Delmore Schwartz Papers

November 19, 2009

The Yale Collection of American Literature is pleased to welcome scholars and students to consult the Delmore Schwartz Papers (YCAL MSS 334), which have recently been fully organized and described.

Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966) was a writer, editor, and teacher. In addition to his writing, he served as poetry editor of the Partisan Review and later the New Republic. He taught at Harvard University, Bennington College, Kenyon College, Princeton University, and Syracuse University. Among his published works are In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, Shenandoah, Genesis: Book I, Vaudeville for a Princess and Other Poems, Summer Knowledge: Selected Poems (1938-1958), and Successful Love and Other Stories.

In 1937, shortly after graduating from New York University, Schwartz published an acclaimed short story, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” in the first issue of Partisan Review. Schwartz wrote poetry, short stories and essays, criticism, and plays throughout his life but he never established himself as the writer that early praise seemed to promise. Schwartz married and divorced Gertrude Buckman and Elizabeth Pollett. Throughout his life Schwartz suffered from acute depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse. He was born and died in New York City.

The Delmore Schwartz Papers span the years 1906-1975 and include writings, notebooks, correspondence, photographs, personal papers and effects, drawings, clippings, and printed material. Writings and notebooks comprise the bulk of the papers. Writings include drafts of poems, stories, essays, reviews, criticism, lectures, and other writings. Notebooks span two decades and document Schwartz’s increasingly troubled mind and frantic writings, containing a hybrid of writing drafts and personal diary entries.

The papers also include correspondence with friends and colleagues, revealing his intimate but often troubled friendships, professional relationships, and two marriages. Personal and professional papers of Schwartz contain records of his divorce from Elizabeth Pollet, teaching files and financial materials, drawings, collected clippings, and other papers. The papers also contain photographs of Schwartz, his family and friends, and literary events. (MW)

A complete description of the collection is available online: Guide to the Delmore Schwartz Papers YCAL MSS 334 (

Image: Photograph of Delmore Schwartz