Finding-Aid for the William Everson Papers (MSS042)


©2001 University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis

Department of Special Collections
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

I. Correspondence

II. Manuscripts

III. Bibliography and Criticism

IV. Miscellany

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Descriptive Summary

CreatorEverson, William, 1912-1994
TitleWilliam Everson Papers,
Dates: ca. 1942-1971
Quantity: 199 items
Identification: MSS042

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Biographical Note

The political and spiritual journeys of William Everson were the subject and inspiration for much of his writing. He was born in California and began his university studies in 1931. Everson never finished college, but left in 1935 to write poetry. He was a conscientious objector during the latter years of World War II and was associated with Kenneth Rexroth and his circle in San Francisco in the late 1940's. Everson converted to Roman Catholicism in 1949, joined the Catholic Workers Movement, and eventually entered the Dominican Religious Order in 1950, taking the name of Brother Antoninus. Everson's religious commitments removed him from the literary scene for a number of years, but the San Francisco Renaissance of the late 1950's drew him out and he reappeared in 1957. He left the Dominican order in 1971 and taught press printing at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Everson produced numerous books of poetry and prose under his given name and as Brother Antoninus. Much of his work arose from his political/ethical positions prior to his religious conversion (notably his War Elegies (1944) and Waldport Poems (1944), which were written and printed at the Waldport Work Center for conscientious objectors) and from his religious convictions after 1949. Critics have had both extremely positive and extremely negative reactions to Everson's poetry, much of which is autobiographical. Some have praised him for his honesty and intensity, while others have condemned him for dishonesty and pretentiousness. Everson was involved in printing from his youth (his father was a professional printer), but first became active as a printer at Waldport in the 1940's, where he was a co-founder of the Untide Press. Since then he pursued the art of printing with a hand-press, producing both his work and works by others, and became a recognized master of this art. He produced many fine books under the Lime Kiln Press imprint.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Everson Papers include correspondence between the author and the well-known book dealer Henry Wenning. Wenning was a friend and confidante to a great number of authors, many of whom are included in Washington University's Modern Literature Collection. He acted as publisher for Everson's poetry collection, the Blowing of the Seed (1966), and much of this correspondence deals with this book. The collection also contains a number of poetry manuscripts and galley proofs bearing Everson's corrections.

Bibliography:

Bartlett, Lee and Allan Campo. William Everson, A Descriptive Bibliography, 1934-1976. (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1977).

Lapper, Gary. A Bibliographic Introduction to Seventy-Five American Authors. (Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976).

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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

Processing Information

Processed by Washington University Department Special Collections Staff. EAD encoded finding-aid completed by Sonya McDonald, August 2004.

Accruals

Interfiled within collection or by accession at end of collection.

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Box and Folder Listing

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Box/folder
1/1-13

I. Correspondence,

Correspondence is arranged into two series chronologically as follows:
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Box/folder
1/1-11
William Everson/Henry Wenning,
The correspondence of Everson and Wenning, begins with the printing history of many early Everson works. Personal and philosophical topics become increasingly central, with references to individuals including James Lowell, Jonathan Williams, Mary Fabilli, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Clark Powell, James Laughlin, Kenneth Rexroth, Philip Whalen, etc. Many of the letters concern The blowing of the seed [collection of poems] by Everson and published by Wenning. Everson spends much time discussing a work in progress, Tongs of jeopardy [unpublished essay], dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In one long letter, 1966: September 26, he discusses Jacqueline Kennedy's actions and motives and relates them to events in his own life. He discusses to a limited extent the erotic and religious elements in his work. Everson items are autograph and typescript letters and post cards; those of Wenning are primarily typescript [carbon] copies.
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1/1, 1963 (15 items, 26 pp)
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1/2, 1964: January - May (15 items, 25 pp and 1 clipping)
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1/3, 1964: June - December (16 items, 30 pp)
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1/4, 1965: January - June (17 items, 30 pp and 1 post card)
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1/5, 1965: July - December (14 items, 24 pp)
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1/6, 1966: January - June (15 items, 28 pp)
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1/7, 1966: July - December (15 items, 38 pp)
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1/8, 1967: January - June (6 items, 10 pp)
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1/9, 1967: July - December (14 items, 27 pp)
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1/10, 1968 (10 items, 16 pp)
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1/11, 1969-1971, n.d. (7 items, 9 pp)
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Box/folder
1/12-13
General,
General correspondence includes one early letter from Everson to Mona Van Duyn, 1945: October 9, dealing with Everson's War elegies. The bulk of the items falls between 1965 and 1966 and includes correspondence between Claude Fredericks, printer, and Henry Wenning, publisher of The blowing of the seed. Other correspondents represented include David Meltzer, Joseph Blumenthal of The Spiral Press, Robert Boyle, and Robert Hawley of Oyez.
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1/12, 1945: October 9 - 1965: August 11 (10 items, 12 pp and 1 envelope)
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1/13, 1966: February 19 - 1969: December 29, n.d. (21 items, 26 pp)

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Box/folder
2/14-24

II. Manuscripts,

Arranged alphabetically by title. Consists of collections of poems and single poems and prose
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Box/folder
2/14
Contract for printing of The blowing of the seed [collection of poems] by William Everson. Printed document signed by Claude Fredericks and Henry Wenning, 1965: July 10 (1 item, 1 p)
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Box/folder
2/15
The blowing of the seed [collection of poems]. Ts. corrected in ink and signed by Brother Antoninus, 1965 (1 item, 13 pp)
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Box/folder
2/16
The blowing of the seed [collection of poems]. Ts. [photocopy], printer's copy, [1965]
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Box/folder
2/17
The blowing of the seed [collection of poems]. Page proof, incomplete, corrected in ink. Signed by Brother Antoninus, 1967., [1965] (1 item, 7 pp and 1 envelope)
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Box/folder
2/18
Wenning, Henry. Bibliographical note concerning The bowling of the seed by William Everson. Ts., corrected in ink, and ts. [carbon] copies, [1966] (2 items, 4 pp)
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Box/folder
2/19
Eizo, pub. Prospectus for A canticle to the waterbirds [poem] by William Everson, with pictures by Allen Say, [1968] (1 item, 3 pp)
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Box/folder
2/20
In the fictive wish [collection of poems]. Introduction. Ts. corrected in ink., [1952-1956] (1 item, 13 pp)
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Box/folder
2/21
The residual years [collection of poems]. Rejected poems. Three proofs of one page, with an auto. note by Henry Wenning., [n.d.] (4 items, 4 pp)
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Box/folder
2/22
University of Detroit. Fresco: The University of Detroit Quarterly [literary mag.] Vol. IX, No. 3. Containing A savagery of love [poem] by Brother Antoninus and a bibliography annotated by Everson., 1959: Spring (1 item, 46 pp)
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Box/folder
2/23
Single source [collection of poems]. Galley proof. Two sets of galleys, one corrected; one, incomplete, uncorrected, (2 items, 40 galleys)
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Box/folder
2/24.1
Duncan, Robert Edward. Single source [review]. Ts., on verso of unidentified printed sheets containing review notices concerning Everson's work. Review retyped and reparagraphed by Everson, [1966] (1 item, 6 pp)
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Box/folder
2/24.2
The Tongs of Jeopardy; Reflections On the Death of President Kennedy [essay], 1963 (1 item, 14 pp)
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Box/folder
-/-
Modern lit oversize. Work done since the Masculine Dead [collection of poems]. Ts. with auto. corrections and an explanatory note by Everson on paper wrapper, 1942 (1 item, 53 pp)

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Box/folder
2/25

III. Bibliography and Criticism,

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Box/folder
1/25
The original manuscripts of William Everson (Brother Antoninus): Part II. (The veritable years: 1949-1969). Ts. [photocopy], with a note by [Henry Wenning]: 1 of 9 copies, signed. Dated by Everson. In blue binder. Compiler unknown., 1971: June 24 (1 item, 361 pp)

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Box/folder
2/26-29

IV. Miscellany,

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Box/folder
2/26
Caedmon [record company]. The latest work from Caedmon [advertising flyer]. Advertising Carl Sandburg reading Fog and other poems (TC 1253), The savagery of love: Brother Antoninus reads his poetry (TC 1260), Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience, read by Archibald MacLeish (TC 1263), and Bhagavad-Gita (TC 1249)., 1968: August (1 item, 2 pp)
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Box/folder
2/27
Two photographs of William Everson, 1965: July (2 items)
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Box/folder
2/28
Reviews and clippings: [ca. 1967]. Childs, James. Brother Antoninus poetry a testament to great gifts of man: Woman and God [book review]. Review of the rose of solitude [collection of poems] by Brother Antoninus. Photocopy of clipping from unidentified journal. With an auto. note by Everson. [n.d.]. Coor, John P. Monastery poet tells of violent search for God [newspaper article]. Clipped from the San Francisco Inquirer and concerning William Everson, (2 items, 5 pp)
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Box/folder
2/29
A slip of paper with Brother Antoninus' address at St. Albert's College. Two copyright registry slips for Everson works, taped to a card,

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