Wilson, Edmund

Alternative names
Birth 1895-05-08
Death 1972-06-12
English, Hebrew, Hungarian, Russian, French

Biographical notes:

Edmund Wilson was an American novelist, poet, essayist, and literary critic.

From the description of Edmund Wilson collection of papers, 1922-1978. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122596904

From the guide to the Edmund Wilson collection of papers, 1922-1978, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

American author and critic.

From the description of Typewritten letters signed with first name or initials (3) : Welfleet, Mass., and Naples, Florida, to Brendan Gill, 1971 Oct. 30-1972 Feb. 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270590019

From the description of Autograph postal card signed : Wellfleet, to Herbert Cahoon, 1950 Aug. 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270872997

Critic and author Edmund Wilson had a significant influence on American literature in the 20th century. Educated at Princeton, he became a managing editor of Vanity Fair and New Republic, where he reviewed books, plays, and films, and reported on trials and popular culture. He was also associated with The Dial and The New Yorker. Throughout his long career, his strongly articulated opinions on diverse topics were arrived at in a professional manner and written in clear, direct prose. As a commentator, critic, mediator, and arbiter of taste, he has few peers.

From the description of Edmund Wilson letters and postcard, 1927-1961. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 60525784

American critic and miscellaneous writer.

From the description of Memoirs of Hecate County, [1946]. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 52113732

From the description of Manuscript and letter of Edmund Wilson, 1965. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 52128513

American literary critic and author.

From the description of Typed letter signed : Stamford, Ct., to Stark Young, 1937 June 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875026

Epithet: American writer and literary critic

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000300.0x0002de

Edmund Wilson, author and critic, was quite interested in Russia - its language, culture, literature and politics and studied extensively in this area. His studies resulted in journal articles and books, including To the Finland Station. Wilson also wrote on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and these glossaries may relate to his studies in these two areas.

From the description of Glossary, 1930? (Tulsa City-County Library). WorldCat record id: 226663507

Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), American literary critic and author.

From the description of Edmund Wilson papers, 1829-1986 (bulk 1920-1972). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702139127

American literary critic.

From the description of Quintilian, n.d. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 52128504

Epithet: junior, MD, of London

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000300.0x0002e0

Edmund Wilson, American literary and social critic, was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1895. He graduated from Princeton University in 1916. In 1920 he became the managing editor of "Vanity Fair", and later was on the staffs of the "New Republic" (1926-31) and "New Yorker" (1944-48). Wilson is the author of many books of satiric verse, fiction, drama, history, literary criticism, and social commentary (see our online catalogue for our holdings of Wilson's books). In his later years Wilson lived mainly in Wellfleet on Cape Cod and it Talcottville, a small North Country town which was his mother's birthplace. He died in 1972. William N, . Fenton, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Albany, was renowned for his studies of Iroquois culture and history over seven decades. He was also the Assistant Commissioner of the New York State Museum and Science Service.

From the description of Edmund Wilson / William Fenton correspondence, 1957-1972. (St. Lawrence University). WorldCat record id: 40858949

Edmund Wilson was an author, editor, and critic whose books included Classics and Commercials (1950) and The Shores of Light (1952).

From the description of Letters, 1955-1956 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007361

Alfred Kazin was an American essayist, literary critic, and historian.

From the guide to the Alfred Kazin collection of papers, 1933-1990, 1933-1978, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

Literary and social critic; editor.

Fenton was Assistant Commissioner for the New York State Museum and Science Service and assisted Wilson with research for his book APOLOGIES TO THE IROQUOIS.

From the description of Correspondence, 1957-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155497061

Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), American literary critic and author.

Alfred Raymond Bellinger (b. 1893; Yale 1917), professor of classics, Yale University, 1930-1962. Bellinger attended preparatory school with Edmund Wilson at the Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

From the description of Edmund Wilson letters to Alfred Raymond Bellinger, 1911-1918. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702171996

Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), American literary critic and author.

W. S. (William Stanley) Dell was a contemporary and friend of Edmund Wilson at the Hill School and Princeton University. Dell was later a translator of works of C. G. Jung.

From the description of Edmund Wilson letters to William Stanley Dell, 1915-1971. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702172018

American literary critic; author of literary criticism, social criticism, history, autobiography, novels, plays, and poetry; editor and writer, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, and The New Yorker . Wilson was closely associated with major literary figures including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Dos Passos, Mary McCarthy, and Vladimir Nabokov. He was married to writer Mary McCarthy, actress Mary Blair, Margaret Canby, and Elena Mumm Thornton, who edited a collection of his correspondence.

Wilson's life and work have been documented in autobiographical writings including: A Prelude, The Twenties, The Thirties, The Forties, The Fifties, and The Sixties . Correspondence of Edmund Wilson has been published in Letters on Literature and Politics, edited by Elena Wilson, and Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya: the Nabokov-Wilson Letters, edited by Simon Karlinsky. Biographical works by others include: Edmund Wilson Revisited, by David Castronovo, Edmund Wilson, by Charles P. Frank, and Edmund Wilson: A Biography, by Jeffrey Myers. Edmund Wilson: A Bibliography, by Richard David Ramsey, covers writings by and about Wilson from the beginning of his career through 1970.

The following timeline lists publication dates of major works by Wilson and other key events in his life:

1895 May 8: born in Red Bank, New Jersey, only child of Edmund Wilson, Sr., and Helen M. K. (Mather Kimball) Wilson

1908: trip to Europe with family; entered Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

1912: graduated from Hill School; entered Princeton University

1914: trip to England with college friends

1916: graduated from Princeton University; reporter for the New York Evening Sun

1917-1919: served in the United States Army

1920-1921: editor and writer, Vanity Fair

1921-1941: editor and writer, The New Republic

1923: married actress Mary Blair; daughter Rosalind Baker Wilson born; death of Edmund Wilson, Sr.

1925: Axel's Castle: A Study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930 and I Thought of Daisy (novel)

1929: divorced Mary Blair; nervous illness; patient at Clifton Springs Sanitarium and Clinic, Clifton Springs, New York

1930: married Margaret Canby

1932: Margaret Canby died

1935: trip to the Soviet Union

1936: Travels in Two Democracies (essays and stories about the United States and the Soviet Union)

1938: The Triple Thinkers: Ten Essays on Literature ; married writer Mary McCarthy; son Reuel Kimball Wilson born

1939: taught at the University of Chicago

1940: To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History ; met Vladimir Nabokov

1941: The Wound and the Bow: Seven Studies in Literature and The Boys in the Back Room: Notes on California Novelists ; edited The Last Tycoon, by F. Scott Fitzgerald; bought house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts

1942: taught at Smith College

1944-1970s: book reviewer and columnist, The New Yorker

1945: trip to Europe for The New Yorker ; edited The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1946: Memoirs of Hecate County (novel); divorced Mary McCarthy; married Elena Mumm Thornton

1947: Europe Without Baedeker: Sketches Among the Ruins of Italy, Greece and England ; trip to New Mexico for The Reporter

1948: daughter Helen Miranda Wilson born

1950: Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the Forties and The Little Blue Light: A Play in Three Acts

1951: death of Helen M. K. Wilson; established residence in Kimball ancestral home, Old Stone House, Talcottville, New York

1952: The Shores of Light: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties

1954: trip to Israel for The New Yorker

1955: The Scrolls From the Dead Sea ; Gold Medal from the National Institute of Arts and Letters

1956: Red, Black, Blonde, and Olive: Studies in Four Civilizations: Zuni, Haiti, Soviet Russia, Israel and A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty ; honorary doctor of letters from Princeton University

1957: American Earthquake: A Documentary of the Twenties and Thirties

1958: charged with tax delinquency

1959-1960: taught at Harvard University

1960: Apologies to the Iroquois

1962: Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War ; trip to Canada for The New Yorker

1963: The Cold War and the Income Tax ; Presidential Medal of Freedom; settlement with the Internal Revenue Service

1964: Edward MacDowell Medal from the Edward MacDowell Association

1964-1965: fellowship, Center for Advanced Studies, Wesleyan University

1965: O Canada: An American's Notes on Canadian Cultures ; reviewed Vladimir Nabokov's edition of Eugene Onegin

1966: The Bit Between My Teeth: A Literary Chronicle of 1950-1965 ; Emerson-Thoreau Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; National Medal for Literature from the National Book Committee

1967: A Prelude: Landscapes, Characters and Conversations From the Earlier Years of My Life ; trip to Europe and the Middle East

1968: The Fruits of MLA ; Aspen Award from the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies

1971: Upstate: Records and Recollections of Northern New York ; Grand aigle d'or international from the Festival international du livre de la ville de Nice

1972 Jun 12: died, Talcottville, New York

Posthumous books:

1972: A Window on Russia: For the Use of Foreign Readers

1973: The Devils and Canon Barham: Ten Essays on Poets, Novelists and Monsters

1975: The Twenties: From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period, edited by Leon Edel

1977: Letters on Literature and Politics, edited by Elena Wilson

1979: The Nabokov-Wilson Letters, edited by Simon Karlinsky (revised edition: Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya, 2001)

1980: The Thirties: From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period, edited by Leon Edel

1983: The Forties: From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period, edited by Leon Edel

1986: The Fifties: From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period, edited by Leon Edel

1993: The Sixties: The Last Journal, edited by Lewis Dabney

The following is a partial list of family members, showing people represented in the Edmund Wilson Papers who are related to Wilson through his father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., through his mother, Helen Mather Kimball, and through his marriages. Siblings with unidentified birth and death dates are listed in alphabetical order.

The Wilson Family

Andrew Wilson m. Melinda Ann -----Thaddeus Wilson m. (1849?) Charlotte A. Miller ----------John Wilson (1861-1899) m. (1894) Susan C. Minor ---------------Susan Colston Wilson (1895-1981) ---------------Edmund Minor Wilson (1897-1935) ---------------Charlotte Miller Minor Wilson (1898-1923) ----------Edmund Wilson, Sr. (1863-1923) m. (1892) Helen Mather Kimball ("Nellie") ---------------Edmund Wilson, Jr. ("Bunny") (1895-1972) --------------------(see wives and children, below) ----------Nellie

The Kimball Family

Reuel Kimball (1778-1847) m. Hannah Mather -----Reuel Kimball (1799-1867) m. Cleanthe Thomas (1806-1835) ----------Walter Scott Kimball (1828-1890) m. (1854) Helen Baker ---------------Adeline Kimball ("Addie") m. Joe Stilwell ---------------Dorothy Kimball m. Cecil Stewart ---------------Helen Mather Kimball ("Nellie") (1865-1951) m. (1892) Edmund Wilson, Sr. --------------------Edmund Wilson, Jr. ("Bunny") (1895-1972) -------------------------(see wives and children, below) --------------------maid/companion: Jennie Corbett ---------------Laura Cleanthe Kimball m. (1907) Charles DuBois Corlies ---------------Paul T. Kimball ---------------Reuel Kimball m. Caroline Knox ("Carrie") --------------------Alexander Kimball ("Sandy") --------------------Esther Kimball m. Bob Hartshorne ---------------Winfield Kimball

Edmund Wilson's Wives and Children

Mary Blair (1897-1947) -----m. EW, 1923 ----------Rosalind Baker Wilson (1923-2000) ---------------Childhood nurse: "Stella" -----sep. 1925 -----div. 1929 -----m. Constant Eakin ("Connie")

Margaret Canby (1895-1932) -----m. James Canby, Jr. ----------James B. Canby, 3rd -----m. EW, 1930 -----died 1932

Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) -----m. Harold Johnsrud, 1933 -----div. 1936 -----m. EW, 1938 ----------Reuel K. Wilson (1938-) m. Marcia Ruiz ---------------Jay Hilary Wilson (1968-) -----div. 1946 -----m. Bowden Broadwater, 1946 -----div. 1961 -----m. Raymond West ("Jim"), 1961

Elena Mumm (1906-1979) -----m. James Thornton, 1931 ----------Henry H. M. Thornton (1932-) m. (1958) Daphne Sellar -----m. EW, 1946 ----------Helen Miranda Wilson (1948-) m. Tim Woodman ---------------Childhood nurse: "Hedwig"

From the guide to the Edmund Wilson papers, 1829-1986, 1920-1972, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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  • Russian language
  • Iroquois Indians
  • Hydroelectric power plants
  • Income tax
  • Critics--Diaries
  • Censorship
  • Russian language--Glossaries, vocabularies, etc
  • Authors, American--20th century--Biography
  • Hebrew language
  • Communism
  • Censorship--United States
  • Cold War
  • Dead Sea scrolls
  • Obscenity (law)
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1934-
  • American literature--20th century
  • Punch and Judy
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American
  • Income tax--United States
  • Obscenity (Law)--United States
  • Hebrew language--Glossaries, vocabularies, etc
  • Hungarian language
  • Labor
  • Indians of North America--Land tenure
  • Iroquois Indians--Government relations
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Russian literature
  • World War, 1939-1945--Journalists
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Labor--United States
  • Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence


  • Authors


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Cape Cod (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Red Bank (N.J.) (as recorded)
  • Cape Cod (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Talcottville (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Talcottville (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Red Bank (N.J.) (as recorded)