Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948

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Genevieve Taggard was an editor, educator, and author. Born in Washington, Taggard was raised in Hawaii by missionary parents; after graduating from The University of California at Berkeley, she settled in New York and began publishing poems. Her verse was well-received by her peers and is notable for its vivid imagery. She also wrote an important, albeit superseded, biography of Emily Dickinson. She later worked with composers, writing poems for musical settings. She was a self-described socialist, and some of her poetry reflects her social beliefs.

From the description of Genevieve Taggard letter to Francis Gahan, 1936 Dec. 7. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56342114

Genevieve Irene Taggard (1894-1948) was born on November 28, 1894 in Waitsburg, Washington. Her parents, Alta Gail Taggard and James Nelson Taggard, were both school teachers and missionaries of the Campbellite sect. At the age of two, she moved with her family to Hawaii, where she studied at the Punahou Preparatory School. She was the oldest of three siblings, with a sister, Ernestine, and brother, Norman. In 1910 the family returned to Waitsburg, where Genevieve attended high school and was an editor for the school paper. In 1912 the family briefly returned to Hawaii.

Taggard entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1914, and her mother operated a boarding house there to provide income for the family. She graduated in 1919 and served as editor at the student literary journal, The Occident, from 1918 to 1920. During that time she began moving in the Socialist literary circles of San Francisco. In June of 1920 Taggard moved to New York, where she worked for the publishing house of modernist B.W. Huebsch (founder of The Freeman) and helped found and edit the journal The Measure: A Journal of Verse with Maxwell Anderson and Padraic Colum. She was an editor at The Measure until 1926 and active in the Greenwich Village radical bohemian literary scene. Although primarily concerned with domestic issues at that time, Taggard considered herself a Socialist. Many of her poems protested social injustice, and she became affiliated with organizations on the political left. She remained closely associated with the Communist Party throughout her adult life.

On March 21, 1921, Taggard married fellow writer Robert L. Wolf, with whom she had a daughter, Mary Alta (Marcia) Wolf, born December 13, 1921. She returned to California for several years, living in and around San Francisco until 1923, when she returned east to New Preston, Connecticut. In 1926 she moved back to New York City. Taggard's first book of verse, For Eager Lovers, was published in 1922 and was praised by many critics, including Edmund Wilson, but she failed to gain widespread recognition until another collection of poems, Traveling Standing Still, was published in 1928.

Taggard published numerous books of poetry, including Hawaiian Hilltop (1923), Words for the Chisel (1926), Monologue for Mothers (1929), Remembering Vaughan in New England (1933), Not Mine to Finish (1934), Calling Western Union (1936), Collected Poems: 1918-1938 (1938), Long View (1942), Falcon (1942), A Part of Vermont (1945), Slow Music (1946) and Origin: Hawaii (1947). She also edited May Days: An Anthology of Verse from the Masses and the Liberator (1925) and Circumference: Varieties of Metaphysical Verse (1929). Her poems, essays, short stories, reviews, and criticism were published in numerous journals, including: Asia, The Bookman, New Republic, Voices, The Dial, Poetry, The Nation, The Masses, Literary Digest, Century Magazine, Harper's, The Lyric West, The Measure: A Journal of Poetry, Christian Science Monitor, The Saturday Review and The Liberator. The work for which she is best known, however, is a biography, The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson, first published in 1930 and reprinted in 1934.

In the 1930s Taggard became a contributing editor of the Marxist journal The New Masses, in which she published poems, reviews, and articles. Her poetry during this time explored political subject matter, including race and class prejudice, labor strikes, and the elitism of poetry as a practice. Her political views are expressed in poems in Calling Western Union, which concern marble workers in Vermont, and Falcon, which celebrate the heroism of the Soviet people.

From 1931 to 1932 Taggard held a Guggenheim Fellowship which enabled her to live and write in Capri and Mallorca, accompanied by her daughter and sister. She was divorced from Robert L. Wolf in 1934 and married Kenneth Durant the next year, on March 10, 1935. They remained married until her death. In addition to writing, Taggard was also a teacher. She taught courses in poetry and writing at Mount Holyoke College (1929-1931), Bennington College (1932-1935) and at Sarah Lawrence College (1935-1946). In 1946, she retired from teaching and moved permanently to Gilfeather, her home in Vermont. From 1946 to 1948 she served on the editorial board of the Young People's Record Club.

Taggard was interested in both radio and musical performances as forums for poetry, and on many occasions read her poems over the air and wrote for music. On April 13, 1943, her poem "Lark," set to music by Aaron Copland, was performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Taggard's poems have been translated into many foreign languages and set to music not only by Copland but also by William Schuman, Roy Harris, and Henry Leland Clarke.

Genevieve Taggard died in New York City of complications from high blood pressure on November 8, 1848, just before her fifty-fourth birthday.

From the guide to the Genevieve Taggard papers, 1881-2001, 1920-1948, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Genevieve Taggard letter to Francis Gahan, 1936 Dec. 7. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1930. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977. Correspondence, 1938-1950. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. The life and mind of Emily Dickinson, 1930. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Poetry sent to Marian Anderson, 1953. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Alan Swallow Papers, 1934-1965 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Welch, Marie de L. (Marie de Laveaga), 1905-1974. Marie de Laveaga Welch papers, circa 1917-1974. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Letters of Genevieve Taggard [manuscript] 1925-43. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Lillian B. Gilkes Papers, 1900-1976 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence, 1930, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Fisk, Edward, 1886-1944. Edward Fisk papers, 1887-1990. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence to Lewis George Sterner, [between 1927 and 1929]. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library
referencedIn Delafield, Eugene. Eugene Delafield collection on American poetry, 1904-1968. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. Inscriptions removed from books that belonged to Eugene O'Neill and Carlotta Monterey O'Neill. 1927-1966. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. MSS of two poems: B.C. and Do as I tell you, [undated]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, 1852-1944. Papers of C. E. S. Wood (Addenda), 1897-1970 (bulk 1912-1940). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Genevieve Taggard papers, 1881-2001, 1920-1948 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Rushmore, Arthur W., 1883-1955. Rushmore collection, 1900-1992 (bulk 1927-1955). Free Public Library of the Borough of Madison
creatorOf Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990. Lark. Library of Congress
creatorOf Frost, Robert, 1874-1963. Lectures, 1931 Jan. 29-1931 Mar. 12, delivered at the New School for Social Research. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Phonograph Library of Contemporary Poets. Papers, 1940-1942. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Clark, Henry Leland. Lark / [words by] Genevieve Taggard ; [music by] Henry Leland Clark. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1943-1954. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence file, 1927-1928, from Boni & Liveright. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Martha Dickinson Bianchi correspondence concerning publication of the poetry of the American poet, Emily Dickinson:, 1881-1943 (inclusive), 1925-1937 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Papers, 1924-1929. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Papers, 1930-1948. New Hampshire Newsp Project
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence, 1940-1943. Mount Holyoke College, Williston & Miles-Smith Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Letter, 1930, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966. Papers, 1681-1966 (bulk 1900-1960) Houghton Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Genevieve Taggard papers, 1881-2001 (bulk 1920-1948). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Flanner, Hildegarde, 1899-1987. Hildegarde Flanner papers, 1924-1984. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Letter to Clifford Gessler. (s.l.) 19--. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn American authors collection, 1832-1956. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, [1939]. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956,. Citations from Van Wyck Brooks, 1948. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, 1852-1944. Papers of C. E. S. Wood, 1829-1980 (bulk 1870-1940). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Sterling, George, 1869-1926. Letter 1923, July 31, San Francisco, Calif. [to] Mr. [Edwin] Markham, [Staten Island] / George Sterling. Wagner College, Horrmann Library
creatorOf Carpenter, Margaret Haley. Papers of Margaret Haley Carpenter [manuscript], 1898-1985, bulk 1953-1985. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Taggard, Genevieve, 1894-1948. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1931. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Benét, William Rose, 1886-1950. person
associatedWith Bennington College corporateBody
correspondedWith Bianchi, Martha Dickinson, 1866-1943 person
associatedWith Bogan, Louise, 1897-1970. person
associatedWith Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956, person
associatedWith Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963. person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Carpenter, Margaret Haley. person
associatedWith Clark, Henry Leland. person
associatedWith Colburn, Gladys LaFlamme person
associatedWith Colburn, Gladys LaFlamme. person
associatedWith Conkling, Grace Hazard, 1878-1958 person
associatedWith Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990. person
associatedWith Delafield, Eugene. person
associatedWith Dell, Floyd, 1887-1969. person
associatedWith Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886. person
associatedWith Durant, Kenneth. person
associatedWith Eastman, Max, 1883-1969. person
associatedWith Federal Writers' Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Field, Sara Bard, 1882-1974. person
associatedWith Fisk, Edward, 1886-1944. person
associatedWith Flanner, Hildegarde, 1899-1987. person
associatedWith Frost, Robert, 1874-1963. person
associatedWith Gahan, Francis, person
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Gessler, Clifford, 1893- , person
associatedWith Gilkes, Lillian B. (Lillian Barnard), 1902-1977 person
associatedWith Herbst, Josephine, 1892-1969. person
associatedWith Humphries, Rolfe. person
associatedWith Laing, Alexander, 1903-1976. person
associatedWith Lankes, Julius J., 1884-1960. person
associatedWith Lapsley, Mary, 1900- person
associatedWith Lathem, Edward Connery. person
associatedWith League of American Writers. corporateBody
associatedWith Liles, Marcia Durant person
associatedWith Liles, Marcia Durant. person
associatedWith Mount Holyoke College corporateBody
associatedWith O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. person
associatedWith Page, Curtis Hidden, 1870-1946 person
associatedWith Phonograph Library of Contemporary Poets. corporateBody
associatedWith Porter, Katherine Anne, 1890-1980. person
associatedWith Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-1980. person
correspondedWith Rushmore, Arthur W., 1883-1955. person
associatedWith Sarah Lawrence College corporateBody
associatedWith Sterling, George, 1869-1926. person
associatedWith Swallow, Alan, 1915-1966 person
associatedWith Taggard, Alta, 1868-1951. person
associatedWith Taggard, Ernestine Kealoha, 1900-1943. person
associatedWith Taggard, James Nelson, 1861-1939. person
associatedWith Taggard, James Norman, 1902-1986. person
associatedWith Tewson, William Orton, 1877-1947, person
associatedWith Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977. person
associatedWith Welch, Marie de L. (Marie de Laveaga), 1905-1974. person
associatedWith Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. person
associatedWith Wolf, Robert Leopold person
associatedWith Wolf, Robert Leopold. person
associatedWith Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, 1852-1944. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
American literature--Study and teaching
American literature--20th century
Poetry--Study and teaching
Poets, American--19th century--Biography
Authors, American
American poetry--20th century
Poets, American--20th century--Correspondence
Women authors--20th century--Correspondence
Poets, American
Occupation
Biographers
Critic
Poets
College teachers
Editors
Activity

Person

Birth 1894-11-28

Death 1948-11-08

Americans

English

Information

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