06 August 2008

Sylvia Plath collections: Papers of John L. (Jack) and Máire MacNeill Sweeney

University College Dublin Archives holds the papers of Jack and Máire Sweeney. Jack Sweeney was a friend to Plath and Hughes, but his contribution to the poetry world is most known because he was a long time curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room. Sweeney was instrumental in building the audio archive at the Woodberry Poetry Room, and first asked Ted Hughes read there in late 1957. In turn, Hughes was influential in securing the first reading Plath gave on Friday, 13 June 1958.

In these papers at UCD are some correspondence between Plath, Hughes and Sweeney. In addition to the correspondence, they also have two photographs.

In the absence of a list online, here follows an inventory the correspondence between Sweeney, Plath and Hughes.

1. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, typed, 31 October 1957, 1 p.
2. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, 30 November 1957, 1 p.
3. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, Undated, 2 p.
4. Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, handwritten, 15 April 1958, 1 p.
5. Sylvia Plath Hughes to John Sweeney, typed, 27 April 1958, 1 p.
6. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, 11 May 1958, 1 p.
7. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, 14 June 1958, 2 p. With annotation from Sweeney to Steve [Fassett].
8. Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, typed, undated [Fall 1958], 1 p.
9. Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, handwritten, undated [ca. 7 July 1959], 1 p. Included with this letter are offprints from the Grecourt Review of "Sculptor" by Plath and "Roosting Hawk"* by Hughes. Plath and Hughes each inscribed and signed the offprint. Plath's is dated 6 July 1959, Hughes's is undated.
10. Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, handwritten, undated [ca. March 1960], 1 p. The letter accompanied a copy of Lupercal.
11. Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, undated, 2 p. Letter accompanied negatives of photographs of Plath and Hughes with Frieda.
12. Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Frieda Hughes to the Sweeney's, handwritten, undated [December 1961].
13. Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Frieda Hughes to the Sweeney's, handwritten, undated [December 1962]. With a handwritten poem by Hughes.
14. Letter from Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, handwritten, undated [January 1962], 2. Sent one week after the birth of Nicholas Hughes.
15. Letter from Ted Hughes to Jack Sweeney, handwritten, undated [1970], 1 p. Accompanied a copy of Crow.
16. Letter from Ted Hughes to Jack & Máire Sweeney, handwritten, 15 January 1985, 1 p.

The photographs are:

1. Sylvia Plath with Frieda, November 1960
2. Ted Hughes with Frieda, November 1960

I should note that the photographs are the same as, and likely the originals, the photographs held by the Woodberry Poetry Room.

The collection code for the Jack & Máire Sweeney papers is LA52/166. UCD Archives is online here.

*By the time this poem was printed in Hughes' Lupercal the title had been changed to "Hawk Roosting".

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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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