Stuart Wright Collection: Theodore Weiss Papers

1971, undated
Manuscript Collection #1169-059
Creator(s)
Weiss, Theodore Russell, 1916-2003
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box, 27 items, 198 p.
Preferred Citation
Stuart Wright Collection: Theodore Weiss Papers (#1169-059), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

Papers of Theodore Weiss (1971, undated) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Reading, Pennsylvania-born American poet, educator, and editor, who was one of the founders of the Quarterly Review of Literature, in 1943; consisting of an advance reader's copy of Breath of Clowns and Kings: Shakespeare's Early Comedies and Histories (1971), a collection of literary essays, by Weiss; also including an envelope containing a collection of 25 bookmarks distributed by the New York Quarterly (undated) with a quote from poet John Keats' letter to J. H. [John Hamilton] Reynolds (1794-1852), dated 17 April 1817, each bookmark was autographed by a leading contemporary poet, writer, or other literary figure.


Biographical/historical information

Theodore Weiss was born, Theodore "Ted" Russell Weiss, on 16 December 1916, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Shortly after graduating high school Weiss went to Muhlenberg College. Weiss earned his bachelor's degree from there in 1938 and went on to get his master's from Columbia in 1940. He taught at several schools over the next few years, until he became the poet in residence at Princeton in 1966. A year after becoming the poet in residence he was appointed as a professor of English and creative writing, a job he held until his retirement in 1987.

Weiss wrote in several styles but the style he favored most was narrative verse. He and his wife, Renee Karol Weiss, edited the Quarterly Review of Literature for almost 60 years. He made this journal into a highly-regarded venue for poets such as William Carlos Williams, E. E. Cummings, Ezra Pound, and promoted the careers of many unknown poets, especially women, including Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and Joyce Carol Oates. Weiss died on 15 April 2003 at his home in Princeton, N.J.

Sources:

"Theodore Weiss, 86, Poet, Professor and Journal Editor", by Paul Lewis [Obituary]. New York Times. 19 April 2003. Accessed 31 October 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/13/obituaries/theodore-weiss-86-poet-professor-and-journal-editor.html.

"Theodore Russell Weiss". [Biographical Sketch]. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodore-Russell-Weiss

Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of John Leche, 10/31/2016.

Stuart Wright collected and compiled the Theodore Weiss 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


Scope and arrangement

The Stuart Wright Collection: Theodore Weiss Papers are arranged in original order in a single series.

Series 1: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection, consist of papers (1971) including an advance reader's copy of Breath of Clowns and Kings: Shakespeare's Early Comedies and Histories (1971), a collection of literary essays, by Theodore Weiss; also including a collection of 25 New York Quarterly bookmarks autographed by leading poets, writers, and other literary figures, compiled by Weiss, the noted American poet, educator, and editor, who was one of the founders of the Quarterly Review of Literature in 1943. Source: Cary Addition Box #070.013. Series 1 is housed in Box 1.a-1.b.1-26


Administrative information
Custodial History

27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.25 cubic feet; 1 archival box; 27 items; 198 p. Papers (1971) consisting of consisting of an advance reader's copy of Breath of Clowns and Kings: Shakespeare's Early Comedies and Histories (1971), a collection of literary essays, by Theodore Weiss; also including a collection of 25 New York Quarterly bookmarks autographed by leading poets, writers, and other literary figures, compiled by Weiss, the noted American poet, educator, and editor, who was one of the founders of the Quarterly Review of Literature in 1943. Source: Cary Addition Box #070.013. Vendor: Stuart Wright

Source of acquisition

Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011.

Processing information

Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King & Jay Colin Menees, 12/8/2015, 2/12/2016, 3/29/2016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 8/25/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 10/31/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn & John Leche, 4/26/2016, 10/31/2016, rev. 2/8/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/8/2017.

Copyright notice

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


Language of material

English

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Breath of Clowns and Kings : Shakespeare's Early Comedies and Histories [Literary Essays] (New York, NY : Atheneum Publishers, © 1971) Advance Reviewer's Copy. 1 item. 172 p. ; Note : Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 1 New York Quarterly [NYQ] Envelope (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 1 item. 1 p. ; Note : Envelope contained bookmarks bearing printed quote from John Keats' letter to Reynolds April 17, 1817: "I find that I cannot exist without poetry -- without eternal poetry -- half the dy will not do -- the whole of it -- I began with a little but habit has made me a Leviathan -- " ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 2 Adam, Helen Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Helen Adam ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 3 Ammons, A. R. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by A. R. Ammons ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 4 Berrigan, Ted. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Ted Berrigan ; Berrigan ads : "Harry Carey Jr. reads my poems to his wife Marylyn in bed -- I have proof" ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 5 Bukowski, Charles. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Charles Bukowski ; Berrigan includes cartoon of man smoking a cigarette adjacent to a liquor bottle ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 6 Connellan, Leo Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Leo Connellan ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 7 Dickey, James Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by James Dickey ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 8 Eberhart, Richard Ghormley Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Richard Eberhart ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 9 Farhard, Com [?] Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Com Farhard [?] ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 10 Gardner, Isabella Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Isabella Gardner ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 11 Ginsberg, Allen Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Allen Ginsberg ; Ginsberg ads : "Breath will do -- " ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 12 Jong, Erica Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Erica Jong ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 13 Judson, Jerome Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Judson Jerome ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 14 Kunitz, Stanley Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Stanley Kunitz ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 15 Leowdsky, Charles [?] Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Charles Leowdsky [?] ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 16 Moss, Howard Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Howard Moss ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 17 Orlovsky, Peter Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Peter Orlovsky ; Orlovsky ads : "The Nut Tree farmer" ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 18 Shapiro, Karl Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Karl Shapiro ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 19 Simpson, Louis P. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Louis Simpson ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 20 Snodgrass, W. D. [William De Witt]. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by W. D. Snodgrass ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 21 Spruceton, David [?] Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by David Spruceton [?] ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 22 Stefanchev, Stephen. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Stephen Stefanchev ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 23 Swenson, May. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by May Swenson ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 24 Updike, John. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by John Updike ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 25 Warren, Robert Penn. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Robert Penn Warren ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013
Box 1 Folder b Item 26 Wilbur, Richard. Autograph on New York Quarterly [NYQ] (undated) Envelope. 2" x 8.75" 2 items. 2 p. ; Note : NYQ Bookmark autographed by Richard Wilbur ; Source : Cary Addition Box #070.013