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

Finding-Aid for the William Everson Papers (WTU00042)

Finding aid prepared by:
Special Collections Staff

Summary Information
Title: William Everson. Papers,
Creator: Everson, William, 1912-1994
Inclusive dates: ca. 1942-1971.
Extent: 199 items
Call number: WTU00042
Language: English
Repository: Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130

Access and Use:
Source of Collection:

Access Restrictions:


Use Restriction:


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.

Processing Information:

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).

Subject Terms

  • Everson, William, 1912-1994
  • Duncan, Robert, 1919-1988
  • Van Duyn, Mona, 1921-