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Collection Overview

Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Maxwell Bodenheim Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists chiefly of correspondence of the American poet and novelist Maxwell Bodenheim.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection Consists chiefly of correspondence of the American poet and novelist Maxwell Bodenheim. Included are eleven letters to the author and editor Harry Hansen, primarily regarding the publishing of essays and poems of Bodenheim. There is also a letter from Bodenheim to Walter Winchell, the American newspaper and radio commentator. Also included are two signed typescript poems by Bodenheim. The first is an unpublished work titled "Street Level Jazz" (2 pp.), and the second, titled "To Noel Coward," may have been the one referred to in Bodenheim's letter to Winchell.

In addition, there is a letter from Roy J. Snell to Harry Hansen about Bodenheim. A second letter from Edward T. De Voe to Hansen, dated August 30, 1955, requests information about Bodenheim.

Collection Creator Biography:

Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954

Maxwell Bodenheim was an American poet and novelist who was known as the "King of Greenwich Village Bohemians." His writing brought him international fame during the Jazz Age of the 1920s. He began publishing his earliest verse in Poetry Magazine in 1914, and over the next ten years, he established himself as a leading American author. His poetry books include Minna and Myself (1918), The King of Spain (1928), Bringing Jazz! (1930) and Selected Poems 1914-1944 (1946). His novels include Blackguard (1923), Ninth Avenue (1926), and A Virtuous Girl (1930). However, Bodenheim deteriorated rapidly after his success in the 1920s and 1930s. Before he married his second wife, Grace, he had become a panhandler. His third wife, Ruth, was 28 years his junior. She lived with him in his derelict lifestyle. They were homeless and slept on park benches. Bodenheim and Ruth were eventually murdered by a 25-year-old sociopath dishwasher, Harold Weinberg, whom they befriended on the streets of the Village.

Collection History


The poem "Street Level Jazz" was a gift of Lew Ney in , Jan. 1948 .

The rest of the material was purchased on March 1, 1999 . 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

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on April 24, 2009. Finding aid written by Lauren Kustner on April 28, 2009. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

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:

Maxwell Bodenheim 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