The Hornbake Library (left) at the University of Maryland at College Park now holds the Frances McCullough papers, 1915-1994. Below is an abstract of the collection.
"Editor and cookbook author Frances Monson McCullough began her career as an editor at Harper & Row in 1963, moved to Dial Press in 1980, and on to Bantam Books in 1986. She has worked with authors and poets including Djuna Barnes, Donald Hall, Ted Hughes, Laura (Riding) Jackson, N. Scott Momaday, Sylvia Plath, W. D. Snodgrass, and Robert Bly.
"The collection includes correspondence; manuscripts and proofs for The Telling (1972) by Laura (Riding) Jackson; Gaudete (1977) by Ted Hughes; Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1977), the Journals of Sylvia Plath (1982), and Letters Home (1975) by Sylvia Plath; Sleepers Joining Hands (1973) by Robert Bly; Selected Poems (1987) by W. D. Snodgrass; and House Made of Dawn (1968) by N. Scott Momaday; artwork by N. Scott Momaday; and photographs.
"The collection is unprocessed, but a preliminary inventory is available."
In November I took a brief day trip down to the Hornbake Library to see what was in this collection. I arranged the visit well in advance with the archivist Beth Alvarez and though I did not get to meet her the day I was there, she has been a saint to deal with via email. As you might expect, there is a lot of stuff on Plath in these papers. Of the 14 boxes, Plath materials occupy boxes 6, 7, 8, and 9. In Box 13 there are a couple of photographs and in box 14 there are some oversized items like magazines and newspapers.
McCullough received a lot of correspondence from Aurelia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Olwyn Hughes in the course of the business side of the Plath estate and in her role as an editor at Harper & Row and The Dial Press. There is other correspondence, too. Reading the correspondence puts once in a frame of mind of being back in the 1970s or early 1980s. Many of the lost or forgotten names and issues resurface. McCullough's papers also include American edition proof copies of Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Letters Home, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and The Journals of Sylvia Plath (1982). There are reviews of Plath's work; as well photocopies of letters to Plath by Olive Higgins Prouty, Richard Murphy and others, and photocopies of poems and short stories by Plath. Some of the other materials in here are articles, essays and other manuscripts about Plath, written both by people that she knew as well as those studying her work.
McCullough has gone on to a good career as a food writer and I find this interesting, as Plath's editor at Knopf, Judith Jones, did to. Several Plath scholars have noted Plath's writing, most recently Lynda K. Bundtzen and Jessica Ferri.
This is perhaps the briefest of summaries but any Plath scholar would likely find a day or two in the ambiance of the very lovely Maryland Room at the Hornbake Library well worth the trip.
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.
- 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.
- Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
- Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (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. 2000. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books. (Acknowledged in)
- 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. "Introduction." Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
- "Banking on his passion for Plath" by Melissa Davis Haller. UMW Today. Spring 2005.
- "Sylvia Plath's Three Women to be staged in London" by Alison Flood. The Guardian. 3 December 2008.
- "FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father shed new light on poet" by Dalya Alberge. The Guardian. 17 August 2012.
- "There Are Almost No Obituaries for Sylvia Plath" by Ashley Fetters. The Atlantic. 11 February 2013.