Scope and arrangement
The Genevieve Taggard papers contain personal correspondence, correspondence with publishers, drafts of poetry and prose, photographs and drawings, teaching materials, subject files, journals and notebooks, and notes for various public talks and radio broadcasts. Included are several audio recordings of Taggard reading her poetry. The collection also holds papers of Taggard's first husband, the writer Robert L. Wolf; her daughter, Marcia Durant Liles; her second husband, Kenneth Durant; and her parents and siblings, Alta, James, Ernestine, and Norman Taggard. The scope and content of materials in the collection are described more extensively at the series level in this finding aid.
Of particular note in Taggard's papers are research materials, drafts, and galley proofs of her 1930 book The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson, as well as her personal correspondence, which includes letters to and from many important figures in 20th century American literature, personal friends, family, and academic colleagues. Among Taggard's most frequent correspondents were Maeve Butler Beck, William Rose Benét, Mary Lapsley Caughey, Max Eastman, Sara Bard Field and Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Josephine Herbst, Rolfe Humphries, J. J. Lankes, James (Jim) Neugass, George Sterling, and Louis Untermeyer. Also of note are letters from Van Wyck Brooks, Alexander Calder, Ernest Hemingway, and Paul Strand, as well as correspondence with publishers and letters from readers.
In addition, the collection contains teaching notes Taggard used while a professor at Mount Holyoke, Bennington, and Sarah Lawrence Colleges.
The Genevieve Taggard papers are arranged in six series:
- 1909-197633 boxes
This series - the most extensive in the collection - includes correspondence (personal, professional, and concerning published works), papers related to Taggard's editorial work, journals and notebooks, legal documents, memorabilia, musical scores, poetry and prose (ranging from handwritten drafts to published work), transcripts and notes for radio broadcasts, and teaching materials. Materials are arranged alphabetically by format.
Correspondence comprises much of the series and includes letters to and from friends, family, colleagues, and publishers, as well as letters concerning two of Taggard's published works: The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson and A Part of Vermont. Many important figures in 20th century American literary and publishing circles numbered among her correspondents, including Katherine Anne Porter, Carl Sandburg, Wallace Stevens, William Rose Benét, Louise Bogan, Louis Untermeyer, Erskine Caldwell, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Josephine Herbst, Max Eastman, Grace Hazard Conkling, Ernest Hemingway, Sara Bard Field, Rolfe Humphries, Floyd Dell, George Sterling, Ernst Waldinger, and Van Wyck Brooks. Of particular note are letters from British writer Sylvia Townsend Warner about World War II which describe its effects on her daily life and perceptions. Taggard also corresponded with artists Alexander Calder, Paul Strand and Andrée Ruellan. Her correspondence with publishers includes that with small, literary journals as well as larger and more mainstream publishing houses, and through these letters one may better understand the reception of Taggard's work in her own time. Researchers should note that some folders also contain Kenneth Durant's correspondence with the individual, as he solicited letters to add to the collection from friends and colleagues following Taggard's death.
Journals and notebooks in this series range from Taggard's childhood friendship book to the notebooks in which she later kept ideas for writing and teaching projects. Legal documents include various iterations of her will, marriage certificates and a bill of divorce, publishing contacts and permissions records, two passports, and a certificate of death. Memorabilia includes a lock of hair sent to Taggard, a press pass to the 1939 World's Fair in New York, ration books issued during World War II, and various cards, certificates, bookplates, and book jackets.
Also in this series are musical scores, in which Taggard's poetry was set to music, as well as programs from events at which these pieces were performed. In addition, there are drafts of many of Taggard's poems and prose pieces, including extensive research notes, drafts, and galley proofs of her best known work, The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson. Taggard published numerous book reviews, essays, and translations, and drafts of many of those works are in this series.
The series includes newspaper and journal clippings about Taggard and her work, as well as obituaries and memorials. There are notes and transcripts for radio broadcasts, one of her preferred means of public reading, and teaching materials created during her tenure at Mt. Holyoke, Bennington, and Sarah Lawrence Colleges. Taggard organized these files by topic - often an individual poet - and they contain lecture notes and outlines, suggested reading lists, and some student work.
The wide range of materials in this series documents Taggard's adult life, as manifested through the roles of poet and writer, editor, teacher, mother, wife, and politically minded citizen, as well as some of her childhood experiences. Her correspondence provides an understanding of the ways in which her personal relationships influenced her work, and vice versa, and drafts and research notes provide insight into her mind and writing process.
- 1907-1929, 19606 boxes
This series includes correspondence with friends, colleagues, and publishers; drafts of poetry and prose; legal documents; and subject files of Robert L. Wolf. While most of the materials date from the 1920s, during Wolf's marriage to Genevieve Taggard, there are also some of his writings from high school, as well as two items from his service in World War I and subject files he kept as a Harvard undergraduate. Most of these materials appear to have been kept by Taggard herself, though some items appear to have been provided by Wolf's parents at an unknown date. All of the material in this series was part of the 2010 addition to the papers. They are significant not only because they illustrate Wolf's relationship to Taggard, but also because they document his own life and writing, which have been largely obscured.
Much of the correspondence is from Wolf's time living and writing in Paris, between 1926 and 1928, and includes lengthy and anguished letters to Genevieve Taggard about the disintegration of their marriage, his romantic affairs and struggles writing, and his difficulty in finding emotional balance. The correspondence also includes letters to and from publishers, friends, editors, and other writers - notably Sara Bard Field, Ernest Hemingway, Floyd Dell, Lydia Gibson, and Charles Erskine Scott Wood. Of note is Wolf's correspondence with F.W. Taussig, a prominent economist who served as Wolf's mentor at Harvard and wrote to him about his involvement with the United States Tariff Commission and the American Commission to Negotiate Peace at the conclusion of World War I, as well as Wolf's correspondence with his parents from his college days into adulthood.
Also of note in this series is Wolf's writing, most of which was never published. Included are multiple drafts of poems, short stories, and essays, as well as a screenplay and technical directions for the filming of a piece called Loony, originally published in The Nation on September 9, 1925, with illustrations by Louis Lozowick. The filming, which was to take place in the Soviet Union, fell through at the last minute. In addition, this series includes subject files Wolf kept as a student, revealing his interest in political affairs, as well as lecture notes on socialism from the year he taught at Harvard (1916-1917).
- 1932-19818 boxes
This series contains correspondence, legal documents, and other materials related to Durant's decades-long attempt to compile a comprehensive bibliography of Genevieve Taggard's work and to ensure that her legacy endured by donating her papers and books to libraries and archives. It includes papers of a more personal nature, such as records of Durant's adoption of Marcia, Taggard's daughter with Robert L. Wolf, and correspondence with many of Taggard's friends and former students in the years after her death.
Of particular note are the bibliographic card files, which Durant compiled over the course of many years. Because no comprehensive bibliography of Taggard's published work exists, these files are useful for scholars hoping to grasp the extent of her work or to locate lesser-known works. All materials in this series relate to Taggard and/or Durant's advocacy for her legacy; none of his papers, personal or professional, concerning other matters are included here.
- 1929-20015 boxes
This series includes correspondence, records concerning the literary estate of Genevieve Taggard, memorabilia, poetry, and prose. The correspondence in many instances is related to Liles' involvement in maintaining her mother's legacy and the management of her estate and literary rights, but it also contains her personal correspondence with family, friends and mentors, including writer and editor Sanora Babb, grandmother Alta Taggard, and stepsister Barbara Fiske. Of particular note is Liles' correspondence with her mother and father (Genevieve Taggard and Robert Wolf), including numerous letters from Wolf during his institutionalization at Mattawean State Hospital.
Also of note are materials related to Liles' multiple attempts to publish collections of her mother's poetry posthumously. One such volume, To the Natural World, was successfully published in 1980, but others languished and never saw fruition. This series also holds memorabilia - childhood report cards, a travel journal, and a passport - as well as Liles' thesis at Vassar College and notes for a novel about her memories of Mallorca, where she lived with her mother when she was a Guggenheim fellow.
- 1881-19482 boxes
This series contains correspondence and other papers of Genevieve Taggard's parents, Alta and James, as well as those of her siblings, Ernestine and Norman. There are certificates and letters of recommendation concerning both Alta and James' teaching credentials; correspondence between the members of the family; and James Taggard's genealogical research materials and memoirs. These materials provide insight into Genevieve Taggard's family relations and the subjects of some of her writing, as well as an understanding of the family's history in a broader scope.
- ca. 1890-19486 boxes
This series contains photographs of the extended Taggard family and their friends, as well as a few portrait drawings of Genevieve Taggard. Several albums in the series contain photographs of Hawaii taken in the early 20th century, and the series also includes photographs taken in Mallorca while Taggard was a Guggenheim fellow in 1931-1932. Loose photographs (those not in albums) are arranged by people (when identified), places, and subjects. There are negatives of some images.