16 May 2007

Sylvia Plath collections: UNC Chapel Hill

There are two major collections of Sylvia Plath materials. These archives are held at the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College and the Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. Other smaller collections exist throughout the United States. the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. I will try to find and highlight these collections in case you should be able to go and visit them.

The University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, has a very respectible collection of Plath (& Ted Hughes) materials. Held in the Rare Book Collection at the Wilson Library, the Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Collections "contain approximately 1000 bibliographic items written in whole or in part by the American poet, Sylvia Plath, and her husband and English poet laureate, Ted Hughes. Both collections include first and later lifetime editions, proof copies and other bibliographical variants, broadsides, private press printings, and separate periodical appearances. The collection of Sylvia Plath is especially comprehensive and includes a number of extreme rarities, among them uncorrected proof copies of The Colossus (1960), The Bell Jar (1963), and Ariel (1965). The collection of Hughes also contains an abundance of proof copies and other variants and a complete run of the publications of the Rainbow Press, directed by Hughes and his sister Olwyn. Many of the private press printings were illustrated by the American artist Leonard Baskin. The core portions of both collections were the gifts of James R. and Mary M. Patton. The Rare Book Collection has added substantially to their gifts through purchases in the antiquarian book market."

Here are bibliographic entries of some of their more notable acquisitions:

Sylvia Plath. Three Women. (1962). A small collection of materials relating to the publication of Plath's verse-play, which first appeared in a BBC radio production in August 1962. The collection includes a copy of the mimeographed script employed in the original radio broadcast (S. Tabor, An Analytical Bibliographical of Sylvia Plath, A3a) and later used by the designer, Stanislawa Gliwy, for his production of the Turret Press edition of the work (Tabor A3b.1). This copy is marked up with Gliwy's directions to the printer and is accompanied by a full mock-up of the printed version as well a variety of proof states of selected text pages and of the linocut illustrations. The collection also contains a copy of the final Turret Press edition in unbound sheets. Acquired on the Weil Fund. Uncataloged.

Sylvia Plath. Colossus. New York: Knopf, 1962. First American edition of Plath's first full volume of poetry. This copy is especially interesting as it is inscribed by the author to Alfred Young Fisher, her former poetry professor at Smith College. The book is accompanied by a letter to Professor Fisher, affirming the importance of his teaching for her and requesting his intervention in securing several reams of pink Smith College memo paper, which she commonly used for early drafts of her poems. She enclosed a sample of the paper with the letter. Gift of Mr. F. Weston Fenhagen. Call Number: RBC Patton PS3566.L27 C6 1962, copy 3.

Sylvia Plath. Ariel. London: Faber and Faber, 1965. First edition. This copy is inscribed by Ted Hughes (Plath's husband and the editor of this posthumous work) to Robert Lowell, once Plath's teacher and later the author of the introduction to the American edition of Ariel (1966). Call Number: RBC Patton PS3566.L27 A7 1965, copy 1.

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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.
  • 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. 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, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017.
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2, 1956-1963. London: Faber, 2018.
  • 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. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • 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. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • 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. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • 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. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.