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Manuscript Collection

Howard Nemerov, 1920-1991. American Author.

Howard Nemerov

Finding Aid for the Howard Nemerov Papers [MSS089]

Library of Congress Howard Nemerov: Online Resources [External Link]

Howard Nemerov, a native of New York City, was a widely published poet who was been recognized with numerous prizes, awards, grants, and fellowships. He graduated from Harvard in 1941 and immediately enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Nemerov flew for the Canadian forces in Europe until 1944, when he joined the U.S. Army Air Force and flew combat missions until 1945.

In 1946, Nemerov became an associate editor of Furioso and began teaching at Hamilton College. He served on Furioso until 1951 and taught at several other schools -- Bennington College, the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University and Hollins College -- until 1963, when he received a one year appointment as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. In 1969 Nemerov joined the English faculty at Washington University where he was a highly visible and popular teacher, holding the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished Professor of English Chair.

Although he is best known as a poet, Nemerov wrote novels, short stories, essays, and criticism. His first book, The Image and the Law, was published in 1947 and he went on to produce over 20 books. Nemerov received nearly every award or prize available to poets including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1977 for Collected Poems, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1981. He was inducted into the Academy of American Poets in 1971 and was elected a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters in 1977.

Collection Description

The Howard Nemerov Papers are a large group of materials which help document the career of this important American poet. The collection includes a great number of worksheets, drafts, and notes towards poems, essays, lectures, stories, collections, and novels. Nemerov corresponded with numerous important literary figures and their letters are housed in the Nemerov Papers. Kenneth Burke, Maxine Kumin, Kay Boyle, and Reed Whittemore, in particular, have been long-time correspondents with Nemerov and the Washington University holdings contain over 800 letters from these four authors. The Howard Nemerov Papers are completed by an extensive collection of business correspondence, most relating to the publication of his books, and a large group of photographs, teaching materials, journals, and miscellany.