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Kathleen Tankersley Young Correspondence


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Kathleen Tankersley Young was an American author and poet, and editor of the Modern Editions Press during the era of the Harlem Renaissance. Originally from Texas, Young joined Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler in 1929 to publish the Blues: A Magazine of New Rhymes. Blues included such contributors as Kay Boyle, Erskine Caldwell, Harry Crosby, E. E. Cummings, Oliver Jenkins, Ezra Pound, Laura Riding, Herman Spector, Gertrude Stein, Laurence Vail, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky. Although Young is often described in secondary sources as an African American woman, perhaps due to her association with the Harlem Renaissance, census records indicate her race as white.

The collection consists chiefly of correspondence between American author Kathleen Tankersley Young and the New York book designer and printer Lew Ney and his wife, Ruth Widen -- original letters (holograph and typewritten) by Young, carbon copies of answers to Young's letters by Ney and Widen. The letters provide an intimate portrait of Young's private life and her marriage to David Jerome Ellinger, and of some of the literary and artistic figures of the Harlem Renaissance. They also shed light on the social mores of the United States during that time period. Young frequently refers to her friends and business partners Charles Henri Ford and Harrison Parker Tyler, as well as to her circle of literary friends, which included Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. There are some letters discussing business matters, including a book project which Young initially intended Ney to publish for her, and money she owed Ney and Widen.

Also included is a typescript of a "Diary. Edward Lennon" (six leaves) which was written for Kathleen Young and Charles Henri Ford by an unidentified author. In addition, there are pencil drawings of different women with captions in French, in an unknown hand; a printed invitation to Young's wedding to David Jerome Ellinger; and a prospectus of the Modern Edition Press announcing the publishing of new pamphlets.

Correspondence is arranged into two file groups by author.

Gift of Lew Ney in October 1947.

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection was processed by Dina Britain in 2008. Finding aid written in 2008. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Subject headings and the biographical note for Kathleen Tankersley Young were updated by Kelly Bolding in September 2021 to reflect recent research suggesting that Young was white and not African American.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
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The collection is open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Letters from Luther Emanuel and Ruth Widen to Kathleen Tankersly Young, 1928-1932. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Kathleen Tankersley Young to Luther Emanuel and Ruth Widen, 1928-1932. 2 folders.
Physical Description

2 folders

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