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Arthur Davison Ficke Papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 50

Scope and Contents

The Arthur Davison Ficke Papers document the life and career of the poet Arthur Davison Ficke. The papers span the years 1865-1971, but the bulk of the material covers the years 1904-45.

The papers are organized into seven series: Correspondence, Writings, Photographs, Personal Papers, Business and Legal Papers, Arthur Davison Ficke Foundation, and Artwork.

Series I, Correspondence , is organized into three subseries: Arthur Davison Ficke Correspondence, Gladys Brown Ficke Correspondence, and Third Party Correspondence, spanning the years 1886-1971.

Ficke's correspondence with his parents, Charles August and Frances Ficke, dates from 1895 through 1945. Letters to his mother and father are filed separately, but the majority of the letters are addressed to both parents. The letters begin to be more frequent in 1900 when Ficke was at Harvard. These letters give details about student life, early publishing attempts, and work on the Harvard Advocate.

Correspondence from 1905-09 concerns business affairs, Ficke's marriage to Evelyn Bethune Blunt, and her poor health, and their 1910 trip to England and France. No further correspondence exists until July 1917 when Ficke received his commission and went to Washington, D. C. His correspondence from France concerns his work as Judge Advocate of the General Courts-martial.

There is another gap in the correspondence until 1922, when letters to his parents discuss his impending divorce. The 1923 correspondence concerns Ficke's writing projects and his engagement to Gladys Brown. Although Ficke received letters from his mother until her death in 1945, his letters to his parents end in 1924.

Ficke's letters to Evelyn Blunt Ficke cover many of the same subjects, but in greater detail. The correspondence begins in 1917 and contains descriptions of bombing in France, and life in the military. A February 1919 letter includes a list of Japanese prints Ficke purchased in London and Paris the previous year. Later letters concern their marital problems, and correspondence ends in 1922, with the exception of one letter written by Ficke in 1945.

Ficke's correspondence with his second wife, Gladys Brown Ficke, begins in 1921. They discuss his poetry and her painting. Correspondence from 1922 details plans for a European trip, while 1923 letters chronicle Ficke's re-ordering of his life after his divorce.

Ficke and Brown married in 1923, and his letters to her thereafter were usually written during separations caused by his poor health. Letters from Santa Fe in 1927 provide news of Witter Bynner. Ficke's November 1931 letters from a sanatorium in Kerrville, Texas deal mostly with his health and treatments, as do his December 1935 letters from the sanatorium in Southern Pines, North Carolina.

Ficke's correspondence with his son, Stanhope Blunt Ficke, spanning the years 1923-45, includes information on financial matters and on Stan's military service during World War II. Other family members represented in this series include Ficke's sisters, Alice Ficke Simonson and Helene Ficke Watzek, and his aunt Ella Davison.

Ficke corresponded with a number of literary figures. In November 1912 he wrote Edna St. Vincent Millay concerning her poem "Renascence," beginning a lifelong friendship. Her letters from 1912 through 1918 concern writing, poetry, and her education at Vassar. Correspondence from 1919 comments on Ficke's sonnets and his "Twenty Rue Jacob." A letter dated April 4, 1920 contains a copy of her poem "Spring." Between 1921 and 1922 Millay writes from Europe.

After her health collapsed in 1925, Millay's correspondence was carried on largely by her husband, Eugen Boissevain. The letters from 1926 through 1929 concern their purchase of Steepletop in Austerlitz, New York, Millay's health, Ficke's collaboration with Millay on The King's Henchmen, mutual friends, activities at Steepletop, and reviews of Millay's The Buck in the Snow.

During the 1930s the correspondence centers around Millay's travels, her chronic poor health, and her writing. Ficke's annotated transcripts of much of the Millay-Boissevain correspondence can be found in Box 10, folders 349-351 and Box 11, folders 369-370.

Ficke's correspondence with Witter Bynner ("Halbert") began after their grauduation from Harvard, and continued until Ficke's death in 1945. The correspondence begins with a 1904 letter from Bynner concerning Ficke's publication of a poem. Subsequent letters contain Bynner's comments on Ficke's work, personal news and information about mutual friends. Bynner often includes copis of poems he has written in his letters to Ficke.

Ficke maintained a correspondence with British writer John Cowper Powys, from 1915 to 1945. These letters also contain frequent comments on Ficke's work, personal news, and mention of mutual friends such as Edgar Lee Masters, Theodore Dreiser, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Llewelyn Powys. Other subjects discussed include a libel suit against Powys over a character in his novel Philip Crow. Ficke also corresponded with Llewelyn Powys in the 1930s, and with his wife, Alyse Gregory. (Ficke prepared annotated transcripts of many of the letters to Llewelyn Powys.)

From 1917 through 1945, Ficke corresponded with Floyd Dell, who offered him advice and criticism, helped him prepare books for publication, and discussed writing in general. Ficke's correspondence with Edgar Lee Masters lasted from 1915 through 1945. Masters sent him a number of poems, commented on Ficke's poetry, and discussed Edna St. Vincent Millay and John Cowper Powys. Other literary figures represented in this series include Sherwood Anderson, William Rose Benét, Theodore Dreiser, Langston Hughes, Robinson Jeffers, H. L. Mencken, Eden Phillpotts, Edwin Arlington Robinson, George Santayana, Carl Van Vechten, and Eleanor Wylie.

Ficke also maintained a lifelong correspondence with his Harvard professor Kuno Franke, often sending copies of his books for comments. One of Ficke's Harvard classmates was Franklin Delano Roosevelt; in 1903, when Roosevelt was president of the Harvard Advocate, he wrote to Ficke disagreeing over an editorial. Letters written from 1938 through 1943 contain invitations to Hyde Park and a 1942 letter concerns Roosevelt's thoughts on capitalism and labor.

The correspondence of Gladys Brown Ficke consists primarily of letters she received after Ficke's death. There are several folders of correspondence from Witter Bynner, as well as letters from Alyce Gregory, John Cowper Powys, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Carl Van Vechten.

A small amount of third party correspondence is found at the end of the series, including letters written by Evelyn Blunt Ficke to her parents on trips to Japan and China in 1908 and 1920-21. Transcripts are available for the letters written in 1920-21.

Series II, Writings , is organized into three subseries: Arthur Davison Ficke, Gladys Brown Ficke, and Writings of Others. The Arthur Davison Ficke subseries contains novels, plays, books of poetry, individual poems, autobiographical writings, lectures, reviews, and short stories. The Novels section contains complete drafts of three unpublished novels, "The Blue Jade Sceptre," "Strangers in San Esteban," and "Spoodle Spinney, The Story of a Country House." "The Blue Jade Sceptre" also contains artwork and correspondence related to its possible publication. Ficke published one novel, Mrs. Morton of Mexico, in 1939. The collection contains drafts of individual chapters, a complete first draft, a complete final draft, correspondence relating to publication, notes for a proposed movie and play, reviews, and an essay by Ficke, "Unconscious Symbolic Elements in Mrs. Morton of Mexico." In addition, there are fragments and partial drafts of seven other projected novels.

Plays contains drafts of published and unpublished plays. Material relating to Mr. Faust includes the first draft, as well as holograph production plans, playbills, publicity, and reviews. The Road to the Mountain, privately printed, is represented by three drafts, correspondence relating to production of the play, a list of people who received copies, and printers bills. There is one draft of The Breaking of the Bonds. The collection also contains drafts of six other plays including "The Flower of the Foam" and "Guinevere," both written in 1902.

The subseries, Books of Poetry, contains manuscripts for many of Ficke's poetry collections. The earliest publication documented in the collection is The Happy Princess (1907). Material includes a corrected holograph, a corrected holograph and typescript, a holograph of "Italian Phantasy," publicity, and reviews. Sonnets of a Portrait Painter (1914, 1922) is represented by a corrected holograph and typescript, reviews, and correspondence concerning the later publication of individual poems.

Ficke co-authored Spectra (1916) with Witter Bynner. Using the pseudonyms "Emanuel Morgan" (Bynner) and "Anne Knish" (Ficke), the poets created the The "Spectric School" of poetry as a satire on Imagism and other forms of modern verse. Spectra is represented by a corrected holograph and typescript draft and a large number of reviews and clippings relating to the hoax, plus two essays on "Spectra," one written by Ficke and one written by "Anne Knish" and "Emanuel Morgan."

Other items in the subseries Books of Poetry include a corrected typescript of An April Elegy (1917) annotated by Donald Evans, and one poem from The Man on the Hilltop and Other Poems (1915), plus reviews of both works. Christ in China (1927) is represented by a holograph outline, three typescript drafts, holograph revisions, and correspondence. There are several drafts of Tumultuous Shore (1942), Ficke's last published work, as well as some individual poems arranged alphabetically by title and followed by three drafts of "Beggar's Wallet," the proposed title of the collection.

Manuscripts of unpublished books of poetry are also found in the collection. Papers concerning "Frail Jar for Sacred Wine," Ficke's last poetical work, include drafts and 1948 correspondence detailing Gladys Brown Ficke's efforts to publish the work. Other unpublished works include a draft of "Hymn to Venus" with artwork; "Islands of the Mist: A Sonnet Sequence" (1914); and "Twenty Rue Jacob," probably begun by Ficke in Paris in 1917. The holograph of "Poems for Stanhope Blunt Ficke" was written for his young son in 1918. There are three copies of the privately printed The Hell of the Good issued under the pseudonym "Edouard De Verb."

Poetry contains individual poems which did not appear in any of Ficke's collected works. Some were published in newspapers and magazines. Individual poems are arranged alphabetically by title, while 18 notebooks of poems spanning the years 1895-1941 are arranged chronologically. These contain holograph and typescript copies of many of Ficke's poems; the first 13 notebooks are indexed. An incomplete index, covering 17 notebooks, follows the final notebook and also contains publishing information.

Examples of Ficke's early poetry include a corrected typescript of "Antigone," ca. 1903-04, a typescript of "Before Summer" (1904), and a holograph of "To My Aunt Ella" (1890). In addition there are two printed copies of Ficke's 1904 "Class Poem." Examples of humorous poetry by Ficke include "Elegy on Cheese," and "Nannie and Warren," written with Witter Bynner in 1936. Poetry published in magazines and newspapers includes "America is Happy Tonight," "Complete Report of the Dr. Einstein to America," "New England Countryside," "Oh Gee I Wisht I Was a Lunger" (published under the pseudonym "Edward Knish" in 1929), and "To the Young."

Miscellaneous Writings is divided into Articles and Essays, Autobiographical Writings, Lectures, Reviews, and Short Stories. Articles and Essays includes a folder of holograph notes and plates for Ficke's Chats on Japanese Art, an undated printed copy of "Aspects of Chinese Painting," an undated printed copy of "The Prints of Kwaigetsudo," and "Note," a short unpublished preface by Ficke for Collected Sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The folder also contains holograph notes by Millay and Ficke's thoughts on Millay's poetry.

Autobiographical Writings includes a 1931 fragment of an untitled autobiography as well as Chapters I-IV of the undated "What I Remember. An Autobiography." "Ether," "The Psychology of the Pulmonary Tuberculosis as Seen by a Layman," and "Notes From the Diary of a Tuberculosis Patient" deal with Ficke's medical problems. "Seven Years" and "The Great River; A Fictitious Biography of My Mother" are fiction with autobiographical content. "Letters Across a Mountain" is a collection of transcripts of a few of Ficke's letters to Floyd Dell.

Lectures contains three lectures on poetry as well as a printed copy of Ficke's "The Problem of Censorship," which he read before the Contemporary Club on March 20, 1922.

The Short Stories sections contain a group of stories featuring "Mrs. Morton," the central character in Ficke's Mrs. Morton of Mexico, published in Esquire Magazine in March 1936 and July 1938. There is also a lithograph by Eric Lundgren for "Mrs. Morton Buys a Fish." Other material includes the original typescripts and submission lists for "The Tomb of His Ancestors" and "Subway Cage."

Gladys Brown Ficke contains Articles and Essays, Books, and Miscellaneous Writings of Ficke's second wife. The Articles and Essays section contains four articles about art and painting, an article about the letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Arthur Davison Ficke, and a corrected typescript and printed version of "Arthur Davison Ficke and His Friends" published in the Yale Library Gazette in January 1949.

At the time of his death Ficke was researching "The Poetry and Philosophy of Chinese Landscape Painting," which was completed by Gladys Brown Ficke in 1958-59. The collection contains of one complete draft, an incomplete draft, fragments, notes, photographs, and research correspondence.

Miscellaneous Writings contains notes, plays, poetry, and short stories. Notes are by Gladys Brown Ficke on a variety of subjects arranged alphabetically by title of work or by subject. Most are concerned with art, psychology, and literature. The section devoted to Plays contains two undated typescripts of "For Tomorrow We Die" written by Gladys Brown Ficke under the name "Augusta Brown."

The third subseries, Writings of Others, is housed in Box 42. Edgar Lee Masters is represented by 38 poems, including a holograph of "In Praise of Sleep," a holograph of "Possession," two drafts of "Midnight Walk to the River," and "Sonnet to Arthur Davison Ficke." Most of the poems are signed. There are four poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a signed typescript of "For Gladys and Eugen entreating them to take good care of Arthur," and three others copied by Arthur Davison Ficke. Other material includes a holograph draft of "The Hill" by Rupert Brooke, several poems by Witter Bynner, an untitled holograph sonnet by George Santayana, and a short biography of Frances Davison Ficke by Helene Ficke Watzek.

Series III, Photographs , holds photographs of Ficke, his family, and his friends. The photographs of Ficke are arranged chronologically beginning with an 1884 photograph of Ficke and his mother. Photographs from 1886 through 1917 include formal portraits and family photographs. Portraits taken in 1917 include a picture of Ficke in Japan with Evelyn Blunt Ficke and Witter Bynner and photographs of Ficke in military uniform. Photographs dating from 1920-23 include formal portraits, and snapshots, among them two of Ficke taken during a 1924 trip to France with Gladys Brown Ficke. A number of photographs are dated 1928 including some taken by Witter Bynner in Santa Fe, and pictures of Ficke with Gladys Brown Ficke and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Ficke was often photographed by his friend Carl Van Vecten and these portraits are dated 1932, 1937, 1938, and 1940. Undated photographs include one of Ficke with Edna St. Vincent Millay and an undated portrait by Ansel Adams. Photographs of paintings of Ficke are found at the end of the section.

Other family members represented in this series include Ella Davison, Bessy Ficke, and Johann and Henriette Praesant. There are a number of photographs of Ficke's parents, his sisters, and photographs of family trips to Switzerland in 1894 and Africa, Egypt, and Jerusalem in 1896. One folder contains photographs of Stanhope Blunt Ficke. There are a number of photographs of Gladys Brown Ficke, beginning in 1915, and three undated photographs of Evelyn Blunt Ficke.

Other material includes four photographs by Ansel Adams, two albums relating to Japan and China (1917, 1920), photographs of Taos by Carl Van Vecten, and photographs of Maurice Browne, Witter Bynner, Kuno Franke, Eric Lundgren, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Eden Phillpotts.

Series IV, Personal Papers , contains the personal papers of Arthur Davison Ficke and his family spanning the years 1897-1968. Ficke's Diaries begin in 1896 with a record of a family trip to Egypt. Later diaries chronicle his Harvard days, detailing his work on the Harvard Advocate, studies, friends, and social activities. This group of diaries ends in 1905 with a volume describing a trip to Europe. The next group of material begins in 1933 and consists of journals containing details of daily life at Hardhack, as well as a record of winter 1933-34, which the Fickes spent in Sarasota, Florida. The diaries also discuss friends, including Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eugen Boissevain, Alan Devoe, and John Cowper Powys, as well as his writing. He also describes his medical problems and one diary chronicles his stay at Pinecrest Manor, a sanatorium in Southern Pines, North Carolina.

Three folders of "Notes and Reflections," spanning the years 1906-45, are located at the end of the section. These notes contain thoughts on literature, politics, World War II, and a few reflections written at the end of his life. A chronology of Ficke's life is found with the final notebook.

Ficke kept several scrapbooks spanning the years 1902-40. The first two contain memorabilia from his days at Harvard, including clippings of his writings from the Harvard Advocate, dinner programs, and dance cards. The scrapbooks for 1907-15 contain clippings of published poems, notices of Ficke's plays and books, and reviews. Other scrapbooks contain the author's writings for Esquire (with the exception of the "Mrs. Morton" series), articles on Asian art, and a group of articles written during 1938-39, gathered under the title "Fables of Angels and Animals."

In 1939 Ficke underwent psychoanalysis with Dr. Karl Menninger, during which he kept notes relating to it and to his state of mind. A folder of material relating to John Cowper Powys concerns an agreement made between the two for the purchase of a house in New York. Two folders concerning Edna St. Vincent Millay contain clippings and an unused draft of a contract between Millay and Harper and Brothers relating to the company's acquisition of the rights to "Renascence" and other works.

The section of Personal Papers devoted to Ficke's military career includes awards and citations, his commission, identity papers, orders, and discharge. Other material includes diplomas from Davenport High School, Harvard University, certificate of admission to the Supreme Court of Iowa, marriage announcements, divorce papers, a marriage contract, a list of medications, a will, and a folder of obituaries.

A small group of papers relate to Gladys Brown Ficke. Several folders contain clippings collected by her between 1941 and 1962. There are two diaries dated 1917 and 1924. The later one chronicles the Ficke's riding holiday in France.

Material relating to the Ficke family includes Evelyn Blunt Ficke's diaries of her 1917 and 1920 trips to China and Japan, Frances Davison Ficke's will, and genealogical information concerning the family.

Series V, Business and Legal Papers , consists of business and legal papers relating to Arthur Davison Ficke, Gladys Brown Ficke, and the Ficke family. The series contains a large section of correspondence and notes relating to Ficke's battle, in 1926, to obtain compensation from the Veterans Administration for his tuberculosis, which he believed was a result of his military service. There is also a file pertaining to Ficke's medical expenses during his final illness.

Another section concerns an income tax suit. The Internal Revenue Service questioned monetary gifts Ficke made to his wife prior to his death. This section contains correspondence, ledgers, income tax returns, and other material relating to the Ficke's finances and grouped together by Gladys Brown Ficke for use in the law suit. The outcome is not known. Of particular interest is a statement made by Dr. Karl Menninger, dated January 1948, concerning Ficke's state of mind prior to his death.

Other material includes correspondence concerning investments between the years 1917-37, checkbook statements from 1944-45, investment statements for 1931-46, income tax returns not needed for the Internal Revenue Service dispute, balance sheets, and correspondence relating to the estate of Charles August Ficke.

Series VI, Arthur Davison Ficke Foundation , consists of three boxes of correspondence, notes, and writings concerning the Foundation, from the years 1946-70. Several folders of correspondence chronicle the development of the foundation. Initially Gladys Brown Ficke thought to make her home, Hardhack, a memorial to her late husband. Later she wanted to use Hardhack as a summer artists colony at which a resident psychiatrist could study the creative process. During 1949 Gladys Brown Ficke enlisted the assistance of Dr. Lawrence Kubie in setting up a foundation to support this goal. Much of the 1949 correspondence concerns possible meeting dates for the directors of the foundation, the development a philosophy for the foundation, and possible funding sources. The Arthur Davison Ficke Foundation held its first meeting in New York City on December 9, 1949, sponsoring a conference on scientific investigation of the creative process.

In 1950 Gladys Brown Ficke decided to focus on creativity in children and corresponded with Kubie and other psychiatrists concerning research methodology. There is little correspondence after 1951. Other material includes bills and receipts, minutes of meetings, and organizational records.

The section devoted to writings contains articles on the creative process collected by Gladys Brown Ficke. There are also three articles written by her, including "A Technique for the Study of the Process of Painting in Children," which was published as a monograph in 1964.

Series VII, Artwork , consists of one box of artwork by Arthur Davison Ficke and others. Ficke is represented by 37 works of watercolor and ink on paper. Many of the works include holograph poems such as "Cytherea," "Portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay," and "Study in Japanese Imperial Heraldry and Color." Gladys Brown Ficke is represented by an undated folder of sketches. Also included is a group of undated etchings, and a lithograph by Eric Lundgren, and a watercolor inscribed to Arthur Davison Ficke by Mary Aldis.


  • 1865-1971


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 67-69: Restricted until 2023 Dec 31. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Box 70: Restricted fragile papers. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Folder 1387a (film): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials authored or otherwise produced by Arthur Davison Ficke are likely in the public domain. Copyright status for other collection materials is not known to the library. Yale cannot comment on whether or not specific Ficke works are in the public domain. Please refer to Cornell University Library’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States for detailed information on how to determine whether a work is in the public domain. Yale will claim no control over the copyright to works by Ficke, whether or not their copyright was previously controlled by Yale.

Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. You will find additional general information and resources about copyright online here:  Copyright: The Least You Need to Know. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers came to The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1950 as the gift of Gladys Brown Ficke. Additional material was donated in subsequent years by Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope Blunt Ficke, Alyse Gregory, Belinda Jeliffe, Mary Alice Metzgar, and John Van E. Kohn. One item was purchased in 1965 from Seven Gables Bookshop.


37 Linear Feet ((73 boxes) + 3 broadside folders, 1 art storage item, 1 cold storage)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Arthur Davison Ficke Papers document the personal lives and literary interests of Arthur Davison and Gladys Brown Ficke. Major correspondents include Witter Bynner, Floyd Dell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edgar Lee Masters, and John Cowper Powys. In addition to manuscripts of Ficke's own works, the papers contain manuscripts of poems by Witter Bynner, Edgar Lee Masters, and others.


Arthur Davison Ficke was born on November 10, 1883, in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Charles August Ficke, a lawyer, and Frances Davison Ficke. Ficke spent part of his childhood traveling in Europe and the Orient with his family. During these travels he developed a lifelong interest in Japanese art. After attending Davenport public schools, Ficke entered Harvard College in 1900, studying with such noted figures as William James, Kuno Franke, and George Santayana. He also met Witter Bynner, who became his lifelong friend.

Upon graduating from Harvard in 1904, Ficke returned to Iowa and entered the college of law at the Iowa State University. He also taught English at the University in 1906. In 1908 Ficke completed his law degree and entered his father's practice. On October 1, 1907, he married Evelyn Bethune Blunt in Springfield, Massachusetts. Their son Stanhope Blunt Ficke was born in 1912.

In 1907 Ficke published his first book, From the Isles. This book was followed by The Happy Princess and Other Poems (1907), The Earth Passion (1908), The Breaking of Bonds (1910), Twelve Japanese Painters (1913), Mr. Faust (1913), Sonnets of a Portrait Painter (1914, 1922), The Man on the Hilltop and Other Poems (1915), Chats on Japanese Prints (1915), and An April Elegy (1917). Chats on Japanese Prints was particularly well received and established Ficke as an authority on Japanese prints.

In 1916-17 Ficke made a trip to the Orient with his wife and Witter Bynner. In 1916 he and Bynner published Spectra under the pseudonyms Anne Knish and Emanuel Morgan. The poems were well received, although the authors had intended them as satires on modern poetry. The hoax was revealed in 1918.

Ficke volunteered for Army service in 1917, received a commission as a captain in the Ordnance Department, and was sent to France. While enroute to Paris in early 1918 he met the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, with whom he had been corresponding for six years. They remained friends throughout their lives.

Ficke served in France until July 1919. During his service he was reassigned from the Ordnance Department and was appointed a Judge Advocate of the General Courts-martial in Paris. While in France he continued to collect Japanese prints. Upon returning to the United States he decided to give up the practice of law and to dispose of his collection of Japanese prints in order to concentrate on writing. He made a second trip to the Orient in 1920. In 1922 Ficke accepted an appointment as curator of Japanese prints and lecturer in Japanese art at the Fogg Art Museum in Boston, but soon resigned for personal reasons.

Ficke was divorced from his wife in 1922. On December 8, 1923, he married Gladys Brown, a painter, and the couple settled in New York City. Ficke was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1925 and underwent treatment at Saranac Lake, New York. Following the treatment he went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he remained until 1928. That year the Fickes purchased "Hardhack," their home in Hillsdale, New York. During the 1920s he published five books: Out of Silence and Other Poems (1924); Selected Poems (1926); Christ in China (1927); Mountain Against Mountain (1929); and The Road to the Mountain (1930), and contributed to art and literary magazines.

Ficke was forced to undergo further treatment for tuberculosis at sanatoria in Asheville, North Carolina, and Kerrville, Texas in 1930 and returned to Texas for more treatment in 1931. He recovered his health and was able to travel to Jamaica; Sarasota, Florida; and Chapala, Mexico during the years 1931-34. In the summer of 1935 he was suddenly taken ill at Hillsdale and underwent treatment at Pinecrest Manor in Southern Pines, North Carolina until 1936. Despite illness he was able to publish The Secret and Other Poems (1936); a novel, Mrs. Morton of Mexico (1939); and contributions to magazines. Ficke made trips to Barbados and Bermuda in 1937-38. In 1939 he returned to Hillsdale.

In 1940 he began to give lectures on Japanese art in New York, but the worsening international situation forced their cancellation in December 1941. Ficke produced a final book of poetry, Tumultuous Shore and Other Poems (1942) and began to outline a book on Chinese art. In 1943 Ficke was diagnosed with throat cancer and died in Hudson, New York on November 30, 1945.

Processing Information

One folder of letters from Arthur Davison Ficke to Alyse Gregory, given to the Library by Gregory, was transferred from the Arthur Davison Ficke Correspondence, in Series I, to the Alyse Gregory Papers in August, 2001.

Guide to the Arthur Davison Ficke Papers
by Tina Evans
March 1991
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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