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Inventory of the Wallace Stevens Papers, 1856-1975
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Sketch

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Wallace Stevens Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1856-1975
    Creator: Stevens, Wallace
    Extent: Number of Pieces: 6,815 (including genealogical material)
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Acquired from Holly Stevens, January 1975. A few of the items catalogued with the Collection have been gifts from Wilson E. Taylor and Holly Stevens and later purchases from Holly Stevens. These are noted on the individual folders.


    Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL. 

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Wallace Stevens Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Biographical Sketch

    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) was one of the foremost American poets of the first half of the 20th century. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Stevens retained an interest during his lifetime in his native Berks County, Pennsylvania. His wife, Elsie Viola (Moll) Stevens, came from Reading, and both Stevens and his wife devoted considerable time and energy (primarily in the 1940's) tracing their family ancestries.
    Though Stevens refused to consider his life a dichotomy, his poetic activities were accomplished while he was holding a full-time position as a legal advisor for the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company in Hartford, Connecticut, the firm for which he acted as Vice-President from 1934 until his death in 1955.
    Stevens began writing verse as a student at Harvard University and had a number of his verses published in the Harvard Advocate and the Harvard Monthly between 1898 and 1900. In 1908 and 1909 Stevens presented his future wife, Elsie Viola Moll, with two little notebooks of poems ( A Book of Verses and The Little June Book) which gathered together short poems Stevens had been experimenting with since leaving Harvard. Between 1914 and 1923 Stevens submitted poems to a number of journals, including Poetry (edited by Harriet Monroe), The Dial and Others (edited by Alfred Kreymborg). In 1923 was published Stevens' first book of poems, Harmonium. With Harmonium began a lifelong association with the publishing firm Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Stevens did, however, offer the small fine press, the Cummington Press, three of his books: Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction (1942), Esthitique du Mal (1945) and Three Academic Pieces (1947). The Alcestis Press, under the direction of Ronald Lane Latimer, printed Ideas of Order (1935) and Owl's Clover (1936).
    Stevens was twice awarded the National Book Award: in 1950 for The Auroras of Autumn (1950) and in 1954 for Collected Poems (1954). He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1955.