In a letter wholly omitted from Letters Home which Plath wrote on 18 May 1953, she writes her mother that recently she had three articles printed in local papers: two in the Daily Hampshire Gazette with a byline and one, a review, appeared anonymously in the Springfield Union. Two of these three articles are listed in Stephen Tabor's excellent Sylvia Plath: An Annotated Bibliography. That means one was omitted, presumably because its existence was not evident.
In the first of the articles, and one of the two included in Tabor's bibliography, Plath writes that the Springfield Union piece was a review of the recent Smith College production of Ring Round the Moon, written by Jean Anouilh and adapted by Christopher Fry. This article "Smith College Play Delights 'Hamp Audience", appeared on May 15, 1953, on page 31. (Please note that the review appeared on page 30 of the West Edition of the Springfield Union, too. Those tricky editors were messing with us!) Plath writes that Ring Round the Moon "treats with with a aplomb the central situation of a beautiful and poverty-stricken ballet dancer made queen for a night at a spectacular ball in a palatial chateau."
|A bit of Plath's review of Ring Round the Moon, |
from the Springfield Union, 15 May 1953, p. 31
|Headline from 16 May 1953 Daily Hampshire Gazette article|
|A portion of Plath's newly found, credited article from|
Daily Hampshire Gazette, 20 May 1953, p. 8
|Full page (low resolution) from the Daily Hampshire Gazette,|
from 20 May 1953, p. 8.
For the most part, Plath's contributions while on Press Board were anonymous. Her calendar's are filled with references to lectures and events attended and covered for the Board. Many likely were printed. The nice thing about the post I did called "Sylvia Plath was busy...did you know..." is that there was direct evidence found at Smith attributing certain articles to her. With time, more might be found. One thing that post failed to acknowledge was that Plath also served on Press Board in her sophomore year, 1951-1952. My apologies for that oversight.
The above 1953 article may not have been Plath's first foray in senior write-ups. Her calendar for 1952 (whilst still a sophomore), held at Lilly Library, indicates that between 8-10 May of that year, she was also doing write-ups, which she called "Senior Personals". On 27 May 1952, the Daily Hampshire Gazette published an article titled "15 Area Girls to Graduate from Smith College June 9" but no author is stated. As you can see below, it is the same format as the 1953 article and similar content. But being unattributed we cannot say for certain if Plath authored this piece, too.
|Possibly by Plath, the senior write-ups from 27 May 1952, |
Daily Hampshire Gazette, p.9.
n.b. The original 18 May 1953 letter to her mother mentioned above where these three articles are referenced, that started this blog post to begin with, is held by the Lilly Library, Indiana University. By my rough count there are a total of 738 letters to Aurelia Plath (sole addressee) from 1943-1963 at the Lilly Library. Not all of these letters are in Letters Home. Of those that are in the 1975 book, there are (about) 341 letters to Aurelia Plath; 19 letters addressed to both Aurelia Plath and Warren Plath; 1 to Aunt Dorothy Benotti (Aurelia Plath's sister); 1 to Eddie Cohen; 1 to her grandparents Frank and Aurelia Schober; 2 to Olive Higgins Prouty; 17 to Warren Plath (sole addressee); and 2 to Warren and Margaret Plath; for a total of 384 letters. Letters Home prints, also, two letters from Plath (a postcard and a birthday poem) that do not appear to be part of the collection at the Lilly Library.
All links accessed 19 May 2014.