|Mortimer Rare Book Room|
Photo by Gail Crowther
Everything is connected and a visit to one archive, or the discovery of a new one, has a relationship to materials held in other archives. Some of the archives I consulted in the traditional fashion: visiting the temperature controlled reading room in a university library setting. However I think the majority were visited via cyber-space and through email requests...leaving the hunt to the good archivists and often being pleased with positive results. I prefer the former, the visit & the planning & the excitement of turning over a page myself and seeing Plath's handwriting, signature or typed return address. All the papers in all the archives are pieces of a puzzle that enables a researcher to reconstruct aspects and creations of Plath's life that are now separated. The archive forms the center of the Plath universe, being the remnants of the production of her life. The posts you will read highlight brand new archival finds (to me) as well as older archives that I have known about but never posted on (some posts I drafted as many as three or four years ago). They will also refer to previously mentioned collections for which more information was learned, and to archival materials that might be familiar to some but that may have largely gone unnoticed, under-utilized, etc.
Currently I have in mind more than twelve posts, which I hope to post every Tuesday and Friday. So as to not totally inundate you all with information, this will extend beyond October and into November (every month is archive month!). When I discuss Plath's letters, paraphrasing will be used. This is not ideal, but it is the best option for now. And I should add, not surprisingly, that in the process of uncovering some of these documents they were located with Ted Hughes materials too.
The documents I discuss are largely materials that might have gone into a next "These Ghostly Archives" paper, the series of archival conversations and stories of discovery, inquiry, and revelation which I have co-written with Gail Crowther between 2009-2013 (see this page of my website to read them). But as there are no plans for now to continue on with that series, it seems better to blog about the materials that have since been located.
As I post each collection, I will be updating the list of Plath materials on the Archival Collections page of my website for Sylvia Plath, A celebration, this is.
All links accessed 25 September 2013.