Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Bishop, Elizabeth, 1911-1979
Kit and Ilse Barker Collection of Elizabeth Bishop
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists primarily of over 250 letters and postcards (1952-1979) written by American poet Elizabeth Bishop to her English friends Ilse and Kit Barker, and includes many photographs of Bishop's home in Brazil.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of over 250 letters and postcards (1952-1979) written by Bishop to her English friends Ilse and Kit Barker. In them she describes her years in Brazil, a move to San Francisco in 1968, and her years of teaching at Harvard, and comments on her own work and that of fellow poets, such as Robert ("Cal") Lowell. In addition, there are a number of small, black/white photographs of Bishop's house in Brazil taken during renovations, some scenes in Brazil, a 1969 color photograph of Bishop with filmmaker Maryette Charlton, three larger views (1970) of her house interior, and two 6" x 9" exterior views. Almost all of these bear Bishop's handwritten captions on the verso. Also included are a softcover edition (1975) of The Complete Poemsinscribed to Ilse and Kit Barker by Bishop, who also made holograph corrections to three poems (pp. 121, 155, 177), and several miscellaneous items, such as a letter (1954) from an English dog breeder about Bishop's interest in exporting a dog to Brazil; a map of Maine with Bishop's typed note about her place there; and a brochure about a park in Rio de Janeiro, with Bishop's holograph note.


Organized into the following groups: Letters / Postcards (1952-1979), Manuscripts, Photographs, The Complete Poems, and Miscelleneous.

Collection Creator Biography:


American poet Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8, 1911, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Vassar College in 1934. Bishop traveled widely and lived for many years in Brazil with her partner Lota (Maria Carlota) de Macedo Soares. Among her many awards were the Pulitzer Prize for A Cold Spring(1955) and the National Book Award for Geography III (1976).

Collection History


Letters to Kit and Ilse Barker purchased in 1985. Additions purchased in 2008.


No appraisal information is available.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Kit and Ilse Barker Collection of Elizabeth Bishop; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1