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Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson

Call Number: YCAL MSS 265

Scope and Contents

The Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson contains correspondence, writings, photographs, sound recordings, and other papers of writer and editor Margaret Anderson. The material documents Anderson's life, work, and personal relationships with many noted writers, poets, artists, photographers and performers of the twentieth century, in particular her romantic relationships with co-editor and writer Jane Heap, writer Solita Solano and close friendship with sculptor Elizabeth Jenks Clark. The papers span the entirety of Anderson's life, though the bulk of them document her personal and professional life after the Little Review. The papers are a unique resource on Anderson's personal life in France, including her friendship and studies with George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and participation in The Rope. A portion of the papers also document publishing the Little Review and provide context for Anderson's role as founder and editor of the magazine.

Correspondence, writings and photographs comprise the bulk of the papers. Personal correspondence illuminates Anderson's close friendships, romantic relationships and professional pursuits. Letters between Anderson and her friends, namely Clark, Solano, Jane Heap, Dorothy Caruso, Georgette Leblanc, Janet Flanner, and Kathryn Hulme, reveal not only the deep love and friendship among the women but also capture the experience of their lesbian relationships through the middle of the twentieth century. Correspondence regarding Anderson's writings reveal her creative process and the criticism that she sought and rejected from her friends, including publisher Coburn Britton. Correspondence is throughout the first and second series.

Anderson's writings include drafts for books and other writings and are heavily annotated, often including notes by Anderson and Solano, who acted as editor for much of her work. Photographs include portraits that appeared in the Little Review and snapshots of friends and family. Writings by others include poems by Solita Solano and Georgette Leblanc and a collection of humorous drawings by Leblanc. Also included is a draft of Anderson and Solano's English translation of Leblanc's memoir Souvenirs: My Life with Maeterlinck . Sound recordings include interviews with Anderson's family and friends. Anderson's personal papers and Mathilda Hill's research material on Anderson make up the smallest portion of the papers. Mathilda Hills's holograph notes describing Anderson's papers can be found throughout the collection.


  • 1914 - 1998
  • Majority of material found within 1945 - 1973


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 23-24 (audiocassettes): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

‡3 Boxes 30 and 32: ‡a Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult Access Services. Preservation photocopies and photographic prints for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm service copy (film number 2750) is available for Series II. Writings, The Unknowable Gurdjieff, Solita Solano, notes on Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff; and Other notes.

Conditions Governing Use

The Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Mathilda M. Hills on the Eugene G. O'Neill Memorial Fund, 2004. Gift of Mathilda M. Hills, 2004 and 2006.


The Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson is organized into seven series: General Correspondence, Writings, Writings of Others, Photographs, Sound Recordings, Personal Papers, and Mathilda Hills Papers.


17.31 Linear Feet ((31 boxes) )

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson contains correspondence, writings, photographs, sound recordings, and other papers of and concerning writer and editor Margaret Anderson. The material documents Anderson's life, work and personal relationships with many noted writers, poets, artists, photographers and performers of the twentieth century, including her close friendships with sculptor Elizabeth Jenks Clark and writer Solita Solano. The papers span the years 1886 to 1998.

Margaret Anderson (1886-1973)

Margaret Anderson was born November 24, 1886 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Arthur Aubrey Anderson and Jessie Shortridge Anderson. The eldest of three daughters, she attended high school in Anderson, Indiana and attended a two-year junior preparatory class at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. Increasingly drawn to music, Anderson left college to pursue a career as a pianist. In the fall of 1908, she left Indiana and moved to Chicago with her sister Lois, where she reviewed books for The Continent until she joined the staff of The Dial. By 1913 she was also a book critic for the Chicago Evening Post, which at that time shared a building with The Dial. According to Anderson, during that time she learned monotype, linotype and proofreading at The Dial. Bored at the Chicago Evening Post, she decided to edit her own magazine, giving it the title of Little Review. The Little Review was launched as a monthly publication in March of 1914. Anderson's main goal was to publish creative criticism.

In 1916, Margaret Anderson met Jane Heap. Heap was born in Topeka, Kansas and moved to Chicago to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, eventually becoming an art teacher at the Lewis Institute. Soon after the two women met, they fell in love and moved in together. Heap joined Anderson as co-editor of the Little Review, maintaining a low profile by using a number of pseudonyms, such as "R" and "Garnerin" and usually signing pieces just "jh," but she had an enormous influence. After briefly moving the magazine to Mill Valley, California, Anderson and Heap then moved it to New York City in 1917 with the help of critic Ezra Pound, who the same year started his two-year tenure as foreign editor of the Little Review in London. Pound's contribution to the magazine was profound since he had strong relationships with many European experimental writers, and he informed the direction of the magazine until its end. The Little Review's opinion on current art and literature was influential and the magazine stated opinions frankly; in 1916 Anderson and Heap printed an issue entirely of blank pages, a statement on the quality of the current submissions. Total editorial control was important to Anderson and Heap: they were careful to not accept financial support in fear that the supporters' opinions would affect the content. In 1918, Pound sent parts of James Joyce's Ulysses to Anderson and Heap and the Little Review began publishing excerpts of the manuscript. In 1920, at half-way through the novel, the United States Post Office seized and burned issues of the magazine, charging it obscene. In 1921 a court convicted Anderson and Heap on obscenity charges and fined each woman fifty dollars. The trial garnered a great deal of publicity for all parties involved.

The Little Review then began a period of decline, Anderson turned over the editorship of the magazine to Heap in 1923 and moved to Paris. The Little Review began quarterly publication in 1923 due to diminishing funds, and by 1926 it was published sporadically until its suspension the same year. One final issue was published from Paris in 1929. By the time it was finished, the Little Review had published some of the most influential new writers in the English language, including T.S. Eliot, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Emma Goldman, Amy Lowell, Juan Gris, Fernand Leger, Remy de Gourmont, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams.

Anderson and Heap lived together for seven years, though their romantic relationship became strained. Anderson had an affair with Gladys Tilden, causing further turmoil between her and Heap. In 1923, Anderson met and fell in love with the French singer Georgette Leblanc, former companion and accompanist of Maurice Maeterlinck, and moved to Paris with Leblanc. Heap moved to Paris the same year and that summer Anderson's sister Lois Karinsky fell ill, prompting Heap and Anderson to co-adopt Anderson's nephews, Tom and Fritz Peters. In 1929, Anderson met and started an affair with Solita Solano, a poet and the partner of Janet Flanner. Anderson lived happily with Leblanc, whom Anderson considered to be her great love, and continued her affair with Solano for several years. Anderson wrote and studied piano in Le Cannet until Leblanc's death of cancer in 1941. Grief-stricken and seeking the solace of friends, Anderson boarded the S.S. Drottningholm for the United States. On board she met and fell in love with Dorothy Caruso, widow of the singer Enrico Caruso, who was also returning to the United States from France. Within days of arriving back in the Unites States, Anderson befriended Elizabeth Jenks Clark through Solano, who had returned and was living in the U.S. Clark and Solano became Anderson's closest friends and she corresponded with them almost daily until her death. Anderson and Caruso lived together in New York until Caruso's death in 1955. Clark and Solano moved to Orgeval, France, prompting Anderson, who was mourning the loss of Caruso, to return to Le Cannet. Anderson lived out the remainder of her years in Le Cannet, until she fell ill of emphysema in 1973 and entered the Clinique Beausoleil in Cannes. She died on October 19, 1973 of heart failure and was buried beside Georgette Leblanc in the Notre Dame des Agnes Cemetery.

The teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff played a profound role in Anderson's life. While in Paris, Anderson became close to Gurdjieff, an eastern philosopher and spiritual teacher who fled post-czarist Russia and whose philosophies promoted self-transformation through development and awakening. Anderson and Leblanc studied with him, focusing on his original teaching called The Fourth Way, which combined simultaneously focusing on body, mind and emotions to achieve higher levels of consciousness. From October 1935 through the summer of 1939, eight women studying with Gurdjieff comprised the core of a group of women known as The Rope: Margaret C. Anderson, Jane Heap, Georgette Leblanc, Solita Solano, Kathryn Hulme, Louise Davidson, Elizabeth Gordon, and Alice Rohrer. The Rope was most active from 1936 to 1938. Heap became a lifelong student and teacher of Gurdjieff's work, moving to London where she led Gurdjieff study groups until her death in 1964. Anderson remained a student of Gurdjieff's until his death in October 1949, writing about him and his teachings in most of her books, most thoroughly in The Unknowable Gurdjieff, which she dedicated to Heap.

Over thirty-two years, Anderson published a three-volume autobiography: My Thirty Years' War, The Fiery Fountains, and The Strange Necessity. The final volume was dedicated to Solano, who served as a critic throughout the book's creation. In her last years in Le Cannet, she wrote her final book, part novel and part memoir, Forbidden Fires, which recounts her days with Georgette Leblanc and Jane Heap. The book was published in 1996 through the efforts of Mathilda Hills, a University of Rhode Island professor who lived with Elizabeth Jenks Clark and edited the manuscript.

Chronology of Events in Margaret Anderson's Life

Born November 24 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Moved to Chicago, reviewed books for The Continent, The Dial, and the Chicago Evening Post
In March, edited and published the first Little Review.
Met Jane Heap.
Moved the Little Review to New York.
The Little Review began serially publishing James Joyce's Ulysses. Anderson met Gladys Tilden.
The United State Post Office seized and burned issues of the magazine, charging Anderson and Heap with obscenity.
Convicted with Heap of obscenity.
Attended lectures by George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. Moved to Le Cannet.
Moved to Paris with Leblanc.
Met Georgette Leblanc, ended her romantic relationship with Heap and turned over editorship of the Little Review.
Heap moved to Paris. Heap and Anderson co-adopted Anderson's nephews.
The Little Review suspended publication.
Final issue of the Little Review published. Anderson met Solita Solano.
My Thirty Years' War published.
Anderson and Leblanc lived temporarily in Vernet and began studies with Gurdjieff in Paris.
Anderson and Solano ended their affair.
The Rope was active.
Leblanc died.
Anderson returned to the United States. Met Dorothy Caruso.
Gurdjieff died.
The Fiery Fountains published.
Caruso died.
Anderson returned to Le Cannet.
The Strange Necessity and The Unknowable Gurdjieff published.
Heap died.
October 19, Anderson died of heart failure in Cannes.

Elizabeth Jenks Clark

Elizabeth Jenks Clark (1912-1989) was born Elizabeth Story Jenks in Narragansett, Rhode Island. During her childhood, the family lived in Mount Kemble, Morristown, New Jersey and spent their summers at Anawan Cliffs in Narragansett. Clark, known as "Lib" among family and friends, graduated from Miss Porter's School and completed her education in Paris. In 1928, she married Joseph P. Clark, a future two-term United States Senator, and together they had a son, Joseph Clark, Jr. She and her husband separated in 1931 and Elizabeth moved to Paris while the divorce was finalized. While in Paris, Clark sculpted a fish fountain for the town of Narragansett at the studio of sculptor Janet Scudder. For the rest of the 1930s Clark lived and sculpted in Philadelphia and New York City while she raised her son. In 1941, she joined the American Women's Voluntary Service (A.W.V.S.), for which she organized branches throughout the United States. While in New York City, Clark met and fell in love with a fellow member of the A.W.V.S., poet and editor Sarah Wilkinson, also known as Solita Solano. Solano, a poet and the partner of Janet Flanner, had recently repatriated from France. Though Clark and Solano would live together for the rest of Solano's life, Solano maintained a close bond with Flanner.

Through Solano, Clark met Margaret Anderson in New York City in July of 1942. Clark, Solano and Anderson would remain close and loyal friends until Anderson's death in 1973. After the war, Clark worked in New York City at the Fifth Avenue boutique Henri Bendel and at the fashion house of designer Mainbocher. In the late 1940s, she and Solano moved to Arizona and California to be near family and friends. When Clark's parents' health began to fail in the early 1950s, Clark and Solano moved to the Jenks family's Mount Kemble property and lived there until 1958, when the two women moved to Orgeval, France. Solano died in 1975 and was buried in Orgeval. Clark returned to live in the United States in November of 1976 and settled in Kingston, RI. From 1979 until her death from cancer in 1989, Clark shared her life with Mathilda Hills, a member of the English faculty at the University of Rhode Island. Mathilda Hills edited and made possible the publication of Forbidden Fires, Margaret Anderson's last book.

Custodial History

Elizabeth Jenks Clark collection of Margaret Anderson contains material of mixed provenance. After Anderson's death, Elizabeth Jenks Clark and Solita Solano inherited her papers. Following the death of Solano, Clark lived with Mathilda Hills, who inherited Anderson's and Clark's papers when Clark died.

Processing Information

Mathilda Hills provided biographical information about Elizabeth Jenks Clark and Margaret Anderson.

Box 31 is unused. Original audiocassettes are now housed in Boxes 23-24. Restricted fragile material.

Guide to the Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson
by Molly Wheeler
February 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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