20 July 2016

Sylvia Plath and The Bradford, Part 3: 1949-1950

In Sylvia Plath's senior year at Bradford Senior High, 1949-1950, she was co-editor with Frank Irish of The Bradford.

As with the previous posts covering Plath's first  and second years at high school (posted on 1 July and 7 July, respectively), below is a list of those newspapers which were published during Plath's final year at high school. Here I describe the known contributions Plath made to The Bradford from the fall of 1949 to spring of 1950, as well as the instances where she was mentioned. The list of contributors for each issue appeared on page 2. If Plath's name appeared, I have listed the department and/or role. There are instances where Plath's name was not listed, which we can take to mean she contributed no content or was accidentally left off (though that seems doubtful). The departments typically were Features, News, Business, Sports, Typing, and Art. Each newspaper, excepting April 1949, was a four pages in broadsheet format.

Each newspaper features at least one editorial article, usually two. It is possible Plath authored one or both for each of the six issues while acting as co-editor. In addition, she likely wrote and/or re-wrote much of the copy for the articles too. The full extent of her contributions cannot be estimated.

27 October 1949
Poems "Question" and "White Phlox" on pages 2 and 4, both without byline. While Stephen Tabor writes in C14 of his excellent Annotated Bibliography of Sylvia Plath: "During the academic year 1949-1950 Plath was co-editor of The Bradford, her high school newspaper. She contributed no signed poems or prose, but could have written much of the copy" (104), he did not record "White Phlox" as a contribution ("Question" appears as entry C13). True, they are not signed, but they are contributions. "White Phlox" was printed in August 1952 by the Christian Science Monitor but lacks the final quatrain which appeared in the Bradford publication. As above with "City Streets", Plath included this poem, with the final four lines as appeared in The Bradford, in a letter to Hans-Joachim Neupert. The Lilly Library holds typescripts of both poems.

Mentioned on page 2 as Bradford co-editor; and probably in "Bradford Babble": "How many letters so far, Syl?"

21 December 1950
Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "Scene on Stage: We Gather Today", for reading devotions on 18 November 1949.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

10 February 1950
Mentioned on page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

24 March 1950
Plath's poem "Complaint" without byline, on page 3; as well as a photograph of Plath at a school dance (junior prom) paper on page 1. A copy of this photo is in Plath's high school scrapbook, page 25. The Lilly Library a typescript of the poem.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: Photograph of students dancing, SP among them, taken 18 March 1950.
Page 1: "The Senior Class Presents…"; article about the school play The Admirable Crichton in which SP played the role of Lady Agatha.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.
Page 3: "The Bradford Salutes…", SP named for becoming a member of the National Honor Society.

29 April 1950
Plath's poems "Family Reunion" and "The Farewell" both on page 2 and without byline."Family Reunion" is in Plath's Collected Poems though with some variation in punctuation; and she included "The Farewell" in a letter to Hans-Joachim Neupert. The Lilly Library holds a typescript of "The Farewell" and two typescripts of "Family Reunion" that also has different punctuation.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "The Admirable Crichton -- Outstanding Success!", SP mentioned for her role as Lady Agatha.
Page 1: "Scene on Stage: March 31 --- Carnations: red and white", SP named for becoming a member of the National Honor Society.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

6 June 1950
Mentioned on the following pages:
Pages 1, 4: "1950 Class Prophecy", SP appeared on page 4: "Sylvia Plath is explaining her theory of relativity to Pat O'Neil who is listening, as always, with the patience of Job." Page 1: Aurelia Plath listed as Patron of The Bradford, assisting financially to help get the issue out.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.
Pages 2-3: "Class Will - 1950", SP appeared on page 3: "Sylvia Plath leaves her acting ability to all those junior girls who clutter up the nurse's office."

The first pages of each of the issues:

27 October 1949

21 December 1949

10 February 1950

24 March 1950

29 April 1950

6 June 1950
These papers give a good sense of student life, academics, and sports during Plath's time at high school and as such may be a rich resource for those interested in late 1940s and early 1950s suburban (affluent) education and student writing. Plath carried her interest in journalism with her to Smith College where she participated in Press Board. She also wrote journalistic articles while a student at Newnham College, Cambridge, and later in 1959 while living in Boston, finding some success with the Christian Science Monitor. Once in England, Plath wrote several reviews of children's books and nonfiction that were published in the New Statesman, and also branched into radio reviews on the BBC. And it all started while a student in the Wellesley, Massachusetts, public school system.

To sum, this research yielded several bibliographically unrecorded publications of Plath in the genres of poetry, prose, and artwork.

All links accessed 20 July 2016.

1 comment :

suki said...

Interesting to see Plath's really early work and to see how hard she worked. To once again knowc that Ariel didn't come out of nowhere... But sheer hard work and refining her art...

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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.