08 August 2013

Sylvia Plath & The Wellesley Townsman

The Wellesley Townsman (formerly The Townsman has been largely digitized which, for a fan of Sylvia Plath, is a dream come true. As of August 2012 (when I found the site and first drafted this post) the images are big and freely downloadable, and the functionality of the website is pretty easy to use. The newspaper articles themselves were OCR'd which can lead to false hits, but beggars cannot be choosers and to be too critical might make it appear that I am not grateful, which I certainly am.

The majority of the articles you will find merely mention Plath, but from a biographical standpoint, one gets the sense of some of her activities as a young girl, teenager, and young woman. The date range to look for is 1943 and on; there are fewer mentions after 1955, as one might expect as that was the last time Plath truly lived in Wellesley; though she often used her 26 Elmwood Road address for submitting her work when she was transitioning between apartments, cities, etc.

One interesting thing to note is that Warren Plath had his name in the paper before his sister did! But this is not too surprising since Plath's general attitude was one of happiness when a boy achieved something before she did... Another is that Freida Rebecca Hughes (though under the name Rebecca Hughes) got a birth announcement ("New Citizens" 14 April 1960) but Nicholas Farrar Hughes did not.

Below is a chronological bibliography - because you know I love lists - of articles both by Plath or that mention her. Please note that this is not all of them: I was very selective and because I found some uninteresting, particularly after 1975, and so I have not listed them all. Most of the articles are unattributed. One thing you will see repeated a lot is "Neighborhood News." This was a free-for-all kind of heading, often appearing over several columns and pages, for smaller news stories about Wellesleyites. Where the article title is not really that helpful, such as "Neighborhood News," I have placed in square brackets a brief description of the newsworthy item regarding Plath.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. November 4, 1943: 11. [attends a birthday party]

Plath, Sylvia. "Troop 5 Valentine Party." The Townsman. March 10, 1944: 4.

"Exhibition of Art Work at Library." The Townsman. March 30, 1945: 2. [SP's "Hill in September" displayed]

"Unitarian Church School Conducts Graduation Exercises." The Townsman. June 8, 1945: 4.

Pipes, Elaine and Barbara Botsford. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. March 7, 1946: 3.

"Wellesley Concert Band and Junior High Orchestra to Take Part in Needham Music Festival Saturday." The Townsman. May 9, 1946: 8.

Richardson, Joan. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. May 9, 1946: 12.

"Honor Roll Read at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. May 30, 1946: 4.

Campana, Dick. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. June 27, 1946: 4.

"[Photograph]" The Townsman. June 27, 1946: 15. [SP photographed standing in ration line; unattributed]

"Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. October 3, 1946: 18.

"Senior High Orchestra to Play for the Teachers' Convention." The Townsman. October 10, 1946: 16.

Plath, Sylvia. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. October 17, 1946: 4.

Burdoin, Elizabeth. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. October 24, 1946: 3.

"The Unitarian Church." The Townsman. December 19, 1946: 18.

Duffin, Jack. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. December 26, 1946: 10.

Ventura, Mary. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. January 16, 1947: 11.

Dean, Nancy. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. January 23, 1947: 9.
Lee, Peggy Ann. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. January 30, 1947: 8.

Hell, David. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. February 13, 1947: 16.

Stimson, William T. "Junior High Students Enter National Art Contest." The Townsman. February 27, 1947: 16.

Stimson, William T. "Wellesley Artists Win Many Honors in High School Art Exhibit." The Townsman. March 6, 1947: 9. [SP's art works "Thanksgiving" and "Hallowe'en"]

MacNeil, Norma. "Junior High Briefs." The Townsman. March 20, 1947: 5.

"Junior High P.T.A. Meeting Last Thursday." The Townsman. May 22, 1947: 10.

"Current Activities at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. May 29, 1947: 15.

"Wellesley Club Awards and School Letters Given at Junior High Final Assembly." The Townsman. July 3, 1947: 4.

Gordon, Margaret "High School Highlights." The Townsman. December 18, 1947: 2.

"Christmas Services at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. December 18, 1947: 6.

"Senior High Honor Roll Members Named." The Townsman. December 18, 1947: 11.

"Senior High Honor Roll Announced." The Townsman. February 19, 1948: 13.

"Wellesley Students Score at Regional Art Show." The Townsman. March 11, 1948: 7.

"High School Honor Roll Announced, Seniors Lead During Third Quarter." The Townsman. May 13, 1948: 7.

Hope, Patricia. "High School Highlights." The Townsman. May 13, 1948: 15.

"Wellesley High School Students Win High Honors in National Atlantic School Contest." The Townsman. June 3, 1948: 12.

Plath, Sylvia. "View of Commencement." The Townsman. June 3, 1948: 4-5. [drawing]

Boughner, Kit "High School Highlights." The Townsman. October 28, 1948: 5.

"Over 400 Attend Senior High Parent's Night." The Townsman. October 28, 1948: 11.

Stimson, William T. "Senior High School Honor Roll Released." The Townsman. December 2, 1948: 16.

"Christmas Services at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. December 16, 1948: 11.

Weller, Barbara. "Junior Prom Plans Under Way." The Townsman. January 20, 1949: 4.

Stimson, William T. "94 on Senior High Honor Roll for Second Quarter." The Townsman. February 17, 1949: 17.

Stimson, William T. "13 Winners in Scholastic Art Contest." The Townsman. March 3, 1949: 18.

Urann, Margaret S. "Music Festival Great Success." The Townsman. April 7, 1949: 21.

"Honor Roll for Third Marking Period Released." The Townsman. April 28, 1949: 2.

"Mr. Rice Will Preach at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. May 26, 1949: 20.

"To the Seniors." The Townsman. June 2, 1949: 4.

Plath, Sylvia. "View of Commencement." The Townsman. June 2, 1949: 4-5. [drawing]

"Mr. Rice Will Preach at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. June 2, 1949:6.

"Unitarian Delegates to Summer Conferences." The Townsman. June 9, 1949: 18.

"Mr. Rice Will Preach at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. June 16, 1949: 10.

"Drawings Made for Local Tennis Tournaments." The Townsman. August 11, 1949: 2.

"Local Tennis Tourney Semi-Finals This Week." The Townsman. August 25, 1949: 3.

Ventura, Mary. "High School Highlights." The Townsman. September 29, 1949: 22.

Giesey, Louise. "High School Highlights." The Townsman. November 3, 1949: 7.

Giesey, Louise. "High School Highlights." The Townsman. November 24, 1949: 2.

"Senior High Honor Roll." The Townsman. December 8, 1949: 4.

"Rev. William Rice to Preach Sunday at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. January 5, 1950: 10.

Stockbridge, Ruth. "Highschool Highlights." The Townsman. January 26, 1950: 3.

"Youth to Lead Service at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. January 26, 1950: 9. [prints a photograph which might include Plath]

Blakesley, Bob. "Highschool Highlights." The Townsman. March 23, 1950: 5.

"The Admirable Crichton to be Presented by Seniors at High School on Friday, April 14." The Townsman. March 30, 1950: 5.

"Honor Society Induction at Sr. High School." The Townsman. March 30, 1950: 9.

"In Cast of The Admirable Crichton." The Townsman. April 6, 1950: 1. [Prints photo including Plath]

"Entire Cast of The Admirable Crichton." The Townsman. April 13, 1950: 13. [Prints photo including Plath]

"The Admirable Crichton Senior Play Success." The Townsman. April 20, 1950: 5.

"Senior High Honor Roll for Third Quarter." The Townsman. May 9, 1950: 9.

"Flower Sunday May 21 at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. May 18, 1950: 6.

Almond, Betty Lou. "Personal Interviews." The Townsman. June 1, 1950: 5. [SP and others start a "Freedom for Women" movement; prints photo of SP with other National Honor Society members]

"Smith College Club Holds Annual Meeting." The Townsman. June 1, 1950: 15.

Goldsmith, Sue. "Highschool Highlights." The Townsman. June 8, 1950: 7.

"158 High School Seniors Receive Diplomas." The Townsman. June 15, 1950: 2.

Sullivan, Ann. "High School Highlights." The Townsman. June 15, 1950: 2.

"Senior Class Day at High School." The Townsman. June 22, 1950: 4.

"Smith College Club Tea Tomorrow." The Townsman. September 21, 1950: 15.

"Smith College Club to Meet Tuesday." The Townsman. February 22, 1951: 8.

"Dr. Rice to Preach at Unitarian Church." The Townsman. June 21, 1951: 11.

"Smith College Club to Meet at Home of Mrs. Henry P. Briggs." The Townsman. September 13, 1951: 16.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. October 25, 1951: 4 [For making Dean's List]

"." The Townsman.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. February 21, 1952: 13. [Honorable mention in Seventeen for story "The Perfect Setup"]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. May 1, 1952: 20. [Elected secretary of Honor Board]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. June 5, 1952: 6. [Named to Push Committee; member of Alpha Phi Kappa Psi]

"Smith College Club Tea for Freshman and Undergraduates." The Townsman. September 18, 1952: 16.

"Local Registrants at Smith College." The Townsman. September 25, 1952: 13.

"Wellesley Girl's Short Story in Seventeen." The Townsman. October 2, 1952: 12. ["The Perfect Setup"]

"Four Local Girls Win Smith Honors." The Townsman. October 9, 1952: 4. [Named, along with Jane Anderson, a First Group Scholar]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. October 9, 1952: 19. ["Initiation" named prize winning story.]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. December 4, 1952: 5. ["Initiation" is a prize winning story, due out in January]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. December 11, 1952: 20. ["Twelfth Night" (a.k.a. "Cinderella") published in Seventeen]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. December 18, 1952: 5. [On editorial board of Smith Review which re-published "Sunday at the Mintons'"]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. January 8, 1953: 5. ["Initiation" wins prize in Seventeen.]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. March 26, 1953: 14. ["Carnival Nocturne" in Seventeen]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. April 23, 1953: 16. [Serve as correspondent on Press Board.]

"Wellesley Girls Win Prizes at Smith College." The Townsman. May 28, 1953: 17.

"Two Local Girls are Mademoiselle Guests." The Townsman. June 25, 1953: 2.

"Sylvia Plath Found in Good Condition." The Townsman. August 27, 1953: 1.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. April 22, 1954: 18. [Return to Smith from vacation in New York City.]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. May 27, 1954: 2. [Winner of Ethel Olin Corbin Prize]

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. July 1, 1954: 13. [Harvard Summer School scholarship]

"Large Group of Local Girls Enroll at Smith. The Townsman. September 23, 1954: E.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. June 17, 1954: 16. [Bridesmaid in Marcia Brown's wedding]

"Poem by Sylvia Plath in Harper's." The Townsman. November 11, 1954: 8.

"Miss Plath Read Poetry in College Competition." The Townsman. April 21, 1955: 6.

"Miss Plath Receives Alpha Writing Award." The Townsman. April 28, 1955: 4.

"Wellesley Girls to Graduate from Smith." The Townsman. April 28, 1955: 17.

"Sylvia Plath Winner of Mt. Holyoke Prize." The Townsman. May 5, 1955: 2.

"Miss Sylvia Plath Wins Fulbright Scholarship." The Townsman. May 26, 1955: 1.

"Wellesley Smith College Club Annual Meeting." The Townsman. June 9, 1955: 6.

"Miss Plath's Degree is Summa Cum Laude." The Townsman. June 9, 1955: 11.

"Sylvia Plath is Betrothed to Mr. Hughes." The Townsman. November 8, 1956: 4.

"Sylvia Plath Wed in England to Mr. Hughes." The Townsman. December 20, 1956: 5.

"Mrs. E. J. Hughes to Teach English at Smith College." The Townsman. September 26, 1957: 14.

"Sylvia P. Hughes Gets Poetry Prize." The Townsman. October 10, 1957: 2.

"Ted Hughes to Read Poetry at Radcliffe." The Townsman. April 10, 1958: 23.

"New Citizens." The Townsman. April 14, 1960: 3. [Birth of Frieda Hughes]

"Sylvia Plath Hughes Publishes Her Verse." The Townsman. April 14, 1960: 13.

"Ted Hughes Lupercal is Reviewed." The Townsman. August 4, 1960: 9.

"Recent Deaths: Sylvia Plath Hughes." The Townsman. February 21, 1963: 4.

"'A Poet's Epitaph' Honors the Late Sylvia Plath Hughes." The Townsman. March 7, 1963: 3.

"Sylvia Plath's Poems Subject of Article" The Townsman. July 21, 1964: 5.

"Neighborhood News." The Townsman. June 24, 1971: 7.

Ouellet, Norma. "Letters Home Provides Rare Glimpse of Sylvia Plath." The Townsman. November 20, 1975: 1, 8.

Hinchliffe, Elizabeth. "Sylvia Plath - Legacy Lives in Wake of Tragedy." The Wellesley Townsman. April 2, 1981: 17.

Hansmire, Suzanne. "Pulitzer for Plath Thrills Mother Teacher." The Wellesley Townsman. April 15, 1982: 8.

Link accessed on 1 August 2013.

5 comments :

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you for your comment Julia! I hope you enjoy them.

pks

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is an amazing list of articles and a brilliant resources. Your scholarship on Sylvia Plath never ceases to amaze me. You're simply brilliant.

Wendy M

suki said...

Agree with Wendy, it looks fabulous ! What an amazing resource. Thanks for finding it and making the list!

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you very kindly Suki & Wendy. I appreciate your comments very much.

~pks

Syzygy said...

I browsed some of the entries, and I see that Sylvia Plath wrote the words for the 1950 WHS Class Song. The article about the graduation day exercise also says that John Milton Grubbs, an announcer for radio station WCRB, made a tape recording of the program that was later played on the station. Wonder if that recording still exists.

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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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