Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Edgar Lee Masters Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes and 2.21 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2


Consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and photographs of noted American poet Edgar Lee Masters.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of miscellaneous material by and about Masters: correspondence, typescripts of poetry, a photo album (1983) with comments by Alice Davis Tibbetts, an autograph manuscript by John Cowper Powys titled "The Real Edgar Lee Masters," and a copy of the 100th anniversary booklet of the Chelsea Hotel which contains a poem by Masters. There are also two versions, with holograph corrections, of Masters' poem "Let Us Build America Again." Correspondents include Ernest Briggs, Edwina Stanton Babcock, Harry Barnard, Gertrude Boatwright Claytor, Emory Holloway, Frank Prentice Rand, and Irita Taylor Van Doren. Also includes an original charcoal portrait of Edgar Lee Masters by Walter Tittle.


Arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950.

Edgar Lee Masters, American poet, novelist, and biographer, is best known as the author of the Spoon River Anthology (1915). Born in Garnett, Kansas, in 1868, he maintained a successful law practice in Chicago, Illinois, from 1892 to 1920, and made his debut as a poet in 1898 with A Book of Verse. After retiring from practicing law, he devoted himself entirely to writing. He died in Philadelphia on March 5, 1950.

Collection History


The "Let Us Build America Again" material was a gift of Irita Taylor Van Doren.

Twenty-one letters, four poems, and five "spoofs" were purchased.

The album of photographs was a gift of Alice Davis Tibbetts.

The letter to Gertrude Claytor and the manuscript by John Cowper Powys were gifts of Mrs. Graham Claytor. Various AM.

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by James Flannery on January 25, 2006. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing 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.

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:

Edgar Lee Masters Collection; 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 1-2