Stuart Wright Collection: Reginald Gibbons Papers, 1963

Manuscript Collection #1169-092

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Stuart Wright Collection: Reginald Gibbons Papers
    Creator: Gibbons, Reginald, (William Reginald), b. 1947
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers of Reginald Gibbons (1980) documenting the life and literary career the noted Houston, Texas-born American poet, fiction writer, translator, literary critic, artist, editor, and educator at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies; consisting of a broadside poem published by Palaemon press entitled Those Who Are Gone After Antonio Machado (Palaemon Broadside No. 19, 1980), by Reginald Gibbons; autographed Reginald Gibbons.
    Extent: 0.25 Cubic feet, 0.25 Cubic feet, 1 archival box,
  • Description

    Stuart Wright Collection: Reginald Gibbons Papers (#1169-092) are arranged in original order in a single series.

    Series 1: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection, consists of a broadside poem published by Palaemon press entitled Those Who Are Gone After Antonio Machado (Palaemon Broadside No. 19, 1980) by Reginald Gibbons; autographed Reginald Gibbons. Source: Cary Addition Box #145.000. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Reginald Gibbons was born William Reginald Gibbons, in Houston, Texas, on 7 January 1947. His mother was of Polish ancestry; while his father was of Irish-Choctaw descent. Gibbons graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University (1969) after studying Spanish and Portuguese. He also received the Morris Croll Prize in Poetry.

    Gibbons then attended Stanford University where he obtained an M. A. in English and Creative Writing (1971) and a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature. His dissertation was entitled Poetry from 1850 to Present in Romance Languages and English (1974).

    Gibbons taught courses in Spanish and Creative Writing at Rutgers University, Princeton University and Columbia University, 1975-1981. He then moved to Northwestern University, where he served as editor of TriQuarterly, the international journal of new creative writing and essays, from 1981-1997. Gibbons wrote reviews for the magazine, and compiled several special issues focusing on writing from South Africa, Spain, Poland and Mexico. He also began teaching English literature classes at Northwestern, 1981-1986. He was named a full professor in 1986.

    Gibbons taught an array of English courses at Northwestern, including poetry and fiction writing, evaluation and criticism classes, and literature surveys. Gibbons directed several independent studies classes, and helped supervise several M. A. and Ph. D. theses and dissertations. Also, he taught classes for other departments including the Center for Humanities and Comparative Literary Studies, as well as seminars for the Continuing Education Series.

    Meanwhile, Gibbons co-founded TriQuarterly Books, an imprint of Northwestern Books, which published contemporary works of fiction and poetry. Due to his editorial position, Gibbons was a member of the Illinois Literary Publishers Association (ILPA).

    Gibbons also achieved attention as a poet and has published 10 volumes of poetry. He published his first poems in Story 69, in 1969. His poem, Those Who Are Gone After Antonio Machado was published, Palaemon Press Broadside No. 19 by Palaemon Press (1980). Later publications included several books of translations, criticism, including Criticism in the University (1985), co-authored with Gerald Graff; and anthologies (including a collection of William Goyen's autobiographical writings which Gibbons edited, 2007); critical essays and reviews; and seven poetry collections and chapbooks, including In the Warehouse (2004) and Fern-Text (2005), a collection of short stories and Sweetbitter (1994), a novel. In later years, Gibbons was a columnist for American Poetry Review.

    Gibbons has won numerous awards and honors, including a First Prize for Poetry, for Story 69, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, The Denver Quarterly translation award, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Poetry, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, the National Poetry Series competition, and several other prizes, awards and fellowships. Gibbons also had several drawings published throughout his career.

    Since 1986, Gibbons has been a core faculty member for Warren Wilson College's Masters of Fine Arts Program for Writers. He has also been a visiting appointments at Princeton University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago, as well as giving lectures and readings, and teaching classes and seminars at over one-hundred universities in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. He is currently the Frances Hooper Chair in the Arts and Humanities; Professor of English and Classics; and Director for the Center for the Writing Arts at Northwestern University (2017).

    Gibbons is currently married to his second wife, Cornelia Maude Spelman, a social worker, therapist and author of children's books.


    "Reginald Gibbons Papers, 1977-2003 (# 11/3/11/38)" 4 boxes. Northwestern University Archives, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

    "Reginald Gibbons". [Biographical Sketch] Northwestern University Library Archival and Manuscript Collections (2017).

    "Reginald Gibbons". [Biographical Sketch] Department of English - Northwestern University (2017)

    "Reginald Gibbons". [Biographical Sketch] Northwestern University Webpage & Blog (2017)

    "Reginald Gibbons". [Biographical Sketch] Poetry Foundation (2017)

    "Reginald Gibbons". [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia (2017)

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn, 4/20/2016, 2/28/2017, 3/24/2017.

    Stuart Wright collected and compiled the Reginald Gibbons Papers. He was born, Stuart Thurman Wright, on 30 March 1948, in Roxboro, North Carolina. He was the son of Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965). An avid reader as a boy, Wright developed a strong interest in the American Civil War and with his father toured many of the war's battlefields searching for artifacts and studying the history of the era. At the age of 12, he won a statewide "Johnny Reb" essay contest and by the age of 15 had visited every major battlefield of the Civil War. Wright attended Roxboro High School, from which he graduated in 1966. It was during these years that he developed an interest in collecting historical books and manuscripts and began relationships with a number of local collectors and dealers.

    In the fall of 1966, Wright enrolled at Wake Forest University as a pre-med, history, German and music student. Wright earned a B.A. in German and music in 1970. As a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Wright focused his studies on Southern history and literature, his ambition being to build an authoritative Southern Studies collection for the university. He received a master's degree in Southern Studies in 1973 and a second master's degree in U.S. History in 1980. Additionally Wright holds a professional degree from England in a medically related field. It was while studying there that he became interested in Thomas Wolfe, the noted North Carolina native and novelist.

    Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Wright began to develop his collections more systematically, acquiring many first editions of Southern writers. In 1976 he began teaching at Reynolda House, a Wake Forest University affiliate dedicated to the arts and arts education. Wright taught classes in American music as well as human anatomy for art students. In 1978 Wright became Lecturer in Education at Wake Forest University. During his 10 years teaching at Wake Forest University, Wright authored numerous works of Civil War and North Carolina history, and dozens of articles, bibliographies, essays and reviews on Southern literature and the writers whose papers he collected. In addition, he developed a strong interest in the writings of the English poet Donald Davie and the Minnesota-born poet Richard Eberhart, whose works he also collected.

    At the same time, Wright also began a career as a publisher by starting Palaemon Press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. By 1984, Palaemon Press had produced 316 titles, consisting mainly of broadsides and limited editions, of the poetry and essays of such Southern writers as A. R. Ammons, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, William Goyen, George Garrett, and Eudora Welty. He also built comprehensive collections and compiled book-length descriptive bibliographies of A.R. Ammons, Andrew Lytle, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, William Goyen, Walker Percy, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, George Garrett, Richard Eberhart, and Donald Davie. As well as serving as editor of the contemporary literature section of the Bulletin of Bibliography throughout the 1980s, Wright also contributed pioneering checklists of the writings of Southern poets Henry Taylor, Charles Wright, and Robert Morgan. For Meckler Publishing he served as series editor for a number of book-length bibliographies and checklists. In recognition of these accomplishments, when he was just 32, Wright was elected to membership in New York's prestigious Grolier Club.

    All of these works are represented in the Stuart Wright Collection. In his dealings with these various authors Wright made consistent efforts to acquire personal papers, letters and documents, photographs, manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and published materials to supplement his continuing activities as a purchaser of their works. In this way, Wright acquired perhaps a majority of his overall collection. Over the years a number of biographers used Wright's collection to aid their research. For example, James A. Grimshaw, Jr. used the collection extensively for his Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1922-1979 published by the University Press of Virginia, in 1981 and Craig S. Abbott did so as well for John Crowe Ransom: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by Whitston Publishing Company, Inc. in 1999. Joseph Blotner also used the Wright collection in researching Robert Penn Warren: A Biography, published by Random House in 1997.

    Nevertheless, from the mid- to late 1980s, Wright began to look for a permanent home for his collection, which he felt had grown too large and yet had been too little used. Unable to find a repository willing to accept the entire collection under suitable conditions, he sold a number of individual author collections to Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Emory University. It was not until 2010 that he reached agreement to house the remaining, and largest part of his collection at East Carolina University. The Stuart Wright Collection in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection of J.Y. Joyner Library includes 106 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers, illustrators, composers, and publishers. The related Stuart Wright Book Collection holds several thousand volumes by or about many of the same writers. Many of these volumes contain annotations, inscriptions, and insertions that reveal much about the authors in the collection and their relationships with one another. In 1998 Wright moved to England, and since 2001 he has resided in the medieval market town of Ludlow, in Shropshire.

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.25 cubic feet; 1 archival box; 1 item; 1 p. Papers (1980) documenting the life and literary career of American poet, fiction writer, translator, literary critic, artist, and educator at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies, Reginald Gibbons (b. 1947) consisting of a broadside poem published by Palaemon press entitled Those Who Are Gone After Antonio Machado (Palaemon Broadside No. 19, 1980) by Reginald Gibbons; autographed Reginald Gibbons. Source: Cary Addition Box #145.000. Vendor: Stuart Wright

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Stuart Wright Collection: Reginald Gibbons Papers (#1169-092), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King, 2/25/2016, 2/28/2017; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 2/28/2017; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 9/30/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn, 4/19/2016, 2/28/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/28/2017, 3/24/2017.

Container List

This page is only for requesting materials that you wish to view in person in the Reading Room at Joyner Library. It does not permit you to view the materials online or to request their photoduplication. If you would like to request materials for photoduplication, please visit our Copying and Permissions page.

Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

Use the checkboxes to select the boxes/folders you would like to view, then click continue at the bottom of the page.

Container List

Once you have selected all of the boxes/folders you would like to view, click