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Poets and Poetry  

A Research Guide to archival and periodical holdings relating to women poets and their poetry.
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Table of Contents

Welcome! This guide is an introduction to the library's archival and periodical holdings relating to poets and poetry.  It is meant to help you begin your research but it is not a complete list of relevant material. Please Ask A Schlesinger Librarian if you have any questions or want further suggestions.


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Manuscript / Archival Materials

Many of our collections are stored offsite and/or have access restrictions, including most A/V material. Please Ask a Schlesinger Librarian in advance of your visit to check on the availability of materials.

  • Evelyn Perkins Ames
    Author and poet Evelyn (Perkins) Ames was born in 1908, the daughter of Henry A. and Olga (Flinch) Perkins. A graduate of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass., in 1925, she studied at Vassar College (1926-1929) before marrying Amyas Ames in 1930. They had four children. She was the author of Only the Loving (1952), My Brother Bird (1954), The Hawk from Heaven (1957), and Dust on a Precipice (1980). She was a member of the Poetry Society of America, Pen and Brush, and New York Women Poets.
  • Mary Elizabeth Lamont Beaton
    Beaton was a music teacher, dramatic coach, and painter before devoting herself to writing. She was a member of the Catholic Poetry Society of America; her work was published in various Boston newspapers, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Australian News. She married a physician, Dr. Archibald Beaton; they had three children.
  • Cora Brooks
    Poet, teacher, and peace activist, Cora Brooks graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, and holds certificates in child sexual abuse intervention and American Sign Language. She taught writing at Goddard, Lesley, and Wheaton colleges, and published her poetry in a number of journals and collections of verse. She also taught poetry and writing in the public schools in Massachusetts and Vermont, and worked as a tutor with children with special needs in Montpelier, Vermont. She was a director of Chelsea (Vermont) Help for Battered Women. Brooks is also a longtime activist, demonstrating against nuclear power, the Vietnam War, and the reinstatement of the draft; she was arrested on numerous occasions but charges were dismissed.
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    A socialist and deist, Gilman was an independent thinker, author, and speaker who was an intellectual leader of the women’s movement from the late 1890s through the mid-1920s. An advocate of economic independence for women, she considered the ballot of secondary importance. Her interests ranged from sensible dress for women, physical fitness, more rational domestic architecture, and professionalized housework, to birth control, Freud, and immigrants. Her first published work was the poem, "One Girl of Many," which appeared in The Alpha, probably in 1880; The Woman's Journal also published some of her verse in the 1880s. In 1893 a book of her poems, In This Our World, was published. She launched her own monthly magazine, The Forerunner, in 1909. She wrote, edited, and published it virtually single-handed until 1916. It included serialized books, and numerous stories, articles, reviews, and poems, always emphasizing her ideas about economics, ethics, women's rights, and child-rearing.
  • Katharine Butler Hathaway
    Katharine Butler Hathaway, writer, was born in 1890 in Baltimore, Maryland. She spent her childhood in Salem, Massachusetts where she suffered tuberculosis of the spine and had to lie flat on her back for ten years. Her education consisted of one year at Abbot Academy, Andover and another year at Miss McClintock's School, Boston. She entered Radcliffe in the fall of 1910 as a special student. She attended Radcliffe from 1910 to 1912 and although she did not graduate, she was made a member of the class of 1914. She married Daniel Rugg Hathaway in 1932, lived at Blue Hill, Maine and died in 1942. She wrote autobiographical works, children's stories and poems. Her published works include Mr. Muffet's Cat and Her Trip to Paris (New York, 1934), The Little Locksmith (New York, 1943), and The Journals and Letters of The Little Locksmith (New York, 1946).
  • June Jordan
    Award-winning author, poet, and social and political activist, June Jordan was born in Harlem, N.Y. (1936). In the late 1960s, she wrote both fiction and nonfiction, and began reading her poetry at paid engagements arranged by the American Academy of Poets. Concurrently, Jordan embarked on her pedagogical career, working as a lecturer and adjunct faculty member at several institutions. By the early 1970s Jordan concentrated her efforts more fully on writing and teaching, using her talents to address issues of discrimination based on race and gender, as well other politically controversial issues. She accepted a tenured position at SUNY Stony Brook (1978-1989) where she also served as director of the Poetry Center and the Creative Writing Program. In 1988 she accepted a joint appointment as Professor of African American Studies and Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she developed a program called "Poetry for the People" which conducted community workshops.
  • June Jordan Audio Collection
  • June Jordan Videotape Collection
  • Eve Merriam
    Early in her career, Merriam worked as a copy writer, fashion editor of Glamour, and conducted a weekly radio show about poetry on WQXR, New York. Her first book of verse, Family Circle, was awarded the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Other books of poetry include The Nixon Poems, The Double Bed, and The Inner City Mother Goose. Although primarily a poet, Merriam was also a playwright, teacher, and lecturer, particularly on the subjects of education, the status of women, and poetry. She wrote satire, fiction, children's books, biographies (including one of Emma Lazarus), and the precedent-setting After Nora Slammed the Door, one of the early works of second-wave feminist writing. She read her poems on radio, television, in films, and in the theater; and her writings appeared in periodicals abroad and in the New York Times, the Nation, the New Republic, and the Ladies' Home Journal, as well as in many anthologies.
  • Eve Merriam Audiovisual Collection
  • Honor Moore
    Poet and author Honor Moore was born October 28, 1945, in New York City, the eldest child of Jenny McKean and Paul Moore Jr., an Episcopal priest and bishop who was known for his political activism. She attended Radcliffe College (B.A. 1967) and the Yale School of Drama (1967-1969). Moore has published several volumes of poetry, Memoir (1988), Darling (2001), and Red Shoes (2005), in addition to the chapbook Leaving and Coming Back (1981). Her poems and essays have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. She edited Poems from the Women's Movement (2009), and has translated and/or edited several other volumes of poetry, including Amy Lowell: Selected Poems (2004) and The Stray Dog Cabaret (2007). Books include The White Blackbird (1996), a biography of Moore's grandmother, painter Margarett Sargent McKean and The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoir (2008), about her relationship with her father.
  • Lydia Edmundovna Noble
    Poet, translator. Educated at Radcliffe College (A.B. 1909) Noble studied languages and the fine arts. Later she translated writings of the Russian poet, Constantine Balḿont, and the diary of the Russian officer Constantine Belash, and also articles from French, which were published in Eastern and Western Review. In addition, Noble wrote articles for the Review, as well as poetry, and lectured at the Congregational Church, Salem, and other places. After her death Noble's poems were published by her family.
  • Janice Oberacker
    Janice Oberacker was a good friend of poet May Sarton during the years she lived in York, Maine. In 1980 they traveled to Europe together on the Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Parallels: artists/poets
    Parallels: Artists/Poets was an exhibition featuring work by women poets displayed with works on paper (collage, prints, watercolor, pastels, photography) by artists Claire Heimarck, Oriole Farb Feshbach, and Lucy D. Rosenfeld. It traveled to New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut from 1993 to 1995, and explored the responses and affinities of the three artists to poems by 20th century women writers, some well known and others less so. The exhibition was shown at the Schlesinger Library in June 1995.
  • I. Rice Pereira
    Abstract painter, poet, and philosopher, Pereira was a major figure in the art world from 1930. She worked with the WPA Federal Art Project in New York, 1935-1939; in the 1940s she experimented with new media (glass, plexiglass, and plastic) of the constructivist school; and in the 1950s she returned to paint and canvas. She published numerous books on aesthetics and the philosophy of art.
  • Adrienne Rich
    Poet, author, feminist, and teacher (Radcliffe College, B.A., 1951), Rich won the Yale Younger Poets Award with the publication of her first book in 1951. Over the course of her career she published numerous books of poetry and prose. She received many additional awards, taught writing and women's studies at a number of colleges, and lectured on feminism at conferences and universities in the U.S. and abroad. She was also the editor, with Michelle Cliff, of Sinister Wisdom (1981-83).
  • May Sarton Oral History Interview Sound Recording
    Poet and novelist May Sarton (1912-1995) was born in Belgium. With her parents, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1916. She attended the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Mass., and graduated from Cambridge High and Latin in 1929. Sarton went on to pursue a career in theater as an actress, and published her first book of poems in 1937.
  • Ann Scott
    Vice-president for legislation of the National Organization for Women and a founder of the Buffalo, N.Y., chapter of NOW, Ann (London) Scott graduated from the University of Washington (B.A. 1952, Ph.D. 1970). A poet and translator, she was an editor of Poetry Northwest while in Seattle, and taught English literature and composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1965-1972). After her election to NOW's national board in 1970, she devised much of the organization's lobbying strategy for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and wrote about sex discrimination in business and at colleges and universities. Scott died of cancer in 1975.
  • Anne Sexton
    Poet Anne Sexton (1928-1975) was the author of many collections of poems, including To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960), All My Pretty Ones (1962), and Live or Die (1966), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. Known for her confessional verse, Sexton suffered nervous breakdowns following the births of her daughters Linda Gray and Joyce Ladd Sexton. She was encouraged by her doctor to pursue an interest in writing poetry that she had developed during high school. In 1957 she joined a poetry workshop where she met poet Maxine Kumin and began an 18-year career, publishing eight books of poetry and one play. Her poems offered readers an intimate view of the anguish that characterized her life, which ended in suicide in 1974.
  • Louise Kidder Sparrow
    Sculptor, author and poet born in Malden, Mass., in 1884. Sparrow studied in both the U.S. and Europe. Her first husband Captain Herbert G. Sparrow died after the grounding of the USS Tacoma; the tragedy was the subject of her book, The Last Cruise (1926). Her sculptures, portraits and busts, were widely exhibited and received both national and international awards. In addition to her own published poetry, her work includes poetry translations. Sparrow died in Washington D.C. in 1979.
  • Jean Valentine
    Jean Valentine was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 27, 1934, to John and Jean Purcell Valentine. She attended Milton Academy Girls School and received her B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1956. In December 1955, a Harvard University student publication, The Harvard Advocate, published her "Poem," which received a favorable review in The Harvard Crimson. In 1964, a collection of her poems won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, chosen over 300 other entries; it was published in 1965 as Dream Barker and Other Poems. Valentine has taught poetry at many colleges and universities and has also won numerous awards and fellowships, including the Rockefeller Fellowship, the Bunting Institute Fellowship, the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and the National Book Award for Poetry (2004).
  • Ruth Whitman
    Poet and educator Ruth Whitman graduated from Radcliffe College (B.A. 1944) and Harvard University (M.A. 1947). She has served on the faculties of Harvard, Tufts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts, and was founder and president of Poets Who Teach, Inc. She is the author of Blood and Milk Poems (1963), The Passion of Lizzie Borden: New and Selected Poems (1973), Tamsen Donner: A Woman's Journey (1977), and Laughing Gas: Poems, New and Selected (1991).
  • Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    Poet and journalist, Wilcox was born in Johnstown Center, near Janesville, Wis. Her poems, although popular with the general public, were judged facile and sentimental by critics. She also wrote plays and newspaper articles. In 1884 she married Robert Marius Wilcox and settled successively in Meriden, Conn., New York City, and Short Beach, Conn. In later life she became interested in spiritualism.
  • Winifred Lockhart Willis
    Journalist and creative writer, Willis published poems, short stories and articles in many magazines in the 1920s-1940s. She was also a script writer for Twentieth Century Fox when married to her second husband, John Speaks, an executive producer at RKO Studios. In later life, she was active in the civil rights movement, serving on the executive board of the Bridgeport-Stamford NAACP.


Many of our books and periodicals are stored offsite. Please Ask a Schlesinger Librarian in advance of your visit to check on the availability of materials.

The titles below represent a wide selection of periodicals in which women authored poems and/or reviews of women's poetry can be found. The list includes consumer magazines, scholarly journals, Radcliffe College student publications, literary periodicals and poetry-centric feminist periodicals.


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