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Collection Overview

Weiss, Theodore Russell
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Quarterly Review of Literature (QRL) Archives
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
60 boxes and 26.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-59; 16A


The Quarterly Review of Literature ( QRL) Archives consists primarily of the issue and correspondence files of the independent literary journal of the same name that was founded in 1943 by Warren Carrier, and co-edited and published from 1944-1999 by the husband and wife team of Theodore (Ted) and Renée Weiss. Theodore Weiss was professor of English and creative writing at Princeton University from 1967 to 1987. Over the course of his career as a poet, educator, and QRL editor, Weiss corresponded with many leading literary figures of the modern era, such as poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams, and literary theorist/critic Paul De Man, and published their early work in the QRL. Also present in the collection are manuscripts of, and associated material from, eleven of Weiss's thirteen published books of poetry.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of the archives of the Quarterly Review of Literature ( QRL). An independent magazine, it originally published poetry, fiction, reviews, articles, and criticism. In 1948, QRL began focusing primarily on poetry, fiction, and plays, before switching solely to the publication of whole volumes of modern poetry in 1978 with the launching of the QRL Poetry Series. Included in the archives are correspondence files with most of the magazine's contributors, such as Louise Bogan, Clarence Brown, Robert Coover, e. e. cummings, Roger Hecht, Jane Hirshfield, Edmund Keeley, Robert Lowell, William Meredith, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Allen Tate, William Carlos Williams, James Wright, and Paul De Man. Also present are the QRL issue files containing almost complete files (1943-1999) of many of the manuscripts submitted for publication (with the exception of a few issues from 1944, 1945, 1974-1977, and 1981). Some of these manuscripts have author's corrections, such as Ralph Ellison's manuscripts for his posthumously published novel, Juneteenth (Vol. XIII). Other Ellison materials are present for "The Roof, the Steeple and the People," (Vol. X, No. 1/2-3) and "Night-Talk," (Vol. XVI). In addition, the collection also includes 11 magnetic audiotapes with readings of plays, including one, in Russian, with the voice of Boris Pasternak.

In addition to the QRL archives, there are manuscripts of Theodore Weiss's own papers, and manuscripts or corrected proofs for his works of poetry including The Catch (1951), Gunsight (1962), Fireweeds (1976), Recoveries (1982), and From Princeton One Autumn Afternoon: Collected Poems 1950-1986 (1987).


The collection has been arranged in the following series:

Collection Creator Biography:


Theodore Russell Weiss (born December 16, 1916) was a poet, educator and editor, who, along with his wife, Renée Karol Weiss, edited and published the independent literary journal Quarterly Review of Literature for nearly six decades. Theodore (Ted) Weiss graduated from Muhlenberg College with an A.B. in 1938, and from Columbia University with a M.A. in 1940. He began his academic career at the University of Maryland (summer of 1941), then taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1942-44), Yale University (1944-46), Bard College (1947-66), and Princeton University (1966-87), where he was the William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor for Ancient and Modern Literature from 1977 until his retirement in 1987. Weiss' work was published widely, including the following books of poetry: The World Before Us: Poems, 1950-1970 (Macmillan, 1970), Fireweeds (Macmillan, 1976), A Slow Fuse: New Poems (Macmillan, 1984), and A Sum of Destructions (Louisiana State University Press, 1995). He died in April of 2003 in Princeton, NJ.

Collection History


The Princeton University Library purchased the archives of the Quarterly Review of Literature from its long-time editors and publishers, Theodore and Renée Weiss, in the summer of 2000 .

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information:

Barbara Volz performed the preliminary processing of the collection, while Sylvia Yu completed its organization and wrote the finding aid. Matthew Fisher compiled and wordprocessed the QRL Author Index and Box/Folder listing.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Access to the magnetic audiotapes is restricted.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Quarterly Review of Literature (QRL) Archives; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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