Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967

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Epithet: American author

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001305.0x0003a9

Author and critic Waldo Frank was born in New Jersey and attended Yale. After graduation he worked for the New York Evening Post, wrote plays and prose, and co-edited the short-lived journal, Seven Arts. He found success with a series of complex novels, and became one of the most influential literary and social critics of his day, promoting the anti-traditional movement inspired by the writings of Freud, Marx, and others. Eclectic and iconoclastic, Frank is remembered fondly in Spanish-speaking American countries for his learned and sympathetic works on their culture.

From the description of Waldo Frank letter to Harry Salpeter, 1933 May 29. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 64190391

American author.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to Herbert J. Seligmann, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870819

Author.

From the description of Reminiscences of Waldo David Frank : oral history, 1963. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 86147552

Intellectual, writer, social historian, and political activist.

From the description of "Primitive" America and quotation [manuscript] 1924 May, n.d. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647931050

A novelist, social historian, and political activist, Waldo Frank was born on August 25, 1889 to an upper-middle class, Jewish family in Long Branch, New Jersey. A prolific writer, Frank penned fourteen novels, eighteen volumes of social history, and well over one hundred articles on literary and political subjects. Once considered one of America’s premier intellectuals, Frank has since slipped into relative obscurity. Only in Latin America are his books still widely read.

Frank had already completed his first novel, Builders in Sand, by the age of seventeen, though it was never published. The same year, he was expelled from his public high school for refusing to enroll in a required Shakespeare course; he felt he knew more than the teacher. He is said to have read over a thousand books before he went to college. After his expulsion, his parents sent him to a boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was introduced to the great French writers and where he began work on his second volume, The Spirit of Modern French Letters, which never saw publication. He eventually returned to the United States and was graduated with both a B.A. and an M.A. from Yale in 1911.

Frank’s first published novel, The Unwelcome Man: A Novel, is a psychoanalytic look into the life of Quincy Burt, a man struggling to find his place in a tumultuous, industrial society. Faced with the realization that he does not belong, the man purchases a gun with the intention of committing suicide; however, before he pulls the trigger, he realizes that he does belong precisely because, like everyone else, he is already dead, both spiritually and intellectually. Frank owed much of the inspiration for this novel to American transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and especially Walt Whitman. A self-professed “naturalistic mystic,” Frank’s ideology came from a fusion of Freud, Hegel, Marx, Spinoza, Eastern mysticism, Judaism, and American transcendentalism. He believed that many of the world’s problems would be solved if each individual achieved a oneness or wholeness with the universe.

In addition to his novel writing, Frank made his presence known in journals and magazines. In 1914, he was made associate editor of Seven Arts, a journal which ran for just twelve installments but was nevertheless an important forum in which artists and writers could express their politics. Frank also became a regular contributor to the New Yorker in 1925 under the pseudonym, “Search-light.” That same year he was named contributing editor of the New Republic.

Frank followed The Unwelcome Man with The Dark Mother (1920), and a series he called “The Lyric Novels,” because they offer an emotional rather than rational experience, much like poetry. These novels include City Block (1922); Rehab (1922); Holiday (1923); and Chalk Face (1924).

City Block and Rehab did not received the critical attention Frank felt they deserved; T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland appeared the same year, and Frank’s novels went relatively unnoticed. Disenchanted, Frank abandoned his fiction writing. Between the years 1924 to 1925, he wrote ninety-seven articles, two plays, and Virgin Spain: Scenes from the Spiritual Drama of a Great People, a cultural study of Spain for which he earned widespread recognition and critical acclaim in Latin America. The success of Virgin Spain led to the publication of The Re-discovery of America: An Introduction to a philosophy of American Life (1929); America Hispana: A Portrait and a Prospect (1931); and Dawn in Russia: The Record of a Journey (1932). During this time, Frank became more active politically, attending meetings, strikes, and protests with Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, and others.

Despite a successful lecture tour of Latin America in 1942 and the subsequent publication of South American Journey (1943) and Birth of a World: Simon Bolivar in Terms of His Peoples (1951), Frank returned to novel writing. In his later years, his popularity had declined to such an extent that he could not find publishers for his last two novels. He died in 1967, already forgotten by readers and critics alike.

Blake, Casey. “Waldo Frank.” Dictionary of Literary Biography: Modern American Critics, 1920–1955. Gregory S. Jay, Ed. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1988. Eckley, Wilton. “Waldo Frank.” Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Novelists, 1910–1945. James J. Martine, ed. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981.

From the guide to the Waldo Frank papers, 1922–1965, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Novelist, social historian, and political activist.

Born in New Jersey in 1889, Waldo Frank wrote fourteen novels, eighteen volumes of social history, and over a hundred articles on literary and political subjects. Frank considered himself a "naturalistic mystic", believing many of the world's problems would be solved if individuals could achieve a oneness with the universe. Most of Frank's writings went unnoticed, although he had a successful lecture tour of Latin America in 1942. In the 1930s he became active politically, attending strikes and protests, yet when he died in 1967, he was pretty much forgotten by readers and critics.

From the description of Waldo Frank papers, ca. 1925-1935. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 585890008

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Unterecker, John, 1922-1989. Papers, 1961-1987. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Leon Trotsky exile papers, 1929-1940. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Clifford Odets papers, 1926-1963 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Macdonald, Dwight. Dwight Macdonald papers, 1865-1984 (inclusive), 1920-1978 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1919-1931. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Letters, 1916-1966, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Waldo Frank letters to Mrs. Sherwood Anderson, 1941, undated. University of Virginia. Library
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 Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1928-1958. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993. Kenneth Burke papers. 1906-1960. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Hart Crane Collection, (1910-1972) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn The Henry E. Turlington Collection of Cyril Kay-Scott and Evelyn Scott Materials TXRC97-A6., 1881-1987, (bulk 1920-1957, 1983-1985) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Adler, Ija. Papers, 1932-1967. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Frank, Nino. Bifur archive 1921-1930. The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library
creatorOf League of American Writers. 2 TL, signed Katherine Buckles and Ellen Blake, 1 TL (mimeograph), 1935 June 28 - 1936 Nov. 5, to Muriel Rukeyser. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn James Oppenheim papers, 1898-1932 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951,. Letters to Alfred Kreymborg [manuscript], 1921-1956. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Alfred Mitchell Bingham and the Common Sense collection, 1905-1979 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Kirchwey, Freda. Papers, 1871-1972 (inclusive), 1937-1971 (bulk) [microform]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Odets mss., 1921-1963 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Lázaro Cárdenas in Oaxaca, Mexico [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Waldo Frank letter to Harry Salpeter, 1933 May 29. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Foreword to "Virgin Spain" : annotated typescript, 1937. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Scudder Klyce Papers, 1911-1933 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn J. B. S. (Jacob Benjamin Salutsky) Hardman Papers, 1908-1970 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Isidor Schneider Papers, 1925-1975 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. "Primitive" America and quotation [manuscript] 1924 May, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn John Eugene Unterecker Papers, 1961-1987 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Pedro Salinas papers, ca. 1912-1975 (inclusive), 1936-1951 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn John Reed papers, 1903-1967. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Waldo Frank papers, ca. 1925-1935. Newberry Library
referencedIn Papers, 1871-1972 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Bingham, Alfred M. (Alfred Mitchell), 1905-. Alfred Mitchell Bingham and the Common Sense collection, 1905-1979 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 (bulk 1880-1986). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Manny, Frank Addison, 1868-1954. Frank Addison Manny papers, 1890-1955. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1918-1962. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Frank Manny papers, 1890-1955 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Correspondence, etc., 1917-1962. Letters before 1957 were probably acquired by Reinhardt in the course of the publishing of the Autobiography; and include letters to Chaplin from Max Linder, Samuel Goldwyn, Waldo Frank, Frank Crowninshield, editor of..., 1917-1962 British Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence to W. A. Swanberg, 1963-1973. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Ocampo, Victoria, 1890-1979. Victoria Ocampo papers, 1908-1979. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence : with Theodore Dreiser, 1916-1917. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf American Friends of Spanish Democracy. American Friends of Spanish Democracy records, 1935-1939. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Turlington, Henry E., b. 1945,. The Henry E. Turlington Collection of Cyril Kay-Scott and Evelyn Scott Materials, 1881-1987, (bulk 1920-1957, 1983-1985). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Papers, 1897-1930. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Hardman, J. B. S. (Jacob Benjamin Salutsky), 1882-1968. Papers, 1908-1970. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letters of Evelyn Scott [manuscript] 1929-36. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. Jean Toomer papers, 1898-1963 (inclusive), 1920-1954 (bulk). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Evelyn Scott Collection, 1894-1952. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Johnson, Josephine Winslow, 1910-. Papers, 1929-1970. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Victoria Ocampo papers, 1908-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn American Friends of Spanish Democracy records, 1935-1939 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence file, 1923-1930, from Boni & Liveright and Horace Liveright, Inc. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Richard W. Rychtarik/Hart Crane Papers, 1923-1935 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Oliver, María Rosa, 1898-1977. María Rosa Oliver papers, ca. 1899-1997 (bulk 1930-1975) Princeton University Library
referencedIn Crane, Hart, 1899-1932. Hart Crane Collection (1910-1972). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Amy Lowell correspondence, 1883-1927 (inclusive), 1910-1925 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Portrait file: Guide. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Frank, Waldo. Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to Herbert J. Seligmann, [n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Miscellaneous papers of the Virginia Quarterly Review, ca. 1910-1947. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963. Papers, 1921-1963. Indiana University
referencedIn Sharpe, Mitchell R., 1924-. Papers, 1954-1975. Auburn University.
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence, 1948-1961, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Selsam, Howard, 1903-. Papers, [ca. 1935]-1972. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Jean Toomer papers, 1898-1963 (inclusive), 1920-1954 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. Adolph Oko-Gebhardt correspondence, [ca. 1905]-1941. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Earl Browder Papers, 1879-1990 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Reményi, József, 1891-1956. Correspondence, 1922-1948. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Correspondence with Margaret Naumburg, 1932. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Oppenheim, James, 1882-1932. James Oppenheim papers, 1898-1932. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. Papers. 1969. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Max Reinhardt papers, 1899-2006 British Library: Western Manuscripts
referencedIn Klyce, Scudder, 1879-1933. Papers of Scudder Klyce, 1911-1933. Library of Congress
referencedIn Leon Trotsky exile papers, 1929-1940. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. Reminiscences of Waldo David Frank : oral history, 1963. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Miscellaneous papers of the Virginia Quarterly Review [manuscript], ca.1910-1947. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Letters to Rabbi Solomon Goldman, Jan.-Sept. 1946. Drew University Library, Rose Memorial Library
referencedIn Granville Hicks Papers, 1906-1980 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Fonds Louis Jouvet Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des arts du spectacle
creatorOf Waldo Frank papers, 1922–1965 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Schneider, Isidor, b. 1896. Papers, 1925-1975. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Dwight Macdonald papers, 1865-1984, 1920-1978 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company reader reports on manuscripts submitted for publication, 1882-1931. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Hugo Gellert Papers, Bulk, 1934-1944, 1934-1980s, (Bulk 1934-1944) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Adler, Ija. person
associatedWith American Friends of Spanish Democracy. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Eleanor Copenhaver, d. 1985, person
associatedWith Bingham, Alfred M. (Alfred Mitchell), 1905- person
associatedWith Blanchard, John Franklin, 1913- person
associatedWith Blodgett, Glen Walton, person
correspondedWith Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962 person
associatedWith Browder, Earl, 1891-1973 person
correspondedWith Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993. person
associatedWith Crane, Hart, 1899-1932. person
associatedWith Decker, Clarence Raymond, 1904-1969. person
associatedWith Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. person
correspondedWith Frank, Nino. person
associatedWith Frank, Thomas. person
associatedWith FREDA KIRCHWEY, 1893-1976 person
associatedWith Gellert, Hugo, 1892-1985 person
associatedWith Goodman, Henry, 1893-1990. person
associatedWith Hardman, J. B. S. (Jacob Benjamin Salutsky), 1882-1968. person
associatedWith Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982 person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ishill, Joseph. person
associatedWith Jayson, Alice. person
correspondedWith Johnson, Josephine Winslow, 1910- person
associatedWith Jouvet, Louis (1887-1951) person
associatedWith Kirchwey, Freda. person
associatedWith Klyce, Scudder, 1879-1933. person
associatedWith League of American Writers. corporateBody
correspondedWith Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925 person
associatedWith Macdonald, Dwight. person
associatedWith MacDonald, Dwight. person
associatedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982 person
associatedWith Manny, Frank Addison, 1868-1954. person
associatedWith Midwest Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library) corporateBody
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Newberry Library. corporateBody
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1890-1979. person
correspondedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1891- person
associatedWith Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963. person
associatedWith Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. person
associatedWith Oliver, María Rosa, 1898-1977. person
associatedWith Oppenheim, James, 1882-1932. person
associatedWith Pierpont Morgan Library. Seligmann Collection. corporateBody
correspondedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920 person
associatedWith Reményi, József, 1891-1956. person
associatedWith Rugg, Harold Goddard, 1883-1957. person
correspondedWith Salinas, Pedro, 1892-1951 person
associatedWith Salpeter, Harry, person
associatedWith Schneider, Isidor, b. 1896. person
associatedWith Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. person
associatedWith Seligmann, Herbert J., person
associatedWith Seligmann, Herbert J., Mrs, person
associatedWith Selsam, Howard, 1903- person
associatedWith Sharpe, Mitchell R., 1924- person
associatedWith Spiller, Robert Ernest, 1896-1988. person
associatedWith Stern, Lucille R. person
associatedWith Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. person
associatedWith Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. person
correspondedWith Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940 person
associatedWith Turlington, Henry person
associatedWith Turlington, Henry E., b. 1945, person
associatedWith Unterecker, John Eugene, 1922-, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
American literature--20th century
Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
Manuscripts, American
Authors--Interviews
Occupation
Authors, American--20th century
Function

Person

Birth 1889-08-25

Death 1967-01-09

Americans

English

Information

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