Contents and Arrangement

Writings, 1935-2016

34 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of drafts of both individual works and full-length books and book projects by John Ennis in various stages of completion, along with proofs, poem lists, notebooks and loose notes, source materials, research, photographs, cover designs, publicity materials, reviews, correspondence, and press clippings related to Ennis's writings. While the vast majority of materials relate to his poetry, both published and unpublished, a smaller number pertain to musical works created in collaboration with composer Eric Sweeney for which Ennis composed lyrics, drafts of unpublished short stories from the 1970s, and Ennis's 1997 PhD thesis on the use of myth and archetypes in his own poetry.

Draft materials exist for all nineteen of Ennis's books of poetry published in print from 1976 to 2016, as well as for an additional poetry collection he published online, three early book-length collections, several of which are annotated by his mentor Seán Lucy, and three more recent collections, marked "future," that were unpublished at the time the papers arrived at the library. Drafts and related materials that were maintained together by the author and discernibly related to a specific book project are arranged by poetry collection. Drafts of single poems that were not clearly filed with materials for a specific book project are arranged by individual poem, though there may be some overlap in content between the two organizational schemes. While materials arranged by poetry collection generally include a full range of draft, editorial, and publicity materials, often including drafts of individual poems; materials arranged by individual poem consist only of various drafts of a poem, sometimes accompanied by a related clipping or page of notes. There is also a small group of general poetry notebooks and notes that contain drafts of miscellaneous poems and other writings. Researchers interested in Ennis's poetry should also note that poems Ennis wrote while working on a specific book project were sometimes ultimately published in a later book; as a result, drafts of poems published in a later book may sometimes be found with files for an earlier book.

Ennis's writings, which are often heavily revised, are also frequently accompanied by source materials, such as the newspaper clippings, magazines, pamphlets, maps, and brochures that provided both inspiration and factual details for his poems. His extensive notes also regularly include his own personal analysis of his writing, and his poem lists shed light on his process for assembling collections of poems for publication.


Materials related to Ennis's poetry are split into three file groups: those arranged by poetry collection, those arranged by individual poem, and notebooks and loose notes containing drafts of various poems. Other materials are arranged into file groups by type of writing.

Collection History


No materials were separated during 2017 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in Spring-Summer 2017, with assistance from Kathryn Antonelli, Julia English '19, Fiona Bell '18, Sophia Alvarez '18, and Rachel Dubin '17. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in Spring-Summer 2017, with assistance from Julia English '19.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

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:

Writings; John Ennis Papers, C1563, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Boxes B-000912 to B-000937, B-000950 to B-000957