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Series II: Writings, 1905-1967

Call Number: YCAL MSS 116, Series II

Scope and Contents

The Writing series is comprised of holograph, typescript, and composite drafts, galley proofs, and printed versions of writings.

Prose contains drafts of and notes on Williams’s prose. Within the subseries are extensive drafts for his major publications, including The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams, The Build-Up, The Dog and the Fever, In the American Grain, Selected Essays of William Carlos Williams, and Yes, Mrs. Williams: A Personal Record of My Mother. Nearly all of the writings in the subseries were published. The subseries includes writings on other author’s works (including Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg, Wallace Stevens, Louis Zukofsky, Shakespeare, and E.E. Cummings), essays that were published in various publications, and other writings of varying completion. Williams often corrected and made notes in his drafts. “Embodiment of Knowledge” was dedicated to his sons and was intended as a demonstration of the organic nature of education, showing that knowledge is an ongoing process from day to day. I Wanted to Write a Poem: The Autobiography of the Works of a Poet is based on a series of conversations about Williams's writings between Edith Heal and William Carlos Williams that took place over a five-month period in the mid 1950s and drafts relating to this title include extensive notes by Edith Heal Berrien. The subseries also includes introductions to other authors’ writings.

The Poetry subseries contains drafts of Williams’ poetry, translations done by others of Williams’s poems, and poems set to music. Nearly all poem drafts include Williams’s extensive corrections and notes. A letter from Williams to Viola Baxter Jordan is among the poems. The bulk of the subseries is comprised of drafts for The Complete Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams and Paterson (including drafts of the incomplete book VI).

Drama contains drafts of plays by Williams, including The Cure, A Dream of Love, The First President, Many Loves, and Tituba’s Children. Nearly all drafts include William’s corrections and notes, including corrections by James Laughlin.

Additional writings are located in Series VIII, John Thirlwall Materials.


  • 1905-1967

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Chiefly in English, some writings in Spanish and French.

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection: The materials are open for research.

Boxes 73-76 (Series VI. Medical Records): restricted until January 2, 2098. For further information consult Access Services.

Boxes 86-94: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult Access Services.

Box 95 (Sound Recordings): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.


Series II, Writings is organized into six subseries: Prose; Poetry; Drama; Lectures and Readings; Reviews by Williams; and Other Writings.


16.06 Linear Feet (37 boxes)

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


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New Haven, CT 06511

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.