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Coburn, Andrew

Andrew Coburn Papers

ca.1950-2015
15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 936
Depiction of Andrew Coburn
Andrew Coburn

In taut and haunting prose, Andrew Coburn left a memorable impression as both novelist and journalist. Born in Exeter, N.H., on May 1, 1932, Coburn became serious about writing while fulfilling his military duty in Germany and earning a degree in English at Suffolk University. After landing a position with the local newspaper, the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, he put his talents to good use. Building his career as a journalist covering organized crime by day, he managed to spend nearly every night writing fiction until dawn. His successes on the beat earned him steady promotions all the way to city editor, and he eventually founded two newspapers of his own, though fiction would be his future. Winning a Eugene Saxton Fellowship in 1965, Coburn drew upon his experiences on the streets of Lawrence to publish his first novel, The Trespassers, in 1974, followed by The Babysitter in 1979, and eventually eleven other novels, a novella, and a host of short stories and essays. A master of language and dialogue grounded in a strong sense of place, Coburn won both wide readership and praise from other writers. His work has garnered nominations for the Edgar Allan Poe Award and Pushcart Prize and has been translated into 14 languages. Three of his novels have been made into films in France. He was married to Bernadine Casey Coburn, a former journalist and public relations expert, with whom he had one son and four daughters.

The Coburn Papers contain working drafts and page proofs of Andrew Coburn’s novels and short stories, along with selected correspondence, and dozens of journals, scrapbooks, and notebooks used in his fiction. In many cases, the completeness of the collection makes it possible to follow a work from its earliest inception, often recorded as a sketch (literal or in prose), through to its final iteration.

Gift of Andrew Coburn, 2016

Subjects

Journalists--MassachusettsNovelists--Massachusetts

Types of material

JournalsPhotographsScrapbooks
Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834

Rocco and Barbara Verrilli Collection of Charles Lamb

1741-1932 Bulk: 1798-1834
1 box, 79 volumes 13 linear feet
Call no.: MS 939
Depiction of Charles Lamb
Charles Lamb

A poet, critic, and essayist, and close friend of Coleridge and Wordsworth, Charles Lamb was a popular figure in literary circles in late Georgian Britain. Born in London in 1775, Lamb began working in the accounting office of the British East India Company at the age of seventeen. Despite struggling with mental illness in his family, he built a reputation as a writer. With an elegant, eccentric, and somewhat antiquated style, he became known first for his poetry, but soon gained notice for prose and criticism. Written with his sister Mary, Tales from Shakespeare (1808) achieved notable success, however Lamb’s fame rests primarily on the essays he wrote during the 1820s under the pseudonym Elia. Lamb died from erysipelas on Dec. 29, 1833.

From the 1960s through 2010s, Rocco and Barbara Verrilli built this extensive collection of first and early editions of Charles Lamb’s writing. Among the volumes they acquired are Lamb’s personal copy of his first publication, Poems on Various Subjects; a rare copy of his first book for children King and Queen of Hearts (1806); and a presentation copy of his best known work, Elia (1823). The twenty-five manuscript items in the collection are particularly noteworthy. Displaying a characteristic combination of charm, wit, and insight, these include a long letter to Robert Southey discussing poetry; humorous letters to his admirer John B. Dibdin; an acrostic by Lamb on the name of Sarah Thomas; and two particularly fine letters to the poet Edward Dyer, including an eye-witness account of the agricultural rebellion known as the Swing Riots.

Gift of Barbara and Rocco Verrilli, 2016

Subjects

Authors, English--19th centuryPoets--Great Britain

Contributors

Verrilli, BarbaraVerrilli, Rocco
Gibson, W. Walker

W. Walker Gibson Papers

1936-1993
3 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 062
Depiction of Walker Gibson
Walker Gibson

Walker Gibson, a professor of English at the University from 1967 to 1987, was a passionate teacher of writing and rhetoric and author of humorous verse. Gibson was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1919 but was raised in Albany, New York. He earned his B.A. from Yale in 1940 and began graduate work at Harvard, however, his studies were interrupted by World War II, where he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the War, Gibson earned his M.A. from the University of Iowa, where he was a research assistant for the Iowa Writers Workshop. For the next twenty years, Gibson taught English and writing at Amherst College and published prose and his signature humorous verse in the New Yorker, Atlantic, Harpers, and the New York Times Magazine among others. Gibson also published several books, including collections of verse, as well as prose works on writing, teaching composition, and literary criticism. Gibson died at the age of 90 in February, 2009.

The Walker Gibson Papers document the writer and teacher’s career through published and unpublished early writings during his years at Yale, binders including his published writings from the 1950s, correspondence with Theodore Baird, his supervisor at Amherst College, and lecture notes from his University writing and English classes. Completing the collection are three folders of miscellaneous correspondence and a folder of Gibson’s unpublished manuscripts from the late seventies and early eighties.

Gift of W. Walker Gibson, 1999

Subjects

National Council of Teachers of EnglishUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

Gibson, W. Walker
Langland, Joseph

Joseph Langland Papers

1939-2007
6 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 181
Joseph Langland with his wife, Judith
Joseph Langland with his wife, Judith

The poet Joseph Langland was raised on the family farm in northeastern Iowa, and earned both a BA (1940) and MA (1941) from the famed writing program at the University of Iowa, before being inducted into the military service during the Second World War. While still in Germany serving with the Allied military government, Langland had printed for his family his first book of poetry, a chapbook titled For Harold (1945), for his younger brother who had been killed in action in the Philippines. Returning home, he taught part-time at Iowa, then joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming (1948-1959), and finally UMass Amherst. Part of a wave of energetic young writers and scholars to arrive on campus, Langland became active in the early years of the Massachusetts Review and became founder the university’s MFA Program for Poets and Writers. A prolific writer, he contributed regularly to literary magazines and was author of The Green Town (1956), The Wheel of Summer (1963), The Sacrifice Poems (1975), Any Body’s Song (1980), and Selected Poems (1991). Langland was recipient of the National Council of the Arts Award, the Melville Cane Award, the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Fellowship, and a Ford Faculty Fellowship, among other honors. After his retirement from UMass in 1979, he served as emeritus until his death in 2007.

The Langland Papers include a substantial number of original manuscripts of poetry, many unpublished, correspondence with major poets, and an extensive run of Langland’s letters written home to his wife and family during the war. Other Langland Papers are housed at Luther College in Iowa.

Gift of Paul Langland and Elizabeth Langland, 2016

Subjects

Poets--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of EnglishWorld War, 1939-1945

Types of material

DiariesLetters (Correspondence)ManuscriptsPhotographs
Restrictions: Copyright retained by the family
Riggs, Maida L.

Maida L. Riggs Papers

1925-2000
8 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 095
Depiction of Maida Riggs, ca.1944
Maida Riggs, ca.1944

Maida Leonard Riggs, class of 1936, taught women’s physical education at UMass before shifting to teacher preparation. Riggs was a beloved member of the UMass faculty for 28 years before her retirement. An adventurous spirit took Riggs around the globe: to Europe with the Red Cross during World War II; as a bicycling tour leader after the war; on a trek across Nepal at age 62; to Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Uzbekistan. After retiring, Riggs, a self-described compulsive traveler, embarked on a more personal journey to explore her roots. Riggs transcribed more than 250 letters by her pioneer great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clark Longley, and published them under the title A Small Bit of Bread and Butter: Letters from the Dakota Territory, 1832-1869, an absorbing and sometimes heartbreaking account of life on the frontier. An avid photographer, Riggs took advantage of any opportunity to use her camera. These images, particularly from World War II, tell as many stories as do her correspondence. Her memoir, Dancing in Paratrooper Boots, contains typed copies of her letters from her days as a Red Cross volunteer during the war.

The Riggs Papers are a rich documentary history of the World War II era, both in America and Europe, as well as an engrossing study (in transcripts) of the American frontier. Included with extensive correspondence and photographs are published and unpublished prose, and Lovingly, Lucy: Vignettes of a Pioneer Woman’s Life, an essay on Riggs’s paternal grandmother, Lucy Dodge Riggs. Additional items in the collection include handwritten journals, one detailing a trip to China and Japan in 1982, and Riggs’s photographs of young children at play taken for her book on child development, Jump to Joy: Helping Children Grow Through Active Play. Riggs also took her genealogical research seriously, meticulously charting her family’s 1638 immigration from England to Massachusetts. With camera in hand, she later traveled to England in search of more evidence of the Longleys’ English roots.

Gift of Maida Riggs, 2000-2006

Subjects

China--Description and travelLongley familyRiggs familyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni and alumnaeUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physical EducationWomen physical education teachersWorld War, 1939-1945World War, 1939-1945--Women

Contributors

Riggs, Maida L.

Types of material

Photographs
Sanders, Paul Samuel

Paul Samuel Sanders Papers

1937-1972
9 linear feet
Call no.: FS 084

Methodist Clergyman; literary and religious scholar.

Correspondence, drafts of writings, notes for lectures and sermons, book reviews, course materials, class notes taken as a student, biographical material, and other papers, relating chiefly to Sander’s studies of English and religious literature, his teaching career at several colleges (including the University of Massachusetts) and church-related activities. Includes draft of an unpublished book on the Bible as literature; correspondence and organized material from his participation in Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies, Amherst Massachusetts (LAOS); and notebook of funeral records (1940-1957).

Subjects

Layman's Academy for Oecumenical StudiesMethodist Church--ClergyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

Sanders, Paul Samuel

Types of material

Sermons
Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955

Wallace Stevens Collection

1804-1973 Bulk: 1930-1954
1 box, 35 vols. 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 365

The modernist poet Wallace Stevens produced some of the century’s most challenging works while employed as an attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. A native of Reading, Pa., Stevens attended Harvard as an undergraduate but left in 1900 before completing his degree. He later earned a law degree at New York School of Law. Working in insurance law but still intent on becoming a writer, he did not publish his first book of poetry until he was 44 years old. Over the last thirty years of his life, he became one of the most revered contemporary poets in the country. Stevens died of cancer in 1955.

Touching on poetry, criticism, and books, the collection consists primarily of letters received by the poet Wallace Stevens along with 35 annotated volumes from his personal library. Among the correspondents represented are Charles Tomlinson, Jean Wahl, Conrad Aiken, and the art collector and Stevens’ close friend Henry Church; there are also retained copies of three letters from Stevens: two regarding an honorary degree at Harvard, and one to Tomlinson declining to respond to Tomlinson’s analysis of “The comedian as the letter C.” The books included in the collection have annotations or inscriptions to or by Stevens.

Subjects

Poets--Connecticut

Contributors

Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955
Unzicker, Rae

Rae Unzicker Papers

1979-1997
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 818
Depiction of Rae Unzicker
Rae Unzicker

Rae Unzicker’s exposure to the psychiatric system began at a young age. Growing up in an abusive home, her parents sent her to psychiatrists off and on for years before she was involuntarily committed. While there, she was quickly introduced to the chaotic and damaging atmosphere of a psychiatric institution, exposing her to mandatory drugs, seclusion rooms, forced feeding, and work “therapy” that required her to wash dishes six hours a day. Once she was release, Unzicker’s road to recovery was long, but after several suicide attempts and stays at other treatment facilities, she ultimately counted herself–along with her friend Judi Chamberlin, an early leader in the movement–a psychiatric survivor. Like Chamberlin, Unzicker embraced her role as an advocate of patient’s rights and for the radical transformation of the mental-health system. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Disability; two years later she was elected president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). Unzicker was widely known for her public appearances, conferences and speeches, and her writings, including numerous articles and contributions to the book Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out. A survivor of cancer of the jaw and breast, Rae Unzicker died at her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 22, 2001 at the age of 52.

Although a small collection, Rae Unzicker’s papers document her activities as a leading advocate for the rights of mental health patients, including transcripts of speeches and videotaped appearances, correspondence and feedback related to workshops and conferences, press kits, and newspaper clippings. The most important materials, however, are her writings. It is through her poems and her full-length memoir, You Never Gave Me M & M’s, that Unzicker’s story and voice are preserved.

Subjects

AntipsychiatryEx-mental patientsPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPeople with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.Psychiatric survivors movement

Contributors

Unzicker, Rae

Types of material

MemoirsVideotapes
Broadside Press

Broadside Press Collection

1965-1984
1 box, 110 vols. 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 571
Depiction of Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.

Gift of the Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Libraries, Aug. 2008

Subjects

African American poetsAfrican American writersBlack Arts MovementPoetry

Contributors

Broadside PressBrooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000Emanuel, James AGiovanni, NikkiKnight, EtheridgeMadhubuti, Haki R., 1942-Randall, Dudley, 1914-Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-

Types of material

BroadsidesEphemeraPosters
Fried, Lewis

Lewis Fried Collection of Jack Conroy

1969-1995
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 414

A voice of the radical working class during the Great Depression, Jack Conroy was the son of a union organizer, born and raised in the mining camps near Moberly, Mo. His novels The Disinherited (1933) and A World to Win (1935) were among the best known works of “proletarian” American fiction to appear in the 1930s.

The Conroy Collection includes a series of 24 letters from Jack Conroy to Lewis Fried, a professor of English at Kent State University and UMass PhD, along with a small number of letters by associates of Conroy, and a selection of publications associated with or including work by him. Of particular interest are Fried’s oral history interviews with Conroy (1971) and Sally Goodman (1978).

Subjects

AnvilBontemps, Arna Wendell, 1902-1973Communists--United StatesDepressions--1929New AnvilWorking class authors

Contributors

Conroy, Jack, 1899-1990Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979Fried, Lewis Frederick, 1943-Gold, Michael, 1894-1967Goodman, PercivalGoodman, SallySnow, Walter

Types of material

Oral histories