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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