Archibald MacLeish Collection

For more information about the MacLeish Collection please contact Claire Lobdell, archivist, at or by phone at (413) 775-1834. Please also review our access and use policy before your appointment. Please note that due to COVID-19, there are no in-person research appointments at this time.

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.

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

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 room, housing MacLeish's personal library, is 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.

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.

Indexes to the Archibald MacLeish Collection

Please note, the indexes below are not complete and the collection may be reprocessed in the future. Some of the files may contain material about the administration of the Archibald MacLeish Collection rather than material about MacLeish himself.

Descriptive Catalog of the Archibald MacLeish Papers (2017): An item-level description of MacLeish papers by Margaret E.C. Howland. Please note, these are not arranged in series.

Box listings of MacLeish materials at the folder level:

MacLeish Papers_Formerly Labeled_Rare

Clark-Harris Collection of Scratch Play Materials
David Porter Papers_MacLeish
Sheila Rainford Papers_MacLeish
Ralph Trudy Papers_MacLeish
Roy Winnick Oral History Interviews (Note: these interviews are not transcribed. Recordings are only available to be listened to on-site.)

Friends of Archibald MacLeish Organization

The Friends of Archibald MacLeish Organization meets monthly, with the goal of appreciating his poetry, and assuring 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.

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.

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

Princeton University
Princeton has a small Archibald MacLeish collection, as well as MacLeish materials in other collection in their archives.
Finding aids are available at

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:

University of Massachusetts / Amherst
The University Archives includes a small Archibald MacLeish collection, as well as publications and MacLeish materials in other collection in their archives.
Online catalog:

University of Virginia
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections contain books, manuscripts, etc. by and about MacLeish.
Online catalog:

Vassar College
Approximately 100 items are housed in Thompson Library and special collections.
Guide to the MacLeish Family Papers, 1898-1946

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: