Finding-Aid for the William Gray Collection of James Merrill Letters (VMF014)


©2012 University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis

Department of Special Collections
Olin Library
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St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 935-5495
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spec@wumail.wustl.edu
http://library.wustl.edu/units/spec


Funding and support for digitization of finding-aids provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation


Table of Contents

Collection Outline

Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents Note

Restrictions

Administrative Information


Collection Outline

James Merrill to William Gray 1972: January 21

James Merrill to William Gray 1972: February 24

James Merrill to William Gray 1975: February 2

James Merrill to William Gray 1976: October 14

James Merrill to William Gray 1984: September 13

Bill Gibson to Ritchie Watson, Amy deGraff, and William Gray 1984: December 11

James Merrill to William Gray 1985: May 31

James Merrill to William Gray 1988: July 2

James Merrill to William Gray 1990: May 10

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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Merrill, James, 1926-1995
Title: William Gray Collection of James Merrill Letters
Quantity: 9 items
Identification: VMF014[Accession: 2012.016]

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Biographical Note

James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City on March 3, 1926, and grew up in Manhattan and Southampton. He was the son of Charles Merrill, co-founder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, and his second wife, Hellen Ingram. He began writing poems as a child, and at age sixteen, while he was in prep school, his father had a book of them privately printed under the title Jim's Books.

Merrill's studies at Amherst College were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945. Another book, The Black Swan, was privately printed in 1946 while he was still in college. Following his graduation in 1947, he taught for a year at Bard College. His first trade book, First Poems, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1951 to critical acclaim. In 1956 he used a portion of his inheritance to found the Ingram Merrill Foundation, which has since awarded grants to hundreds of artists and writers. Over the next decade he published two novels, The Seraglio (1957) and The (Diblos) Notebook (1965) as well as two books of poems, The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace (1959) and Water Street (1962). His 1966 collection of poems, Nights and Days, won the National Book Award and brought his work a wider audience.

He went on to earn numerous awards for his poetry, including the Bollingen Prize for Braving the Elements (1972), the Pulitzer Prize for Divine Comedies (1976), and a second National Book Award for Mirabell (1978). In 1983, his epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover (1982) won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

On February 6, 1995 James Merrill died from AIDS in Tucson, Arizona. His last book, A Scattering of Salts, was published a month later.

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Scope and Contents Note

The William Gray Collection of James Merrill Letters consists of a series of 6 postcards, 1 autographed letter, and 1 typed letter from James Merrill to William "Bill" Gray. It also includes and interoffice memo sent to Gray discussing how Merrill declined an honorary degree from Randolph-Macon College.

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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

Purchased from William Gray. Accession 2012.016.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections Staff

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James Merrill to William Gray 1972: January 21 Autograph card, signed. 1 page with envelope.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1972: February 24 Autograph card, signed. 1 page.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1975: February 2 Autograph letter, signed. 2 pages with envelope.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1976: October 14 Autograph card, signed. 1 page.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1984: September 13 Typed card, signed. 1 page.

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Bill Gibson to Ritchie Watson, Amy deGraff, and William Gray 1984: December 11 Typed letter [photocopy]. 1 page.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1985: May 31 Autograph card, signed. 2 pages with envelope.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1988: July 2 Typed letter, signed. 1 page with envelope.

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James Merrill to William Gray 1990: May 10 Autograph card, signed. 2 pages with envelope.

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