01 December 2015

When Sylvia Plath Rocked Cleveland

In late September and early October I took a vacation, the purpose of which was to enjoy the last hold of summer and enjoy the American pastime: baseball. I found myself in Cleveland, Ohio, a city in which there is almost nothing to do (it took me 6 hours of walking around just to find a postcard).

So, before attending the Minnesota Twins versus the Cleveland Indians baseball game that night, a game won by the Twins and in which I caught a home run ball hit during Twins batting practice, I visited the Cleveland Public Library to, of course, look through microfilm of their 1953 newspapers. As you do, right?

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer was available through a database but I did not find an article there. Two other papers, the Cleveland News and the Cleveland Press were available on microfilm only so I spent an hour or so looking through the papers this way. Happily! I found one article in each paper, which adds to the list of articles on Plath's first suicide attempt/disappearance.

"Smith College Student Missing." Cleveland News. August 26, 1953: 1.
"Hunt Top Student." Cleveland Press. August 26, 1953: 12.

These two articles bring the total up to 198 articles found.

Before Cleveland, in Cincinnati which is a city with even less to do (especially during the rain delay of the Chicago Cubs versus the Cincinnati Reds baseball game), it did not occur to me to look through their microfilm in their public library (which has a beautiful book sculpture on Vine Street). We were so bored one day by 8 a.m. that I asked my wife if we could pop over to the Lilly Library for the day but she said no.

I requested the Cincinnati newspaper via Interlibrary Loan so perhaps the city might have covered it and will redeem itself, somehow. That's disingenuous and maybe unfair as the food was fine at Taste of Belgium and Melt Eclectic. The other city we hit, Pittsburgh, was amazing on all fronts: feel/vibe, food, ballpark and quality of baseball.

Later . . . not like you can tell . . . But after a couple of weeks the Boston Public Library received the Cincinnati Enquirer for me on microfilm via Interlibrary loan and the Queen City only marginally redeemed itself by yielding an addition article on Plath's first suicide attempt, bringing our total to 199.

"Missing Student Found." Cincinnati Enquirer. August 27, 1953: 11.

See the complete, in progress, bibliography here.

Some images of the beautiful ballparks at night:

Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark
Cleveland's Progressive Field
Pittsburgh's PNC Park

All links accessed 6 October 2015.

You can see a bibliography of articles on Plath's first suicide attempt, and read PDF's of them, over at A celebration, this is.


Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed your blog and I find it very informative. However, I think that your assessment of Cincinnati is very unfair. This post makes me think that you're a pretentious jerk.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm sorry that you found my impressions of Cincinnati disparaging and disappointing. While I may be a pretentious jerk, perhaps I should just stick to Sylvia Plath and not travel writing?

I do hope that you do not lose hope in the blog as a result of this. I would look forward to more comments from you on Plath-related matters.

With kind regards,

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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. 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. "'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.