Skip to main content

Amy Groesbeck papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 8

Scope and Contents

The Amy Groesbeck Papers contain poetry, drama, personal papers, and photographs documenting the life of Amy Groesbeck, a minor poet, playwright, and actress. The papers span the dates 1904-1961.

The papers begin with nine folders of poetry. As many of the alphabetically arranged titles ("Coney Island," "Manhattan Sequence") suggest, Groesbeck's poems are about New York City where she lived. She also wrote about friends. Excerpts from "Songs for My Brother and Other Poems," for example, were later published in Gerald Reynolds; a Memorial, which Groesbeck co-edited. Three folders of correspondence follow the poetry and primarily contain rejection notices from magazines, newspapers, and publishers, but there are acceptances from The Lyric, Quicksilver, and The West Indian Review and a contract from House of Falmouth to publish Gull Geometrics.

Three plays complete the Writings series: From Dusk to Dawn, Gift at Parting, and The Next Step. From Dusk to Dawn takes place in San Francisco during the 1880s and was Groesbeck's only play to be produced. Three folders accompanying the "Mellow Drama in Two Acts" contain programs, fliers, and publicity photographs. The Snarks, a New York women's club to which Groesbeck belonged, produced the play in 1955, followed by the Norton Gallery Players of Palm Beach, Florida in 1959.

Like many of her poems, Gift at Parting may have been an early creative writing assignment (Box 1, folder 8). The verse drama takes place in a prison ward on Blackwell's Island and is about the hatred between a nun and a dying woman. Harcourt Brace, Random House, and The MacMillan Company all rejected the play The Next Step l, a fantasy about race relations in the next world. Like Gift at Parting, it was never published or produced.

The Other Papers Series in Boxes 3-4 contains Groesbeck's collection of writings and letters by others as well as family photographs and an early journal. The series begins with a few odd letters including a July 16, 1959 letter from Fred Astaire to Seney Park. Groesbeck's personal correspondence with publishers about individual plays and poems is housed in the Writings series. Early Groesbeck family photographs of New York, Mexico, and Europe are arranged in two folders (Box 3, folders 34-35). The papers also include Groesbeck's interesting account of her trip from New York to the west coast by train and car in the summer of 1914. She illustrated her bound journal with postcards and maps. Groesbeck's collection of poetry and prose from magazines and newspapers, such as Time, Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Herald Tribune, complete the series. Though her poetry clippings include a few famous poets such as Ogden Nash and Robert Frost, they are mostly of friends and minor poets. Jeannette Chappell, Ann Marx, and Memory McGonigal, for example, annotated their poems with personal messages. A collection of articles and essays taken from Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair in the 1940s reflect Groesbeck's interest in poetry and war songs, and printed bulletins from St. George's Church, New York, reveal her religious concerns.


  • 1904-1961 (inclusive)


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Papers in box 4 may only be consulted with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Conditions Governing Use

The Amy Groesbeck Papers are 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 Amy Groesbeck Papers may have been part of the Amy Bradish Groesbeck bequest to the Yale University Library on February 23, 1962.


2.75 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers contain poetry, drama, personal papers, and photographs documenting the life of Amy Groesbeck.

AMY GROESBECK (1894-1961?)

Amy Bradish Groesbeck, the daughter of Effingham and Amy Scott Johnson of Bay Shore, Long Island, was born on June 21, 1894. She studied acting at the Boleslavsky School of Drama and married Herbert Groesbeck on May 21, 1918.

For the rest of her life she collected literature and wrote poetry and plays. From 1947-59 she also read and monitored Recordings for the Blind. Groesbeck was a member of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, Actors' Equity, Poetry Society of America, and Daughters of Cincinnati. Her writings appeared in various magazines and newspapers, including American Weave, Yankee, Saturday Review, Boston Post, and Columbus Citizen. In 1958, House of Falmouth published Tales Gay and Ghostly, a vanity collection of her poetry, followed by Gull Geometrics in 1959.

Guide to the Amy Groesbeck Papers
Under Revision
by Karen V. Peltier
April 1987
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

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


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.