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Ruth Stephan papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 423

Scope and Contents

The Ruth Stephan Papers consist of correspondence, writings, research files, audiovisual material, photographs, and diaries and other personal papers documenting the career and life of the twentieth-century American writer, editor, and translator Ruth Stephan. Correspondence and subject files provide evidence of Stephan's professional and personal relationships as well as her wide-ranging interests, from art to Zen Buddhism. Stephan's creative work consists of drafts, notes, and research files for poetry, historical and autobiographical fiction, anthologies, and film; her research files on Queen Christina of Sweden are extensive. Her travels in and creative work related to Europe, Peru, Japan, China, and India are documented throughout the collection by writings, diaries and engagement calendars, photographs, film, sound recordings, and correspondence. The papers also include a small amount of material documenting the history of the Walgreens drugstore chain.

Dates

  • 1915 - 1974

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Correspondence and diaries in boxes 51 and 118-121 are restricted until January 1, 2024.

Audiovisual material in Series III, boxes 116, 117, and 140, is restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Reference copies of audiovisual material in Series III may be requested. Contact Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ruth Stephan 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

Gift and Bequest of Ruth Stephan Franklin, 1965-1975. Gift of John J. Stephan, 2003.

Arrangement

Organized into four series: Series I. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1915-1974. Series II. Writings, 1936-1974. Series III. Audiovisual Material, undated. Series IV. Other Papers, 1928-1972.

Associated Materials

Extent

60 Linear Feet (148 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.stephan

Overview

The Ruth Stephan Papers consist of correspondence, writings, research files, audiovisual material, photographs, and diaries and other personal papers documenting the career and life of the twentieth-century American writer, editor, and translator Ruth Stephan. Correspondence and subject files provide evidence of Stephan's professional and personal relationships as well as her wide-ranging interests, from art to Zen Buddhism. Stephan's creative work consists of drafts, notes, and research files for poetry, historical and autobiographical fiction, anthologies, and film; her research files on Queen Christina of Sweden are extensive. Her travels in and creative work related to Europe, Peru, Japan, China, and India are documented throughout the collection by writings, diaries and engagement calendars, photographs, film, sound recordings, and correspondence. The papers also include a small amount of material documenting the history of the Walgreens drugstore chain.

Ruth Stephan (1910-1974)

The writer Ruth Stephan (born Charlotte Ruth Walgreen) published her first poems in the late 1930s in venues such as Harper's, Poetry, and Forum, and her first volume, Prelude to Poetry, was published in 1946. With her husband, the painter John Stephan, she founded and edited the influential quarterly magazine The Tiger's Eye (1947-1951), which showcased the work of artists and writers with particular emphasis on abstract expressionism. In addition to further volumes of poetry, her work includes two novels based on the life of Queen Christina of Sweden, The Flight (1956) and My Crown, My Love (1960); a volume of translated Quechua stories and songs, The Singing Mountaineers (1957); an audio compilation, The Spoken Anthology of American Literature (1963); and a documentary film, Zen in Ryoko-in (1971). Her philanthropic work included establishing a poetry center at the University of Arizona in 1960.

Stephan was born in Chicago on January 21, 1910, the daughter of drugstore founder Charles R. Walgreen and Myrtle Norton Walgreen. She attended Northwestern University but left without a degree in 1929 when she married Justin W. Dart, with whom she had two sons. Unsupported by her family when she began to take herself seriously as a writer, she divorced Dart in 1939. Later that same year she married the painter John Stephan; their only child, a son, was born in 1941. In 1942 the Stephans moved to Westport, Connecticut, where they founded The Tiger's Eye in 1947. This venture lasted until 1951, when the work of producing the magazine threatened to overtake the couple's own creative work. In 1961, Ruth Stephan divorced John Stephan and spent time traveling in Japan and Southeast Asia, where she became interested in Zen Buddhism. In 1966 she married John C. Franklin, a scientist, and lived the remainder of her life in Greenwich, Connecticut. She died in North Salem, New York, on April 9, 1974.

Much of the information in this biographical sketch is drawn from: Stephan, John J., "Ruth Stephan (1910-74): A Tribute" (Yale University Library Gazette, April 1976).

Processing Information

This collection was partially processed in the 1970s. Additional arrangement, preservation rehousing, and listing of contents was carried out in 2010 in order to provide a basic level of access. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are transcribed from the folders as found in 2010; these titles are in most cases those provided by the creator, although some were supplied by the earlier processing project or by staff during processing in 2010. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call numbers: Za Stephan, Uncat Za Stephan, and Uncat MSS 483.
Title
Guide to the Ruth Stephan Papers
Author
by Ellen Doon and Clayton McGahee
Date
2011
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

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

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

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.