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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2102

L. E. Sissman additional papers


Compositions by American author, L.E. Sissman along with correspondence.


  • Creation: 1946-1989

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff members to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)

These additional papers contain correspondence of L. E. Sissman including letters from Atlantic monthly and the New Yorker as well as letters received by his wife after his death. The bulk of this collection is typescripts and proofs of Sissman's poems and book reviews published in the New Yorker and of his Atlantic monthly column, The innocent bystander. There are compositions by others, including a typescript of John Updike's forward to Sissman's Innocent bystander: scenes from the '70s, among other items.

Biographical / Historical

L. E. Sissman (1928-1976) graduated from Harvard College in 1949 as Class Poet. He settled outside of Boston and worked as an advertising copywriter. From 1964 to 1974, his poetry and prose was published in the New Yorker and Atlantic monthly. His books include the poetry collections Dying: an introduction (1967) and Hello darkness: the collected poems of L. E. Sissman, published posthumously in 1978. His Atlantic monthly columns were collected in Innocent bystander: scenes from the '70s (1975). Sissman died of Hodgkin's disease.


Arranged into four series:

  1. I. Correspondence
  2. A. Letters from L. E. Sissman
  3. B. Letters to L. E. Sissman and Anne (Bierman) Sissman
  4. II. Compositions
  5. A. Poems
  6. B. Book Reviews
  7. C. "Innocent bystander" columns
  8. D. Other compositions
  9. III. Compositions by others
  10. IV. Other papers

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

91M-61. Gift of Anne (Bierman) Sissman; received: 1992 June 29.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Jackie Dean.

Sissman, L.E., 1928-1976. L. E. Sissman additional papers, 1946-1989: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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