Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963

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Newton Arvin was born on August 9, 1900 in Valparaiso, Indiana. He was eduated at Harvard University (A.B., 1921) and joined the Smith College faculty in 1922. He taught at Smith until his forced retirement in 1960. He died on March 21, 1963 of pancreatic cancer. Arvin specialized in 19th century American literature and wrote biographies of Hawthorne, Longfellow, Melville and Whitman. He was often in residence at Yaddo where he formed friendships with Truman Capote, Carson McCullers and others.

From the description of Newton Arvin correspondence, 1920-1963. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 53317747

Newton Arvin was a Professor of English Languages and Literature at Smith College 1922-1960, a scholar of Hawthorne and Melville, and arrested on morals charges in 1959, and retired by the Board of Trustees in 1960.

From the description of Newton Arvin Papers 1924-2001. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 431330110

Frederick Newton Arvin was born on August 9, 1900 in Valparaiso, Indiana. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1921 graduating summa cum laude. After graduation, Arvin taught for a year at a private school in Detroit before joining the faculty of Smith College as an Instructor of English in 1922.

Newton Arvin was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1935, and was named a full professor at Smith in 1940. He was acclaimed for his biographies of Melville, Whitman and Hawthorne. Newton was awarded the National Book Award for non-fiction in 1951. As a professor and a writer, Arvin specialized in 19th Century American Literature. Arvin was a member of the Corporation of Yadda, a writer's colony in Saratoga Springs, New York.

As Margot Cleary said in an article which appeared in Hampshire Life in 1991, "Newton Arvin's life was a Jekyll and Hyde affair, a mixture of professional acclaim and personal scandal." Despite a brief marriage to former Smithie, Mary Jordan Garrison from 1932 until 1940, Arvin was living as a closeted gay man. On Labor Day weekend in September of 1960, police raided Arvin's home and confiscated thousands of pictures of male models that were considered pornographic at the time.

Newton Arvin was charged with possession and distribution of pornographic materials, and though he plead not guilty, he later accepted a finding of guilty, which led to a $1, 200 fine, a one year suspended jail sentence, and two years of parole. His arrest, and the confiscation of his journals led to the arrests of several other men in the community, including two of Arvin's colleagues at Smith. Arvin retired from the faculty in 1960 with a small salary. Newton Arvin was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in early 1963, and died on March 21st of that year.

In 1984 Truman Capote, whom Arvin had met at Yadda, on his death established an award and prize in the field of literary criticism in Newton Arvin's honor.

From the guide to the Newton Arvin Papers RG 42., 1924-2001, (Smith College Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf McCullers, Carson, 1917-1967. [Letter, 1942] Jan. 16 [to] Newton, my beloved friend / Carson. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Hyman, Stanley Edgar, 1919-1970. Papers, 1932-1978 (bulk 1938-1970). Library of Congress
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Granville Hicks correspondence with Newton Arvin, 1928-1963. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Correspondence to Charles Van Wyck Brooks, 1935. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Newton Arvin correspondence, 1920-1963. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Yaddo records, 1870-1980 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Correspondence, 1928 Feb. 28, Mar. 5, May 26, 31, June 4, Dec. 10. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. 1 ALS, 1957 Oct. 11, 45 Prospect St., Northampton, Mass. to Muriel Rukeyser. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Louis Lozowick Papers, 1922-1974 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Yaddo records, 1870-1980 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Hyman, Stanley Edgar, 1919-1970. Papers of Stanley Edgar Hyman, 1932-1978 (bulk 1938-1970). Library of Congress
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Newton Arvin Papers 1924-2001. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1920-1963. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Stanley Edgar Hyman Papers, 1932-1978, (bulk 1938-1970) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Chase, Richard Volney, 1914-1962. Richard Volney Chase papers, ca.1930-1984. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Granville Hicks Papers, 1906-1980 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. Papers regarding Faulkner's work as Chairman of the Writers Committee of President Eisenhower's People-to People Program [manuscript], 1956-1969. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf McCullers, Carson, 1917-1967. Carson McCullers Collection, 1924-1976. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Yaddo (Artist's colony). Yaddo records, 1870-1980. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Newton Arvin Papers RG 42., 1924-2001 Smith College Archives
referencedIn Castellón, Federico. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1933-1971, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Truman Capote papers, ca. 1924-1992 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Richard Volney Chase Papers, ca.1930-1984. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript 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, Harvard College Library, Harvard UniFversity
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1995. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Arvin, Newton, 1900-1963. Letters, 1928-1950, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Carson McCullers Collection TXRC98-A16., 1924-1976 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Aaron, Daniel, 1912- person
associatedWith Bianchi, Martha Dickinson, 1866-1943 person
associatedWith Brooks, Charles Van Wyck, person
associatedWith Brooks, Gladys. person
associatedWith Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963. person
associatedWith Burford, William. person
associatedWith Capote, Truman, 1924-1984. person
associatedWith Castellón, Federico. person
associatedWith Chase, Mary Ellen, 1887-1973. person
associatedWith Chase, Richard Volney, 1914-1962. person
associatedWith Cheever, John. person
associatedWith Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-1989. person
associatedWith Curti, Merle (Merle Eugene), 1897-1996. person
associatedWith Davis, Robert Gorham. person
associatedWith Doughty, Howard, 1904- person
associatedWith Drew, Elizabeth A., 1887-1965. person
associatedWith Ehrlich, Leonard, 1905- person
associatedWith Eustis, Helen. person
associatedWith Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. person
associatedWith Fisher Alfred Young, 1905- person
associatedWith Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hovey, Tom. person
associatedWith Hyman, Stanley Edgar, 1919-1970. person
associatedWith Johnson, Wendell Stacy, 1927- person
associatedWith Kazin, Alfred, 1915-1998. person
associatedWith Krieger, Murray, 1923- person
associatedWith Kroneneberger, Louis, 1904- person
correspondedWith Levin, Harry, 1912-1994 person
associatedWith Lilienthal, David Eli, 1889-1981. person
associatedWith Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882. person
associatedWith Lozowick, Louis, 1892-1973 person
associatedWith Mabry, Thomas, 1903- person
associatedWith Maxwell, William, 1908-2000. person
associatedWith McCullers, Carson, 1917-1967 person
associatedWith Mendenhall, Thomas C. (Thomas Corwin), 1841-1924. person
associatedWith Metcalf, Eleanor Melville, 1882-1964. person
associatedWith Mood, Fulmer B., 1898- person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990. person
associatedWith Murphy, Francis, 1932- person
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Ranson, John Crowe, 1888-1974. person
associatedWith Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-1980, person
associatedWith Schwartz, Delmore, 1913-1966. person
associatedWith Smith College corporateBody
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony) corporateBody
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
American literature
English teachers--Biography--Sources
Biographers--Biography--Sources
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1900-08-25

Death 1963-03-21

Americans

English

Information

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