01 October 2013

Sylvia Plath Archival Collections

Mortimer Rare Book Room
Photo by Gail Crowther
October is American Archives Month. October is also Plath's month. The month of her birth as well as for a month we remember for the wild creativity of October 1962. As such, this month will largely be devoted to highlighting Sylvia Plath archival materials that have previously not been discussed on this blog. Big archives like those held by Smith College, Indiana University, and Emory University will be referred to as they hold micro-collections of materials that include separately cataloged collections as well as collections within collections.

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.


Melanie Smtih said...

Thank you Peter, your archive posts are always fascinating. I hope to visit some of them one day.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Melanie! You're alive! We hope to see you in America someday too. Thank you for your comment and hope you aren't disappointed...


Melanie Smith said...

Yes, still here, nearly drowned the last 10 weeks in finishing up my final year students... Ahhh a few weeks peace before the craziness of final exams.

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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.