Louis Untermeyer letters to Alfred Kreymborg
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Anthologist and poet Louis Untermeyer was born October 1, 1885, in New York City. Untermeyer's formal education was limited to several years of high school, which he left prior to graduation. He eventually received a high school diploma in 1965. In 1902, before pursuing his literary interests, Untermeyer began a career as a salesman with Untermeyer-Robbins Company, his father's jewelry manufacturing enterprise. Prior to resigning the business in 1923, he became vice-president and manager of the Newark, New Jersey, factory. From 1923 until his death in 1977, Untermeyer worked solely at his literary interests as a poet, writer, editor, translator, and lecturer. Untermeyer had been writing and editing for a number of years while working in the jewelry business, and by 1923, several volumes of his own poetry and at least six of his poetry anthologies had already been published. By the conclusion of his life, Untermeyer had written, edited, or translated over one hundred books for readers of all ages. Most of Untermeyer's own poetry was published in twenty-two books of poetry, beginning with his first published work,First Love (1911). Untermeyer also wrote essays (particularly about poetry), parodies, short stories, a travel journal, juvenile fiction and poetry, a novel, biographies and an autobiography; and translated works by Heinrich Heine, Gottfried Keller, and Edmond Rostand. Louis Untermeyer was most noted for the anthologies of poetry which he compiled and edited. Some of these works, first published in the 1920s, continued to be used as high school and college textbooks well into the 1970s. During his lifetime, Untermeyer developed numerous literary friendships with individuals who sought his help in getting published, contributed to his anthologies, or shared his enthusiasm for poetry. Untermeyer was also noted for his lectures on poetry, drama, music, and other art forms. Presented throughout the United States, as well as in India and Japan, Untermeyer's popular lectures incorporated both his criticism of poetry and anecdotes about famous poets. His lack of academic credentials did not diminish the recognition and respect Untermeyer's writing received. In 1956 he was awarded a Gold Medal by the Poetry Society of America honoring his service to poetry. Untermeyer was appointed as Poet in Residence at the University of Michigan (1939-1940), the University of Kansas City, Missouri (1939), and Iowa State College (1940). He also served as a consultant in English poetry for the Library of Congress from 1961 until 1963. Through his anthologies, poetry, lectures, and relationships with numerous literary figures, Louis Untermeyer exercised substantial influence on American literature during his lifetime. Lesniak, James G. (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 31. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1990. pp. 439-442.
Eleven letters from Louis Untermeyer to Alfred Kreymborg, including one copy of a letter from Kreymborg to Untermeyer, one letter from Untermeyer to "Paul," and two letters from Jean Untermeyer to Kreymborg, dating from 1921 to 1943.
Box 51, F0767: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.
Processed and encoded by George Apodaca, March 2016.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2016 March 16
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