Stephan, Ruth, 1910-1974

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The writer Ruth Stephan (born Charlotte Ruth Walgreen) published her first poems in the late 1930s in venues such as Harper's, Poetry, and Forum, and her first volume, Prelude to Poetry, was published in 1946. With her husband, the painter John Stephan, she founded and edited the influential quarterly magazine The Tiger's Eye (1947-1951), which showcased the work of artists and writers with particular emphasis on abstract expressionism. In addition to further volumes of poetry, her work includes two novels based on the life of Queen Christina of Sweden, The Flight (1956) and My Crown, My Love (1960); a volume of translated Quechua stories and songs, The Singing Mountaineers (1957); an audio compilation, The Spoken Anthology of American Literature (1963); and a documentary film, Zen in Ryoko-in (1971). Her philanthropic work included establishing a poetry center at the University of Arizona in 1960.

Stephan was born in Chicago on January 21, 1910, the daughter of drugstore founder Charles R. Walgreen and Myrtle Norton Walgreen. She attended Northwestern University but left without a degree in 1929 when she married Justin W. Dart, with whom she had two sons. Unsupported by her family when she began to take herself seriously as a writer, she divorced Dart in 1939. Later that same year she married the painter John Stephan; their only child, a son, was born in 1941. In 1942 the Stephans moved to Westport, Connecticut, where they founded The Tiger's Eye in 1947. This venture lasted until 1951, when the work of producing the magazine threatened to overtake the couple's own creative work. In 1961, Ruth Stephan divorced John Stephan and spent time traveling in Japan and Southeast Asia, where she became interested in Zen Buddhism. In 1966 she married John C. Franklin, a scientist, and lived the remainder of her life in Greenwich, Connecticut. She died in North Salem, New York, on April 9, 1974.

Much of the information in this biographical sketch is drawn from: Stephan, John J., "Ruth Stephan (1910-74): A Tribute" ( Yale University Library Gazette, April 1976).

From the guide to the Ruth Stephan papers, 1915-1974, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Tiger's eye records, 1939-1955. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005 Houghton Library
creatorOf Stephan, Ruth, 1910-1974. Ruth Stephan papers, ca. 1927-1974. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Tiger's Eye records, 1939-1955 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Ruth Stephan papers, 1915-1974 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Westphalen, Emilio Adolfo, 1911-. Emilio Westphalen papers regarding surrealism in Latin America, 1922-1995, bulk 1938-1951. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Emilio Adolfo Westphalen papers regarding surrealism in Latin America, 1938-1995 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Stephan, Ruth, 1910-1974. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1943-1961. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Hanson, Kenneth O., 1922-2003. Kenneth O. Hanson collection, 1945-1979. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Franklin, John C. person
associatedWith Hanson, Kenneth O., 1922-2003. person
associatedWith Holmes, Phoebe Barton. person
associatedWith Kobori, Nanrei Sohaku. person
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith ReQua, Eloise G. person
associatedWith Stephan, Frederick W. person
associatedWith Stephan, John J. person
associatedWith Stephan, John Walter, 1906-1995 person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965 person
associatedWith University of Arizona. Poetry Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Walgreen, Charles R. (Charles Rudolph), 1873-1939 person
associatedWith Walgreen, Chuck, 1906- person
associatedWith Walgreen, Myrtle R. Norton, 1879- person
associatedWith Walgreens (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Westphalen, Emilio Adolfo, 1911- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Quechua Indians
Authors, American--20th century--Archives
Editors--United States
Zen Buddhism


Birth 1910

Death 1974



Ark ID: w69p4b1m

SNAC ID: 44645660