Richard Ghormley Eberhart
Richard Ghormley Eberhart was born in 5 April 1904 in Austin, Minnesota into a wealthy family. He grew up on a nearby 40-acre estate called Burr Oaks. Many of his poems deal with his early boyhood in rural Minnesota. Eberhart attended the University of Minnesota but after his mother’s death from cancer in 1921, which inspired him to begin writing poetry, he transferred to Dartmouth College where he received a bachelor’s degree. After working at a variety of jobs, including floorwalker in a Chicago department store, advertising copywriter, he shipped out as a deck hand on a tramp steamer. At Port Said, Egypt he jumped ship to escape a tyrannical captain, and made way to England. In 1927 he went up to St. John's College, Cambridge, where I. A. Richards encouraged him to write poetry. He earned his second B.A. from Cambridge in 1929. After serving as private tutor to the son of King Prajadhipok of Siam in 1931-1932, Eberhart resumed his graduate studies at Harvard but did not earn a degree. He also earned a master’s degree from Cambridge in 1933.
Eberhart published his first book of poetry A Bravery of Earth in London in 1930. It reflected his experiences in Cambridge and as a ship's hand. Reading the Spirit published in 1937 contains one of his best known poems "The Groundhog".
He taught at the St. Mark's School, in Southborough, Massachusetts, 1933–1941, where future poet Robert Lowell was one of his students. In 1941 he married Helen Butcher whose family owned the Butcher Polish Company of Boston, Massachusetts. They had two children including Richard “Dikkon” Eberhart who also published poetry. During World War II Eberhart served in the U.S. Naval Reserve, which inspired many of his best-known poems. In 1945, he published Poems: New and Selected which included "The Fury of Aerial Bombardment" and other poems written during the war. He also edited War and the Poet: An Anthology of Poetry Expressing Man's Reactions to the Present which deals with the experience of combat.
After the war, Eberhart worked for six years for his father-in-law’s floor wax company, the Butcher Polish Company. Burr Oaks was his first work published after the war in 1947 followed by Brotherhood of Men in 1949. In 1950 he founded the Poets' Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
From the early 1950s until his retirement Eberhart concentrated on writing poems and teaching at institutions of higher education. He lectured at the University of Washington, Brown University, Swarthmore College, Tufts University, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, Columbia University, University of Cincinnati, Wheaton College, Princeton University and Dartmouth College. Eberhart taught for 30 years at Dartmouth as professor of English and poet-in-residence.
In the 1950s Eberhart continued to publish poetry, including Undercliff: Poems 1946-1953. Eberhart wrote a number of dramatic works in the 1950s and early 1960s which were performed regionally. These works included The Apparition, The Visionary Farms, Triptych, The Mad Musicians and Devils and Angels. In 1962, these works were published as Collected Verse Works.
Eberhart was sent to San Francisco by The New York Times to report on the Beat poetry scene. His report, entitled "West Coast Rhythms", which appeared in the September 2, 1956, New York Times Book Review, drew attention to the Beat poets, and especially to Allen Ginsberg as the author of Howl, which he called "the most remarkable poem of the young group."
From this point on, Eberhart received increasing acclaim and recognition of his work. President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Eberhart as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the National Cultural Centre in 1959. Eberhart was also appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for 1959-61, and was awarded a Bollingen Prize in 1962.
The Quarry: New Poems published in 1964 contained letters in verse to W. H. Auden and William Carlos Williams as well as elegies, lyrics, character sketches, and monologues. His Selected Poems, 1930–1965 (1965) won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Collected Poems, 1930–1976, which appeared in 1976, won the National Book Award in 1977. He was New Hampshire's Poet Laureate from 1979 to 1984, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982. Eberhart has also won the Shelley Memorial Award, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Award, and the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America. Richard Eberhart died 9 June 2005.
Stuart T. Wright
The Richard Ghormley Eberhart Papers were collected and compiled by Stuart T. Wright. Wright was born 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 22 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers. 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.
The collection contains material relating to Richard Ghormley Eberhart’s life and literary career from 1885 to 1990 [bulk: 1918-1984]. The material covers the breadth of his work including his high school, college, graduate school, and his employment, naval reserve and literary records. It includes biographical materials, school notebooks and papers, correspondence, manuscript materials, drafts and proofs of published materials, printed and published materials, printed forms, clippings, photographic prints, audio recordings, and oversized materials. It also contains a collection of loose manuscript materials transferred from books in Richard Ghormley Eberhart’s library held in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. The collection is arranged in its original order in 33 series.
Series 1: Biographical Files, 1961-1984, includes two résumés 31 May 1966 and ca. 1961; it also contains a file of Eberhart – Eberle family biographical sketches. Box 1.a – 1.c
Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-1977, consists of Eberhart’s personal, family, and literary correspondence. Especially significant is his correspondence with I. A. Richards and May Sarton. Box 1.d – 1.p
Series 3: Manuscript Volumes, 1921-1974, consists of Eberhart’s holograph and typescript notebooks and scrapbooks containing clippings, and notes and drafts of poetry. Especially significant are the several volumes of “Collected Poems” and “World War II Poems & Notes”. Box 2.a – 2.i
Series 4: Poems, 1924-1983, Undated consists of drafts and edited drafts of Eberhart’s poems. Many include notes regarding who published the poems and when. Box 3.a – 5.zl
Series 5: Manuscript Materials, 1916-1985, consists of a heterogeneous group of documents, including correspondence, drafts of poems, prose articles, literary essays, photographs, World War I war savings stamps, high school and college notebooks, plays, information about Eberhart’s public appearances, awards, employment and honors. Especially significant are files containing Eberhart’s correspondence with John Ciardi, and those containing material relating to his World War II service as an officer in the U. S. Naval Reserve. Box 6.a – 16.w
Series 6: Austin, Minnesota High School Files, 1917-1928, includes Eberhart’s holograph and typescript school essays and short stories, diary notebook, memory book, and "Recipe Book Copied from His Mother’s Recipes". Box 17.a – 17.o
Series 7: Darthmouth College Files, 1922-1926, consists of loose leaf notebooks containing notes Eberhart took for his English, Philosophy and History classes, also his graded English and Philosophy essays. Especially significant is an autobiographical essay entitled "What Does It all Mean?" Box 18.a – 18.x
Series 8: Cambridge University Files, 1925-1964, consists of class handouts, edited typescripts and holograph materials, including draft essays, poems, and novels. Especially significant is Eberhart’s draft novel "John Hawley Was Chosen by Fate", several long files containing Eberhart’s collected poems, and a scrapbook of clippings, poetry, and correspondence relating to his Cambridge experience. Box 19.a – 20.b
Series 9: Harvard University Files, 1932-1941, consists of an English – French – Anglo-Saxon – Old French notebook and his letters to J. L. Sweeney. Box 21.a – 21.b
Series 10: St. Marks School Files, 1933-1941, consists of a draft of his review of the New Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918 (1939) and a manuscript files entitled Poems Accepted for Publication (1933-1941). Box 21.c – 21.d
Series 11: Butcher Polish Company Files, 1950, consists of a mimeographed typescript of a play Eberhart wrote while he worked at his father-in-law’s firm. He entitled the twenty-seven page script "Devils and Angels". Box 21.e
Series 12: Poet in Residence Files, 1953-1961, contains information relating to Eberhart’s very active career giving poetry readings and serving as a poet in residence at various collections and universities, including Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Connecticut. Especially significant is a file entitled "Robert Frost’s Comments on Poems by Richard Eberhart" (ca. 1958) in which Frost writes in the margin: "Richard, sometimes your rhyming makes me frantic." Box 22.a – 22.o
Series 13: Library of Congress Files, 1956-1964, document Eberhart’s service as Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. It includes poems he wrote and read during that period, programs and details of his readings, his participation in poetry seminars and lecture series in which he spoke on poetry and literature, and commencement addresses he delivered during this period. Perhaps most significant is a series of five lectures Eberhart delivered at the Johns Hopkins Poetry Festival in October 1951 in which he discusses the evolution of poetry from the ancients to the moderns. Box 23.a – 23.zm
Series 14: Poems, etc., 1954-1984, Undated consists mainly of holograph and typescript drafts of Eberhart’s poetry, poetry readings, and collections of poetry, essays and speeches on poetry, a play entitled "Justice Without Revenge / The Bride from Mantua" written by Lope De Vega, which Eberhart adapted to English rhyming couplets. Perhaps most significant is Eberhart’s typescript draft of "Three War Poems by Randall Jarrell, Etc." (1966) written shortly after Jarrell died in a traffic accident. Box 24 is divided into two parts: 24a & 24b. Box 24a.a – 25.zb
Series 15: Announcements, 1959-1984, Undated consists primarily of publicity for Eberhart’s poetry readings and lectures. Box 25.zc – 25.zj
Series 16: Books and Proofs, 1941-1985, consists of galley proofs, edited galley proofs, uncorrected and corrected proofs, typescripts, edited typescripts, with some holograph and printed material included of published works by Eberhart and readers (reviewers) copies of works by others. It also includes Reader’s Copy Proof of a novel by Eberhart’s son, Dikkon, entitled "On the Verge: A Novel" (1979). Box 25.zk – 27.d
Series 17: Broadsides, 1977-1978, consists of two photocopied advertisements for Eberhart poetry readings. Box 27.e – 27.f
Series 18: Seminar and Teaching Files, 1923-1959, consists of materials Eberhart compiled for use in teaching and lecturing, including at the Christian Gauss Seminars at Princeton University (1955-1956) and Poems Selected by Richard Eberhart for Discussion at The Capitol Page School (1960). Box 27.g – 27.i
Series 19: Lecture Files, 1954-1972, consists, primarily, of mimeographed typescripts of lectures by Eberhart and Scott Buchanan. Perhaps most significant is a lecture Eberhart delivered in 1970 entitled "Literary Death" in which he describes the death of various literary figures, including Thomas Hardy, W. B. Yeats, Jack Wheelwright, Ted Spencer, F. O. Matthiessen, Robinson Jeffers, e. e. cummings, Wallace Stevens, Oscar Williams, R. P. Blackmore, Robert Frost, Ted Roethke, Dame Edith Sitwell, T. S. Eliot, Randall Jarrell, Harriet Monroe, and Louise Brogan. Box 27.j – 27.q
Series 20: Publications Lists, 1957-1982, consists of a single file containing eight holograph and typescript lists of Eberhart’s publications. Box 27.r
Series 21: Literary Essays, 1924-1963, consists of holograph, typescript and printed essays by Eberhart on modern poets, including Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, Edwin Muir, Ezra Pound, E. E. Cummings, Herbert Read, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. Box 27.s – 27.x
Series 22: Poems by Other Poets, 1975, Undated consists of edited typescripts and printed poems and collections by John Ciardi, John A. Holmes, Jr., George Reavey, Mary Sarton, Richard Wilbur and an unidentified poet. Box 28.a – 28.f
Series 23: Press Kit, 1977, consists of a press kit produced to promote the National Book Awards Winners for 1977. It includes various biographical materials, including holograph, mimeographed typescripts, printed materials, and photographic prints relating to all the winners, including W. A. Swanberg, Wallace Stegner, Katherine Paterson, Li-Li Ch'en, Bruno Bettelheim, Richard Eberhart, and Irving Howe. Box 28.g
Series 24: Speeches, 1968-1972, includes mimeographed typescripts, holographs, and typescripts of speeches Eberhart delivered before the Modern Language Association on Poetry (1968), for the Dartmouth Poetry Symposium (1970), and his National Book Award Acceptance Speech (1977). Box 28.h – 28.j
Series 25: Scripts, 1954-1969, consists of four files containing typescripts, edited typescripts, mimeographed typescripts of scripts by Eberhart, including The Bride from Mantua (1954), Chocorua (1969), The Mad Musician (1961) and The Visionary Farms: Scene 15 (1955). Box 28.k – 28.n
Series 26: U.S. Naval Reserve Files, 1945-1946, consists primarily relating to the latter portion of his World War II naval reserve service when he was stationed at the U. S. Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. Most significantly it contains a file documenting his service as the prosecuting officer in the court martial of Lt. Louis B. Prahar, U.S.N.R. (1946). Prahar was accused of possessing stolen property. Box 28.o – 28.p
Series 27: Monthly Calendars, 1955-1976, consists primarily of commercially produced monthly appointment calendars which Eberhart and other members of his family used to document their daily activities. Box 29.a – 29.n
Series 28: Clippings, 1935-1976, Undated, consists of clippings from various newspapers and magazines relating primarily to Eberhart but also noting the activities of his friends and colleagues, including Ruth Whitman, Ida Fasel, Henry Polk Lewenstein, Michael Roberts, and William Stafford. Box 29.o – 29.v
Series 29: Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from Stuart Wright Book Collection, 1885-1990, Undated, contains correspondence, clippings, notes, ephemera, original art, photographic prints, printed materials, reviews, etc. mostly relating to the authors or publishers of the works from which they were transferred. Included in order of their first appearance are items of significance relating to Henry S. Taylor, George Garrett, Madison Smartt Bell, John Updike, Peter Hillsman Taylor, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Mezey, Andrew Lytle, Robert Penn Warren, Robert Daniel, James Laughlin, Robb Forman Dew, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Eberhart, Henry Polk Lowenstein, Robert Frost, Robert T. S. Lowell, Michael Judd, Donald Davie, A. A. Luce, Jascha Kessler, Arthur Guinness, Leo Connellan, Dilys Laing, Larry Rumley, Eve Triem, Robert Huff, Jean Garrigue, Isabella Gardner, Natalie Safir, George Abbe, Vivian Shipley, Lewis Turco, Larry Brenner, Robert Horan, Walter Edward Guinness (Lord Moyne), Peter Davison, Terry Runté, Donald Hall, Nancy Huddleton Packer, Harry Crews, Joyce Carol Oates, F. R. Leavis, I. A. Richards, Naomi Boyd Smith, J. Gordon Chamberlin, Maurice Sendak, Mary Jarrell, Michael di Capus, Randall Jarrell, Eunice Gurley, Garth Williams, Marianne Moore, Amy Breyer deBlasio, and Stuart Wright. Among the most significant items in the series is a postcard from poet Allen Ginsberg to John Ciardi, (11 July 1959) discussing Ciardi’s recent editorial. Also significant is Richard Eberhart’s poem “The End” written thirty minutes before his mother’s death (22 June 1922). Also significant is a list of “Poems by D. H. Lawrence Read by Merriam Golden at the Ceremony for placing of Lawrence's ashes at Kiowa Ranch, San Cristobal, N. M. (15 September 1935), George Core, William Goyen, James Dickey, Louis Untermeyer, James Wright, William Styron, Elizabeth Bishop, and John De Pol. The loose manuscripts are linked to the book of origin by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #38.04). Box 30.a – 33.zzzc
Series 30: Photographic Prints, 1918-1982, Undated, contains nine folders of photographic prints, mostly black and white, relating to Richard Eberhart and his family. A few include his literary friends and colleagues like Merrill Moore and Peter Hillsman Taylor. Among the most interesting are the photographs of Richard Eberhart’s childhood and high school career, including views of him as captain and quarterback of his football team. Of particular interest are his photographs of his vacation with Cambridge friends to Grenoble, France taken ca. 1930. Box 34.a – 34.i
Series 31: Audio Recordings, 1938-1958, consists of four recordings of Eberhart reading his poems. The most significant are a series of four radio transcription discs recorded (9 December 1938) by the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation. Box 35.a – 35.d
Series 32: Printed Materials, 1924-1984, holds various printed items relating to Richard Eberhart, including teaching syllabi, broadsides of his poetry, programs of his many appearances, reprints of his poems, advertising postcards, dust jackets of his works, proofs of published works on poetry and poets by Eberhart and others, brochures, newsletters and bulletins, circular letters, pamphlets, literary magazines, printed speeches by Eberhart, clippings, menus, books by Eberhart and others, catalogs, etc. Among the most interesting and significant items are a series of Free Gunners Hand Books and a Target Kites ML. 1, 2 training pamphlet that Eberhart wrote and edited for use in training anti-aircraft gunners during his World War II naval reserve service, 1943-1944. Box 36.a – 38.p
Series 33: Oversized Material Folders, 1930-1990, contains 20 folders of oversized materials found in the collection and relocated for conservation reasons. Perhaps the most significant item in this series is a Thai language calendar, ca. 1931, featuring the King and Queen of Siam. Among the oversized items are drawings and illustrations used to illustrate Eberhart’s publications and posters and broadsides used to advertise his public appearances. Folder 6.a.os.1 – 36.f.os.1.2
Notes to Researchers: Series 19: Loose Manuscripts from the Book Collection consists of items found in and transferred from works in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, associated with, or owned by Richard Ghormley Eberhart; they include notes and bookmarks inserted by Richard Ghormley Eberhart, Stuart Wright, and others; correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, etc. relating to the published works. The items are arranged according to the book from which they were transferred and in folders identified by the book title from which they came. The Stuart Wright Book Collection Item number also links each transferred item to its source.
Series 29: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of items found laid in works in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, associated with, or owned by Richard Ghormley Eberhart. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Eberhart, Stuart Wright, and others; also notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, ephemera, etc. relating to his published works. The loose manuscripts are linked to the books from which they came by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #40.15).