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Robert Bagg (AC 1957) Papers

Identifier: MA.00244

Scope and Contents

The Robert Bagg (AC 1957) Papers consist of 24.1 linear feet of material documenting the personal and professional activities of Robert Bagg and three of his friends and colleagues who also taught poetry and Classics at the college level: Thomas F. Gould, John A. Moore, and James J. Scully. The bulk of the material dates from the 1950s through the mid-2000s. This collection illustrates the connections and collaborations between notable poets and classicists in the second half of the twentieth century, as well as the administrative responsibilities inherent in running an academic department at a large university.

Bagg's materials include four boxes of correspondence files, many of which contain poetry and draft writings sent to him by friends. His materials from his years as a student at Amherst College include copies of assignments he wrote, scripts, photographs, programs, and other materials from theatrical productions he was involved with, various student publications that Bagg wrote for, as well as other memorabilia. His graduate school assignments are also included. The collection also includes five boxes of draft and published copies of Bagg's writings, including poetry, ancient Greek translations, lectures and essays, novels, and theatrical scripts. Three boxes of material in the collection relate to Bagg's tenure as a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and as chair of the English department. These include his notes and teaching materials for the course that he taught, files on various administrative issues and controversies, as well as professional correspondence and files on specific students and faculty members. Personal materials in the collection include golf memorabilia, journals and datebooks, and photographs.

The James J. Scully papers include five decades worth of correspondence between Bagg and Scully, along with draft copies of Scully's poetry, plays, and novels. John A. Moore's papers include his personal correspondence, teaching notes and materials from his years as an Amherst College Classics professor, and a significant number of photographs from Moore's lifetime, along with older photographs of his ancestors and family members. Also included in the Moore papers are 19th century family documents including letters, deeds, and diplomas. The Thomas F. Gould papers are primarily photocopies of correspondence that Gould received and diaries that he wrote.


  • Creation: 1948-2007


Conditions Governing Access

One subseries of the Robert Bagg (AC 1957) Papers is restricted during Bagg's lifetime. Several ledgers of student grades in his teaching and administrative files are restricted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for 82 years from the date of creation. Several administrative and personnel files relating to sensitive issues such as tenure decisions, lawsuits, and sexual harassment claims are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Bagg (1937- ) was born in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, received an M.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1961 and a Ph.D. from the same institution in 1965. He taught English at the University of Washington in Seattle, Smith College, the University of Texas, and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, from which he retired in 1996. He served as chair of the UMass Amherst English Department for a portion of his tenure at that institution. Bagg has received several prizes and fellowships during his writing career, including the Glascock Poetry Prize (1957), Simpson Fellowship (1957-1958), Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and letters (1958-1959), Ingram-Merrill Fellowship (1961), and Guggenheim Fellowship (1979). His numerous publications include collections of poetry, Greek to English translations of Euripides and Sophocles, and plays. In 2007, he received a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship to write a biography of Richard Wilbur.

Bagg has five children from his first marriage, to Sarah "Sally" Robinson: Theodore, Christopher, Jonathan, Melissa, and Robert Hazzard. His second wife, Mary, has collaborated with him on several publications.

Thomas F. Gould (1927-1995) was born in East Liverpool, Ohio in 1927 and spent much of his childhood in Poland. He served in the U.S. Navy, and then went on to Cornell University, where he earned bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. He taught classics at several colleges and universities, including Amherst College from 1955 to 1963, before joining the Yale University Classics faculty in 1968. He served as Director of Undergraduate Studies at Yale from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s. Gould's publications include Platonic Love (1963) and The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy (1978).

John Andrew Moore (1918-1972) was born May 10, 1918 in Trenton, N.J. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University and did additional graduate work at Oxford University. He taught as a junior fellow at Harvard from 1940 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1947, with an interruption in the middle to serve as a civilian in the U.S. Navy Department during World War II. Moore joined the Amherst College Classics Department faculty in 1947 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1958. He published a study of Sophocles and AretĂȘ (1938) and Selections from the Greek Elegiac, Iambic and Lyric Poems (1947), as well as a translation of Sophocles' Ajax (1957). At the time of his death on June 22, 1972, Moore was chair of the Amherst Classics department.

James J. Scully, (1937- ) poet and professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut, has published several books of original poetry as well as several translations, including one in collaboration with Robert Bagg, The Complete Plays of Sophocles: A New Translation (2011). His writings, including his poetry, are shot through with political and social commentary.


10.84 Linear feet

Language of Materials



Papers documenting the literary, scholarly, and personal activities of poet and translator Robert Bagg. Correspondence between Bagg and contemporaries, including poets Richard Wilbur and James I. Merrill, make up a large portion of the material. Also included are drafts of poetry and other writings, Bagg's undergraduate and graduate student work, and teaching and administrative materials from Bagg's time as a professor of English. The Bagg Papers also include sub-collections of material originally belonging to three associates: Thomas F. Gould, John A. Moore, and James J. Scully.

Custodial History

Two sub-collections had previously been gathered and maintained by others: deceased professors John A. Moore and Thomas F. Gould, and a third consisting of manuscripts and correspondence written by a friend and translation collaborator of Bagg's, James J. Scully. Bagg was executor of Moore's estate, and Moore's family gave his papers to Bagg with the understanding that Bagg would donate them to Amherst College. Gould gave Bagg his papers during Gould's lifetime. Bagg's 2005 donation of his writings was previously filed in his alumni biographical file in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. He also donated three separate small collections of correspondence in 2006 and 2007.

Separated Materials

One small segment of accession 2007-079, reunion questionnaires from the Amherst College Class of 1957, have been removed from this collection and integrated into the Alumni Biographical Files [1957], in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

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