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Guide to the San Francisco State College Poetry Center records, 1953-1961
BANC MSS 78/161 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: San Francisco State College Poetry Center Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1953-1961
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 78/161 c
    Creator: San Francisco State College. Poetry Center
    Extent: Number of containers: 9 boxes and 1 oversize folder
    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: Primarily correspondence of Ruth Witt-Diamant, director, with poets participating in readings at the Center, together with program notes, publicity material, and biographical information submitted by the poets; papers regarding the history, organization and financing of the Center; appeals for support; lists of poets who read at the Center; reference file of poets' names; form letters for bookings, etc.
    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], San Francisco State College Poetry Center records, BANC MSS 78/161 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Organizational History

    The Poetry Center was established at San Francisco State College in 1954, largely as the result of the persistent effort of faculty member Ruth Witt-Diamant. Its purpose was to integrate poetry with the cultural life of the city by bringing poets of national and international reputation to the west coast to read and discuss their work, and by presenting, also, well-known local poets and poets whose work was new and unpublished. The program began with a reading by Theodore Roethke on February 24, and the Center gained increasing support from both the academic community and the public at large. The list of poets appearing over the years is impressive, including W. H. Auden, Richard Eberhart, Langston Hughes, Stanley Kunitz, Stephen Spender, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams and Robert Lowell.
    Mrs. Witt-Diamant served as director of the Center from its inception until her retirement in 1961, when James Schevill took over her duties. Robert Duncan, closely associated with the Center from the beginning, was assistant director, 1956-57.

    Scope and Content

    These records, purchased from Mrs. Witt-Diamant in 1978 with funds made available from the Chancellor's Opportunity Fund and by the Friends of The Bancroft Library, relate to the period of her directorship. Some additions were purchased April 1980 from Ida G. Hodes. They are described in the Key to Arrangement below.