Finding-Aid for the Conrad Aiken Papers (MSS003)


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Olin Library
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St. Louis, MO 63130
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spec@wumail.wustl.edu
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Table of Contents

Collection Outline

Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents Note

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Box and Folder Listing


Collection Outline

Series I. Correspondence

Series II. Manuscripts

Series III. Works by Others

Series IV. Photographs

Series V. Clippings

Series VI. Miscellany

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Descriptive Summary

CreatorAiken, Conrad, 1899-1973
TitleConrad Aiken Papers,
Dates: 1917-1962.
Quantity: 216 items
Identification: MSS003

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Biographical Note

Aiken, though neglected today and largely unappreciated during his lifetime, is one of the most significant figures in the development of American Modernism. Aiken enrolled at Harvard in 1907, thus qualifying him as a member of one of the famous classes of 1910-1915 which included T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, John Reed, Robert Benchley, and Walter Lippmann. Leaving Harvard in his senior year, Aiken embarked on the first of several trips to Europe. There he met Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell who were then launching the Imagist movement. Soon after his graduation, Aiken moved to Europe and began writing and reviewing for New Republic, Poetry, Dial, and other periodicals. By 1925, he was settled in Boston and well into a writing career that produced more than 50 books of poetry, fiction, and criticism.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Conrad Aiken Papers consist entirely of material from his long-standing correspondence with Robert Linscott, an editor with Houghton-Mifflin and later senior editor for Random House. Aiken and Linscott began their long friendship in 1917 and Linscott helped Aiken publish several of his works. Aiken's letters to Linscott document the progress of his work and often reflect Aiken's extreme frustration at his lack of popular success. In them, Aiken describes his personal situation, particularly his two divorces, and his dealings with friends and associates, notably T.S. Eliot and John Gould Fletcher. The letters provide an insider's view of the literary scene, particularly in England during the 1920's. Above all, the Aiken-Linscott correspondence stands as a monument to a friendship that is remarkable for its longevity and its openness.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Open.

Use Restriction

None

Users of the collections must read and abide by the Rules for the use of manuscript collection materials.

Users of the collections who wish to use items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication (as defined in the form) must sign and submit to the Washington University Department of Special Collections a hard copy of the Notification of intent publish manuscript collection materials form.

All publication not covered by fair use restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder.

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Administrative Information

Source of Collection

Purchase and gift. Accessions 867, 1365, 1369

Accruals

Interfiled within collection or by accession at end of collection.

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Box and Folder Listing

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1/1

Series I. Correspondence,

The Aiken letters document the progress of his work, particularly his attitude toward individual pieces. Aiken's largest concern is with placing his work, in which Linscott was instrumental, and the lettes reflect Aiken's extreme frustration at his lack of success. The letters evidence Aiken's constant struggle to alleviate his frequent financial plight and the subsequent effect on his writing. The letters also provide a great deal of personal information on Aiken's relationships with his family, particularly his two divorces, and his friends and associates, notable T.S. Eliot and John Gould Fletcher. The letters also provide a lively commentary on the literary scene, particularly in England. Above all, the Aiken-Linscott correspondence is evidence of a remarkable friendship.
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Conrad Aiken to Robert N. Linscott, 1917-1962 (131 items)
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Robert N. Linscott to Conrad Aiken, 1918-1937 (17 items)
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Robert N. Linscott to John Cournois, 1923 (1 item)
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Robert N. Linscott to John Gould Fletcher, 1923 (1 item)
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Jessie Aiken to Helen Linscott, 1924 (1 item)
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Jessie Aiken to Robert N. Linscott, 1930 (1 item)
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Conrad Aiken to Archibald MacLeish, 1925 (1 item)
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Conrad Aiken to Barbara Turner, 1961 (1 item)
Accession 1026a
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Conrad Aiken to Thomas Wheeler, 1963 (1 item)
Accession 960.
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Conrad Aiken to Arthur Cohen, 1964 (2 items)
Accession 960.

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Series II. Manuscripts,

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1/13
Arachne and Tithonus [poem], (Ts[c], 2 p. No corrections or revisions.)
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Cliff Meeting [poem], (Ts[c], 4 p. No corrections or revisions.)
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1/15
Dead Leaf in May [poem], (Ts[c], 2 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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1/16
Elder Tree [poem], (Ts[c], 2 p., slight correction.)
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1/17
Electra [poem], (Ts, 6 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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God's Acre [poem], (Ts, 2 p. No corrections or revisions.)
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Goya: Exercis in a Contemporary Manner [poem], (Ts, 2 p. No corrections or revisions.)
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Improvisation: Bells from Six Towers [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: The Book of Stars [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/22
Improvisation: Broken Icicles [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/23
Improvisation: Butterflies [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/24
Improvisation: The Crimson Cloud [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/25
Improvisation: A Gay Lady [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: He Grows Older [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: Lamplight [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/28
Improvisation: The Lonely Room [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/29
Improvisation: An Old Tree [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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1/30
Improvisation: Rain-worn snow [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: Roses, Yellow and White [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: The Secret Dancer [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: The Story-Teller [poem], (Ts, 1 p. Slight revision.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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Improvisation: White Fingers [poem], (Ts, 1 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
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King Borborigmi [poem], (Ts[c], 5 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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Landscape [poem], (Ts, 19 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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Medusa [poem], (Ts, 18 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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An Old Man, Weeping [poem], (Ts[c], 2 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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Prelude [poem], (Ts, 1 p., No corrections or revisions.)
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1/39
Psychomachia [poem], (Ts, 7 p.. Slight corrections.)
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1/40
The Road [poem], (Ts[c], 3 p. No corrections or revisions.)
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1/41
The Room [poem], (Ts[c], 2 p. No corrections or revisions. (Two words revised in different type))
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1/42
Senlin Salutes the Dawn [poem], (Ts, 3 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Under pseud: John Senlin.
Verso p. 3: notes by Robert N. Linscott.
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Stay Here [poem], (Ts, 3 p., with corrections and revisions.)
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The Dostoevsky Myth [essay], (Ts, 7 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Bibliographical note in Aiken's hand appended p. 1
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Schisophrenia [review] Nocturne of Remembered Spring and other poems by Aiken, (Ts, 3 p. No corrections or revisions.)
Upper right hand corner notes [in Linscott's hand]: "Written by Aiken himself and published in Chicago News. See Clipping."

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Series III. Works by Others,

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Back to Sunsets! by Clayton Hoagland, (Proof sheet, 1p)
Comments on Aiken's article, "Back to Poetry"
Accession 1365. Originally laid in PS3501 I5 T55 1936a.

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1/47

Series IV. Photographs,

Fifteen photographs. Several dated and identified in Aiken's hand and unidentified hands. Several mounted in black paper.
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Conrad Aiken, Winchester, Mass., May 1917
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Conrad Aiken, Winter 1920
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John Aiken, Jessie Aiken, Conrad Aiken, July 1918
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Jane Aiken, July 1918
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Jane Aiken, September 1918
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Jane Aiken, October 1918
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Aiken house, September 1918
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John and Jane Aiken, Jeake's house, Rye, Sussex, c. 1920s (2 items)
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Aiken house, September 1918
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Jeake's house, (3 items)
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Unidentified, (3 items)

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1/48

Series V. Clippings,

Clipping of the New York Evening Post, 1924: September 5. Aiken's "The Dark City."

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1/49

Series VI. Miscellany,

Practice notes on a new typewriter, in monologue stye. Typescript, 2 p, c. 1917

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