Biography and History

John Orley Allen Tate was born in Winchester, Clarke County, Kentucky, in 1899. He attended Vanderbilt University and graduated magna cum laude in 1922. He married the novelist Caroline Gordon in 1924. Tate was a founding editor of The Fugitive , a magazine of verse published out of Nashville, Tennessee, from 1922 to 1925. The magazine was named for the Fugitives, a group of Southern poets which included Tate and several of his colleagues from Vanderbilt, including John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson, and Merrill Moore. The Fugitives were practitioners and defenders of formal technique in poetry and were preoccupied with the defending the traditional values of the agrarian South against the effects of urban industrialization. [from]

Source: From the finding aid for C0073

Biography and History

(John Orley) Allen Tate (1899-1979), poet, critic, and professor of letters from the American South, was born on November 19 in Winchester, Kentucky. In 1918, he was admitted to Vanderbilt University, where he excelled, earning top honors and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He became the only undergraduate admitted to membership in the Fugitives, an informal group of Southern intellectuals which exerted considerable influence on American letters throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In 1924, Tate married Caroline Gordon, a novelist. They had one child, and he later divorced her to marry Isabella Stewart Gardner. He then divorced Gardner to marry Helen Heinz, with whom he had three children.

Though he lived in France from 1928-1932 in the company of such writers as Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, Tate continued to focus his writings on Southern themes. He published numerous volumes of poetry and prose, including one novel, The Fathers (1938). He was a visiting professor and lecturer at universities throughout the country, including the University of Chicago and Princeton University. He was also a Fulbright professor at the University of Rome and at Oxford University. He was a member of many societies, including the National Institute of Arts and Letters, of which he was president from 1968-1969, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Southern Historical Association, the Princeton Club, and the Authors Club of London. He won numerous awards, including Guggenheim fellowships, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, the National Medal of Literature, and multiple honorary degrees. He died on February 9, 1979 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Source: From the finding aid for C0106

Biography and History

Allen Tate, American poet, edited The Fugitive (1922), wrote interpretive biographies of Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, and published numerous collections of poems and literary criticism.

Source: From the finding aid for C0648


  • Poets, American -- 20th century..
  • Poets, American -- United States -- 20th century..
  • Allen Tate Correspondence with Charles Foster. 1959-1978 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0073

    Consists primarily of correspondence (1959-1974) between American poet Allen Tate and Charles H. Foster, an editor of the New England Quarterly .

  • Allen Tate Papers. 1950-1979 (bulk), 1909-1979 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0106

    Consists of extensive manuscripts, documents, and correspondence of American poet and literary critic Allen Tate, one of the leading members of the Fugitive and Southern Agrarian literary movements.

  • Selected Papers of William Meredith. 1937-1967 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0175

    Consists, for the most part, of letters to American poet William Meredith (Princeton Class of 1940) from American authors, most of whom have been associated with Princeton.

  • Willard Thorp Papers. 1886-1981 (inclusive), 1930-1970 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0292

    The Willard Thorp Papers consists of material which reflects the long careers of American educators, authors, and literary critics Willard and Margaret Thorp. Willard's papers (1923-1981) include correspondence, writings, class lecture notes, documents, journals and diaries, printed matter, photographs, and papers of others during his writing and teaching years at Princeton University. Margaret's papers (1917-1960) include writings, correspondence, journals, notebooks, and family sketchbooks and photographs.

  • Allen Tate Collection. 1931-1979 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0648

    Consists primarily of letters and postcards to various friends, fellow poets, and associates by American poet and editor Allen Tate.

  • Brewster Ghiselin Papers. 1936-1991 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0759

    Brewster Ghiselin was an English professor, literary critic, editor, and poet. The collection contains some of Ghiselin’s works and correspondence. Typescripts, proofs, galleys, Italian translations, phonograph records, a few books, and notes represent his works, while the correspondence consists of letters from his literary friends and colleagues.

  • Sir Frank Kermode Papers. 1940-2010 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1149

    The collection represents the entire extant archive of Sir Frank Kermode, a distinguished British literary critic, and includes writings (reviews, essays, lectures, radio broadcasts), correspondence, photographs, and printed material, as well as material relating to public controversy about the funding for Encounter, which Kermode co-edited.

  • Platform Magazine Collection. 1927-1957 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1161

    Consists of miscellaneous papers related to the short-lived, twentieth-century British literary periodical Platform.