Scope and Contents
The Barbara Howes papers contain writings, correspondence, personal and financial papers, and photographs documenting the life and literary career of American poet and editor Barbara Howes. The collection includes extensive files on all of Howes' book-length publications and many manuscripts and typescripts of individual poems, short stories and articles; her correspondence with her family, particularly with her mother and her husband, the poet William Jay Smith; and letters from a wide circle of literary friends and colleagues, including Leonie Adams, Elizabeth Bishop, Malcolm Cowley, Denise Levertov, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Katherine Anne Porter, Theodore Roethke, and Richard Wilbur.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Box 33 (sound recordings): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Barbara Howes 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
Series I-IV purchased from Ken Lopez Bookseller on the Dwight and Nathan funds, 2002. Series V is the gift of Barbara Howes, 1960-1966.
Organized into five series: I. Writings, 1929-1991. II. Correspondence, 1922-1995. III. Personal and Financial Papers, 1914-1995. IV. Photographs, 1916-1957.V. 1960-1966 Gifts of Barbara Howes Writings, 1959-1965..
27.34 Linear Feet (33 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Barbara Howes papers contain writings, correspondence, personal and financial papers, and photographs documenting the life and literary career of American poet and editor Barbara Howes. The collection includes extensive files on all of Howes's book-length publications and many manuscripts and typescripts of individual poems, short stories and articles; her correspondence with her family, particularly with her mother and her husband, the poet William Jay Smith; and letters from a wide circle of literary friends and colleagues, including Leonie Adams, Elizabeth Bishop, Malcolm Cowley, Denise Levertov, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Katherine Anne Porter, Theodore Roethke, and Richard Wilbur.
Barbara Howes (1914-1996)
Barbara Howes (1914-1996) was born in New York and adopted by Mr. and Mrs.Osborn Howes, Jr.of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She was raised there and educated at Beaver Country Day School; she graduated from Bennington College in 1937. After working briefly for the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in Mississippi, she moved to Greenwich Village and began submitting her poems to literary magazines.
From 1943 until 1947 she was editor of Chimera, with David Newton and Ximena de Angulo. A "little magazine," the journal published poetry by John Berryman, Richard Eberhart, Randall Jarrell, Kenneth Patchen, and others, as well as articles by such authors as Carl Jung, Thomas Mann, and Henry Miller.
Howes published seven collections of poetry: The Undersea Farmer (1948); In the Cold Country (1954); Light and Dark (1959); Looking Up at Leaves (1966); The Blue Garden (1977); A Private Signal: Poems New and Selected (1977); and Moving (1983). The Collectted Poems of Barbara Howes, 1945-1990 was published in 1995.
In addition, Howes also edited the anthologies From the Green Antilles: Writings of the Caribbean (1966) and The Eye of the Heart: Short Stories from Latin America (1970).
She married the poet William Jay Smith in 1947, and they lived for a time in England and Italy before settling in Vermont. They had two sons, Gregory Jay Smith and David Smith. The couple divorced in the mid-1960s, and thereafter Howes lived mostly a secluded life on her farm in Pownal, Vermont. Barbara Howes died in Bennington, Vermont in February, 1996.
The collection received preliminary processing at the time of acquisition. Further organization, rehousing, and/or description was/were carried out in 2012.
Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection in appraisal documentation and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are almost entirely based on those provided on the original folders and/or supplied by the dealer. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during basic processing.
Descriptive information drawn from the dealer documentation has not been edited for stylistic consistency.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Adams, Léonie, 1899-1988
- American literature -- 20th century
- American literature -- Women authors
- American poetry -- 20th Century
- Audiovisual materials -- United States -- 20th Century
- Authors -- United States -- 20th century
- Authors, American -- 20th Century
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Bishop, Elizabeth, 1911-1979
- Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-1989
- Howes, Barbara, 1914-1996
- Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997
- Merrill, James, 1926-1995
- Merwin, W. S. (William Stanley), 1927-
- Photographs -- United States -- 20th Century
- Poets -- United States -- 20th century
- Poets, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Poets, American -- 20th century
- Porter, Katherine Anne, 1890-1980
- Roethke, Theodore, 1908-1963
- Smith, William Jay, 1918-2015
- Wilbur, Richard, 1921-2017
- Women authors
- Guide to the Barbara Howes Papers
- by Beinecke Staff
- 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
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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