Adams, Léonie 1899-1988

Alternative names
Birth 1899-12-09
Death 1988-06-27

Biographical notes:

Léonie Adams, poet, teacher, and editor. Adams published five books of poetry during her life and received the Bollingen Prize for Poems: A Selection in 1954. Adams's teaching posts included New York University and Columbia University. She married William Troy in 1933.

William Troy, writer, editor, and teacher. Troy's writings include essays, literary and film reviews, and poems. His teaching posts included New York University, Bennington College and New School University. Troy's only book, Selected Essays, was published posthumously. He married Léonie Adams in 1933.

From the description of Léonie Adams and William Troy papers, 1902-1980. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702139045

Léonie Adams was born Léonie Fuller in Brooklyn, New York, on December 9, 1899. She grew up with five siblings in a strict household until she left to attend Barnard College, from which she graduated in 1922. During her studies Adams began to write poetry and became the editor of The Measure . In 1925, she published her first collection of poetry, Those Not Elect . The book received great praise and Adams continued to write poetry while working as an editor for Wilson Publishing and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She moved to Paris for one year in 1929 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, where she befriended H.D., regularly visited with Ford Madox Ford and Gertrude Stein, and lived with Allen Tate and his family. Her next two collections, High Falcon and Other Poems and Midsummer, were published in the same year. In 1930, she returned to New York and taught at New York University, where she met writer and teacher William Troy. The two married in 1933 and Adams published her collection of poetry, This Measure . She published no poetry for the next twenty-five years yet continued to teach poetry and was elected Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (now known as the U.S. Poet Laureateship) in 1948.

Adams spent the rest of her career editing and teaching poetry for various institutions, including Columbia University; New York University; New Jersey College for Women (known then as Douglass College), from which she received an honorary doctoral degree in 1950; the University of Washington; the Breadloaf Writers Conference; and Sarah Lawrence College. In 1954, she won the Harriet Monroe Award from Poetry and in 1955 she won the Shelley Memorial Prize and shared the Bollingen Prize for Poems: A Selection with her friend and fellow poet, Louise Bogan. She received an Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets in 1974. She died on June 27, 1988 in New Milford, Connecticut.

William Troy was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 11, 1903 and grew up in nearby Oak Park, attending Loyola Academy for high school. At fifteen, he sold his first review to a newspaper. Upon graduating from Yale University in 1925, he taught for one year at the University of New Hampshire and then enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University. From 1929 to 1930 Troy studied at the Sorbonne and the University of Grenoble, France on a Field Service fellowship, taking a year off from a teaching position at New York University, where he taught from 1926-1935. He married poet Léonie Adams in 1933 and the two moved to Bennington, Vermont for teaching positions at Bennington College, where he also chaired the Department of Literature and Humanities. Throughout the 1930s, Troy was a regular literary and film reviewer for The Nation and through the 1940s he published essays, reviews, and a few poems in various literary journals. From 1945 to 1960, except for one year as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Bordeaux and the University of Rennes in 1955 and 1956, Troy taught at the New School University, focusing on Joyce and Shakespeare. He was a popular teacher among his students and is remembered among them as a great lecturer. Cancer of the larynx and a subsequent throat operation forced him to leave teaching in March 1960. He died on May 26, 1961. Selected Essays was published posthumously in 1967 and won the National Book Award in 1968.

From the guide to the Léonie Adams and William Troy papers, 1902-1980, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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  • Editors
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Poets, American--20th century--Archives


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