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Eileen B. Simpson papers


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

Eileen Simpson was an American memoirist, author, and psychotherapist. Born Eileen Patricia Mulligan in 1918, she published under her married names, Eileen Berryman and Eileen Simpson. In addition to academic works, reviews, and articles for popular magazines, Simpson wrote five books:

The Maze (1975), Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia (1979), Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir (1982), Orphans: Real and Imaginary (1987), and Late Love: A Celebration of Marriage After 50 (1994).

Simpson was married to John Berryman, an American poet. The two were legally married for 14 years, although Simpson left Berryman three years before their official divorce. While she was married to John Berryman (1942-1956), her name was Eileen Berryman. Simpson had earned her degree in psychology from Hunter College before she met Berryman, and worked as a psychotherapist during their marriage to support the both of them. Simpson wrote two books about her marriage to Berryman, one fictional (

The Maze) and one biographical (Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir). Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir provides insight into her marriage and into the personal lives of other poets in her husband's circle.

Simpson also wrote about her personal struggles. Her books

Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia, and Orphans: Real and Imaginary deal with Simpson's experiences of having dyslexia and being an orphan. Simpson's background as a psychotherapist greatly influenced her works, as psychology is the framework through which she understood and wrote about her life.

Throughout her life, Simpson wrote articles and book reviews for magazines and newspapers. Common topics covered in her writing include psychology and travel.

Eileen Simpson died on October 21, 2002

Eder, Richard. "Orphans: REAL AND IMAGINARY by Eileen Simpson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson: $16.95; 259 pp.)" The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times. July 5, 1987. Accessed October 13, 2022. Siegel, Lee. "The Poet's Keeper." The New York Times. The New York Times Company. February 6, 2015. Accessed October 13, 2022. Smith, Dinitia. "Eileen Simpson, 84, Memoirist Of Life With John Berryman." The New York Times. The New York Times Company. October 24, 2002. Accessed October 13, 2022. Yardley, Jonathan. "In the Beginning, Such a Happy Couplet." The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. October 16, 2006. Accessed October 13, 2022.

The Eileen Simpson papers reflect her work as a writer and consist of published copies of her work, drafts, research materials, letters, and financial documents. This material mostly relates to Simpson's books, articles, and reviews. This collection includes files related to all five of Simpson's books:

The Maze (1975), Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia (1979), Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir (1982), Orphans: Real and Imaginary (1987), and Late Love: A Celebration of Marriage After 50 (1994). The rest of the collection is arranged in four sections: short works, correspondence, business files, and articles by others.

Papers pertaining to Simpson's books include letters between Simpson and her editors, her publishers, and fans of her books; financial information on her advance and the royalty earnings; reviews; advertising; research material; and manuscripts of speeches she gave about her books. The files for Simpson's book

Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia include a contract, licensing the television rights to CBS. The collection does not have full manuscripts of her books, and any edits recommended by editors are featured in letters instead of manuscripts written by Simpson.

Simpson's short works consist of articles, book reviews, academic papers, and short stories. Files about short works feature published copies of these works, drafts, research papers, and related correspondence. Correspondence files contain incoming letters, some copies of Simpson's outgoing letters, and a small amount of reference and research material. Business files comprise Simpson's bibliography, information on rights to her works, letters addressed to editor Nan Talese, and correspondence with the Georges Borchardt literary agency. Finally, there are clippings of articles by others that are not tied to any specific work of Simpson's.

Simpson's original file names have been retained.

The text of this web page can be reused and modified under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (

Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Purchase, Eileen B. Simpson, August 2001

Processed and encoded by Edward Redmond, June-October 2022.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2022 October 12
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 Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Reviews, 1975.
Box 1 Folder F1
English edition, 1975-1978.
Box 1 Folder F2
Draft--Chapter 1, 1967.
Box 1 Folder F3
Publicity, 1975-1980.
Box 1 Folder F4
Letters, 1967-1980.
Box 1 Folder F5-F6
Royalty statements, 1978-1999.
Box 1 Folder F7
Talks--Dyslexia, 1988-1992.
Box 1 Folder F8
Yeats dyslexia article, 1987-1989.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Article titled "What Ailed Willie?" that theorizes William Butler Yeats might have had dyslexia.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) edition , 1979-1997.
Box 1 Folder F10-F12
Reviews, 1982, 1990-1991.
Box 1 Folder F13
Royalties--American edition, 1981-1993.
Box 1 Folder F14
Speeches, 1991-1994.
Box 1 Folder F15
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) edition, 1979-1997.
Box 1 Folder F16
Faber & Faber royalties, 1982-1986.
Box 1 Folder F17
Reviews, 1987-1988.
Box 1 Folder F18-F19
Business letters, 1985-1988.
Box 1 Folder F20
Fan letters, 1987-1988, 1992.
Box 1 Folder F21
Lynn Nesbit business letters, 1983-1988.
Box 1 Folder F22
Graham-Windham orphanage , 1986-1987.
Box 1 Folder F23
Post-publication books and articles, 1985-1987.
Box 1 Folder F24
Movies, 1985-1986.
Box 1 Folder F25
Childhood scenes, 1980s.
Box 1 Folder F26
Autobiography accounts by orphans, circa 1984.
Box 1 Folder F27
Emotional, 1985.
Box 2 Folder F1
Little Orphan Annie and me, 1977-1983.
Box 2 Folder F2
Psychology of orphans, 1972-1984.
Box 2 Folder F3-F4
Orphans today--Various countries, 1979-1987.
Box 2 Folder F5
Orphans = psychic as metaphor, 1974-1986.
Box 2 Folder F6
Orphans in literature--Completed chapter, circa 1980s.
Box 2 Folder F7
Orphans in literature research, 1978-1986.
Box 2 Folder F8
Tuberculosis, 1982-1983.
Box 2 Folder F9
History of orphans, 1979-1982.
Box 2 Folder F10-F12
English edition, 1987-1988.
Box 2 Folder F13
Paperback, 1987-1988.
Box 2 Folder F14
Letters from orphans, 1977, 1987-1989.
Box 2 Folder F15
Reviews, 1987.
Box 2 Folder F16
Orphans op ed, 1987, 1992.
Box 2 Folder F17
Royalty statements, 1987-1993.
Box 2 Folder F18
Ticknor and Fields--Letters with John Herman , 1993-1994.
Box 2 Folder F19
Post submission, 1994-1996.
Box 2 Folder F20-F21
Letters, 1994.
Box 2 Folder F22
Royalty statements, 1999-2000.
Box 2 Folder F23

Travel holiday articles and research, 1989-1999.
Box 2 Folder F24-F25
"Keeping Mum", 1988.
Box 2 Folder F26
"Biofeedback: Is It for You?", undated.
Box 2 Folder F27
Articles, 1972-1990.
Box 2 Folder F28
Articles for Lears, 1989-1992.
Box 3 Folder F1
Articles for Mirabella, 1991-1992.
Box 3 Folder F2
Articles for Self, 1991.
Box 3 Folder F3
"Health Foods: A Protest", 1988-1989.
Box 3 Folder F4
Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy review, 1989.
Box 3 Folder F5
Magazine articles, 1974-1988.
Box 3 Folder F6
France, 1957-1967.
Box 3 Folder F7-F8
Scope and Contents

This file contains several academic articles published by Simpson under the name Eileen Berryman.

Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease review, circa 1988.
Box 3 Folder F9
Articles for Working Mother, 1987.
Box 3 Folder F10
"West Africa and Heaven Too", 1962.
Box 3 Folder F11
Articles for Vogue, 1971-1973, 1995.
Box 3 Folder F12
Recent articles, 1995-1996.
Box 3 Folder F13
Book reviews, 1981-1983.
Box 3 Folder F14
Stories, 1968, 1973.
Box 3 Folder F15
"Between the Court & the Garden", 1962-1963.
Box 3 Folder F16-F17
"Woman's Intuition", 1971.
Box 3 Folder F18
Short stories, 1973-1974.
Box 3 Folder F19

Letters, 1989-1995.
Box 3 Folder F20
"At the Turkish Bath", 1975.
Box 3 Folder F21
Miscellaneous--Nan Talese, H&G etc., 1973, 1982-1983, 1992.
Box 3 Folder F22
Interviews--Publicity, 1975, 1979.
Box 3 Folder F23
Personal appearances--Conferences, 1979-1995.
Box 3 Folder F24
National Book Award, 1988.
Box 3 Folder F25
The Poetry Center, 1988-1989.
Box 3 Folder F26

Georges Borchardt, Inc. letters, 1981-2001.
Box 3 Folder F27
Rights, 1979-1990.
Box 3 Folder F28
Bibliography, 1962-1990.
Box 3 Folder F29
Articles by others, 1970-1996.
Box 3 Folder F30-F31

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