02 February 2008

Sylvia Plath Collections: Letters to J. Mallory Wober

Letters to J. Mallory Wober

On 5 June 2007, I posted on the letters to J. Mallory Wober from Sylvia Plath held at King's College, Cambridge University. I've recently acquired photocopies of the letters from the Archives Centre, and have itemized them below. Most are undated, but the letters are in an approximate chronological order. There are 25 letters, plus three additional pieces - a concert program, an admission ticket, and a telegram.

Sylvia Plath met J. Mallory Wober in the fall of 1955 early in her matriculation at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Though Plath was still somewhat invovled with Richard Sassoon that fall, she and Wober dated briefly that fall and early into the winter of 1956. In addition to Wober and Sassoon, Plath dated a few other men casually before she met Ted Hughes on 25 February 1956.

The letters listed below are held at the Archives Centre, King's College, University of Cambridge, in England. The letters show Plath being witty, flirty, and very interested in Wober. There are some really interesting items here, such as a ticket to Bartholomew Fair, which Plath had a role in that fall, and a telegram from the south of France where she visited during break from school with Sassoon.

Letters sent to Wober reached him at his Cambridge address of 7 Peas Hill and his London address of 71 Wentworth Road, London NW11. Plath visited him at both addresses. Several of the letters feature illustrations, and there is one beautifully illustrated envelope. Plath's letters were sent from Whitstead 4 Barton Road in Cambridge, and in care of American Express, 11 Rue Scribe, Paris.

1. Autograph letter signed. Whitstead, Thursday. With envelope.

2. Autograph letter signed. Friday evening.

3. Typed letter signed. Wednesday morning. With envelope.

4. King's College Musical Society - Open Concert. Sunday, 23 October 1955. Program.

5. Autograph letter signed. Saturday, 29 October [1955]. With envelope.

6. Autograph letter signed. Whitstead, Saturday. With envelope.

7. Autograph postcard signed. Undated. Henri Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" on postcard. From the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York.

8. Autograph letter signed. 23 November 1955.

9. Autograph letter signed. Undated. With envelope.

10. Autograph letter signed. Wednesday also PM. With envelope.

11. Autograph letter signed, illustration by SP of SP as reflected in a mirror. Undated. Illustrated envelope.

12. Typed letter unsigned. 23 November 1955. With envelope.

13. Autograph letter signed. Saturday night, 8:37 PM

14. Autograph letter signed. Undated. With envelope.

15. Autograph letter signed. Postmarked 24 November 1955, Cambridge, on envelope.

16. Ticket for Amateur Dramatics Club Theatre / Park Street performance of Bartholomew Fair, Friday 25 November 1955. With envelope.

17. Typed letter unsigned. Undated. With envelope.

18. Autograph postcard signed. Undated. With envelope. Dürer's "The Little Horse" on postcard. From the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

19. Autograph letter signed. Monday a.m. With envelope.

20. Typed letter signed. Tuesday afternoon. Postmarked 13 December 1955, Cambridge, on envelope.

21. Typed letter signed. Thursday evening, 5:45 p.m. Postmarked 16 December 1955, Cambridge, on envelope.

22. Autograph letter signed. Undated. Postmarked 19 December 1955, London, on envelope.

23. Autograph postcard signed. Postmarked 24 December 1955, Paris. Miro's "Femmes oiseau au clair de lune" (1949) on postcard.

24. Typed letter signed. Thursday night, December 29th. Postmarked 30 December 1955, Paris, on envelope.

25. Autograph postcard signed. Postmarked ? January 1956, France. Postcard of the Cote D'Azur.

26. Post office telegram. Postmarked 5 January 1956.

27. Autograph postcard signed. Undated. Postmarked 16 January 1956, Cambridge. Donatello's sculpture of Saint John the Baptist on postcard from National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

28. Autograph letter signed, illustrated. Tuesday. Postmarked 8 February 1956, Cambridge, on envelope.

Wober has gone on to become an author a number of books and articles in the field of media studies.

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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.

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