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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 704: T-351: Vt-247: Phon-037

Papers of Honor Moore, 1802-2001 (inclusive), 1900-1996 (bulk)


Papers of poet and author Honor Moore, including papers of her mother Jenny McKean Moore and her grandmother, artist Margarett Sargent McKean.


  • Creation: 1802-2001
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1996


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Some of Honor Moore's diaries (#21.7, 22.2, 22.3) and two folders of correspondence with Michelle Cliff (#39.4-39.5) are closed until her death. Series V, papers of Jenny McKean Moore, is closed until January 1, 2015. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Honor Moore is held by Honor Moore until her death. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


53.96 linear feet ((104 file boxes, 7 folio boxes, 1 folio+ box, 1 supersize box) plus 2 folio folders, 5 folio+ folders, 5 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 76 photograph folders, 18 folio photograph folders, 5 folio+ photograph folders, 3 oversize photograph folders, 1 supersize photograph folder, 138 audiotapes, 6 videotapes, 1 phonograph record, 7 objects, electronic records)

The papers of Honor Moore include her personal and professional correspondence, diaries, datebooks, drafts of writings, fliers from poetry readings, Radcliffe College class notes, photographs, etc. They also contain papers of her mother, Jenny McKean Moore, and her grandmother, artist Margarett Sargent McKean.

Much of the material was sorted and identified by Moore and an assistant before transfer to the Schlesinger Library. Moore's identifying notes (often written on post-it notes) have been kept with material. Some folders were titled by Honor Moore, and appear in quotations. All other folder titles were created by the archivist.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1908, 1945-2001 (#1.1-22.6, 108FB.1-108FB.5, F+D.1, OD.1, SD.1, PD.1-PD.3, E.1), includes biographical information, press clippings, high school and college material, datebooks, diaries, and fliers and programs from poetry readings and plays Moore attended. The series is arranged in four subseries.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1908, 1945-2001 (#1.1-6.1, F+D.1, OD.1, SD.1, PD.1-PD.2, E.1), includes clippings, travel notebooks, theater programs and poetry reading fliers, and other personal material. General biographical information and press clippings are included; most publicity and clippings related to Moore's published works can be found with other files on those books in Series III and Series IV. Also included here are Moore's files on the Jenny McKean Moore Fund for Writers, created after her mother's death to fund creative writing teachers and programs at George Washington University. Fliers and programs from poetry readings and theater performances are those that Moore attended; for fliers from her own poetry readings, see Series V. The series also includes scripts, poems, and other writings by Moore's friends and fellow writers. A script for The Nest, a play by Tina Howe that Moore produced, can be found here, as well as the records of the production. Moore's travel diaries and other notes on travel are included, notably for a trip Moore took to Russia in 1976 through Radcliffe College, and two trips to Cuba, one a trip for feminists led by poet Margaret Randall. A folder on Elko Lake Camp (#1.18) documents Moore's two summers working at the Episcopal camp, and includes programs from theater productions in which she took part. Folders of women's movement literature (#5.9-6.1) include fliers for book parties, posters, and consciousness-raising literature. Folder #5.9 also includes publicity material distributed by the Women's Committee to Free Joan Bird, an imprisoned Black Panther for whose release Moore worked (see also folders #25.9-25.10 and 26.4). Honor Moore's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). The series is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Education, 1958-1998 (#6.2-9.3, 108FB.1-108FB.5, PD.3), includes class notes, class work, grades, yearbooks, and reunion material from Moore's high school, college, and graduate school years. Moore traveled to Pakistan with the American Field Service in the summer of 1962; documents from that trip are included here, as well as an essay she wrote after returning home. See Series II for letters Moore received from her Pakistani family before and after her trip. Of note from Moore's high school years are her theater scrapbooks and programs. While at Radcliffe, Moore served as the first female president of the Harvard Dramatic Club; many posters and fliers for Harvard theater productions can also be found here. The subseries includes Moore's alumnae work as a fundraiser for the renovation of the Agassiz Theatre at Radcliffe, as well as essays written for reunions or related publications. The subseries is arranged chronologically by institution, and alphabetically thereunder.

Subseries C, Datebooks and related, 1960s-1998 (#9.4-17.8), includes Moore's datebooks, address books, telephone message books, and work logs. Datebooks are generally printed engagement calendars in which Moore recorded her appointments. Work logs are also usually printed engagement calendars in which Moore recorded how many hours she wrote or researched daily, often detailing the content as well. Many of these document the research and writing of The White Blackbird. A work log from 1983 (#16.7) contains notes on how Moore saved and transferred her work between computer disks. The series is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Subseries D, Diaries, 1964-1999 (#18.1-22.6), consists of Moore's diaries and journals. Most volumes are not completely filled. Some volumes have lists of things to do, addresses and phone numbers, etc., in addition to diary entries. Some volumes have research notes for The White Blackbird, but because they also contain personal diary writing, are included in this series. A few folders include journal-type writing by Moore (not in a bound volume) relating to her relationships with lovers George Feifer and Diane Gelon. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1958-2001 (#22.7-42.13, PD.4-PD.6), includes letters to Moore from friends, family members, poets, feminists, lovers, etc., as well as some letters written by Moore. Correspondence was originally arranged by Moore with some foldered by year, some by correspondent (mainly poets and writers). Loose letters from those named correspondents were interfiled in Moore's folders. Many letters were in original envelopes, bundled together. Some correspondence from the late 1970s was filed alphabetically in letter boxes; alphabetical groupings of these letters have been retained (#36.1-37.8). The bulk of the correspondence is letters received by Moore; folders titled "letters sent" or "correspondence" contain or include Moore's outgoing letters.

Most folders include letters from family members, including from her mother, father, eight siblings, aunts and uncles, and both her Sargent McKean and Moore grandmothers. Letters Moore received while in high school in Indianapolis are mainly from friends, and discuss courtship, college plans, popular music, etc. Of note are letters she received from the Pakistani family with whom she lived during an American Field Service (AFS) stay in 1962. Moore befriended other American students through AFS, and continued to correspond with them through high school and college. Letters she received at Radcliffe College document her friends' college experiences at Brown, Smith, Swarthmore, and other colleges; detail her girlfriends' courtships with college boys; describe the Moore family's move to Washington, DC, etc. There are fewer letters from Moore's years at Yale Drama School (1967-1969) than from her years at Radcliffe. During this time period she did begin a correspondence (#39.9) with George W. Edwards, a Black Panther who was imprisoned in 1969 as part of the "New Haven Nine."

Extensive correspondence from the 1970s includes exchanges with family, other writers, poets, playwrights, and feminists. Moore corresponded with radical activist Jane Alpert in the mid-1970s while Alpert was in prison and after her release. Correspondence with poets and writers may include work by them, and is often about work in progress, published work, reactions to work of other writers, and about public readings and events. A significant amount of correspondence from the late 1970s and early 1980s documents the personal relationships and work of feminist poets and artists working in Los Angeles, at the Women's Building there, and in conjunction with Judy Chicago. Moore was an early supporter of Chicago's work; more material about Moore's involvement with the Dinner Party can be found in Series I (#1.8). Also included is Moore's extensive correspondence with lovers; Moore's journal writing about some of these lovers can be found in Series I along with other diaries. Folders of correspondence with musician Margie Adam also include programs and fliers from Adam's concerts. Additional correspondence remains with related material in other Series as noted. The series is arranged with chronological correspondence first, followed by that filed by surname.

Series III, WRITINGS AND RELATED, 1964-2001 (#42.14-60.3, OD.2, PD.7-PD.8), includes handwritten and typescript drafts, and some published versions, of Moore's poetry, plays, and prose writings. Also included is professional correspondence, reviews and publicity material, and some unpublished work. For material relating to The White Blackbird, see Series IV. The series is arranged in three subseries by genre.

Subseries A, Poetry, 1964-2001 (#42.14-49.5), includes drafts and final versions of individual poems, groups of poems for potential publication, and material relating to published volumes of poetry. Many of Moore's early poems were published separately; published works represented in this subseries are Leaving and Coming Back (a chapbook published in 1981), Memoir (1988) and Darling (2001). The subseries also includes material about Take Hands: Singing and Speaking for Survival, an audiotape of poetry and women's music Moore created in conjunction with Margie Adam as a fundraiser for anti-nuclear causes. "Corrected" typescripts refer to Moore's own corrections; "edited" typescripts contain comments by others. Most folders in this subseries retain Moore's original titles. Additional material received on floppy disks will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in this subseries. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Plays, 1970-1998 (#49.6-53.4, OD.2), includes drafts, scripts, correspondence, and production material for Moore's plays and telescripts. The bulk consists of drafts, correspondence about, and publicity material from various productions of Mourning Pictures, a play in verse and song. First performed in the summer of 1974 at Lenox Arts Center in Massachusetts, it opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater in November 1974 for a brief run, and has subsequently been performed by many different companies in the United States and abroad. Several drafts of the script are included here; not all are dated, but two (#49.9-49.10) appear to be revisions made after the Lenox production. Moore began writing Years, a story about a woman composer, in 1977. In the fall of 1978, Moore had a writing fellowship with the Women's Playwrighting and Directing Project at the American Place Theatre in New York City; most of the drafts of Years are from those months. The play was given a staged reading by the American Place Theatre in November 1978. Also included is a proposed script for a feminist soap opera Moore collaborated on in 1970, and the script for a humorous sketch performed by MacDowell Colony fellows in 1977. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by project.

Subseries C, Prose, 1968-2000, n.d. (#53.5-60.3, PD.7-PD.8), includes drafts and published versions of Moore's articles, essays, reviews, etc., as well as related correspondence and publicity. Material on The White Blackbird is in Series IV. Much of the material in this subseries relates to The New Women's Theatre (May 1977), an anthology of plays compiled and edited by Moore. Extensive research files on women's theatre in the 1970s (including programs from women's theatre pieces) are included, as Moore compiled lists and conducted interviews of women playwrights, directors, theater companies, etc. An article appeared in the December 1977 issue of Ms. magazine, and Moore wrote several pieces and lectures on the topic into the 1980s. The subseries is arranged chronologically, with New Women's Theatre material arranged alphabetically thereunder.

Series IV, THE WHITE BLACKBIRD, 1913-1997 (#60.4-80.9, E.2), contains research files, drafts, correspondence, and other material relating to Moore's biography of her grandmother, painter and sculptor Margarett Sargent McKean. After Sargent McKean's death in 1978, Moore began to explore writing a book about her. Work on the project took over a decade; the book was published in 1996. In the process of writing the biography, Moore educated herself about art, art history, and upper class Boston society, in addition to researching her own family history. Also included in this series are files on an exhibit of Sargent McKean's work organized by Moore in conjunction with the publication of the biography. For additional papers by and about Margarett Sargent, see Series VII. The series is arranged in three subseries.

Subseries A, Research, 1913-1996 (#60.4-74.7), contains interviews, notes, correspondence, and other original research Moore conducted for The White Blackbird. Moore hired independent curator Ingrid Schaffner to assist her with art-related research; her notes comprise or are included in some folders. Schaffner and Moore also compiled a social and art historical account of Sargent McKean's contemporaries. Moore interviewed numerous family members, friends, and acquaintances of her grandmother; the resulting transcripts describe the world of Boston society in the early 20th century (#64.9-64.11 and 65.10), a Bohemian New York world of writers and artists in the 1950s (#65.29, 66.19), and the emergence of modern art in America. Interview folders may include Moore's handwritten and typed notes, transcripts, correspondence with subjects and/or their caretakers, clippings, copies of relevant documents, etc. Tapes of many of these interviews are in Series IX. General research folders may contain notes, clippings, Moore's transcriptions of original letters, correspondence, etc. Folders of general correspondence (#63.1-63.2) include letters from family members about Margarett Sargent McKean. Additional material received on floppy disks will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in this subseries. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Book production, 1978-1997 (#74.8-79.3, E.2), includes chapter drafts, publisher correspondence, and press and publicity for The White Blackbird. Also included is a draft manuscript with comments by Michelle Cliff, fan mail, and letters from friends on publication. Moore created a website (#E.2) for the second paperback edition of the book (Norton, 2009) in order to showcase Sargent McKean's paintings in color. A web site Honor Moore created about Margarett Sargent and her artwork is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, "Margarett Sargent: A Modern Temperament," exhibit, 1984-1997 (#79.4-80.9), includes correspondence, checklists, and publicity relating to the exhibit at Wellesley College's Davis Museum and the Berry-Hill Galleries in New York City. Moore's work on the exhibit was simultaneous with the last few years of her work on the biography; publication of the book was actually postponed so as to better coordinate its release with the timing of the exhibit. These files relate only to the exhibit preparation; for more files relating to Sargent McKean's own artwork (and its distribution to family members after her death), see Series VII. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series V, READINGS, TEACHINGS, WORKSHOPS, 1971-2001 (#80.10-83.13, F+D.2, OD.3, PD.9), includes fliers for Moore's poetry readings; conference speeches, lectures, talks, and introductions; and teaching files. Fliers for poetry readings, especially those from the 1970s, include many bills of "woman poets" or "feminist poets." Teaching folders may include syllabi, assigned readings, Moore's notes, and correspondence with administrators and students. Workshops generally refer to weekend or day-long events, some held at Moore's Connecticut home. Some fliers and publicity for readings can be found in Series III and Series IV with other publicity and tour material for published works; see especially files on Memoir (#48.3-48.4) and The White Blackbird (#78.11-78.12). The series is arranged alphabetically by topic, and chronologically thereunder.

Series VI, JENNY MCKEAN MOORE, 1931-1994 (#83.14-88.11, 108FB.6, OD.4), contains the writings, correspondence, and personal material of Honor Moore's mother, Jenny McKean Moore (1923-1973). The series includes writings and drafts, correspondence with readers of People on Second Street, and loose material she kept to add to Moore family scrapbooks. McKean Moore published a few articles about politics, profiles of religious women, and urban issues in religious magazines and in the Washington Post in the late 1960s; typescripts and printed versions of many of these are included. Beginning in 1971, McKean Moore studied playwriting at George Washington University. "The Job" is a play about a newspaper editor, modeled on Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post and a lifelong friend of McKean Moore. Other writings include memoir-type essays about her childhood, her psychological breakdown ca.1969, and her experiences while dying from cancer. Also included are several folders of letters sent to Paul Moore Jr., after her death (#83.18-84.2). The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series VII, MARGARETT SARGENT MCKEAN AND RELATED, 1802-1996 (#88.12-104.4, 105FB.1v-107FB.1v, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2), includes papers of and related to Margarett Sargent McKean, most collected by Honor Moore in the course of doing research for her biography The White Blackbird. Sargent McKean's papers primarily came to Moore from her great-uncle Daniel Sargent and her aunt, Margie Vernon. Moore acquired the files relating to her grandmother from the law firm of Broude and Hochberg. Also included is a small amount of material belonging to other members of the Sargent and McKean families. The series is arranged in three subseries.

Subseries A, Margarett Sargent McKean papers, ca.1900-1977 (#88.12-97.2, 105FB.1v-107FB.1v, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2), includes diaries, financial documents, correspondence, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, etc. of Margarett Sargent McKean. Early diaries (#92.1-92.4) and correspondence (#91.5-91.7) describe Sargent McKean's childhood, teenage years, and courtship. Three volumes of notes taken while at finishing school in Florence, Italy, are bound in leather. Scrapbooks and other material document her adult domestic life, primarily spent at an estate known as Prides Hill Kennels in Beverly, Massachusetts. Detailed household inventories give an idea of the artwork and other furnishings owned by the wealthy McKeans. Several folders of letters are to her friend Betty Parsons, a fellow artist and gallery owner. Also of note are financial documents and clippings about the McKean's extensive art collection. Sargent McKean's scrapbooks contain photographs and clippings of her art exhibitions, her children's sporting events, and other family events; scrapbooks created by the McKean children for their parents primarily contain poems and drawings. Several folders contain letters written by her twin sons Shaw and Harry McKean while training for and serving in World War II. Some correspondence in this subseries was transcribed by Honor Moore in the process of researching The White Blackbird; cross-references to those files in Series IV have been given where known. Photograph albums and loose photographs are in Series VIII. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Broude & Hochberg files on Margarett Sargent McKean, 1922-1981 (#97.3-103.2), includes correspondence, wills, legal documents, and files on the sale of paintings and furnishings from Sargent McKean's estate. These files were given to Honor Moore by Al S. Hochberg during her research for The White Blackbird. Most files reflect the work of Al S. Hochberg, Sargent McKean's lawyer for the last twenty years of her life, and his associate Sylvia Cox. They managed her finances as well as all sorts of legal issues, including her estate after her death, the dispersal of which involved the relocation and sale of many pieces of art from her collection. Much of the general correspondence files are about this artwork, and include letters with Boston-area museum directors and curators (including Agnes Mongan of Harvard University's Fogg Museum), conservators, etc. Original folder titles appear in quotation marks. Other titles were created by the archivist. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Other Sargent and McKean family papers, 1802-1996 (#103.3-104.4), includes correspondence belonging to members of the Hunnewell, Sargent, and McKean families. Margarett Sargent McKean's oldest child and namesake, known as "Margie," married Barclay "Buzzie" Warburton III, her second husband, in 1947. Warburton was involved in administering Sargent McKean's finances prior to Broude and Hochberg; his file on Sargent McKean's commitment to Baldpate Hospital is included here. Margie later married Stephen Vernon. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series VIII, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1864-1996 (#PD.10f+-PD.103), includes photograph albums and loose photographs belonging to Honor Moore, Jenny McKean Moore, and Margarett Sargent McKean. The series is arranged into three subseries.

Subseries A, Honor Moore, ca.1895-1996 (#PD.10f+-PD.41), includes photographs of Moore and her family, as well as photographs taken by Moore. Other photographs of Moore that were originally filed with other documents are described and listed throughout the collection. Formal portraits and informal snapshots show Moore with her parents and siblings, with friends and lovers, and alone. Several folders of photographs taken by Moore date from the early 1970s. The Children's March for Survival (#PD.23), a 1972 march in Washington, DC, which Moore attended with her father, was organized by the National Welfare Rights Organization. Also included are photographs of Moore's paternal relatives, grandparents Fanny and Paul Moore Sr., and great-grandparents Ada and William H. Moore of Chicago. Two photograph albums (#PD.13 - PD.14) contain images of Charles Woodbury and his artist colony in Ogunquit, Maine, and were given to Moore during her research for The White Blackbird. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Jenny McKean Moore, 1935-1971 (#PD.42-PD.48f), includes photographs of McKean Moore, her husband and children, as well as a photograph album she compiled as a girl during the McKean family trip to Europe in 1935. Photographs of Jenny McKean Moore from her child and girlhood are in Subseries C. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Margarett Sargent McKean, 1864-1955 (PD.49-PD.103), includes photograph albums and photographs of Margarett Sargent McKean, documenting her childhood, home at Prides Crossing, Beverly, Massachusetts, children, and travels. One album documents Sargent McKean's year at school in Florence, Italy, as well as travels throughout Europe and America between 1910 and 1914. Another contains photographs from her months spent at "Borgland," the Connecticut home of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, in 1917. Prides Hill Kennels, an estate built around a 17th century saltbox house, is the subject of many photographs, some of which show its construction in the early 1920s, as well as the creation of outbuildings, extensive gardens and a pool. The McKean family's 1935 trip to Europe is represented by two photograph albums. Q.A. Shaw McKean's interest in breeding fox terriers and Afghan hounds is shown in many photographs of his children with these animals. A photograph album documents Q.A. Shaw McKean's childhood in Philadelphia as well as his travels in the western United States, especially Montana, in the 1910s. The subseries also includes photographs of Sargent McKean's parents and siblings, as well as several of her maternal Hunnewell family. Margarett Sargent McKean's grandfather, Horatio Hollis Hunnewell, was the owner of a large estate, called Wellesley, on the shores of Lake Waban in what is now Wellesley, Massachusetts. Several large-format photographs show the estate, particularly its conservatories, topiary gardens, pinetum, and the rhododendrons that Hunnewell introduced to the United States. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series IX, AUDIOVISUAL, MEMORABILIA, AND OVERSIZED, 1910-1997 (#Phon-37.1, T-315.1 - T-315.138, Vt-247.1 - Vt-247.6, 113SB.1m, Mem.1-Mem.7, 105FB.1v-108FB.9, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, FD.1-FD.2, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2, F+D.1-F+D.5, OD.1-OD.5, SD.1), includes audiotapes, videotapes, a phonograph record, memorabilia including a Judy Chicago print, and oversized material removed from throughout the collection and described above. The series is arranged in three subseries by format.

Subseries A, Audiovisual, 1972-1997 (#Phon-37.1, T-315.1 - T-315.138, Vt-247.1 - Vt-247.6), includes a phonograph record, 138 audiotapes, and 6 videotapes. Audiotapes and videotapes document Moore's public readings and appearances on radio and television shows. Many audiotapes hold interviews Moore conducted for The White Blackbird. Transcripts for some of these recordings are housed in Series IV; cross-references are provided. The Voice of the Poet, a joint project of National Public Radio and Poets and Writers, was produced by Moore. Take Hands: Singing and Speaking for Survival, a cassette tape including Moore's poem "Spuyten Duyvil," is also included. Several audiotapes hold messages from Moore's telephone answering machine. The subseries is grouped by format, and arranged alphabetically thereunder; poetry readings are arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Memorabilia, 1967-1996, n.d. (#113SB.1m, Mem.1-Mem.7), includes a cloth banner announcing the 1967 plays at Radcliffe College's Agassiz Theatre, a framed pastel by Judy Chicago, and six placemats printed with New Yorker cartoons addressing women's status and rights. The placemats were distributed at a February 1996 lunch to honor a "women's issue" of the New Yorker published under Tina Brown's editorship. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C. Oversized, 1910-1995 (#105FB.1v-108FB.9, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, FD.1-FD.2, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2, F+D.1-F+D.5, OD.1-OD.5, SD.1), serves as the shelflist for oversized items listed previously, as well as oversized items removed from preceding series and grouped as listed.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.


Poet and author Honor Moore was born October 28, 1945, in New York City, the eldest of nine children of Jenny McKean and Paul Moore Jr. (1919-2003), an Episcopal priest and bishop who was known for his political activism. After graduating from high school in Indianapolis, Indiana (1963), she attended Radcliffe College (BA 1967) and the Yale School of Drama (1967-1969). After Yale she moved to New York City, where she worked in theater, wrote poetry, and was active in the women's liberation movement.

After the death of her mother from cancer in 1973, Moore wrote a play in verse, Mourning Pictures, which opened at the Lenox Arts Center in Massachusetts in the summer of 1974. It had a brief run on Broadway later that fall, and was later staged in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, and London, as well as at many universities and colleges. In 1977 Moore compiled and edited The New Women's Theatre: Ten Plays by Contemporary American Women.

Moore has published several volumes of poetry, Memoir (1988), Darling (2001), and Red Shoes (2005), in addition to the chapbook Leaving and Coming Back (1981). Her poems and essays have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. She edited Poems from the Women's Movement (2009), and has translated and/or edited several other volumes of poetry, including Amy Lowell: Selected Poems (2004) and The Stray Dog Cabaret (2007). The White Blackbird, a biography of Moore's grandmother, painter Margarett Sargent McKean, was published in 1996. The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoir, about her relationship with her father, was published in 2008. Moore has taught writing widely and has served on the boards of directors of PEN American Center, Feminist Art Institute, and Chrysalis, among others.

Jenny McKean Moore (1923-1973) was born in Massachusetts, the second child of Margarett Sargent and Q.A. Shaw McKean. She attended the Madeira School in Virginia, entered Vassar College as part of the class of 1944, and transferred to Barnard College, from which she received a BA cum laude in 1946. She married Paul Moore Jr., in 1944; they had nine children together between 1945 and 1961. The Moore family moved whenever and wherever Paul was assigned a new church congregation. From 1949 to 1957 they lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, in what was primarily an impoverished African American neighborhood. In 1968 Jenny Moore published People on Second Street, a memoir of her experience working and living in this neighborhood. The family lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 1957 to 1963; and then moved to Washington, DC, in January 1964. In the fall of 1969, Paul Moore Jr., was elected bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York; in 1972 he became the 13th bishop of that Diocese. After initially moving to New York in 1970 with her husband, Jenny Moore suffered a nervous breakdown. After recovering, she returned to Washington, DC with five of her children, and enrolled in playwriting classes at George Washington University in the fall of 1971. In March 1973 Jenny Moore was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer; she died on October 3, 1973.

Margarett Williams Sargent McKean (1892-1978) was born in Wareham, Massachusetts, the fourth child and second daughter of Jane "Jenny" Hunnewell and Francis "Frank" Sargent. She was educated at home as a child, and attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut, and the Florentine School in Florence, Italy. Raised to be a debutante and socialite, she instead became a painter and sculptor, studying with sculptor Gutzon Borglum and painter George Luks, among others. Her artwork was exhibited in Boston, New York City, and Chicago between 1916 and 1936. In 1920 she married Q. A. Shaw McKean, a banker and dog breeder; they had four children: Margarett (born 1921), Jenny (1923-1973), and twins Q.A. Shaw Jr. (1925-1999) and Harry (born 1925). Margarett suffered from alcoholism and depression; beginning in 1944 she was admitted by her family to a number of sanitaria and mental hospitals, where she received treatments that included electroshock therapy. Margarett and Shaw McKean divorced in 1947. Margarett Sargent McKean died in Boston on January 21, 1978. For an in-depth account of her life, see Honor Moore's biography The White Blackbird.


The collection is arranged in nine series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and Personal, 1908, 1945-2001 (#1.1-22.6, 108FB.1-108FB.5, F+D.1, OD.1, SD.1, PD.1-PD.3, E.1)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1958-2001 (#22.7-42.13, PD.4-PD.6)
  3. Series III. Writings and related, 1964-2001 (#42.14-60.3, OD.2, PD.7-PD.8)
  4. Series IV. The White Blackbird , 1913-1997 (#60.4-80.9, E.2)
  5. Series V. Readings, teaching, workshops, 1971-2001 (#80.10-83.13, F+D.2, OD.3, PD.9)
  6. Series VI. Jenny McKean Moore, 1931-1994 (#83.14-88.11, 108FB.6, OD.4)
  7. Series VII. Margarett Sargent McKean and related, 1802-1996 (#88.12-104.4, 105FB.1v-107FB.1v, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2)
  8. Series VIII. Photographs, 1864-1996 (#PD.10f+-PD.103)
  9. Series IX. Audiovisual, memorabilia, and oversized, 1910-1997 (#Phon-037.1, T-351.1 - T-351.138, Vt-247.1 - Vt-247.6, 113SB.1m, Mem.1-Mem.7, 105FB.1v-108FB.9, 110FB.1v-112FB.2v, FD.1-FD.2, 109F+B.1v-109F+B.2, F+D.1-F+D.5, OD.1-OD.5, SD.1)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2001-M173, 2001-M185

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Honor Moore in October 2001.

Related Materials

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., World War II Correspondence, 1942-1945 (MC 1227).


Donors: Honor Moore

Accession number: 2001-M173, 2001-M185

Processed by: Jenny Gotwals

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:

  1. Big Mama Rag, Vol. 5, No. 6
  2. The Feminist Writers' Guild Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1
  3. Leviathan, Vol. 1, No. 1; Vol. 1, No. 2; Vol. 1, No. 7; Vol. 1, No. 8; Vol. 2, No. 2
  4. Majority Report, Vol. V, No. 18
  5. Sojourner, Vol. 4, No. 8; Vol. 6, No. 4; Vol. 7, No. 4
  6. Women Writing Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 6

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection (pending review by curator) :

  1. Leaving and Coming Back by Honor Moore (Effie's Press, Emeryville, Ca., 1981)
  2. Methods of Organization for Collectives, by the anti-mass (1970?)
  3. The New Woman's Survival Sourcebook, by Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie (Knopf, 1975). With inscription to Moore from authors.
  4. Picture This or Why Is Art Important? by Arlene Raven (Judy Chicago Word & Image Network, 1982). With inscription to Moore from author.
  5. Sing a Battle Song: Poems by Women in the Weather Underground Organization (Inkworks, 1975)
  6. Sonoma Women's Drama Workshop Newsletter, February 1976; March 1976; April 1976; May 1976; June 1976; July 1976; [August 1976
  7. Women and Support Networks by Blanche Wiesen Cook (Out & Out Books, 1979). With inscription to Moore from author.
  8. Women in Performing Arts Newsletter, #4 (December 1975); No. 5 (April 1976); No. 6 (April 1977); No. 7 (Spring 1978)
  9. Women in Theatre (WIT) Newsletter, Spring 1978; Fall 1978; May 1979; June 1979; November 1979
  10. Write Poems Women: an Anthology edited by Honor Moore (Write Poems Women Workshop, 1976)

The following items have been transferred to the Women's Newsletter and Periodical Collection (Pr-4):

  1. Bay Area Women's Times, Vol. 1, No. 4 (September/October 1987)
  2. Floating Women's Center Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Winter 1994)
  3. Liberation, Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2 (January 1973)
  4. WAFT (Washington Area Feminist Theatre) Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 1976)
  5. Wellspring Magazine: a magazine of poetry, prose, and graphics by women, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Autumn 1979(
  6. Woman's Salon Newsletter, January/February [1979]
  7. Women in Drama Newsletter, October 1976; Christmas 1976; January 1977
  8. Women's Action Coalition WAC Talk special supplement, 1992
  9. Women's Times, Berkshire Region, August 1999

Processing Information

Processed: December 2012

By: Jenny Gotwals, with assistance from Samuel Bauer.

Moore, Honor, 1945- . Papers of Honor Moore, 1802-2001 (inclusive), 1900-1996 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1950 and the Radcliffe College Class of 1956.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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