Sylvia Plath's Empty Calendar Boxes

Plath's 1950-1953 journal

Entry 118 in Sylvia Plath's journals shows her using some of her own primary source materials that she used in her active daily life which are held now in her archives. 

Of course, the journal is an object we all know of, and a document with which some have even worked. But she references her wall calendar which she had with her that year at Smith College, in Wellesley, and in Swampscott, at the least.  

Plath writes in her journal: "Suddenly, I stopped dead. I had opened my calendar to the month of August as usual, to write in the neat white box labeled with day and date, a scant summary of the activities completed in the last 12 hours. Sickened, I saw that I had unwittingly completed the last day of August. Tomorrow would be September. God!" (93).

Because Plath's archives are dispersed all over the place, sometimes it can only be through visiting multiple archives, multiple times, before things really crystallize and make sense. This is what happened to me when I was interested in researching the poetry pamphlet anthology Plath edited in 1961, American Poetry Now, for the Critical Quarterly. You can read about that experience in Chapter 7 of These Ghostly Archives (Amazon).

The journal (topmost photograph) is held by Smith College. The calendar by the Lilly Library at Indiana University at Bloomington. Having access to the materials that Plath worked with simultaneously is really helpful in putting together the pieces that constitute aspects of her life. 

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All links accessed 16 September 2021.