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William Rose Benét Papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1100

Scope and Contents

The William Rose Benét papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, and personal and family papers documenting the life and work of American author and editor William Rose Benét. The collection spans the years 1847 to 1957, with the bulk of the collection dating from roughly 1900 to 1950.

Collection material is chiefly in English; with some material in French, Italiana, Russian, and Hebrew.


  • 1847 - 1957
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1950


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 100 (cold storage): Restricted fragile material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Boxes 131-133, 135: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The William Rose Benét 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

Acquired primarily through gift of William Rose Benét, Marjorie Flack, and the estate of Marjorie Flack, 1948-1958.


Organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1897-1955. II. Family Correspondence, 1883-1956. III. Writings, 1895-1957. IV. Printed Appearances of Writings by William Rose Benét, 1904-1950. V. Personal and Family Papers, 1847-1950.

Related Materials

Material by or relating to William Rose Benét acquired by the library from other Benét family sources can be located in the Benét Family Papers (YCAL MSS 1107). Material by or relating to William Rose Benét acquired by the library from non-family sources is located in the Benét Family Collection (YCAL MSS 1108). Additional material by or relating to William Rose Benét can also be found in the Stephen Vincent Benét and Rosemary Benét Papers (YCAL MSS 1046).


71.91 Linear Feet (128 boxes + 5 broadside, 5 art, 1 cold storage)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

William Rose Benét (1886-1950)

William Rose Benét, born 2 February 1886 to James Walker Benét and Frances Rose (Neill) Benét, was an American poet, author, and editor who, along with his two siblings, Laura Benét and Stephen Vincent Benét, established the Benét family's literary reputation in the early through mid-twentieth century.

Benét was educated at Albany Academy before attending Yale College (1903-1907), where he served as editor of the Yale Courant and contributed to the Yale Record. After college, Benét went to work for Century Magazine as a reader. He served in the U.S. Air Services during the First World War, and after the war took work as a copy writer for an advertising firm. In 1920, Henry Seidel Canby brought Benét on as an assistant editor at the New York Evening Post. In 1923, Canby, Benét, and fellow editors Amy Loveman and Christopher Morley left the Post to form the Saturday Review, originally known as the Saturday Review of Literature.

Benét was the author of several collections of poetry, a novel, and a collection of essays. His autobiography in verse, The Dust Which Is God (1941), was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1942. In addition to his long-standing (1923-1950) position with the Saturday Review, Benét contributed to several compilations of English-language poetry and literature. Titles include The Oxford Anthology of American Literature and The Reader's Encyclopedia (1947).

Benét was married four times: first to Teresa Frances Thomson (1912-1919), with whom he had three children, then to the poet Elinor Wylie (1923-1928), to Lora Baxter (1932-1937), and lastly, to children's book author Majorie Flack (1941-1950).

Summary information is also available in the standard print and online biographical resources.

Processing Information

The William Rose Benét Papers contains material acquired by the library with gifts from William Rose Benét, Marjorie Flack, and the estate of Marjorie Flack from 1948 through 1958. Manuscript material formerly classified as Za Benet and photographs and printed ephemera that had been cataloged separately were brought together and re-processed during 2016-2017.

Former call numbers: Za Benet, Za B437 +1, Za B437 +2, Za B437 +G1, and Za B437 +S1.

Guide to the William Rose Benét Papers
Michael L. Forstrom
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
(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.