Modern Literary Archives

February 24, 2013

The Yale Collection of American Literature is renowned for its outstanding Modernist-era literary archives and manuscript collections. These materials offer scholars access to writers’ creative practices, often within the context of their personal lives. Modern archives include a wide range of materials: manuscript drafts, working notes and notebooks, correspondences, daily diaries, snapshots, ephemeral documents, family papers, and even personal effects — house keys, a wristwatch, a favorite pen. No stretch of the imagination is required to appreciate the constellation of Modernist relationships when the papers of Ezra Pound, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Mina Loy, and Carl Van Vechten are to be found in one library. Such modernist master works as Pound’s Cantos, Williams’s Paterson, Stein’s Making of Americans, and H. D.’s Trilogy from the authors’ own papers, join such giants from the Dial archive as William Butler Yeats’s “Among Schoolchildren,” Marianne Moore’s “An Octopus,” Hart Crane’s “The Bridge,” T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” and Wallace Stevens’s “Bantams in Pine-Woods.” The Library continues to acquire literary archives and unique manuscripts documenting the lives and work of important contemporary American writers. Recent archival acquisitions include the papers of Forrest Gander, Peter Gizzi, Barbara Guest, Susan Howe, Ann Lauterbach, Gerard Malanga, Ron Padgett, and C. D. Wright.

Image: Locket containing photograph of Gertrude Stein, undated.

Collection Highlights Exhibited in Multitudes: A Celebration of the Yale Collection of American Literature: Materials from the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, including notes for and early manuscript drafts of Tender Buttons, correspondence from and photographs of Pablo Picasso, photographs and memorabilia. Gertrude Stein first editions from the Yale Collection of American Literature. Modern Literary Archives–Checklist & Object Descriptions