Judson Crews papers
Scope and Contents
Crews' creative life is reflected in his writings and correspondence. The papers include various drafts of his poetry and other writing projects, such as "Henry Miller and the Millennial Oranges of Big Sur," and an unpublished memoir. Some manuscripts are listed under Crews' pen names, such as Charley John Greasybear, Cerise Farallon, and Toby Macadams. Crews' correspondence similarly reflects his literary circle, with correspondents including Joanie Whitebird, who was a writer, editor, publisher, and founder of Wings Press, Phil Nurenberg of Happy Rock Press, and poet Carol Bergé. There are also letters between Crews and Wendell Anderson, a friend and collaborator who also wrote a thesis on Crews titled A Critical Analysis of Poems by a Contemporary Poet of the Avant-Garde: Judson Crews (a copy of which is in the papers). The Papers also include the work of other artists, such as photographs by Mildred Tolbert and writings by Carol Bergé, Wendell Anderson, and others.
Crews' personal life is recorded in his correspondence with his wife Mildred Tolbert, daughters Anna Bush Crews and Carole Judith Crews, as well as Carol Bergé, with whom he was involved romantically.
To a lesser degree the papers relate to Crews' career as a social worker and instructor, with correspondence regarding the New Mexico Department of Hospitals and Institutions, Crews' Master's Thesis on The Treatment of Social Problems in Recent Southern Literature, and teaching materials.
- circa 1930-1991
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Material within this collection has been organized by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time. Researchers should note that material within each acquisition overlaps with or relates to material found in other acquisitions (e.g., correspondence, writings, and personal papers can be found in all groupings). In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers should consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section.
Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.
17.44 Linear Feet (41 boxes)
Language of Materials
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
Judson Crews (1917-2010)
Following graduation Crews published his first book of poetry, Psalms for a Late Season, which was printed by Iconograph Press (1942). Crews served with the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II (1942-1944). After which Crews completed a Master of Arts in sociology and psychology (1944) from Baylor University and studied fine arts (1946-1947). Following graduation Crews moved out West, spending time in Washington, Oregon, and California, where he befriended Henry Miller, a relationship he later reflected on in his books Henry Miller and My Big Sur Days: Vignettes From Memory (1992) and The Brave Wild Coast: A Year with Henry Miller (1997).
After living in California Crews moved to Taos, New Mexico, where he established Este Es Press (1946-1966) and worked as a printer for Taos Star, El Crepusculo, and Taos News Publishing Co (1948-1966).
Crews and Mildred Tolbert (1919-2008), a photographer and writer, were married on October 19, 1947. Crews and Tolbert had two daughters: Anna Bush Crews (1948-) and Carole Judith Crews (1950-).
While in Taos, Crews continued to publish literary magazines such as The Flying Fish (1948), The Deer and Dachshund, in collaboration with Tolbert and Wendell Anderson, which continued on as Suck-Egg Mule (1951), Taos (1951), Poetry Taos (1957), and The Naked Ear. In addition to publishing authors such as Robert Creeley, Charles Bukowski, and Carol Bergé, Crews also published his own writings including The Heart in Naked Hunger (1958), Inwade to Briney Garth (1960), A Unicorn When Needs Be (1963), Hermes Past the Hour (1963), and Angels Fall, They Are Towers (1965). Throughout his career Crews wrote under several pseudonyms, including Willard Emory Betis, Trumbull Drachler, Charley John Greasybear, Cerise Farallon, and Toby Macadams.
Crews returned to graduate school at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1967. At various points in his career Crews balanced his artistic life with careers in social work and as an educator in sociology and psychology. Crews was employed as a caseworker for the El Paso Country Child Welfare Unit (1966-1967), instructor for Wharton Junior College, Wharton, Texas (1967-1970), psychological counselor and community services coordinator for Community Mental Health Service, Gallup, New Mexico ( 1970-1971), lecturer at the University of New Mexico Branch College, Gallup, New Mexico (1971-1972), and director of the intensive care unit at the State School for Girls, Chillicothe, Missouri (1973).
Following a separation from Mildred Tolbert in 1972, Crews moved to Africa where he was a lecturer in social development studies at the University of Zambia, Lusaka (1974-1978). While in Africa Crews began writing an autobiography, which remains unpublished. Following his return to the United States, Crews and Tolbert finalized their divorced (1979). Crews returned to Taos where he published more books, including a collection of poems The Clock of Moss (1983) edited by Carol Bergé.
Crews died in Taos, New Mexico, on May 17th 2010.
Mildred Tolbert was born in Amarillo, Texas on January 8, 1919. After two years of college Tolbert moved to Taos where she practiced photography, a skill she later taught as a civilian photography instructor at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado (1943). Tolbert worked in photography laboratories (including Leco Photo Service) in New York for two years before returning to Taos. Tolbert studied literature at the University of Texas at El Paso (1966) and the University of Houston (where she graduated with a bachelor of arts in 1970). In 1973 Tolbert received a fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, an artist residence program based in Taos. Tolbert's works were included in exhibitions at the Shipley Gallery (2005) and the Harwood Museum (2006). Crews died in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, on January 22, 2008.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Uncat Za Ms 13,Uncat Za Ms 39, Uncat Za Ms 46, Uncat Za Ms 95, Uncat Za Ms 122, Uncat Za Ms 132, Uncat Za Ms 168, Uncat Za Ms 171, Uncat Za Ms 188, Uncat Za Ms 379, Za Crews, and Zab C867 + 1.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- American literature -- 20th century
- Anderson, Wendell B.
- Authors -- Taos (N.M.) -- 20th Century
- Authors and publishers -- United States
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Bergé, Carol, 1928-2006
- Crews, Anna Bush
- Crews, Carole Judith
- Crews, Judson, 1917-2010
- Miller, Henry, 1891-1980
- Poets -- Taos (N.M.) -- 20th Century
- Poets, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Publishers and publishing -- United States
- Small presses -- United States
- Tolbert, Mildred
- Whitebird, J.
- Guide to the Judson Crews Papers
- by H. Dean and Andrea Benefiel
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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