Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities

Student Research in Beinecke Collections

Posted in Beinecke Library, Yale Collection of American Literature by beineckepoetry on May 25, 2012

Katherine Fein, Yale College Class of 2014

Quite a Story to Tell: The Laughs and Loves of Mary Welsh

written for Professor John Gaddis, The Art of Biography, HIST215J

An excerpt:

Fargo, 1942
Mary Welsh was not yet accustomed to seeing her name in print, even though she worked as a journalist. At Time, correspondents like her collaborated in their reporting, and the magazine was printed without bylines. But on December 6, 1942, Mary’s name made a headline, when the Fargo Forum ran a piece entitled, “True Hollywood Touch to Mary Welsh’s Story.”1  Most likely, Mary had not been surprised when the Fargo Forum interviewed her for this profile, since she was already a celebrity back home in Bemidji, a small town in Minnesota about 100 miles east of Fargo, North Dakota.2   In a community of farmers, loggers, and fishermen, her European adventures had all the exotic appeal of a Hollywood drama: the short profile began cinematically, “Beauty with Brains Beats the Boys to the News Fronts; Romance Flowers in the Blackouts of London, Paris, and Cairo; Glamour Girl Travels with Invading Army.”3  It went on to describe her coverage of the Munich Agreement of 1938, her flight to England as the Nazis invaded France, and her marriage to fellow journalist Noel Monks.

Many people asked Mary to tell her story, and, never one to be shy, Mary acquiesced with a smile. Mary Welsh’s story is one of personalities and encounters, of war and fear, and of laughs and loves. Much of the Hollywood touch in Mary’s story comes from her natural glamour, wit, and spirit of adventure; the rest lies in the extraordinary circumstances she sought out for herself. Mary befriended great men, visited great places, and witnessed great events. The more people she met and places she went, the more she craved greater companions and greater surroundings. All the while, Mary wrote down what she saw, in letters, diaries, and official war correspondence. Her friends and colleagues thought her a great storyteller, mostly because while telling a story, Mary always wore her charming smile, capable of disarming even the greatest of men and hiding Mary’s private doubts.

Read the whole article: Katherine Fein, “Quite a Story to Tell: The Laughs and Loves of Mary Welsh”

About the Beiencke Library collections: Mary Welsh Hemingway Papers (YCAL MSS 392) ; Ernest Hemingway Collection (YCAL MSS 199)

Image: Ernest Hemingway and Mary Welsh Hemingway at At the Havana International Yacht Club Havana, Cuba  (from Snapshots Of Mary Welsh Hemingway By Kenneth Koyen)

1 “True Hollywood Touch to Mary Welsh’s Story,” Fargo Forum, 6 December 1942. Mary Welsh Hemingway Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
2 Mary Welsh Hemingway Collection, Beltrami County Historical Society.
3 “True Hollywood Touch to Mary Welsh’s Story,” Mary Hemingway Papers, Kennedy Library.

The Grand Eleusinian Spectacle

Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on May 14, 2012

Playbill for an evening’s entertainment at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, London, England: The Grand Eleusinian Spectacle of Magic & Mystery, by Professor Anderson, The Great Wizard of The North … Monday, Oct. 22nd, 1855 …

New Research from the Beinecke Collections

New from the University of Iowa Press: The American H. D., by Annette Debo

In The American H.D., Annette Debo considers the significance of nation in the artistic vision and life of the modernist writer Hilda Doolittle. Her versatile career stretching from 1906 to 1961, H.D. was a major American writer who spent her adult life abroad; a poet and translator who also wrote experimental novels, short stories, essays, reviews, and a children’s book; a white writer with ties to the Harlem Renaissance; an intellectual who collaborated on avant-garde films and film criticism; and an upper-middle-class woman who refused to follow gender conventions. Her wide-ranging career thus embodies an expansive narrative about the relationship of modernism to the United States and the nuances of the American nation from the Gilded Age to the Cold War.

Making extensive use of material in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale—including correspondence, unpublished autobiographical writings, family papers, photographs, and Professor Norman Holmes Pearson’s notes for a planned biography of H.D.—Debo’s American H.D. reveals details about its subject never before published. Adroitly weaving together literary criticism, biography, and cultural history, The American H.D. tells a new story about the significance of this important writer.

Written with clarity and sincere affection for its subject, The American H.D. brings together a sophisticated understanding of modernism, the poetry and prose of H.D., the personalities of her era, and the historical and cultural context in which they developed: America’s emergence as a dominant economic and political power that was riven by racial and social inequities at home.

Beiencke Collections: H. D. Papers; Bryher Papers; Norman Holmes Pearson Papers

“In The American H.D., Annette Debo examines the importance of the history and identity of America—in the context of theories of nation-state and nation-building—to H.D.’s artistic vision. Debo’s opening chapters invoke the world into which H.D. was born—a mere generation after the end of the Civil War, a decade after the end of Reconstruction—as characterized by a diverse country defining itself as homogenous. Debo’s analysis of the telling influence of the Harlem Renaissance on H.D.’s work comprises a nuanced reading of H.D.’s study of whiteness itself. A final chapter addressing the fraught relationship between women of H.D.’s class and the concept of nation will take its place as a significant corrective to the field of H.D. scholarship. This magisterial study of H.D. as a quintessentially American writer will forever change how we read and teach this great twentieth-century poet.”—Cynthia Hogue, Arizona State University

The American H.D. reminds us that the nomadic lives of expatriate modernists contain within their transnational scope a rootedness in the landscapes, literary cultures, histories, and politics of their place of national origin. Doing for H.D. what Wendy Flory’s The American Ezra Pound did for its subject, Debo charts the biographical, political, and literary traces of H.D.’s Americanness. The land- and seascapes of H.D.’s national identity constitute a kind of ‘environmental determinism’ that shapes her literary identifications and placement within an American literary canon that includes Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson, and Moore. A valuable addition to the growing corpus of work on H.D., The American H.D. is a thoroughly researched and illuminating examination of the tensions between the exilic and the national as they played out in her life and work.”—Susan Stanford Friedman, author, Analyzing Freud: Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle

Back to the Garden.

Posted in Beinecke Library by beineckepoetry on May 7, 2012

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