Manuscripts
Department of Special Collections
Washington University Libraries
Washington University in St. Louis

Finding-Aid for the Conrad Aiken Papers (WTU00003)

Finding aid prepared by:
Special Collections Staff

Summary Information
Title: Conrad Aiken. Papers,
Creator: Aiken, Conrad, 1899-1973
Inclusive dates: 1917-1962.
Extent: 216 items
Call number: WTU00003
Language: English
Repository: Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130


Access and Use:
Source of Collection:

Access Restrictions:

Open.

Use Restriction:

None

Users of the collections must read and abide by the Rules for the use of manuscript collection materials.

Users of the collections who wish to use items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication (as defined in the form) must sign and submit to the Washington University Department of Special Collections a hard copy of the Notification of intent publish manuscript collection materials form.

All publication not covered by fair use restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder.


Biography

Aiken, though neglected today and largely unappreciated during his lifetime, is one of the most significant figures in the development of American Modernism. Aiken enrolled at Harvard in 1907, thus qualifying him as a member of one of the famous classes of 1910-1915 which included T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, John Reed, Robert Benchley, and Walter Lippmann. Leaving Harvard in his senior year, Aiken embarked on the first of several trips to Europe. There he met Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell who were then launching the Imagist movement. Soon after his graduation, Aiken moved to Europe and began writing and reviewing for New Republic , Poetry , Dial , and other periodicals. By 1925, he was settled in Boston and well into a writing career that produced more than 50 books of poetry, fiction, and criticism.


Collection Scope and Content Note

Scope and Contents Note

Although they consist of only 216 items, Washington University's Conrad Aiken Papers (WTU00003) represent one of the more interesting groups of material in the Modern Literature Collection. The Conrad Aiken Papers consist entirely of material from his long-standing correspondence with Robert Linscott, an editor with Houghton-Mifflin and later senior editor for Random House. Aiken and Linscott began their long friendship in 1917 and Linscott helped Aiken publish several of his works. Aiken's letters to Linscott document the progress of his work and often reflect Aiken's extreme frustration at his lack of popular success. In them, Aiken describes his personal situation, particularly his two divorces, and his dealings with friends and associates, notably T.S. Eliot and John Gould Fletcher. The letters provide an insider's view of the literary scene, particularly in England during the 1920's. Above all, the Aiken-Linscott correspondence stands as a monument to a friendship that is remarkable for its longevity and its openness.

Bibliography:

Bonnell, F.C. and F.W., comp. Conrad Aiken, a Bibliography (1902-1978). (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1982).

Harris, Catherine Kirk. Critical Recognition, 1914-1981: A Bibliographic Guide . (New York: Garland Publishing, 1983).

First Printings of American Authors . Vol. 4. (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1977-1979).

Subject Terms

  • Aiken, Conrad, 1899-1973
  • Linscott, Robert N., 1888-1962