-- Amy Clampitt papers (2024)

The Amy Clampitt papers consist of materials related to Clampitt's work as a writer and her personal life, encompassing most of her lifespan. The collection, dating from 1900 to 2020, is arranged into twelve series that comprise Correspondence; Manuscripts; Notes, Notebooks, and Datebooks; Personal files; Photographs; Teaching files; Press; Writings by Others; Finances and Contracts; and the Willard Spiegelman Files.

As Clampitt did not begin her poetry career until she was in her forties, a large section of the collection predates this work. This covers her education, careers, and early writings, including juvenilia. Materials produced by her family that pre-date her birth are also present.

Clampitt kept up an extensive correspondence with family, friends, and other writers, and the majority of the collection is dedicated to this correspondence. These close ties to her family and friends are reflected throughout the collection, which contains family papers as well as posthumous recollections on Clampitt produced by those who were close to her. Items from the last years of Clampitt's life detail her health issues. Personal photographs, mostly of friends, family, and travel, make up the majority of the photographs present. Photographs related to literary events are limited. Clampitt's interest in the arts, sciences, and various social justice causes are reflected throughout the collection, usually in the form of press clippings collected by her.

Clampitt's notebooks are extensive, and were often interleaved with mementos. Clampitt's work as a teacher at various institutions is represented through correspondence, materials used to create lessons, and the work of students. Clampitt's writing is represented throughout the various drafting stages. Her poetry is highly represented, but so are her prose works, including essays and reviews, work produced at the Audubon Society and Oxford University Press, and her lone dramatic piece Mad With Joy.

Clampitt's biographer, Willard Spiegelman, is present mostly through materials that were sent to him by Clampitt's family, with added commentary.

The Amy Clampitt papers are arranged in thirteen series:

  • Series I: Correspondence


    Series I is the largest series in the collection and holds a mix of personal and professional correspondence, much of which pre-dates Clampitt's poetry career. Clampitt corresponded frequently with her family, friends, and several international pen pals throughout her life. Her letters to her family are extensive, and consist of a few "round robin" letters that were sent to many members of the Clampitt family. Most of the outgoing correspondence is to her family. She also had frequent correspondence with other writers on the topics of literature and poetry, and occasionally received the poems of others for her review. In additionto Clampitt's family, the most extensive correspondence are with the poet Mary Jo Salter, the Alfred A. Knopf publishingcompany, the PEN American Center, and The New Yorker. Also present are numerous letters from the 1940s from correspondents serving in World War II.

    Of particular note are letters from literary agents in the 1950s, when Clampitt was first seeking to become a published author. There are a number of postcards throughout this series, and some letters contain photographs.

    There is a small amount of correspondence that is related to Clampitt, but is not by or from her. Most of this correspondence is from the last year of life or after her death, much of which is condolence letters. The most extensive of this correspondence was sent to or by Harold Korn.

    The series is arranged into incoming correspondence, outgoing correspondence, and related correspondence about Clampitt.

  • 1930-1999

    The Manuscripts series contains the various manuscript stages of Clampitt's books of poetry, individual poems, drama, and prose, including handwritten edits and notes. The series contains the most material on the books of poetry Archaic Figure and The Kingfisher, as well as Clampitt's drama work Mad With Joy. These materials trace the editing stages of Clampitt's works, from drafts, through typescripts and printer's proofs, and finally to finished books. The series is arranged into three subseries: Books; Poems; and Drama, Essays, and Other Prose.

  • Series III: Notes, Notebooks, and Datebooks


    The Notes, Notebooks, and Datebooks series includes research notes on various topics that interested Clampitt or causes she was involved with, notes related to her work as an editor, and Clampitt's notebooks and datebooks. Notes are arranged alphabetically. Clampitt's notebooks are organized by year and are extensively interleaved with loose notes, correspondence, translations, maps, pressed flowers, and feathers. Clampitt's datebooks are also organized by year.

  • Series IV: Personal


    The Personal series holds Clampitt's education files from primary school and Grinnell College, childhood notebooks, travel documents, Clampitt's artwork, Clampitt's will and other legal documents, and a daily log kept while Clampitt was living in a nursing home.

    This series also has many items produced by Clampitt's family and friends, often dating from before her birth. These items include genealogy and family tree materials, schoolwork of her sister Beth Clampitt, gifts and awards, items from her parent's wedding and fiftieth anniversary, artwork by friends, memorial service materials for family members, documents related to church services, and notes. Clampitt's parents, Roy and Pauline Clampitt, and her sister Beth are the most represented here.

    All material is organized alphabetically.

  • Series V: Photographs


    The Photographs subseries contains all photographs, photo albums, slides, and related negatives, which only very occasionally touch on Clampitt's career as a poet (in the latter case, mostly photographs from readings and other literary events). Of particular note are Clampitt's travel photographs, including a sea voyage to England in 1949, and family photographs and albums. Most of the photographs, however, are of Clampitt herself. Photographs are organized alphabetically when titles are present, and chronologically when no information is given.

  • Series VI: Teaching


    The Teaching series details Clampitt's time as writer-in-residence at the College of William and Mary, Amherst College, and Smith College, as well as various workshops that Clampitt participated in. Her last university appointment was at Smith College, where she did not finish the 1993 term due to her cancer diagnosis. Files include correspondence; applications from students who wished to work with Clampitt; grades and transcripts; works produced by students for review; teaching materials and notes; course requirements; and class evaluations. The series is arranged alphabetically by organization.

  • Series VII: Press and Publications


    Series VII holds clippings, magazines, and other forms of published press arranged alphabetically by topic. Topics covered include reviews, interviews with Clampitt, articles which mention Clampitt, and press about her hometown. There is also press in this series related to Clampitt's friends and topics of interest to her such as the arts, environmental concerns, politics (including the Polish Solidarity movement), science, and nature. Also present are programs, posters, and flyers from Clampitt's poetry events or event she attended.

  • Series VIII: Writings of Others


    This series contains the works of other writers that were sent to Clampitt in solicitation of notes and for her review, or works with dedications to her. Writings are organized alphabetically by last name or publication name. Some of the works have accompanying correspondence and some were sent to Clampitt so that she might write recommendations for various fellowships and grants. Also included are theses on Clampitt's poetry and reprints of the works of other poets, sometimes with accompanying notes from Clampitt. This series holds typescripts, publisher promotional materials, correspondence, galleys, and cover designs. Many of the materials are in the form of handmade booklets produced in limited quantities with integrated artwork alongside poems; these materials are found in boxes 115-116.

  • Series IX: Finances and Contracts


    The Finances and Contracts series contains all financial records, both personal and professional, found in the collection. This includes charitable donations, receipts, honorariums, and royalty information, as well as contracts that Clampitt entered into, including rental information. Two war rations books from World War II are also included. This series is organized alphabetically by subject.

  • Series X: Interviews and Recollections


    The Interviews and Recollections series consists of interview transcripts of those who knew Clampitt, organized alphabetically by interviewee. There is also an interview of Clampitt here. Most of these interviews were collected under the title "Amy Clampitt Oral History Project." Some of these interviews are accompanied by signed releases and correspondence. Also collected are various other recollections of Clampitt that were not from the Oral History Project, also organized by person.

  • Series XI: Competitions, Awards, and Honors


    This Series covers both awards won by Clampitt and competitions on which she served as a judge or on the selection committee. This series holds correspondence, programs, and poems with Clampitt's comments. There are also awards and honorary degrees that Clampitt received. Materials are organized alphabetically by title.

  • Series XII: Willard Spiegelman Files


    Series XII comprises files collected or produced by Clampitt's biographer, Willard Spiegelman. This series consists of correspondence between Spiegelman and Clampitt's family and friends; items from Clampitt with notes by family and friends; recollections of Clampitt; copies of Clampitt's correspondence and work; interviews with Clampitt; and various notes. This series is organized alphabetically by title.

  • Series: XIII: Audio and Moving Image


    This series contains all audio and moving images materials found in the collection, save the interviews and recollections which are in Series X. These include a tribute to Amy Clampitt, home video footage of Clampitt reading, and Robert Pinsky reading as part of the Amy Clampitt Poetry Series. -- Amy Clampitt papers (2024)
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