Kees, Weldon, 1914-1955?Variant names
Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice NE in 1914. He attended Doane College in Crete, NE and the University of Missouri. Known mainly as a poet, Kees also published short stories and wrote for Time magazine and Paramount's newsreel service. In the 1940's he took up painting and was involved in the establishment of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In 1950 he moved to San Francisco and began collaborating on songs with Robert Helms. He disappeared in July, 1954.
From the description of Kees-Helm sheet music collection. (University of Nebraska - Lincoln). WorldCat record id: 60337806
Poet, painter, critic, musician in New York and San Francisco.
From the description of Weldon Kees papers, 1941-1986. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 506124162
Epithet: writer and artist
British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000758.0x0002fa
Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, on 24 February 1914 to John and Sarah Kees. After high school he attended Doane College and the University of Missouri - Columbia, though in 1935 he received his degree from the University of Nebraska. For a short period after he graduated from the University, he worked on the Federal Writers Project in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1937 he moved to Denver, Colorado, and worked as a librarian and the Director of the Bibliographic Center. From 1943 until 1949 Kees lived in New York City and in 1950 relocated to San Francisco. Kees is presumed to have committed suicide in the summer of 1955. His car was found abandoned at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, on 18 July 1955.
Kees' creative energy led him in many directions including poetry, artwork, music, playwriting, photography, and filmmaking. Kees' first book of poetry, The Last Man, was published by The Colt Press in 1943. His second collection of poetry The Fall of Magicians was published in 1947 by Reynal and Hitchcock. In New York, Kees' creative energy shifted from poetry to painting. His abstract paintings were shown at two one-man shows at the Peridot Gallery in New York, owned by Lou Pollack. Kees earned money writing reviews for Time magazine, writing scripts for wartime newsreels, and writing art criticism for The Nation.
In 1953, Kees met jazz clarinetist Bob Helm, who played with Turk Murphy's Jazz Band. Kees and Helm collaborated on creating blues, rags, and music in the New Orleans jazz style. During this time Kees also sought creative outlets through a series of productions known as the Poets' Follies. The Follies showcased poets, musicians, and actors and allowed Kees to showcase some of his own talent. The last Poets' Follies took place in 1958 after Kees' death.
Helm was a member of Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band. Helm's early recordings include Bob Helm's Riverside Roustabouts (1954) and San Franciso Style (1956). Many years later, in 1998, he recorded Hotter Than That with the Bob Helm Jazz Band . He worked with Carol Leigh to record Bob Helm and Miss Carol Leigh's Blues and Jazz Review Ma'N Bessie Blues and Jazz Review, Act 1 and Act 2 . Helm died 1 September 2002.
From the guide to the Kees-Helm Sheet Music Collection, 1949-1958
|referencedIn||Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing).||Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University|
|referencedIn||New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005||Houghton Library|
|creatorOf||KEES, WELDON. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material.||Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)|
|referencedIn||Colt Press. Colt Press records, 1920-1973.||Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives|
|creatorOf||Kees-Helm Sheet Music Collection, 1949-1958||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library|
|referencedIn||New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984||New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division|
|referencedIn||Fantasy Magazine papers, 1929-1979||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|referencedIn||McChesney, Mary Fuller. Oral history interview with Mary Fuller McChesney, 1994 Sept. 28.||Archives of American Art|
|referencedIn||Furioso papers, 1938-1951.||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|referencedIn||Fantasy Magazine. Fantasy Magazine papers, 1929-1979.||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|creatorOf||Kees, Weldon, b. 1914. Weldon Kees papers, 1941-1986.||Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries|
|referencedIn||Furioso papers, 1938-1951||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|creatorOf||Rosenberger, Francis Coleman, 1915-. Papers of [Francis] Coleman Rosenberger, 1946-1952.||University of Virginia. Library|
|creatorOf||Jordan Davies. Papers, 1979-1987.||Washington University in St. Louis, .|
|creatorOf||Vol. XXV. (ff.) Jolas-Kennedy.James Stern, writer: Weldon Kees, writer and artist: Letter to James Stern from Weldon Kees: circa 1947.James Stern, writer: Mary Nesta Keane n e Skrine, writer: Letters to James Stern from Mary Nesta Keane: 1981-1985....||British Library|
|creatorOf||Kees, Weldon, b. 1914. Kees-Helm sheet music collection.||University of Nebraska - Lincoln|
|referencedIn||Yaddo records, 1870-1980||New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division|
|referencedIn||Graywolf Press Archives, 1978-2010||University of Minnesota Libraries. Literary Manuscripts Collection, Manuscripts Division. [mss]|
|associatedWith||Cahoon, Herbert, 1918-2000.||person|
|associatedWith||Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979.||person|
|associatedWith||McChesney, Mary Fuller||person|
|correspondedWith||New Directions Publishing Corp.||corporateBody|
|correspondedWith||New Yorker Magazine, Inc||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Rosenberger, Francis Coleman, 1915-||person|
|associatedWith||Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library).||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Yaddo (Artist's colony)||corporateBody|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (State)--New York|
|Authors, American--20th century|
|Poets, American--20th century|
|Booksellers and bookselling|