Sylvia Plath Collections: The Rosenstein Tapes

The Rosenstein tapes are getting use which is wonderful. I hope everyone accessing them is enjoying them and learning new information about Sylvia Plath and her life, times, experiences, and acquaintances. 

Many of the tapes are showing, right now in Emory's The Keep, as undated. This blog post addresses that by presenting the dates listed on Rosenstein's typed interview notes. Email the Rose Library if you want to eavesdrop, too. 

I am offering the interview date information two ways, first is alphabetical by last name of the interviewee. The second way is in date order. If so chosen, the latter way allows you to learn information in just the same fashion that Rosenstein did. It is interesting to see revelations, corrections of errors, and the like. 


Alvarez, Al: 1970 August 8

Avery, John: 1970 August 3

Axworthy, Nancy: 1973 December 5

Bailey, Norman: circa 1975 February 1

Baskin, Leonard: 1971 December 16

Beuscher, Ruth: 1970 June 16

Blackwell, Connie Taylor: 1974 April 20

Booth, Susan O'Neill-Roe: 1973 December 5

Brody, Sally: 1971 December 30

Burton, Kay: 1973 December 11

Compton, David: 1973 December 7

Davies, Winifred: 1970 August 8

Davison, Jane: 1973 November 6 and 1974 August 4

Davison, Peter: 1973 November 6

Fainlight, Ruth and Alan Sillitoe: 1970 August 9

Gibian, George & Smith folks: 1971 December 15

Hayes, Ildiko: Undated, probably circa 1973 December 11-13

Horder, John: 1970 August 12

Jacobson, Dan: 1973 November 10

Jenkins, Alan and Nancy: 1973 December 4

Kane, Marvin: 1973 November 27

Klein, Elinor: 1971 October 11

Kopp, Jane Baltzell: 1974 July 16 and August 2

Lameyer, Gordon: 1974 May 12

Levy, Lisa: 1974 April 18

Lucie-Smith, Edward: 1970 July 28    

Macedo, Helder and Suzanne: 1973 November 27-December 1, and undated

Merwin, W. S.: 1974 April 15-16

Meshoulam, Iko & Felicity: 1973 December 3

Murphy, Richard: 1974 April 19

Norton, Perry & Shirley: 1974 April 12

Orr, Peter: Undated, circa 1970 July 28-29

Plath, Aurelia Schober: Undated (Mrs. Plath is giving a public talk on her daughter)

Pratson, Patricia O'Neill: 1972 February 2

Roche, Clarissa: 1973 November 20

Roche, Paul: 1973 November 21

Rosenthal, Jon: 1971 December 1

Rosenthal, M.L.: 1971 November 9

Secker-Walker, Lorna and David: 1970 July 25

Shook, Margaret (interview and lecture): 1971 December 16-17

Sigmund, Elizabeth: 1973 December 3-4

Steiner, Nancy Hunter: 1971 October 10

Stern, Marcia: 1972 January 20

Thwaite, Anthony: 1973 November 21

Weldon, Fay: 1973 November 19

Wertz, Richard: 1971 September 29

Wober, J. Mallory: 1973 December 7

Woody, J. Melvin: 1972 January 1

Zorn, Carl: 1976 October 27

Unidentified friend of Assia Wevill: Undated circa 1970 July 28-29

Unidentified English couple (possibly the Frankforts or Secker-Walkers): Undated


1970 June 16, Ruth Beuscher

1970 July 25, Lorna and David Secker-Walker

1970 July 28, Edward Lucie-Smith 

1970 July 28-29 (circa), Peter Orr

1970 July 28-29 (circa), Unidentified friend of Assia Wevill

1970 August 3, John Avery 

1970 August 8, Al Alvarez 

1970 August 8, Winifred Davies 

1970 August 9, Ruth Fainlight and Alan Sillitoe 

1970 August 12, John Horder 

1971 September 29, Richard Wertz 

1971 October 10, Nancy Hunter Steiner 

1971 October 11, Elinor Klein 

1971 November 9, M.L Rosenthal 

1971 December 1, Jon Rosenthal 

1971 December 15, George Gibian & Smith folks 

1971 December 16, Leonard Baskin

1971 December 16-17, Margaret Shook (interview and lecture) 

1971 December 30, Sally Brody

1972 January 1, J. Melvin Woody 

1972 January 20, Marcia Stern

1972 February 2, Patricia O'Neill Pratson

1973 November 6, Jane Davison 

1973 November 6, Peter Davison 

1973 November 10, Dan Jacobson

1973 November 19, Fay Weldon 

1973 November 20, Clarissa Roche

1973 November 21, Paul Roche

1973 November 21, Anthony Thwaite

1973 November 27, Marvin Kane 

1973 November 27-December 1, and undated, Helder and Suzanne Macedo

1973 December 3, Iko & Felicity Meshoulam

1973 December 3-4, Elizabeth Sigmund

1973 December 4, Alan and Nancy Jenkins

1973 December 5, Nancy Axworthy

1973 December 5, Susan O'Neill-Roe Booth 

1973 December 7, David Compton

1973 December 7, J. Mallory Wober

1973 December 11, Kay Burton

1973 December 11-13 (Undated, probably circa), Ildiko Hayes 

1974 April 12, Perry & Shirley Norton 

1974 April 15-16, W.S. Merwin 

1974 April 18, Lisa Levy 

1974 April 19, Richard Murphy 

1974 April 20, Connie Taylor Blackwell 

1974 May 12, Gordon Lameyer

1974 July 16 and August 2, Jane Baltzell Kopp 

1974 August 4, Jane Davison 

1975 February 1 (circa), Norman Bailey 

1976 October 27, Carl Zorn 

Undated, Aurelia Schober Plath (Mrs. Plath is giving a public talk on her daughter)

Undated, Unidentified English couple (possibly the Frankforts or Secker-Walkers)

Click here to see the collection's finding aid.  

One gets the impression that some tapes were lost or that some tapes were damaged irreparably, or that, even, some tapes were recorded over at some point. There are a lot more interview notes than there are tapes. And for some, like Ildiko Hayes,  there is an interview tape but no typed notes. Also, I guess one (me, and maybe others) gets the impression that material is missing from these papers. Where, for example, is Rosenstein's collection of Plath's publications? Are we to believe she was doing all this work and did not have a file of poems, stories, and other works? 

If you benefited from this post or any content on the Sylvia Plath Info Blog, my website for Sylvia Plath (A celebration, this is), and @sylviaplathinfo on Twitter, then please consider sending me a tip via PayPal. Thank you for at least considering! All funds will be put towards my Sylvia Plath research.

All links accessed 12 and 13 November 2020.


  1. It's interesting how access to new materials reveals new ghosts--that which is missing or may be lost. Ghostly archives indeed.

  2. These recordings are fascinating -- not just what the interview subjects have to say, but also some of the information and impressions that Rosenstein shares with them. Hearing the recollections conversationally is gives one a much better understanding than reading short quotes. She managed to interview many before they'd been asked the same questions a thousand times, and anecdotes were hardened into well-rehearsed stories. It's also interesting to hear some react to bits of news that they had not heard previously.

    Harriet Weinstein is an excellent interviewer, much like a young Terry Gross, asking insightful questions, keeping the subjects on track and circling back to interesting points, while still letting them wander enough to get into unanticipated territory. Finally, the interviews offer a fascinating look back into the changing society and the changing role of women in that era, and a picture of Smith College at that particular point in time.

  3. Peter - late to the party here, but thank you kindly for posting this information. Having just finished Prof. Clark's fascinating "Red Comet," hearing some of these interviews now is incredible and overwhelming.



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