Skip to main content

Rolfe Humphries (AC 1915) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MA.00093

Scope and Contents

The collection consists chiefly of incoming and outgoing correspondence, manuscript drafts, typescripts and galley proofs documenting the career of Rolfe Humphries as a poet, translator, teacher, editor, and reviewer. Correspondents include Louise Bogan, David Ferry, Richard Gillman, Donald Hall, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, and E. Merrill Root. Poetry manuscripts include material that was unpublished or appeared later in substantially different form. Also included are reviews of Humphries' work and general articles about him as well as a small amount of family papers, including an autobiography of his mother, Florence Yost Humphries.

Dates

  • 1896-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1915 - 1969

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the papers for research use. Photocopied materials in the collection may not be photocopied without permission from the owner of the originals.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the papers should be directed to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

George Rolfe Humphries, noted poet, translator, teacher, critic and editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 20, 1894. He attended Towanda High School and entered Amherst College in 1911. He taught Latin in secondary schools in San Francisco, New York City and Long Island through 1957. In 1925 he married Helen Ward Spencer. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in creative writing, 1938-1939. In 1957 Humphries joined the faculty of Amherst College as a Lecturer in the English Department. He retired in 1965.

Humphries' lasting achievement was as a poet and translator. His works of original verse include Europa and Other Poems and Sonnets, 1929; Out of the Jewel, 1942; The Summer Landscape, 1945; Forbid Thy Ravens, 1947; The Wind of Time, 1949; Poems Collected and New, 1954; His translations include The Poet in New York, a translation of Garcia Lorca, 1940; Virgil's Aeneid, 1951; Ovid's Metamorphoses: Art of Love, 1953, 1955; Juvenal's Satires, 1959; Selected Epigrams of Martial, ca. 1963. W.H. Auden called Humphries' translation of Virgil's Aeneid "a service for which no public reward could be too great."

Humphries is also notable as a mentor to many young poets, including Theodore Roethke. Among his literary friendships were those with Louise Bogan, Edmund Wilson, and Roethke. He taught at many poetry and creative writing workshops, including the University of New Hampshire Writers' Conference and the Writers' Conference in the Rocky Mountains at the University of Colorado.

Rolfe Humphries died on April 22, 1969 in Redwood City, California.

Extent

9.5 Linear feet (19 archives boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The collection consists chiefly of incoming and outgoing correspondence, manuscript drafts, typescripts and galley proofs documenting the career of Rolfe Humphries as a poet, translator, teacher, editor, and reviewer. Correspondents include Louise Bogan, David Ferry, Richard Gillman, Donald Hall, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, and E. Merrill Root. Poetry manuscripts include material that was unpublished or appeared later in substantially different form. Also included are reviews of Humphries' work and general articles about him as well as a small amount of family papers, including an autobiography of his mother, Florence Yost Humphries.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into ten series:
  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1915-1969
  2. Series 2: General Poetry, 1910-1969
  3. Series 3: General Prose, circa 1938-1967
  4. Series 4: Original Titles Wholly by Humphries, 1929-1974
  5. Series 5: Translations by Humphries, 1940-1969
  6. Series 6: Titles Edited by Humphries, circa 1937-1968
  7. Series 7: Reviews by Humphries, circa 1924-1967
  8. Series 8: Reviews of Works by Humphries, circa 1940-1969
  9. Series 9: Biographical Material and Miscellaneous, circa 1905-1969
  10. Series 10: Periodicals, 1896-1992

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Unless otherwise indicated, the Papers are a gift of Helen Spencer Humphries.

Related Materials

For additional information, including photographs as well as copies of letters of the Yost and Heydon families, see the Alumni biographical file of Rolfe Humphries, Class of 1915, in the College Archives.

Gillman, Richard, and Michael Paul Novak (eds.). Poets, Poetics, and Politics: America's Literary Community Viewed from the Letters of Rolfe Humphries, 1910-1969. With a biographical essay by Ruth Limmer. University Press of Kansas, 1992.
Status
Completed
Date
2002
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299