Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965

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Nancy Clare Cunard (March 10, 1896 - March 17, 1965) was an English writer, editor, publisher, political activist, anarchist and poet. She became a muse to some of the 20th century's most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brancusi, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. In later years she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. She died penniless at age 69. During World War II, Cunard worked, to the point of physical exhaustion, as a translator in London on behalf of the French Resistance. After the war, she gave up her home at Réanville and traveled extensively. She suffered from mental illness and poor physical health, worsened by alcoholism, poverty, and self-destructive behavior. She was committed to a mental hospital after a fight with London police; but, after her release, her health declined even further, and she weighed only sixty pounds when she was found on the street in Paris and brought to the Hôpital Cochin, where she died two days later. Her body was returned to England for cremation and the remains were sent back to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris. Her ashes rest in urn number 9016.

From the description of Herman Schrijver collection of Nancy Cunard, 1944-1965. (Southern Illinois University). WorldCat record id: 244639318

English poet, publisher, journalist, and political activist.

From the description of Nancy Cunard Collection, 1895-1965 (bulk 1908-1965). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122385765

Daughter of Sir Bache Cunard, of the Cunard shipping family.

From the description of March 18, typescript draft, 1931. (Washington State University). WorldCat record id: 45356239

Nancy Clare Cunard (March 10, 1896 - March 17, 1965) was an English writer, editor, publisher, political activist, anarchist and poet. She became a muse to some of the 20th century's most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brancusi, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. In later years she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. She died penniless at age 69. During World War II, Cunard worked, to the point of physical exhaustion, as a translator in London on behalf of the French Resistance. After the war, she gave up her home at Réanville and traveled extensively. She suffered from mental illness and poor physical health, worsened by alcoholism, poverty, and self-destructive behavior. She was committed to a mental hospital after a fight with London police; but, after her release, her health declined even further, and she weighed only sixty pounds when she was found on the street in Paris and brought to the Hôpital Cochin, where she died two days later. Her body was returned to England for cremation and the remains were sent back to the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Her ashes rest in urn number 9016.

From the description of Nancy Cunard letters to Walter J. Strachan, 1943-1965. (Southern Illinois University). WorldCat record id: 301602976

Nancy Cunard, British heiress, poet and author.

From the description of Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702161936

From the description of Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80555816

Born in 1896, Nancy Clara Cunard was the only child of the middle aged English baronet Sir Bache Cunard and his young American wife Maud Alice Burke. Though raised largely by servants and governesses, Nancy was not excluded when her mother, filling her role as a society hostess, filled the house with the most prominent writers, artists, musicians, and politicians of the day. A special friend of her mother, George Moore, took a particular interest in Nancy, encouraging her education and interest in literature and poetry.

When Nancy was fourteen, her mother left Sir Bache, and taking Nancy, established a separate residence in London. Nancy attended private schools in London, Germany, and Paris, where she became friends with Iris Tree, Dianna Manners, Osbert Sitwell, Augustus John, and Ezra Pound. In 1914, referring to themselves as the Corrupt Coterie, the group spent evenings in Parisian cafes discussing politics and poetry rather than attending to the coventional social milieu. About this time Nancy also began writing poetry, and though not an exceptional poet, published several poems in 1915 and 1916.

In 1916, Nancy had returned to London from school and became engaged to Sydney Fairbairn, much to the surprise of her family and friends. Fairbairn, while a socially acceptable young man, was very conventional, especially when compared to Nancy's usual choice of companions. The marriage ended in a formal separation after about 20 months, though the divorce was not final until 1925.

In 1920 Cunard moved to Paris where she became associated with the Dada and Modernist movements, and though she never formally joined, the Communist party. It is generally agreed that at this point in her life Cunard developed a strong dependence on alcohol and she may have experimented with other drugs. She also published her first volumes of poetry, starting with Outlaws in 1921, followed by Sublunary (1923), and Parallax (1925).

1927 found Cunard moving into an old farmhouse in Reanville, outside Paris, and setting up the Hours Press. Here she printed works by new and established writers, including Ezra Pound, Norman Douglas, Laura Riding, and Samuel Beckett. In 1928 Cunard met and became involved with Henry Crowder, a black American jazz musician playing with a band in a local night club. Through Crowder, Cunard became aware of the American civil rights movement. Over the next several years Cunard worked on a volume which was meant to create a record of the history of blacks in America. She solicited contributions for the volume from black and white artists in America and Europe and in 1934 to moderate fanfare and some controversy, Negro was published at her own expense.

Cunard took a strong interest in other civil rights issues for the rest of her life. She was a free-lance correspondent in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and then agitated for better treatment for the Spanish refugees in France after Franco's forces had prevailed. She traveled widely in South America, the Caribbean, and Tunisia, writing about the effects of colonialism as she went, and she frequently raised the issue of the color bar in her home country of England.

After World War II, Cunard traveled extensively and almost constantly. Her farmhouse in Reanville had been looted and vandalized during the Occupation and, because much of the damage had been done by locals, she did not feel able to return. She wrote memoirs of Norman Douglas and George Moore which were well received, and visited her friends. Deteriorating health, both physical and mental, caused her to alienate even her oldest and closest friends so that she died alone in a Parisian charity hospital in 1965.

From the guide to the Nancy Cunard Collection TXRC99-A11., 1895-1965, (bulk 1908-1965), (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Nancy Clare Cunard (March 10, 1896 - March 17, 1965) was an English writer, editor, publisher, political activist, anarchist and poet. She became a muse to some of the 20th century's most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brancusi, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. In later years she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. She died penniless at age 69.

During World War II, Cunard worked, to the point of physical exhaustion, as a translator in London on behalf of the French Resistance. After the war, she gave up her home at Réanville and traveled extensively. She suffered from mental illness and poor physical health, worsened by alcoholism, poverty, and self-destructive behavior. She was committed to a mental hospital after a fight with London police; but, after her release, her health declined even further, and she weighed only sixty pounds when she was found on the street in Paris and brought to the Hôpital Cochin, where she died two days later. Her body was returned to England for cremation and the remains were sent back to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris. Her ashes rest in urn number 9016.

From the description of Charles Burkhart collection of Nancy Cunard, 1951-1965. (Southern Illinois University). WorldCat record id: 298451913

Nancy Cunard was born on 10 March 1896 in Nevill Holt, Leicestershire, England, daughter of Sir Bache Cunard and Lady Maud Alice Burke Cunard. She spent her childhood as part of the British upper class on the family estate, surrounded by her parents' literary and artistic friends. When Cunard was fourteen, she moved with her mother to London, and subsequently attended schools in London, Paris and Germany.

Cunard began writing and publishing poetry in the 1910's, and after World War I she settled in Paris, where she became involved in the Dada, Surrealist and Modernist movements. Her first volume of poetry, Outlaws, was published in 1921, followed in 1923 by Sublunary and Parallax in 1925.

In 1927 Cunard founded the Hours Press in an old farmhouse in La Chapelle-Réanville, Normandy. The Press specialized in publishing writers whose works had difficulty finding a home elsewhere, including Ezra Pound and Samuel Beckett. The Hours Press closed after four years, after which Cunard became intensely involved in the black civil rights movement in the United States. Driven by her interest in the struggle, she spent several years collecting writings by and about African-Americans, which were published in 1934 in the anthology Negro .

For most of 1936-1939 Cunard lived in Madrid with the poet Pablo Neruda, working as a freelance writer during the Spanish Civil War. She spent most of World War II in London, where she published the anthology Poems for France (1944). After the war, Cunard returned to France to find that the Germans had destroyed or stolen most of her possessions.

Cunard's later publications included Grand Man: Memories of Norman Douglas (1954), GM: Memories of George Moore (1956) and These Were the Hours (1965), a posthumously published memoir. She died in Paris in 1965.

From the guide to the Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Norman Douglas collection, 1864-1967, 1920-1950 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Ford, Charles Henri. Charles Henri Ford papers, 1906-1989, bulk 1920-1989. J. Paul Getty Center, Arts Archives
referencedIn Moore, George, 1852-1933. Papers, 1887-1956. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn General photograph collection. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Claude McKay collection, 1853-1990, 1922-1948 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. Kay Boyle photograph collection, 1904-1980. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn English literature mss., ca. 1750-ca. 1979 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Richard Aldington collection of papers, 1914-1962 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Douglas, Norman, 1868-1952. Norman Douglas collection, 1864-1967 (bulk 1920-1950). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Louise Morgan and Otto Theis papers, 1903-1983 (inclusive, 1930-1960 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Charles Burkhart collection of Nancy Cunard, 1951-1965. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Janet Flanner and Solita Solano Papers, 1870-1976, (bulk 1955-1975) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Moore, George, 1852-1933. George Moore papers, 1887-1956. Boston College, Thomas P. O'Neill Library
referencedIn Strachan, W. J. (Walter John), 1903-1994. Correspondence, 1954-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Millen Brand Papers, 1919-1976. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Ezra Pound papers : addition, 1862-1983, 1960-1971 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Charles Henri Ford papers, 1906-1989, 1939-1989 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn McKay, Claude, 1890-1948. Claude McKay collection, 1853-1990 (bulk 1922-1948). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gregory, Alyse, 1884-1967. Alyse Gregory letters to Valentine Ackland, 1942-1962. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Graves, Beryl,. Beryl Graves collection of Laura (Riding) Jackson correspondence, 1925-1940. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Herman Schrijver collection of Nancy Cunard, 1944-1965. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Nancy Cunard letters to Walter J. Strachan, 1943-1965. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn McKay, Claude, 1890-1948. Claude McKay collection, 1853-1990 (bulk 1922-1948). Yale University Library
creatorOf Nancy Cunard collection, 1930-1965 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. Jean Toomer papers, 1898-1963 (inclusive), 1920-1954 (bulk). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Psalm of the palms ; and, Sonnets / [Nancy Cunard]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn George S. Schuyler Papers, 1912-1976. Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978. Janet Flanner and Solita Solano papers, 1870-1976 (bulk 1955-1975). Library of Congress
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Other poems / Nancy Cunard. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Cassidy, Victor,. Victor Cassidy collection of Laura (Riding) Jackson letters, 1973-1984. Cornell University Library
referencedIn West, Dorothy, 1909-. Papers, 1914-1985 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Victoria Ocampo papers, 1908-1979. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1934. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Nina Hamnett Papers, 1914-1953 Washington State University Libraries: Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Nancy Cunard Collection, 1895-1965 (bulk 1908-1965). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Gordon, Eugene, 1891-1974. Eugene Gordon papers, 1927-1972. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn George Moore letters to Lady Leonie Leslie, 1897–1977 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. Langston Hughes letters, 1936-1966. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972. Ezra Pound Collection, 1905-1975, (bulk 1930-1960). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Lawrence & Wishart. Lawrence & Wishart records, 1927-1951. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Hugo Manning Papers TXRC91-A13., 1942-1977 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Schomburg, Arthur Alfonso, 1874-1938. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg collection, 1920-1938, 1985-1993. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972. Ezra Pound Papers 1868-1976. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Sacheverell Sitwell Collection TXRC03-A1., 1912-1988 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962. Richard Aldington collection of papers, 1914-1962. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Brown, Bob, 1886-1959. Philip Kaplan and Bob Brown papers, 1894-1961. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Robert Knoll, Papers, 1955-1999 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, A-D. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969. Osbert Sitwell Collection, 1887-1969. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Victor Cassidy collection of Laura (Riding) Jackson letters, 1973-1984. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Blakeston, Oswell, 1907-1985. Papers, 1927-1985. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Nancy Cunard Collection TXRC99-A11., 1895-1965, (bulk 1908-1965) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Graves, Anna Melissa, 1875-1964. Papers, 1919-1953. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
referencedIn Reynolds, Mary, 1891-1950. Mary Reynolds collection, 1940-1974. Aurora University, Phillips Library
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. March 18, typescript draft, 1931. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
creatorOf Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-1988. Sacheverell Sitwell Collection, 1912-1988. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Osbert Sitwell Collection TXRC03-A0., 1887-1969 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ezra Pound Papers, 1868-1976 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Beryl Graves collection of Laura (Riding) Jackson correspondence, 1925-1940. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn The, Daily Worker, and, The Daily World, Photographs Collection, Bulk, 1930-1990, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Morgan, Louise. Louise Morgan and Otto Theis papers 1903-1983 (bulk 1930-1960). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Brand, Millen, 1906-1980. Millen Brand papers, 1919-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966. Hilaire Hiler papers, 1925-1966. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972. Ezra Pound papers : addition, 1862-1983 (bulk 1960-1971). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Oswell Blakeston Papers TXRC95-A128., 1927-1985 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965. Letters to James W. Ivy, [ca. 1930-1960]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Lawrence & Wishart records, 1927-1951 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Claude Barnett and the Associated Negro Press, 1976-1977 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn Gregory, Alyse, 1884-1967. Alyse Gregory letters to Valentine Ackland, 1942-1962. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Ezra Pound Collection TXRC98-A12., 1905-1975, bulk 1930-1960 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Jean Toomer papers, 1898-1963 (inclusive), 1920-1954 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Alan Steele: Letters to him, 20th century Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives
creatorOf Manning, Hugo. Papers, 1942-1977. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Eugene Gordon papers, 1927-1972 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Hamnett, Nina, 1890-1956. Nina Hamnett papers, 1900-1953. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
referencedIn Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. Langston Hughes letters, 1936-1966. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ackland, Valentine. person
associatedWith Ackland, Valentine. person
associatedWith Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962. person
associatedWith Aparicio, Antonio. person
associatedWith Aparicio, Antonio. person
associatedWith Aragon, Louis, 1897- person
associatedWith Aragon, Louis, 1897- . person
associatedWith Balaye, Geraldine. person
associatedWith Balaye, Geraldine. person
associatedWith Beckett, Samuel, 1906- person
associatedWith Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989. person
associatedWith Beltrán, Neftalí. person
associatedWith Benkovitz, Miriam J. person
associatedWith Benkovitz, Miriam J. person
associatedWith Benkovitz, Miriam J. person
associatedWith Blakeston, Oswell, 1907-1985 person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. person
associatedWith Brand, Millen, 1906-1980. person
correspondedWith Brown, Bob, 1886-1959. person
associatedWith Burkhart, Charles. person
associatedWith Cassidy, Victor, person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Douglas, Norman, 1868-1952 person
associatedWith Duff, Charles. person
associatedWith Duff, Charles. person
associatedWith Firbank, Ronald, 1886-1926. person
associatedWith Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978. person
associatedWith Ford, Charles Henri person
associatedWith Ford, Charles Henri. person
associatedWith Ford, Hugh D., 1925- person
associatedWith Gilbert, Morris, 1894- person
associatedWith Gordon, Eugene, 1891-1974. person
associatedWith Graves, Anna Melissa, 1875-1964. person
associatedWith Graves, Beryl, person
associatedWith Gregory, Alyse, 1884-1967. person
associatedWith Hamnett, Nina, 1890-1956. person
associatedWith Hart-Davis, Rupert, 1907- person
associatedWith Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966. person
associatedWith Houghton Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Ivy, James W. person
associatedWith Jameson, Storm, 1897- person
associatedWith Knoll, Robert E., 1922- person
associatedWith Lawrence & Wishart. corporateBody
associatedWith Lawrence & Wishart. corporateBody
associatedWith Lewis, Wyndham. person
associatedWith Lowenfels, Walter, 1897-1976 person
associatedWith MacPherson, Kenneth, 1903? -1971 person
associatedWith Manning, Hugo, 1913-1977 person
associatedWith McKay, Claude, 1890-1948. person
associatedWith Moore, George, 1852-1933 person
associatedWith Morgan, Louise. person
associatedWith Morgan, Louise, d. 1964 person
correspondedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1891- person
associatedWith Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972 person
associatedWith Rathbone, Irene, 1892-1980 person
correspondedWith Reynolds, Mary, 1891-1950. person
associatedWith Robinson, Clyde. person
associatedWith Robinson, Clyde. person
associatedWith Roma, Juan-Miguel. person
associatedWith Schomburg, Arthur Alfonso, 1874-1938. person
associatedWith Schrijver, Herman. person
associatedWith Schuyler, George Samuel, 1895- person
associatedWith Scott, John Robertson. person
associatedWith Scott, John Robertson. person
associatedWith Senhouse, Roger. person
associatedWith Senhouse, Roger. person
associatedWith Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969 person
associatedWith Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-1988 person
associatedWith Solano, Solita. person
associatedWith Solano, Solita. person
associatedWith Spender, Stephen, 1909- person
associatedWith Steele, Alan person
associatedWith Strachan, W. J. (Walter John), 1903-1994. person
associatedWith Thorne, Anthony. person
associatedWith Thorne, Anthony. person
associatedWith Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. person
associatedWith Tree, Iris, 1897-1968. person
associatedWith Vijayatunga, J(Jinadasa), 1902- person
associatedWith Warner, Sylvia Townsend, 1893- person
associatedWith West, Dorothy, 1909- person
associatedWith Woolf, Cecil. person
associatedWith Woolf, Cecil. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Trinidad
Europe
United States
Spain
Subject
Blacks--History
Poetry--Women authors
Spain--Civil war--1936-1939
Afro--Americans--Arts
Authors, English--20th century
African Americans--Education
Art, African
African American authors
Poetry, Modern--20th century
Authors--20th century
Authors, Black
Poets, English--20th century
African Americans--Civil rights
Occupation
Authors
Poets
Function

Person

Birth 1896-03-10

Death 1965-03-17

Britons

English,

French

Information

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