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Collection Overview

Merwin, W.S. (William Stanley), 1927-2019
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
W. S. Merwin Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and galler proofs of W. S. Merwin, one of the most influential American poets of the latter 20th century.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and galley proofs of Merwin. There are nine letters by Merwin to poetry editor Stephen Berg, addressed from France and dating from 10 August 1966 to 19 August 1969. Accompanying his letters are a short autobiographical statement, twenty-one typed poems (mostly carbons), and one prose article entitled "An Open Form" (signed typescript, 2 pp., with holograph corrections) . The poems include "Fear," "A Debt," "It Is March," and "The River of Bees." A galley proof of Merwin's 1963 book of poems called Moving Target includes marginal notations in pencil by Prof. Thomas Roche. In addition, there is one autograph letter by Merwin to Princeton University's recording secretary, Frederick Fox, dated 15 March 1964.


Folders are arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Merwin, W.S. (William Stanley), 1927-2019

W. S. (William Stanley) Merwin is one of the most influential American poets of the latter 20th century. Graduating from Princeton University in 1948, Merwin made a name for himself as an anti-war poet during the 1960's. Later, he evolved toward mythological themes and developed a unique prosody characterized by indirect narration and the absence of punctuation. His works include A Masque for Janus (1952), The Carrier of Ladders (1970), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1971, and Migration: New & Selected Poems (2005).

Collection History


Correspondence with Steve Berg, poems, and galley purchased on April 9, 1980 (AM80-106, 21779).

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

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on August 14, 2007. Finding aid written by Traci Ballou-Broadnax on August 14, 2007. 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.

Credit this material:

W. S. Merwin Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
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