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Archibald MacLeish Collection

Portrait of Archibald MacLeish – original oil painting on board by Mary K. Eipper, gift of the estate of Elizabeth H. Keith.

For more information about the MacLeish Collection, contact Margaret Howland, Curator at howland@gcc.mass.edu, or by phone at (413) 775-1835.

The MacLeish Collection was founded in 1974 by six educators from Greenfield Community College to advance the knowledge and understanding of poet Archibald MacLeish—the man, his life, his works, and his times.

Mr. MacLeish authorized and supported this effort by contributing his own time and energy to a series of interviews about his work and offering books and manuscripts to the Collection. In 1984, the heirs to his estate donated 1690 additional items to the Collection. The Archibald MacLeish Collection is housed on the third floor of the Core, just outside the library, in room C307.

The Collection is composed of two parts:

Part I

Archibald MacLeish’s personal library of poetry and prose by authors he liked, or who influenced him, or who were influenced by him. It consists of 1629 cataloged monographs, including 1503 books, 122 periodical issues, and four music scores. More than 130 of these items have handwritten annotations by MacLeish; more than 180 are inscribed by their authors; and nearly 45 contain holograph inserts.

MacLeish’s library is significant not only because of the intrinsic value of the individual books, but also because MacLeish put it together himself over his lifetime. The value of these books lies in their relationship to each other and to MacLeish, and in MacLeish’s notes and annotations contained in them.

Part II

The Friends’ Collection, organized in November 1986, whose purpose is to assure the perpetuation and maintenance of the Archibald MacLeish Collection at GCC by sponsoring programs and encouraging gifts which will support and benefit the Collection. Membership is open to any individual, family, business or other group interested in Mr. MacLeish or our goals.

In 2002 the Friends’ Collection consisted of 2432 books, booklets, pamphlets, galleys (page proofs), and periodical issues; 1178 letters and manuscripts; and nearly 10,000 non-print items including artifacts and memorabilia for a total of over 13,500 items.

The Friends’ Collection is valuable for its diversity of form and content and its ability to inform us of how MacLeish and his works are viewed by others. It also helps define for us the times in which he lived and worked, and from which he derived his inspiration.

Other resources by and about Archibald MacLeish

Amherst College
Materials by and about Archibald MacLeish are not collected under his name, but can be found in many of Amherst College’s special collections; such as, the Robert Frost manuscripts.  Sixty-eight (68) items are identified in the online catalog of the Frost Library. https://www.amherst.edu/library

Library of Congress
These collections offer hundreds of items by and about MacLeish, including sound recordings of events, letters, photographs, etc.
Online catalog: http://catalog.loc.gov/

Princeton University
Approximately 150 items are in Princeton’s collections and archives.
Finding aids are available at  http://findingaids.princeton.edu/

Smith College
The William Allan Neilson Library’s Special Collections include scattered speeches and letters, located in various class records and printed in the Smith Alumnae Quarterly, along with correspondence with various Smith College presidents, and photographs.  The online catalog lists books, scores, videocassettes, programs, and so forth.

Library link: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/m/

University of Massachusetts / Amherst
The Library’s collections offer a description of more than 600 materials by and about MacLeish. The University Archives includes a Special Collection related to “An Evening’s Journey to Conway, Massachusetts,” consisting mostly of a manuscript and letters.
Online catalog: http://www.library.umass.edu/

University of Virginia
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections contain books, manuscripts, etc. by and about MacLeish.
Online catalog:  http://small.library.virginia.edu/

Vassar College
Approximately 100 items are housed in Thompson Library and special collections.
Online catalog: http://library.vassar.edu/vcl/about/collections/index.html

Yale University
The Beinecke Library at Yale provides a finding aid database for locating materials by and about A.M. The Archibald MacLeish Collection (MSS YCAL 38) and the Archibald MacLeish Collection Addition (YCAL MSS 269) consist of correspondence, writings, personal papers, and sound recordings, documenting Archibald and Ada MacLeish’s personal life, family history, and careers.
Special collections: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/about/blogs/poetry-beinecke-library/2008/04/15/archibald-macleish-collections