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Wilbert Snow letters to Homer E. Woodbridge


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

American poet and educator Charles Wilbert Snow was born on April 6, 1884, on White Head Island, St. George, Maine. Snow grew up on the Maine seacoast and spent a good portion of his adult life there as well. His experiences related to the Maine seacoast became the focus of much of his poetry.

Wilbert Snow was educated at Bowdoin College, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1907, and at Columbia University, receiving his Master of Arts degree in 1910. During World War I Snow served as an artillery captain in the U. S. Army.

Snow completed his extensive academic career as a Professor Emeritus of Wesleyan University (1921–1952), having taught there for thirty–one years. Prior to Wesleyan, Snow taught English at New York University (1907–1908), Bowdoin College (1908–1909), Williams College (1909–1910), the University of Utah (1913–1915), Indiana University (1916–1918, 1919–1921), and Reed College (1918–1919).

Always interested in politics, Wilbert Snow had a brief political career, serving as the Lieutenant-Governor of Connecticut in 1945–1946 and as the state’s Governor for twelve days in January of 1947. He also served as a U.S. Department of State lecturer in Europe and the Near East in 1951 and 1952.

With the exception of his autobiography titled

Codline’s Child (1973), all of Wilbert Snow’s published work is comprised of books of poetry.

Snow’s first book of poems,

Maine Coast, was published by Harcourt in 1923. Maine Coast was followed by Inner Harbor: More Maine Coast poems (1926), Down East (1932), Selected Poems (1936), Before the Wind (1938), Maine Tides (1940), Sonnets to Steve, and Other Poems (1957), Spruce Head (1958), and The Collected Poems of Wilbert Snow (1963).

Wilbert Snow died on September 28, 1977, at Spruce Head Island, Maine.

Kinsman, Clare D. and Mary Ann Tennenhouse (eds.) Contemporary Authors. Volumes 9-12. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1974. pp. 850-851. Locher, Frances (ed.) Contemporary Authors. Volumes 73-76. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1978.

The twenty-eight letters in this collection were written by Wilbert Snow to Homer E. Woodbridge, who was also a professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Spanning the dates 1925–1951 (with bulk dates 1925–1935 and 1949–1951), the letters were written during the period when Snow was on the faculty of Wesleyan University. In addition to the letters, four typescript poems, written by Snow, are enclosed.

Consisting of over 160 pages, the letters convey a warm friendship between Snow and Woodbridge. In fact one of the letters reveals that Snow dedicated his book Down East (1932) to Woodbridge.

In his letters, Snow discusses a variety of personal and professional topics. Snow’s family and their vacations, his friendship with Robert Frost, his health, and his political ideas are all considered in detail and with humor.

Snow also discusses his academic work, curriculum, Wesleyan colleagues, and his poetry and its publication. Further, the letters reveal a dialogue between Snow and Woodbridge about Woodbridge’s critical writings, such as a review of Gosse. It is also obvious from the letters that Woodbridge’s critical evaluations of Snow’s poetry were seriously considered by Snow.

Several of the letters include descriptions of Snow’s visits with Robert Frost, including mention of Frost’s children, pets, home, and appreciation of Snow’s poetry.

The four typescript poems written by Snow are titled “Why Stand You So Aloof, Beloved Tree,” “The Angel,” “To Certain Fathers,” and “The Shepherd Left Behind.”

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Purchase, November 1994.

Processed by Anita A. Wellner, April 1995. Encoded by Natalie Baur, March 2010. Further encoding by Lauren Connolly, October 2015, and Tiffany Saulter, November 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2010 March 3
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Folder F1
Folder F2
Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Includes typescript copies of Snow's poems "Why Stand You So Aloof, Beloved Tree," "The Angel," and "To Certain Fathers."

Folder F4
Folder F5
Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Includes a typescript copy of Snow's poem "The Shepherd Left Behind."

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