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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 751: Phon-29

Papers of Evelyn Ames, 1865-ca.1995 (inclusive), 1921-1985 (bulk)


Writings, correspondence, and photographs of author and poet Evelyn Ames.


  • Creation: 1865-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1921-1985

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Evelyn Ames is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.


13.64 linear feet ((30 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 2 folio folders, 2 folio+ folders, 1 supersize folder, 30 photograph folders, 3 folio photograph folders, 6 phonograph records, 1 object)

The collection contains papers related to Evelyn Ames's work as an author and a poet, as well as personal and professional correspondence, biographical and personal materials, and photographs. The bulk of the collection is made up of drafts of her books, poetry, short stories and articles, speeches and talks, as well as diaries, journals, and notebooks. Most of Ames's writing came to the library stored in folders, binders, and envelopes. Most folder titles have been retained and appear in quotation marks. Clippings and magazine articles used for research purposes (not annotated by Ames) were discarded. Correspondence was largely unfoldered; some correspondence was bundled by author of the letter, and these groupings have also been retained. Other correspondence was sorted and arranged by the processor.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1908-1979 (#1.1-11.8, FD.1, F+D.1, Phon-29.2, Mem.1), contains material documenting Ames's personal life. The bulk of the material in this series consists of diaries, journals, and notebooks kept by Ames throughout her life. Early diaries contain page-long descriptive entries, but beginning in 1950, Ames began keeping a pocket-sized diary with very short entries regarding her daily activities. Ames also kept a variety of journals and notebooks with writings regarding trips taken to the western United States, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Some of these journals contained notes and observations that served as the base for her writing projects. There are also two journals in which Ames chronicled her dreams. There is a short journal from Ames's stay in a nursing home in 1985, where she lived for several years while suffering from Alzheimer's disease. In addition to diaries and journals, there are engagement and wall calendars which offer brief entries about appointment and notes.

In addition to her personal writing, there is also school work from her time at Vassar, including class papers and three "theme" journals. See also Series II for some early poetry and schoolwork, including a handmade book of poetry. There is also an address given by Ames's friend Charles Lindbergh before the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1954; the address is inscribed and signed by Lindbergh. This series documents Ames's personal interest in art, and includes drawings and paintings by Ames as well as information regarding art purchases. It also includes a marble bust of Ames. Finally, there are clippings by and about Ames, and an audio interview with Ames. Additional interviews about specific projects can be found in Series III, Writings and related. The series is arranged with two biographical folders about Evelyn Ames and Amyas Ames, followed by an alphabetical arrangement of personal material.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1912-1985 (#11.9-22.6, F+D.2), includes correspondence with family and friends, as well as fan letters from readers of her work. There are letters from Ames's mother and children, and courtship correspondence with her husband, Amyas Ames. Notable correspondents include Anne Lindbergh and composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, in addition to writers J. B. Priestly, Jacquetta Hawkes Priestley, Jean Burden, May Sarton, Howard Thurman, and Thornton Wilder. Most of the correspondence consists of letters to Ames, although there are some copies of letters sent by Ames. Folders are arranged alphabetically by recipient of letter.

Series III, WRITINGS AND RELATED, 1940-ca.1995 (#22.7-31.6, 32FB.1v, FD.2, SD.1, Phon-29.1, Phon-29.3 - Phon-29.4), includes drafts and some final versions of Ames's poems, books, poems, short stories, articles, and speeches. There is also correspondence with editors and publishers. In folder titles, the phrase "drafts with corrections" refers to Ames's own corrections. Drafts which have been "edited" contain comments by others. See Series I and Series II for some of Ames's early poetry and essays, written in elementary, high school, and college. In addition, Series I contains notebooks and journals in which Ames recorded observations and ideas which she later developed into various writing projects.

Subseries A, Poetry, 1940-1995 (#22.7-24.6, Phon-29.1, Phon-29.3 - Phon-29.4), includes drafts, some annotated, and final versions of poems written by Ames. There is an alphabetical arrangement of Ames's poetry, which includes both drafts and published versions of poems. The subseries also contains two audio interviews with Ames regarding her poetry. In addition, the series includes a booklet of unpublished poems published by Ames's daughter for family members after her death.

Subseries B, Books, 1952-1982 (#24.7-28.11, 32FB.1v, FD.2, SD.1, Phon-29.5 - Phon-29.6), includes drafts of published books and accompanying material, such as correspondence with editors, interviews and publicity material, and scrapbooks of book reviews. There are drafts of A Wind from the West: Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Abroad, including comments made by Leonard Bernstein. Also included with these drafts is a draft of an article about Bernstein written by Ames and comments made by Ames on Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish. There are also drafts of In Time Like Glass: Reflections on a Journey in Asia and Daughter of the House, which Ames wrote about growing up in Hartford, Connecticut. In addition, there is a draft of Ames's juvenile novel My Brother Bird; the drafts are accompanied by pen and ink illustrations, some possibly drawn by the book's illustrator, William Pene du Bois, or by Ames. Finally, the subseries contains drafts of Villa La Malia, an unpublished novel. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Short stories, articles, and other prose 1946-1984 (#29.1-30.4), includes drafts of short stories and drafts of articles with accompanying research material. This series also contains notes, autobiographical writings, fragments and by Ames. The folders are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Speeches and talks, 1953-1982 (#30.5-31.6), includes drafts of speeches and talks given by Ames. An audio version of the talk, "The Return to the Feminine Principle," given before the fellows of the Lindisfarne Association, is available online through the Schumacher Center for a New Economics; the tape can be accessed through the Internet Archive. The folders in this subseries are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1865-1980 (#PD.1-PD.33) includes photographs of Ames from childhood and her adult years, including photographs taken of Ames and her husband attending public events, particularly related to Amyas Ames's involvement in the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. There are photographs from the 1968 European tour of the New York Philharmonic, which feature Ames and her husband, as well as Leonard Bernstein and his children. These photographs were gathered for Ames's book A Wind from the West. There are also photographs of Ames's husband, children, and grandchildren, as well as extended family and ancestors. Included are Ames's Danish relatives: grandparents Alfred and Frederikke Flinch; great aunt and uncle Andreas and Thora Schlichtkrull; mother Olga Flinch Perkins; and Olga's sisters: Gerda Flinch Winkel Smith, Ingeborg Flinch Curtis, and Yvonne Flinch Winslow and their families. The folders are arranged chronologically. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Author and poet Evelyn (Perkins) Ames was born in 1908, the daughter of Henry Augustus and Olga (Flinch) Perkins. Her father, Henry A. Perkins, was a graduate of Yale University and physics professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as president of the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford. Ames's brother, Henry A. Perkins, Jr., was born in 1904, and the family resided in the Nook Farm neighborhood of Hartford.

A graduate of Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1925, Ames studied at Vassar College (1926-1929) before marrying Amyas Ames in 1930. They had four children: Oakes, Edward, Olivia and Joan. Amyas Ames, a graduate of both Harvard College (1928) and the Harvard Business School, was an investment banker. He was also an amateur musician and served as chairman of both the New York Philharmonic and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The Ames family had homes in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island and on Martha's Vineyard.

Evelyn Ames was the author of numerous books, short stories, articles, and poems. Many of her works focused on wildlife and the environment. Published books include: Daughter of the House (1962), A Glimpse of Eden (1967), A Wind from the West: Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Abroad (1970), In Time Like Glass: Reflections on a Journey in Asia (1974), and On the Vineyard (1980). She wrote works of fiction as well, including a novel Only the Loving (1952), and a juvenile novel, My Brother Bird (1954). Ames also published two books of poetry, The Hawk from Heaven (1957) and Dust on a Precipice: New and Selected Poems (1981). Her poetry was published in various magazines including Harper's, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, as well as compilations of poetry published by the Poetry Society of America and the Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards.

Ames was a member of the Poetry Society of America, Pen and Brush, and The Women Poets. She was also a director of the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation and a trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund and Milton Academy, and a member of the Board of Advisers for the Lindisfarne Association.

Ames died in 1990 in Kings Park, New York, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and Personal, 1908-1979 (#1.1-11.8, FD.1, F+D.1, Phon-29.2, Mem.1)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1912-1985 (#11.9-22.6, F+D.2)
  3. Series III. Writings and related, 1940-ca.1995 (#22.7-31.6, 32FB.1v, FD.2, SD.1, Phon29.1, Phon-29.3-Phon 29.4)
  4. Series IV. Photographs, 1865-1980 (#PD.1-PD.33)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 96-M85, 97-M64, 99-M8

The papers of Evelyn Ames were given to the Schlesinger Library by her daughter, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, in 1996 and 1999, and by friend Elizabeth Warner in 1997.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2014

By: Paula Aloisio, with the assistance of Caitlin Jones.

Ames, Evelyn, 1908-1990. Papers of Evelyn Ames, 1865-ca.1995 (inclusive), 1921-1985 (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 a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1957.

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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