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Vachel Lindsay Collection

Identifier: MA.00128

Scope and Contents

The papers include correspondence, cards, newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, and a photograph, detailing the life of poet Vachel Lindsay, mostly sent to Eugenia Graham, who later became Mrs. R.F. Leftwich.


  • Creation: 1924-1933
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1924-1925


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Vachel Lindsay Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes. This collection is housed in off-site storage and requires advance notice before use. Please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Vachel Lindsay 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

Vachel Nicholas Lindsay was born in Springfield in 1879. In Central Illinois tradition, Lindsay was schooled in the virtues of Abraham Lincoln, and like Lincoln developed a fascination with the lives of the common people.

Lindsay attended Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, for three years before studying art in Chicago and New York City. He later turned to poetry, a medium in which he found much greater success. After college, Lindsay spent much of his life walking across the country, performing and distributing copies of his poetry in exchange for bed and board.

Lindsay's verse is characterized by its lyric quality and its simple, forceful rhythms; his performances were remarkable for their animation. Among his volumes of poetry are The Congo and Other Poems (1914) and Every Soul Is a Circus (1929).

Excerpted from:


1.5 Linear feet (1 half archives box, 1 flat box, 1 map drawer folder)

Language of Materials



Poet. Papers include correspondence, cards, newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, and a photograph, mostly sent to Eugenia Graham.


This collection is organized into five series:

  1. Series 1: Letters, 1924-1931 (bulk 1924-1925)
  2. Series 2: Poems, 1931, undated
  3. Series 3: Programs, 1924-1925, undated
  4. Series 4: Photographs, undated
  5. Series 5: Newsclippings, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Vachel Lindsay collection was the gift of Frank Leftwich (AC 1958). The letters were written to Eugenia Graham, his mother, who met the poet while a student at Gulf Park Girls School and Junior College in Gulfport, Mississippi in the early 1920s. Lindsay was "touring" cities and schools in the south, reading his poetry at the time. Lindsay wrote to Eugenia Graham, who married R. Frank Leftwich in October 1924, over the course of several years. The letters were presented to Amherst College in June 2003.

Processing Information

2003 June
Alicia Yang Cao (AC 2006), Student Assistant
Finding Aid:
2003 June
Edited by:
Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Listed by:
Alicia Yang Cao (AC 2006), Student Assistant
Graham Leach-Krouse (AC 2005), Student Encoding Assistant
Alicia Yang Cao, Daria D'Arienzo, Graham Leach-Krouse
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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