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Ezra Pound papers : addition

Call Number: YCAL MSS 53
Scope and Contents

The Ezra Pound Papers Addition consists of material related to the life and career of the American poet Ezra Pound received by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library after the processing of the Ezra Pound Papers acquired in 1973. The Addition consists of letters, manuscripts, photographs, and personal papers and memorabilia belonging to Pound. Materials in the collection (approximately twenty linear feet) span the years 1862 to 1983, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1960 and 1972.

The Ezra Pound Addition is divided into four series: I.Correspondence, II. Writings, III. Personal Papers, and IV. Audiovisual Material. Oversize material is also included in the collection.

Series I., Correspondence (Boxes 1-28), is arranged alphabetically by personal or institutional name and contains letters to and from Pound. (A list of files containing letters from Pound is included at the end of the DESCRIPTION OF THE PAPERS.)

A highlight of the collection is a series of nineteen letters from Pound to his parents, Homer and Isabel Pound, during his European study tour in 1906. Written from Madrid, Paris, and London, the letters describe Pound's impressions, studies, and writing and reveal much about his early thoughts and aspirations.

Later letters from Pound to numerous friends and acquaintances often reveal his thoughts on poetry (his own or others'), politics, economics, and other subjects. The file for Jane Lidderdale contains a brief typescript of Pound's recollections of Harriet Weaver and the Egoist, while several letters to Ethel Duncan comment on his own work and that of T. S. Eliot and others. A letter to the New Republic (May 10, 1930) gives Pound's estimate of modern misinterpretations of Rabelais, and a lengthy letter to Lawrence Pollinger (February 23, 1938) discusses his interest in musical composition.

An undated letter to a Dr. Mahr gives Pound's blunt views on German radio propaganda, and two letters in 1944 from an official with the German embassy in Italy invite Pound to visit Berlin and to participate in "our American-English broadcasts." Pound's letter to U. S. Attorney-General Francis Biddle on August 4, 1943 (included in several drafts) takes strong issue with his indictment for treason.

Among the prominent authors represented in the correspondence are Basil Bunting, Cyril Connolly, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, Hilda Doolittle (H. D.), Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Robert Lowell, Archibald MacLeish, Marianne Moore, Desmond O'Grady, and William Carlos Williams. Other figures connected with Pound's career include Margaret Anderson, George Antheil, Caresse Crosby, James Laughlin, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Giovanni Schweiller. Their letters to Pound often reveal much about their own writing or that of Pound and others.

T. S. Eliot wrote to Pound on a variety of subjects, both personal and professional. A letter of September 2, 1927 acknowledges Pound's influence on Eliot and other writers, while others comment on such figures as W. H. Auden and Lincoln Kirstein. A letter from Hemingway of July 22, 1933 speaks of fishing, patriotism, government bureaucracy, indebtedness to Pound, and the writing of The Sun Also Rises; another from 1926 analyzes Ford Madox Ford's novel No More Parades. E. E. Cummings's letter of August 8, 1962 comments briefly on Robert Graves, Norman Douglas, and others, while an undated letter from Mary Bernard (c. 1946) discusses Marianne Moore.

Letters from William Carlos Williams (1923-63) discuss both his own writing and that of Pound. His letter of November 26 (n.y.) describes a legal entanglement over one of his stories printed in New Masses; a letter of February 20 (n.y.) laments having to split time between writing and practicing medicine and announces his decision to remain in the United States; and a letter from 1948 critiques Eliot's play The Family Reunion.

Among many authors revealing their indebtedness to Pound are Robert Lowell, Archibald MacLeish, and W. S. Merwin. By far the most prolific correspondent among Pound's many publishers was James Laughlin of New Directions Press. His letters (1935-71) discuss not only Pound's publications but the work of many other major twentieth-century authors. The letters not only give details on the publications of Pound's texts, but they often comment indirectly on Pound's thoughts and reactions to printings, royalties, piracies, and other issues.

Among the most fascinating correspondence in the collection are a number of letters written by the noted sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska in 1914-15 while serving in France in World War I. Although the letters say little about Gaudier-Brzeska's interrupted career, they comment on battles and graphically describe the uncomfortable, unstable life of the common soldier during the war.

Other individual letters deserve brief mention. A letter to Pound from Eva Hesse on January 17, 1951 discusses in some detail the political environment in post-war Germany, the American occupation, and German feelings toward the United States and Russia. Marshall McLuhan's letter (c. 1948) comments on what he calls the "complete prolitarianization of the middle classes." An undated letter from Viola Baxter Jordan (c. 1939?) mentions Pound's radio broadcasts from Italy, while several of her later letters discuss H.D. and her daughter Perdita.

In addition to Homer and Isabel Pound, other family correspondents include Dorothy Pound, Mary and Boris de Rachewiltz, and Pound's grandchildren Walter de Rachewiltz and Patrizia de Rachewiltz De Vroom. Among Pound's friends and acquaintances, the more prolific letter-writers include Renata Borgatti, Ethel Duncan, Ronald Duncan, Viola Baxter Jordan, Brigit Patmore, George Slavin, Marcella Spann, and Henry Swabey.

Placed at the end of this series are unidentified correspondents, fan mail, and incomplete drafts of letters by Pound.

Series II, Writings (Boxes 29-35), is divided into Books and Shorter Works and contains manuscripts of many of Pound's books, poems, essays, translations, musical scores, and miscellaneous writings, some with notes and other related material. Included are numerous holograph or typescript sections of the Cantos, often with Pound's corrections or annotations. The several musical scores (complete or fragmentary) document Pound's interest in music and the setting of poetry to music. Present are various holograph drafts of the scores of The Testament of François Villon (Le Testament de Villon) and Cavalcanti, as well as scores of shorter pieces. At the end of the series are Pound's random notes and notebooks on literary matters not related to a specific work.

Series III, Personal Papers (Boxes 36-43), is arranged alphabetically by subject group (Address Books, Legal Papers, Notes, etc.). Included in this series are biographical information, legal and financial papers, medical reports, news clippings, photographs, writings about Pound, writings of others, and miscellaneous items.

Oversize (Boxes 42-44) contains material from Writings and Personal Papers.

List of files with letters, cards, telegrams, or notes by Ezra Pound:

Agresti, Olivia Rossetti

Angleton, James

Bacigalupo Family

Barney, Natalie

Beckett, Samuel

Berry, John

Biddle, Francis

Bird, Otto

Borgatti, Renata

Bullock, Marie

Cadorin, Guido

Chigi-Saracin, Guido

Cookson, William

Curtis Brown, Ltd. (notes)

Dalliba-John, Kate

Davenport, Guy

Donoghue, D.

Duncan, Ethel

Duncan, Ronald

Du Sautoy, Peter

Ede, James

Eliot, T. S.

Equitable Trust Company

Favai, Gennaro

Goedel, Carl

H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)

Horne, Mr.

King, Robert

Laughlin, James

Lees, David

Library of Congress (L. Q. Mumford)


Lippi, Simonetta

Littlefield, Lester

McDaniels, Walton

MacDiarmid, Hugh

Mapel, Ida B.

Mahr, Dr.

Mazziniani, Seminatori

Mead, Ellen and Henry

Mencken, H. L.

Menotti, Gian Carlo

Mezzasoma, F.

Monotti, Francesco

Museé National d'Art Moderne

New Republic

New York Herald

O'Grady, Desmond

Patmore, Brigit

Pearson, Norman Holmes

Polignac, Wineretta de

Pollinger, Lawrence


Raymond, Cl.

Ringer, Gordon (notes)

Ronsisvalle, Vanni

Roux, Dominique de

Sewanee Review

Singh, George

Slocum, John

Spender, Stephen

Sperandeo, Giussepina Cosco

Spoleto Festival

Stevens, C. F. Terrell

Strauss, Roger

Sullivan, J. P. (card)


Von Leers, Professor

Wallace, Naomi

Walter, Susan

Winslow, Ann

Wolfe, Humbert (notes)

Wykes-Joyce, Max (notes)

Yates, Richard

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ezra Pound Papers Addition 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

The Addition to the Pound Papers was received by Yale University in 1990 from Olga Rudge and the Ezra Pound Foundation.

Associated Materials
1862 - 1983
Majority of material found within 1960 - 1971
20.71 Linear Feet (47 boxes)
Related Names
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972
Language of Materials