1940-1952. [Women] [Poetry]
Archive of Handwritten and Typescript Poems by Agnes Louise Dean, 1940-1952
Two poems handwritten in pencil, each on a single sheet measuring 8 ½” x 5 ½”; brad-bound narrative poem on thin yellow copy paper, 44 pp.; 115 poems typed rectos only on 165 pp. ranging from 5” x 3 ½” card to 11” x 8 ½” paper. Housed in four original file folders. Very Good condition overall; a few small stains, a bit of light edgewear and toning.
This is a collection of 118 poems written by Agnes Louise Dean. Dean was born in Minneapolis in 1882. In 1900 she graduated from Minneapolis’ Central High School, where she won first prize in the Gale contest for her essay “The Minstrelsy of Nations.” She graduated from Smith, and in the 1940s taught English language and literature at Mount Holyoke College. Throughout the course of her life, this poet was somewhat of a wanderer; we know she applied for her U.S. passport and returned through Ellis Island from Liverpool, England as a 27-year-old single woman in 1909. At 40, while living in Massachusetts, she traveled to Bermuda, and she also lived in at least five other locations: Excelsior, Minnesota; Ojai, California; Jeffrey, New Hampshire; Philadelphia; and Tryon, North Carolina. She died in Tryon in 1952
Dean published six volumes of verse and stories for children between 1941 and 1951, with a seventh volume of her work published after her death by her cousin in 1958. This archive contains two poems handwritten in pencil (“New Books” and “Train at Night”), the typescript of an unpublished narrative poem (“New Books for Michael”), and a collection of 115 typed poems, 67 of which are signed by Dean. Some poems appear in duplicate or triplicate. A few poems have personal comments written on the lower margin, e.g., beneath “My Rocking-Chair” she has written, “This was a little Boston rocker I gave my namesake long ago.” On some of the poems she has written in pencil, “sold” and very occasionally “not sold,” but the majority of the poems have no indication whether they were ever published. Dean indicated on one of the file folders housing the poems that the contents were written between 1948 and 1950; however, given that one of the poems is signed and dated 1940, and that seven different home addresses appear on the typescripts, it is more likely that these poems represent her work over a longer period of time. One folder is composed exclusively of poems written by Dean when she lived in Tryon, North Carolina, from 1949 to 1950; another’s contents predominantly reflect her South Hadley, Massachusetts address. A nice collection of work from a noted female poet. Item #373