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Léonie Adams and William Troy papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 316

Scope and Contents

The Léonie Adams and William Troy Papers contain correspondence, writings, photographs, printed materials, and other papers that document the professional and personal lives of the writers and educators Léonie Adams and William Troy. Correspondence comprises the bulk of the papers and primarily consists of correspondence with friends, colleagues, and various colleges and universities. Writings include poems, essays, literary and film reviews, drama, and other writings. Included among the writings are drafts of Adams’s poetry collections and drafts of Troy’s posthumous work, Selected Essays. The papers also contain professional and personal papers of Adams and Troy, including clippings by and about the authors, programs from readings, teaching notes, and other papers that record the lives of the couple. Photographs include snapshots of Adams and Troy, their friends and family, literary events, and travels. The papers span the years 1902 to 1980.


  • 1902 - 1987


Language of Materials

Chiefly in English, one writing in French.

Conditions Governing Access

Box 13: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. Consult Access Services for further information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm service copies are available for Series I. General Correspondence, Lincoln Kirstein (film number 2339).

Conditions Governing Use

The Léonie Adams and William Troy Papers 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 Léonie Adams, circa 1972; Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 1983; and Jett W. Whitehead, 2002. Gift of Glenn Horowitz, 1983; Sharon Reuter, 1986; Bette Bonaci, 2004; and Marion Holland McAllister, 2019.


Organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1920-1980. II. Writings, 1915-1973. III. Professional Papers, 1922-1964. IV. Photographs, circa 1920-1960. V. Personal Papers, 1902-1971.


13.67 Linear Feet ((25 boxes) + 2 broadside folders)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Léonie Adams and William Troy Papers consist of correspondence, writings, teaching materials, and other papers that document the personal and professional lives of both writers and teachers. The papers span the years 1902 to 1980.

Léonie Adams

Léonie Adams was born Léonie Fuller in Brooklyn, New York, on December 9, 1899. She grew up with five siblings in a strict household until she left to attend Barnard College, from which she graduated in 1922. During her studies Adams began to write poetry and became the editor of The Measure. In 1925, she published her first collection of poetry, Those Not Elect. The book received great praise and Adams continued to write poetry while working as an editor for Wilson Publishing and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She moved to Paris for one year in 1929 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, where she befriended H.D., regularly visited with Ford Madox Ford and Gertrude Stein, and lived with Allen Tate and his family. Her next two collections, High Falcon and Other Poems and Midsummer, were published in the same year. In 1930, she returned to New York and taught at New York University, where she met writer and teacher William Troy. The two married in 1933 and Adams published her collection of poetry, This Measure. She published no poetry for the next twenty-five years yet continued to teach poetry and was elected Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (now known as the U.S. Poet Laureateship) in 1948.

Adams spent the rest of her career editing and teaching poetry for various institutions, including Columbia University; New York University; New Jersey College for Women (known then as Douglass College), from which she received an honorary doctoral degree in 1950; the University of Washington; the Breadloaf Writers Conference; and Sarah Lawrence College. In 1954, she won the Harriet Monroe Award from Poetry and in 1955 she won the Shelley Memorial Prize and shared the Bollingen Prize for Poems: A Selection with her friend and fellow poet, Louise Bogan. She received an Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets in 1974. She died on June 27, 1988 in New Milford, Connecticut.

William Troy

William Troy was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 11, 1903 and grew up in nearby Oak Park, attending Loyola Academy for high school. At fifteen, he sold his first review to a newspaper. Upon graduating from Yale University in 1925, he taught for one year at the University of New Hampshire and then enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University. From 1929 to 1930 Troy studied at the Sorbonne and the University of Grenoble, France on a Field Service fellowship, taking a year off from a teaching position at New York University, where he taught from 1926-1935. He married poet Léonie Adams in 1933 and the two moved to Bennington, Vermont for teaching positions at Bennington College, where he also chaired the Department of Literature and Humanities. Throughout the 1930s, Troy was a regular literary and film reviewer for The Nation and through the 1940s he published essays, reviews, and a few poems in various literary journals. From 1945 to 1960, except for one year as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Bordeaux and the University of Rennes in 1955 and 1956, Troy taught at the New School University, focusing on Joyce and Shakespeare. He was a popular teacher among his students and is remembered among them as a great lecturer. Cancer of the larynx and a subsequent throat operation forced him to leave teaching in March 1960. He died on May 26, 1961. Selected Essays was published posthumously in 1967 and won the National Book Award in 1968.

Processing Information

This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: ZA Adams-Troy, Uncat.ZA File.Adams, Uncat.ZA MS.357, Uncat.ZA File.75, Uncat ZA File.158, Uncat.MSS.709, Uncat.ZA File.473.

Guide to the Léonie Adams and William Troy Papers
by Molly Wheeler
January 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.
  • 2021-09-28: 2019 Addition

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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.