Department of Special Collections
Washington University in St. Louis
Finding-Aid for the William Everson Papers (WTU00042)Finding aid prepared by:
Special Collections Staff
William Everson. Papers,
Everson, William, 1912-1994
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130
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Processed by Washington University Department Special Collections Staff. EAD encoded finding-aid completed by Sonya
McDonald, August 2004.
The political and spiritual journeys of William Everson were the subject and
inspiration for much of his writing. He was born in California and began his
university studies in 1931. Everson never finished college, but left in 1935 to
write poetry. He was a conscientious objector during the latter years of World War
II and was associated with Kenneth Rexroth and his circle in San Francisco in the
late 1940's. Everson converted to Roman Catholicism in 1949, joined the Catholic
Workers Movement, and eventually entered the Dominican Religious Order in 1950,
taking the name of Brother Antoninus. Everson's religious commitments removed him
from the literary scene for a number of years, but the San Francisco Renaissance of
the late 1950's drew him out and he reappeared in 1957. He left the Dominican order
in 1971 and taught press printing at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Everson produced numerous books of poetry and prose under his given name and as
Brother Antoninus. Much of his work arose from his political/ethical positions prior
to his religious conversion (notably his War Elegies
(1944) and Waldport Poems (1944), which were written
and printed at the Waldport Work Center for conscientious objectors) and from his
religious convictions after 1949. Critics have had both extremely positive and
extremely negative reactions to Everson's poetry, much of which is autobiographical.
Some have praised him for his honesty and intensity, while others have condemned him
for dishonesty and pretentiousness. Everson was involved in printing from his youth
(his father was a professional printer), but first became active as a printer at
Waldport in the 1940's, where he was a co-founder of the Untide Press. Since then he
pursued the art of printing with a hand-press, producing both his work and works by
others, and became a recognized master of this art. He produced many fine books
under the Lime Kiln Press imprint.
Collection Scope and Content Note
Scope and Contents Note
The Everson Papers include corresondence between the author and the well-known book
dealer Henry Wenning. Wenning was a friend and confidante to a great number of
authors, many of whom are included in Washington University's Modern Literature
Collection. He acted as publisher for Everson's poetry collection, the Blowing of the Seed (1966), and much of this
correspondence deals with this book. The collection also contains a number of poetry
manuscripts and galley proofs bearing Everson's corrections.
Bartlett, Lee and Allan Campo. William Everson, A Descriptive
Bibliography , 1934-1976. (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1977).
Lapper, Gary. A Bibliographic Introduction to Seventy-Five
American Authors . (Berkeley: Serndipity Books, 1976).
- Everson, William, 1912-1994
- Duncan, Robert, 1919-1988
- Van Duyn, Mona, 1921-