Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Henri Coulette Papers: Finding Aid
mssCoulette papers  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (116.25 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Cataloging Decisions
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing: Added Entries
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Henri Coulette Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1955-1998
    Collection Number: mssCoulette papers
    Creator: Coulette, Henri, 1927-1988.
    Extent: 1,065 items, plus ephemera in 18 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains the papers of California poet and educator Henri Coulette (1927-1988).
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Henri Coulette Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    The collection was purchased from the Henri Coulette estate (accession number 1881) on August 15, 1995.
    The addenda part I was given to the Huntington Library by Robert Mezey in October 2002.
    The addenda part II was given to the Huntington Library by Donald Justice on September 9, 1999.

    Cataloging Decisions

    1. Henri Coulette was in the habit of writing on every available piece of paper, consequently his handwriting can be found throughout the collection.
    2. Poems - The poems are filed by title, or first line when untitled. If there is more than one poem on a page, it is filed by the first poem.
    3. Poems - Versions of the same poem appear throughout the notebooks, groups of poems, single poems, and book length poems. They have not all been cataloged separately in each form.
    4. Poems - In boxes 7 and 8 nearly all the poems exist in multiple drafts.

    Removed or Separated Material

    A volume of poems by Henri Coulette was transferred from the Manuscript Department to the Rare Books Department on April 13, 1998: The Family Goldschimitt, by Henri Coulette, (New York: Scribner's, 1971).

    Biographical Note

    Henri Anthony Coulette was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 11, 1927. He received a B.A. from Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles) in 1952, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1954 and his PhD from Iowa in 1959. Coulette taught high school English, was an instructor in the University of Iowa writer's workshop (1957-1959), and for most of his career, was a professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles (1959-1988).
    Coulette published The War of the Secret Agents, his first book of verse in 1965 and his second, The Family Goldschmitt, in 1971. He contributed to New Poets of England and America (1957); The Attic (1959); Poetry for Pleasure (1960). Coulette served as the editor for The Unstrung Lyre: Interviews with Fourteen Poets (1965). Coulette also contributed to Paris Review, New Yorker, and Hudson Review.
    Coulette's first book of verse, The War of the Secret Agents, was awarded the James D. Phelan Foundation award (given each year to a California artist) and the Lamont Poetry Prize for the best first volume of poetry published in America in 1965. Coulette was named Cal State L.A.'s Outstanding Professor of the Year in 1970 and in 1976 was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim memorial fellowship. Coulette was best known for his traditionally metered poetry and as an educator, editor, and poet. Coulette died of apparent heart failure on March 26, 1988.


    Contemporary Authors. Vols 65-68. ed. Jane A. Bowden (Detroit: Gale Research Comapny, 1977), p. 142.
    Contemporary Authors. Vol 125. eds. Hal May and Susan M. Trosky (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1989), p. 74.
    Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Vol 14. ed. Linda Metzger (Detriot: Gale Research Company, 1985), p. 110.
    Los Angeles Times, Obituaries, 1988, Apr. 14.

    Scope and Content

    The papers consist of the following series:
    1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-3). The correspondence is filed alphabetically by author. Among the authors writing to Coulette are: Philip Levine, Robert L. Barth, Robert Mezey, and Timothy Steele. An especially illuminating letter about Coulette (who remained somewhat of a mystery throughout his life) is one written in 1990 by Norman Fruman to Robert Mezey (Box 1 (44)).
    2. Manuscripts by Coulette and others (Boxes 4-11). The manuscripts are arranged into the following series: Notebooks by Coulette (Boxes 4-6); poems and book length poems by Coulette (Boxes 7-9); manuscripts by Coulette and others (Box 10); poems and manuscripts by others (Box 11). All manuscripts and poems are filed alphabetically except for the notebooks and tablets, some of which are filed numerically. Included in poems by others are poems by Philip Levine, who, over the years, sent many poems to Coulette for his opinion. Coulette's notebooks and many drafts of his poems allow a researcher to trace the evolution of a poem from conception to final product.
    3. Ephemera (Boxes 11-14, oversize folder). The ephemera folders are filed alphabetically and include journal issues, awards and diplomas, newspaper and magazine clippings, and various personal papers.
    Addenda Part I
    4. Addenda Part I. Consists of 18 reel-to-reel audiotapes (Box 15) with unknown content and two oversize folders containing copies of poems.
    Addenda Part II
    Addenda Part II is arranged in the following series: 5. Correspondence and Manuscripts (Box 16); 6. Manuscripts and Ephemera (Box 17); 7. Ephemera (Box 18).
    5. The Correspondence series is arranged alphabetically by author. The series consists largely of letters regarding the publication The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette. The book was compiled after Coulette’s death by his close friends, colleagues, and book editors Donald Justice and Robert Mezey. Copies of Coulette’s poems as well as revisions made to the book by Justice and Mezey accompany these letters. Justice and Mezey would make revisions and send these corrections to one another and to the book’s publisher the University of Arkansas Press. Once the book was published it received an unfavorable review from poet Philip Levine. Letters can be found within this series which relate to that negative review and include reactions from Justice, Mezey, various publishing companies, and fellow poets. 6. The Manuscripts series is arranged alphabetically and includes poems, book reviews, and articles written by Coulette and fellow writers: Anthony Cave Brown, Robert Dana, Nelle Fertig, Henri Coulette Papers -- Finding Aid -- page 5 Elton Glaser, Michael S. Harper, Elizabeth Nicholas, Eric Pankey, Michael Shepler, and Jerry Tutunjian. Also included are drafts, revisions, and notes made by Justice and Mezey to The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette manuscript.
    7. The Ephemera series is arranged alphabetically and includes journal issues, newspaper and magazine clippings, a copy of Coulette’s Curriculum Vitae ca. 1984, a printed notice for a Coulette poetry reading, and pamphlets relating to the Venice Simplon Orient Express in 1984.


    Arranged in the following series:
    • 1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-3)
    • 2. Manuscripts by Coulette and others (Boxes 4-11)
    • 3. Ephemera (Boxes 11-14) and oversize folder
    • Addenda Part I
    • Audiotapes (Box 15) and two oversize folders
    • Addenda Part II
    • 5. Correspondence and Manuscripts (Box 16)
    • 6. Manuscripts and Ephemera (Box 17)
    • 7. Ephemera (Box 18)
    • Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor with Robert Mezey, "The Enormous Lonelies," poems (pre 1989). Box 5 (7).
    • Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor of "The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette," poems (1990). Box 9 (4).
    • Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor of "The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette," poems (1990). Box 9 (5).
    • Mezey, Robert. Editor with Donald Rodney Justice, 1925-, "The Enormous Lonelies," poems (pre 1989). Box 5 (7).
    • Mezey, Robert. Collector of items relating to the Memoir of Henri Coulette written by Philip Levine and the letters relating to it (pre 1993). Box 10 (15).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Coulette, Henri, 1927-1988.
    Levine, Philip, 1928-.
    American literature -- 20th century.
    Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives.
    Poets, American -- 20th century -- Archives.


    Audiotapes -- United States -- 20th century.
    Awards -- United States -- 20th century.
    Commonplace books -- United States -- 20th century.
    Manuscripts for publication -- United States -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 20th century.
    Photographs -- United States -- 20th century.
    Poems -- United States -- 20th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Justice, Donald, 1925-2004.
    Levine, Philip, 1928-.
    Mezey, Robert.