Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Kenward Elmslie Papers
MSS 0521  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (318.31 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Papers of Kenward Elmslie, writer, performer, editor and publisher associated with the "New York School" of writers and artists. Elmslie's lyrics and libretti for operas and musicals-- MISS JULIE (1965), LIZZIE BORDEN (1966), THE SWEET BYE AND BYE (1966), THE GRASS HARP (1972), and THE SEAGULL (1974)-- brought a contemporary style to the language of musical theatre. The collection documents his literary career and personal life from the 1930s through the 1990s, with the bulk of the material spanning the period 1942-1995. Correspondence is a large and significant part of the collection, which also contains Elmslie's working and personal journals, notebooks, drafts and proofs of his published writings, unpublished material, handmade books and scrapbooks, and photographs.
Kenward Gray Elmslie was born in New York City on April 27, 1929, to William Gray Elmslie, a British businessman, and Constance Pulitzer, daughter of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer. His early childhood was spent in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and he attended preparatory schools in Virginia, Ohio and Massachusetts. He was graduated from Harvard in 1950 with a B.A. in literature and began his writing career as a lyricist and librettist in collaboration with several composers. His published work for the musical theatre includes THE SWEET BYE AND BYE (1966) and LIZZIE BORDEN (1966), music by Jack Beeson; MISS JULIE (1965), music by Ned Rorem, and three works with composer Thomas Pasatieri, THE SEAGULL (1974), WASHINGTON SQUARE (1976), and THREE SISTERS (1986). He also wrote both the book and lyrics for a musical, THE GRASS HARP (1972) based on Truman Capote's novel.
39.85 Linear feet (90 archives boxes, 1 card file, 27 oversize folders)
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.