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Guide to the Esther Shephard Papers
MSS-2009-11-01  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Project Information
  • Organizational History
  • Bibliography
  • Related Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Subject Headings

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Esther Shephard Papers
    Dates: 1925-1975
    Bulk Dates: 1945-1968
    Collection number: MSS-2009-11-01
    Creator: Shephard, Esther, 1891-1975
    Collection Size: 5 boxes, 5.42 linear feet
    Repository: San José State University. Library.
    San José, California 95192-0028
    Abstract: The Esther Shephard Papers, 1925-1975 (bulk 1945-1968) provide insight into the personal and professional life of writer, poet, and San José State University English professor Esther Shephard. The records consist of journals, diaries, travelogues, photographs, literary manuscripts, poetry, correspondence, newspaper clippings, sheet music, and copies of Shephard's published books, as well as a small collection of Chinese woodcut blocks. This collection is arranged into four series: Series I. Personal Materials, 1925-1975 (bulk 1962-1975); Series II. Professional Materials, 1944-1971; Series III. Published Materials, 1933-1972; and Series IV. Realia, undated.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    Esther Shephard Papers, MSS-2009-11-01, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Silke Higgins. Finding aid EAD encoded by Silke Higgins. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008. The Project Director is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.

    Organizational History

    In 1857 the San Francisco Board of Education established Minns' Evening Normal School for current and prospective teachers in the city. Named after its principal, George W. Minns, the institution was formally established as the first California State Normal School by the State Legislature in 1862. A decade later, the Legislature voted to move the Normal School to San José, and the school relocated to its new home on Washington Square prior to the fall term of 1872. After a fire destroyed the Normal School building in 1880, the Legislature authorized $200,000 to construct a new building on the same site. Completed in 1881, the building was commonly referred to as the Second State Normal School. After several names and curriculum changes, Minns' Normal School is now San José State University, offering more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations, and is recognized as one of the top public universities granting such degrees in the West.
    Esther Shephard, author, professor of literature, and literary critic, was born Esther Maria Lofstrand in 1891. She began her career as a high school teacher in Belgrade, Montana. However, only a short time later, after the loss of her first husband, Richard T. Shepherd, she moved and enrolled at the University of Washington where she earned her B.A. in 1920, followed by an M.A. in 1921 and a Ph.D. in 1938. In 1921, Esther married C. Ellis Shephard and in the same year her master's thesis, Frontier Literature, was published. A subsequent collection of West Coast logging camp stories, retold by Shephard in Paul Bunyan, was self-published in 1924 and republished in 1941 with illustrations by Rockwell Kent. Starting in the early 1930s, Shephard shifted her focus from composing poems to playwriting and the literary criticism of Walt Whitman's work, the latter of which culminated in her Ph.D. dissertation, Walt Whitman's Pose, published in 1938. In 1939, Shephard obtained her most important academic appointment at the English Department of San José State University, where she taught for the next twenty years. During that time her most significant achievement was the retelling of the ancient Chinese legend, The Cowherd and the Sky Maiden, which was published in 1950 and staged as an opera at the University of Washington in 1952. Her primary focus remained on Walt Whitman, and resulted in the publication of several papers about Whitman's works during her years at the university. She died in 1975 at the age of eighty-four.

    Bibliography

    Gilbert, Benjamin F., and Burdick, Charles. Washington Square, 1857-1979: The History of San José State University. San José, California: San José State University, 1980.
    San José State University. About SJSU. http://www.sjsu.edu/about_sjsu/ 
    University of Washington Special Collections. Preliminary Guide to the Esther Shephard Papers 1852-1972. http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/papersrecords/ShephardEsther0994.xml 
    Walsh, James P. San José State University: An Interpretive History, 1950-2000. San José, California: San José State University, 2003.

    Related Material

    San José State University Archives Photograph Collection, MSS-2006-05-01, San José State University Library Special Collections and Archives.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Esther Shephard Papers, 1925-1975 (bulk 1945-1968) provide insight into the personal and professional life of writer, poet, and San José State University English professor Esther Shephard. The records consist of journals, diaries, travelogues, photographs, literary manuscripts, poetry, correspondence, newspaper clippings, sheet music, and copies of Shephard's published books, as well as a small collection of Chinese woodcut blocks.

    Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into four series: Series I. Personal Materials, 1925-1975 (bulk 1962-1975); Series II. Professional Materials, 1944-1971; Series III. Published Materials, 1933-1972; and Series IV. Realia, undated.

    Subject Headings

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Shephard, Esther.
    San Jose State University -- English Dept. -- History.
    San Jose State Teachers College -- History.
    San Jose State College -- History.
    California State University, San Jose -- History.
    San Jose State University -- History.
    Education, Higher -- California -- San Jose.
    College teachers -- California -- San Jose.
    Authors, American -- California -- San Jose.
    Travel
    Literature
    Poetry