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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 3170

Woodberry Poetry Room records


Records of Woodberry Poetry Room including correspondence and administrative files.


  • Creation: circa 1827-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942-2000


Language of Materials

Primarily in English. Some material in French and German.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is mostly open for research.

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Some materials restricted for legal or university policy reasons. See file level description for restriced items (Box 4).


3.5 linear feet (4 boxes)

The collection documents the activities of the George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room (which opened in Widener Library in 1931 and moved to Lamont Library in 1949) including materials relating to its audio-visual collection, public programs, and curatorial staff.

Significant amounts of material and correspondence were created and collected during the tenure of WPR curators John Lincoln Sweeney, Robert Fitzgerald, Theodore Alevizos, Jeanne Broburg, and Stratis Haviaras. Information also pertains to the transfer of substantive archives to Houghton Library---including the Transition Magazine archives and several collections donated by Amy Lowell.

Material types include correspondence, manuscript and typescript compositions, reports, transcripts, collection lists, invoices and receipts, memos, photographs, articles, ephemera, original illustrations, clippings, and other printed materials relating to the activities of the WPR and its staff.

Among the highlights of the collection are: correspondence with Alvar Aalto, John Ashbery, W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Russell Edson, Seamus Heaney, Susan Howe, Olwyn Hughes, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Robert Lax, Denise Levertov, Louis Zukofsky; reminiscences of Robert Lowell; compositions by such poets and musicians as William Bronk, Kahlil Gibran, Archibald MacLeish, Don McLean, I. A. Richards, and Tristan Tzara; photographs of Frank O’Connor and W. B. Yeats; and Harvard Vocarium and the Fassett Recording Studio correspondence and inventories.

Biographical / Historical

The Woodberry Poetry Room (WPR) opened in 1931 and was named in honor of poet George Edward Woodberry (Harvard A. B. 1877). Past curators of the WPR have included W. N. Bates, George M. Kahrl, Arthurt T. Hamlin, Arnold M. Keseth, Philip Horton, John Lincoln Sweeney, Robert Fitzgerald, Jeanne Broburg, Stratis Haviaras, and Don Share.

The Woodberry Poetry Room was initially located in Widener Library and moved to Lamont Library in 1949. In 2000, WPR was administratively transferred to Houghton Library.


Arranged into the following series: I. Correspondence; and II. Administrative files

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2000M-13. Transferred from Woodberry Poetry Room in 2001.

Received in process of transfer of administration of Poetry Room and Harvard Review to the Houghton Library, upon Stratis Haviaras's retirement.

Processing Information

Processed by Ashley Nary, 2018

Collection previously shelved as MS Storage 399. Records removed from accordion folders and foldered; staples and paper clips not removed. Elizabeth Bishop notebook removed from Box 1 for individual cataloging, 1/17/02; cataloged as MS Am 2115 (1/29/02). Printed books of the Societe Imaginaire to be cataloged separately.

Woodberry Poetry Room records, circa 1827-2009 (MS Am 3170): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 April 24
Description rules
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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