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Louise Bogan Papers

Identifier: MA.00085

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, manuscript drafts of both published and unpublished poems, prose, short stories, and translations, lectures, teaching notes, news clippings, journals and notebooks documenting Bogan's career as poet, translator, critic, teacher and editor from 1930 until her death in 1970. Documentation of her personal affairs includes family items, diaries, awards and honors, contracts with publishers, copyrights, financial records, photographs, and material relating to her death and estate.


  • Creation: 1930-1970


Conditions Governing Access

The conditions of access to and use of this collection are consistent with the Terms of Access and Use for the Amherst College Library Archives and Special Collections generally, with the additional proviso that no photocopies or other reproductions of Bogan's writings may be made without the written agreement of the Louise Bogan Charitable Trust, which also holds the publication rights. Letters or other writings by individuals other than Bogan are not subject to this restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish materials from the papers should be directed to Archives & Special Collections and to the literary executor.

Biographical / Historical

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore Falls, Maine, in 1897. She attended Boston Girls' Latin School and, for one year, Boston University. She married Kurt Alexander in 1916 and was widowed in 1920. In 1925, she married her second husband, the poet Raymond Holden, whom she divorced in 1937. Her poems were published in the New Republic, the Nation, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner's and Atlantic Monthly. For thirty-eight years, she reviewed poetry for The New Yorker.

Because Bogan was reclusive and disliked talking about herself, details regarding her private life are scarce. She wrote most of her poetry in the earlier half of her life when she published Body of This Death (1923), Dark Summer (1929) and The Sleeping Fury (1937). She published volumes of her collected verse in 1941 and 1954, and finally The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968, an overview of her life's work in poetry. She died in New York City in 1970.


13.5 Linear feet (27 archives boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into thirteen series:

  1. Series 1: Personal Affairs
  2. Series 2: Correspondence
  3. Series 3: Poetry
  4. Series 4: Books of Poetry and Criticism
  5. Series 5: Short Stories
  6. Series 6: Translations
  7. Series 7: Articles, Introductions, Lectures, and Poetry Readings
  8. Series 8: Book Reviews
  9. Series 9: Teaching Notes
  10. Series 10: News Clippings
  11. Series 11: Miscellaneous
  12. Series 12: Notebooks and Journals
  13. Series 13: Photographs

Custodial History

The Bogan papers chiefly cover the years 1930-1970 because a fire destroyed Bogan's home and belongings, in Hillsdale, Columbia County, N.Y. on December 26, 1929. The collection was acquired in 1974 from the Estate of Louise Bogan by Amherst College through purchase by Helen Spencer Humphries. In 1992, four additional boxes of material were acquired containing papers, correspondence and photographs documenting her personal affairs. Integration of the entire collection was completed in 2002.

Processing Information

Missing Title

Processed by:
Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Floyd Merritt, Archivist, Friends of the Library
1997 January, 2002 February, 2003 January
Carol Trabulsi, Senior Archives Associate (1997)
Peter A. Nelson, Assistant Archivist (2002)
Sarah Sorscher '05 (2002)
Floyd Merritt (2002)
Edited by:
Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Daria D'Arienzo, Peter Nelson, Carol Trabulsi, Floyd Merritt.
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