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Guide to the Allan Seager papers, 1906-1968
BANC MSS 70/176 z  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Allan Seager papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1906-1968
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 70/176 z
    Creator: Seager, Allan, 1906-1968
    Extent: Number of containers: 5 boxes, 6 cartons, and 5 volumes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence; typescripts of his short stories and novels; research materials and manuscripts of his biography of Theodore Roethke, The Glass House; diaries, 1924-1931, and diary notes, 1931-1960.

    Correspondence; typescripts of his short stories and novels; research materials and manuscript of his biography of Theodore Roethke, The Glass House; diaries, 1924-1931, and diary notes, 1931-1960.

    With these: a few papers of Seager's grandfather, John Brathwaite Allan, including 3 v. of Civil War diaries, 1861-1864.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Allan Seager papers, BANC MSS 70/176 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    • The Bancroft Library also holds papers of Jane Sherman, containing Allan Seager correspondence
      Identifier/Call Number: (BANC MSS 85/177 z)

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs of Seager have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.


    Born in Adrian, Michigan on February 5, 1906, Allan Seager, author and biographer of the poet Theodore Roethke, moved with his family at the age of eleven to Memphis, Tennessee where he lived until his college days. He was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1930, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then won a Rhodes Scholarship and went to Oriel College. Oxford in the fall of 1930. While at Oxford he contracted tuberculosis and subsequently returned to America for treatment. He later resumed his studies in England, after which he became editor of the magazine Vanity Fair until it ceased publication. He then commenced his teaching career in English Department at the University of Michigan, a post he retained until he died of cancer on May 10, 1968, with the exception of the academic year 1944-1945 when he was a visiting professor at Bennington.
    Seager was the author of numerous short stories published in Esquire, Colliers. Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and other magazines. Some of these stories were collected into two books - The Old Man of the Mountain and A Frieze of Girls. His novels, among them Equinox (1943), The Inheritance (1948), Amos Berry (1953) and Death of Anger (1960), received mixed critical acclaim.
    In 1965 Theodore Roethke's widow, Beatrice, commissioned Seager to write a biography of her husband. Seager's friendship with Roethke had been of long duration, and with the financial assistance of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he interviewed acquaintances of the poet from various periods of his life, his travels taking him as far as Dublin. The biography, The Glass House went through many revisions and was considerably altered before its publication in October 1968 after Seager's death.

    Scope and Content

    The collection, purchased from Mrs. Allan Seager, in May 1970, contains correspondence, much of it relating to Theodore Roethke, and to his own writing; publisher's copies, galleys and printed versions of many of his short stories; manuscripts of his novels Equinox, Amos Berry, Death of Anger and The Inheritance; working materials (interviews, photocopy of original Roethke material, chronological notes. etc.), manuscripts, printer's copy and galleys of The Glass House. Also included are diaries for the years 1924-1928, 1930-1931 as well as diary notes of ideas or events, some of which were used at later periods in his writings. There are also a few family papers, among them civil war diaries and a few letters of his grandfather, John Braithwaite Allan.