994
Folder 8: DiplomaAdd to your cart.
M.A., Art History, Washington University in St. Louis, 1994
Sub-Series 3: Post-Graduate Work, Continuing Education, GrantsAdd to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: NEH IAdd to your cart.
Application materials 1990, correspondence, drafts of statement of interest
Folder 2: NEH - UCLA 1988 IAdd to your cart.
Notebook w/ correspondence, articles for seminar, schedule, notes
Folder 3: NEH - UCLA 1988 IIAdd to your cart.
Notebook w/ correspondence, articles for seminar, schedule, notes, Sonia Delaunay postcards
Folder 4: NEH - Johns Hopkins 1990 IAdd to your cart.
Correspondence re: acceptance, travel arrangements; syllabus, schedule, instructor C.V.
Folder 5: NEH - Johns Hopkins 1990 IIAdd to your cart.
Bound volume of articles for NEH seminar
Folder 6: Frances FergusonAdd to your cart.
Correspondence w/ NEH 1990 participant, photocopied articles by F.F.
Folder 7: Michael FriedAdd to your cart.
MSS by NEH Johns Hopkins participant, clippings on MF, photocopied article by MF, other French articles by others on related topics
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: NEH IAdd to your cart.
Application materials 1990, correspondence, drafts of statement of interest
Folder 2: NEH IIAdd to your cart.
UCLA application 1988, course materials, correspondence, notes, articles, travel plans
Folder 3: NEH IIIAdd to your cart.
Articles, MSS by other NEH participants, notes by Castro ca. 1990
Folder 4: NEH IVAdd to your cart.
Bound volume of articles for NEH seminar, paper by other participant re: aesthetics
Folder 5: NEH VAdd to your cart.
Published articles for seminar, MSS by other participants
Folder 6: NEH VIAdd to your cart.
Published articles for seminar, MSS by other participants
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: National Endowment for the ArtsAdd to your cart.
1976-1976, 1988; application materials, summary of Castro poetry publications, copies of published poems, NEA program info 1975-1976, notes by Castro
Folder 2: Saffron and NEA ApplicationAdd to your cart.
1985; Castro writing samples for NEA application; includes index - mostly prose
Folder 3: Fulbright ApplicationAdd to your cart.
1987-1988; correspondence, Sonia Delaunay proposal (multiple copies), application materials, rejection letter, letters of recommendation; folder includes notes on French courses taken
Folder 4: Canadian Studies Grant ProgramAdd to your cart.
1987-1988; newsletters, application information, application statement, ACSUS member directory 1984-1985
Folder 5: The Camargo Foundation IAdd to your cart.
Correspondence, articles (photocopies), outline of Delaunay talk by Castro, clippings, Camargo bulletin (1999)
Folder 6: The Camargo Foundation IIAdd to your cart.
Folder with tourist materials on Cassis, France; maps, correspondence, schedule, rules and regulations
Folder 7: The Camargo Foundation IIIAdd to your cart.
Camargo bulletin 1999
Folder 8: American Academy in Rome, 2000Add to your cart.
Correspondence re: acceptance, travel arrangements, AAR regulations, related brochures - ca. 2000
Folder 9: American Academy in Rome, 2000 IIAdd to your cart.
Correspondence from JGC re: trip, assorted notes, some other misc. documents not related to AAR, but filed with it
Sub-Series 4: Teaching MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Lindenwood Material, 1990sAdd to your cart.
Writing skills worksheets, sample student papers, philosophy vocabulary worksheet
Folder 2: Misc. Lindenwood MaterialAdd to your cart.
Notes, lecture planning, worksheet, philosophy lecture materials, 3 student papers, photocopied article, oral presentation worksheet, 1990s
Folder 3: Misc. Teaching Material - Lindenwood ClusterAdd to your cart.
Notes, syllabus, articles, worksheets, forms related to language and communications; 3 student papers, syllabi, course descriptions, schedules, diagnostic testing materials
Folder 4: Class MaterialAdd to your cart.
Bound volume of articles for American Indian Literature course taught by Castro
Folder 5: Lesson PlanAdd to your cart.
Lesson plan for essay writing course taught by Castro; photocopied articles, notes
Folder 6: Monday LCIEAdd to your cart.
Syllabi, photocopied articles, notes, handouts
Folder 7: Syllabus Winter 1990-1991, CommunicationsAdd to your cart.
Syllabi, photocopied articles, notes, handouts, forms
Folder 8: Humanities Syllabus, 1992Add to your cart.
Syllabi, photocopied articles
Folder 9: Valuation SciencesAdd to your cart.
Teacher evaluation forms, Valuation Sciences syllabi, schedules/assignments, correspondence, course outlines, forms, early 1990s
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Teaching MaterialAdd to your cart.
Course outline, University City Schools application materials
Folder 2: Class MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Syllabus, class notes (perhaps taken as a student), NEH application
Folder 3: Ferguson Schools, 1977Add to your cart.
McCleur employment and resignation materials
Folder 4: Title IV-C Workshop, 1978Add to your cart.
Correspondence re: workshop
Folder 5: Poet in SchoolsAdd to your cart.
Program and course materials, course outlines, correspondence, proposals, news clipping
Folder 6: Country Day SchoolAdd to your cart.
Employment application and interview materials, assorted clippings
Folder 7: Lectures, Spring 1986Add to your cart.
Materials related to Castro's various museum and college lectures on O'Keeffe; correspondence related to this
Folder 8: SLAM and UMSL Art DepartmentAdd to your cart.
Lecture materials re: Art History course taught by Castro
Folder 9: Amanda JeterAdd to your cart.
Correspondence ca. 1999-2000; MS of Jeter's on Sonia Delaunay (Honor's Thesis, proposal) acknowledging Castro as having introduced Jeter to Delaunay's work

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Writings],
[Series 3: Notebooks, Journals, Diaries],
[Series 4: Research Materials],
[Series 5: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 6: Print Materials],
[Series 7: River Styx],
[Series 8: Civic and Cultural Activities],
[Series 9: Educational Materials],
[Series 10: Personal Papers],
[Series 11: Audiovisual Materials],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Born Digital Materials (Electronic Records)],

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