Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950

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Edgar Lee Masters was an American poet, novelist, biographer, and essayist.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters collection of papers, 1919-1949. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86164224

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters collection of papers, 1919-1949, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

Masters was an Illinois poet best known for the Spoon River Anthology.

From the description of Papers, 1922-1926. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 304436194

Benjamin De Casseres (1873-1945), a journalist and author, worked for various New York City newspapers writing columns and editorials. He also wrote poetry, fiction, essays, and critical reviews.

From the guide to the Benjamin De Casseres papers, 1893-1945, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

American poet.

From the description of Anne Rutledge : [n.p.] : autograph fair copy of the poem signed, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270605220

From the description of Papers, 1910-1942. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122482474

American writer.

From the description of Page proofs [manuscript], 1935-1939. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647830957

From the description of Papers of Edgar Lee Masters [manuscript], 1935-1984. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647812895

From the description of Letters of Edgar Lee Masters [manuscript], 1924-1945. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647806393

Contains correspondence from Ellen Coyne Masters, wife of Edgar Lee Masters.

From the description of Correspondence with Theodore and Helen Dreiser, 1912-1950, n.d. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155892117

Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), poet, novelist, and biographer, was born in Kansas and raised in Illinois. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and practiced law for many years in Chicago, including a stint with Clarence Darrow, 1903-1911. However, his true vocation was writing; over a period of nearly thirty years he produced more than forty books of poetry and prose, including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Vachel Lindsey, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain. His most famous work was Spoon River Anthology (1915), first published the previous year as a series of 244 epitaphs in free verse in Reedy's Mirror of St. Louis under the pseudonym Webster Ford. He was married twice, to Helen Jenkins in 1898 and to Ellen Frances Coyne in 1923, and had four children. However, from 1931 to 1944 he lived alone in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City where he became acquainted with Alice Davis (later Tibbetts). Masters died in 1950 in Melrose, Pennsylvania.

From the guide to the Masters-Davis collection, 1928, 1930-1977, 1936-1944, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

American novelist, biographer, poet, dramatist, and historian.

From the description of Letters, 1922-1947. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233117081

American poet and novelist.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters letter to George Sterling [manuscript], 1926 March 6. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833870

From the description of Letters, 1928-1942. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122492862

Edgar Lee Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas on August 23, 1869. He died on March 5, 1950, in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania. An acclaimed and prolific poet, Masters achieved his greatest recognition for his book Spoon River Anthology (1915). He has been the subject of several works of biography and criticism.

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) Papers, ca. 1927, (Northwestern University Archives)

Poet and author of Spoon River Anthology, first published in 1915, as well as numerous other poems, plays and books grew up in Petersburg, Illinois and moved with his family to Lewistown, Ill. where he read for the law and became a lawyer. He married Helen Jenkins of Chicago in 1898 and went to work with Clarence Darrow. He and Helen had three children. He met Lillian Wilson, a rich widow, in 1919 and had a long affair with her. He and Helen divorced in 1923 and he moved to New York. In 1926 he married Ellen Coyne. He remained lifelong friends with Edwin R. Reese of Lewistown and then Chicago. He was also acquainted with many writers, including George Sylvester Vierick, who was accused of anti-semitism during WWII.

From the description of Papers, 1924-1942. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 52751207

Edgar Lee Masters, 1868-1950. Wrote 12 plays, 21 books of poetry, 6 novels, and 6 biographies.

From the description of Poems / by Edgar Lee Masters ; deposited in the Library of Congress, June 16, 1936. [1936] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 662161906

American author.

From the description of Letter to Lucille Boyd [manuscript], 1936 December 26. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647812105

Author and poet.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters papers, 1926-1941. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70983920

Edgar Lee Masters, an American poet, novelist, and biographer, is best known as the author of SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY (1915).

Born in Garnett, Kansas, in 1868, he maintained a successful law practice in Chicago, Illinois, from 1892 to 1920, and made his debut as a poet in 1898 with A BOOK OF VERSE. After retiring from practicing law, he devoted himself entirely to writing. He died in Philadelphia on March 5, 1950.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters collection, 1915-1983. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 63051645

Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), poet, novelist, and biographer, was born in Kansas and raised in Illinois.

He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and practiced law for many years in Chicago, including a stint with Clarence Darrow, 1903-1911. However, his true vocation was writing; over a period of nearly thirty years he produced more than forty books of poetry and prose, including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Vachel Lindsey, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain. His most famous work was Spoon River Anthology (1915), first published the previous year as a series of 244 epitaphs in free verse in Reedy's Mirror of St. Louis under the pseudonym Webster Ford. He was married twice, to Helen Jenkins in 1898 and to Ellen Frances Coyne in 1923, and had four children. However, from 1931 to 1944 he lived alone in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City where he became acquainted with Alice Davis (later Tibbetts). Masters died in 1950 in Melrose, Pennsylvania.

From the description of Masters-Davis collection, 1928, 1930-1977, bulk (1936-1944). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122455283

Edgar Lee Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas, on August 23, 1868, but soon after his birth his family moved to Lewistown, Illinois, the town near Springfield where Masters grew up. His youth was marred by his father's financial struggles with a faltering law practice and reluctance to support his son's literary interests. Masters attended Knox College for a year but was then forced by the family's finances to withdraw and continue his studies privately. He was admitted to the bar in 1891, and he moved to Chicago in 1892, where he found a job collecting bills for the Edison Company . He gradually built a successful law practice, and for eight years he was the partner of Clarence Darrow . In 1898 he published his first collection, A Book of Verses, and married Helen Jenkins . His first books, some of which were published under pseudonyms, showed strong influences from the English Romantic poets and Edgar Allan Poe.

During this time Masters considered writing a novel about the relationships of people in a small Illinois town. This idea was transformed through a chance acquaintance. Masters had been submitting poems to Marion Reedy, the editor of Reedy's Mirror in St. Louis . While Reedy didn't publish these poems, he kept up the correspondence and gave Masters a copy of J. W. Mackail 's Selected Epigrams from the Greek Anthology . After reading these, Masters felt the challenge to adopt the idea for his novel into this form, combining free verse, epitaph, realism, and cynicism to write Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues from the dead in an Illinois graveyard. The Spoon River of the title is the name of an actual river in Illinois, but the town combines Lewistown, where Masters grew up, and Petersburg, where his grandparents lived. These poems were serialized in Reedy's Mirror from 1914-15, and then discovered by Harriet Monroe, the editor of Poetry, who helped Masters issue a complete edition in 1915. Spoon River Anthology was wildly successful, going through several editions rapidly and becoming one of the most popular books of poetry in the history of American literature. His success and friendship with Monroe also brought him into the Chicago Group and contact with such poets as Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay .

Masters was never to equal the success of Spoon River Anthology. He published thirty-nine more books, including novels, plays, collections of poetry, and biographies of Lindsay, Mark Twain, Whitman, and Lincoln. In 1917, Masters left his family; he and his wife would divorce in 1923. In 1920 Masters gave up his law firm and moved from Chicago to New York City, where he retired to the Chelsea Hotel to write. In 1926 he married Ellen Coyne, thirty years his junior. In his later years, Masters received several awards based on his earlier successes, including a Poetry Society of America Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters . He died March 5, 1953, in a convalescent home in Philadelphia and was buried in Petersburg, Illinois .

Source: The American Academy of Poets.

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters Papers, Masters (Edgar Lee) papers, 1928-1946, (John Hay Library Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Byrd, Sam, 1908-. Sam Byrd papers, 1904-1972. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) Papers, ca. 1927 Northwestern University Archives
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Wood alcohol : a play in three acts / by Edgar Lee Masters. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Widow La Rue / by Edgar Lee Masters. New York Public Library System, NYPL
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creatorOf Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Ellen Van Volkenburg-Maurice Browne general correspondence, 1911- University of Michigan
creatorOf Bigelow, Poultney, b. 1855. Poultney Bigelow papers, 1855-1954. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Autograph letter signed Edgar Lee Masters to: "My Dear Mrs. Chase." October 23, 1916. Wellesley College
referencedIn Letters concerning John Keats, 1794-1958 (inclusive) 1822-1895 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Bridges, Robert, 1858-1941. Theodore Roosevelt Collection: manuscripts--Roosevelt family papers, 18-- - 19--. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. AMsS, [no date]. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Jones, Susan Wilbur, b. 1893. Susan Wilbur Jones papers, 1873-1970. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Poultney Bigelow papers, 1855-1954 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
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referencedIn Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. Papers, [ca. 1917]-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Edgar Lee Masters letter to George Sterling [manuscript], 1926 March 6. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Schauffler, Robert Haven, 1879-1964. Correspondence, 1872-1964. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
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referencedIn Appleton-Century mss., 1846-1962 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Edgar Lee Masters collection, 1915-1983. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Edgar Lee Masters personal miscellany, 1869-1950 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Wrenn, John H. (John Haughton), 1920-. John Wrenn papers, 1960-1981. University of Colorado Boulder
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creatorOf Hewitt, Harry, 1921-2003. Prelude to Spoon River, op. 26, no. 3 ; Elegy : Spoon river, op. 26, no. 4 / Hewitt. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
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creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Poems of Edgar Lee Masters [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
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creatorOf Masters-Davis collection, 1928, 1930-1977, 1936-1944 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. A.L.s, Jan. 3, 1935 to Art Young / signed Lute Puckett. New York Public Library System, NYPL
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referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Poems / by Edgar Lee Masters ; deposited in the Library of Congress, June 16, 1936. Library of Congress
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referencedIn Amy Lowell correspondence, 1883-1927 (inclusive), 1910-1925 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Collection of materials regarding Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River [manuscript], 1933-ca.1950. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Benjamin De Casseres papers, 1893-1945 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Papers, 1847-1933. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
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referencedIn Ficke, Arthur Davison, 1883-1945. Arthur Davison Ficke Papers 1865-1971. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Ann Rutledge : holograph signed, 1925 Mar. 11. UC Berkeley Libraries
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creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. Edgar Lee Masters papers, 1926-1941. Library of Congress
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referencedIn AMERICA'S LITERARY HERITAGE #22: LIFE AND WORKS OF EDGAR LEE MASTERS United States. National Archives and Records Administration
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referencedIn Jay B. Hubbell Papers, 1816-1998 and undated, bulk 1920-1979 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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creatorOf Edgar Lee Masters Papers, Masters (Edgar Lee) papers, 1928-1946 John Hay Library, Special Collections
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referencedIn Papers, 1853-2005 (inclusive), 1939-2003 (bulk). Houghton Library.
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creatorOf Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950. The house in the wood : a play / by Edgar Lee Masters. New York Public Library System, NYPL
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referencedIn Robert Haven Schauffler Correspondence, TXRC96-A17., 1872-1964 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
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associatedWith Adams, Franklin P. (Franklin Pierce), 1881-1960. person
associatedWith American Repertory Theatre (Cambridge, Mass.). corporateBody
associatedWith Bagby, Mr., person
associatedWith Belmont, Eleanor Robson, 1879-1979. person
associatedWith Bigelow, Poultney, b. 1855. person
correspondedWith Bonner, Amy. person
associatedWith Boyd, Lucille, person
correspondedWith Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962 person
associatedWith Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. person
associatedWith Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925. person
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associatedWith Chase, Mrs. person
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correspondedWith Cole, Corinne Robinson Alsop, 1886-1971 person
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correspondedWith Hubbell, Jay B., 1885-1979 person
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associatedWith Jones, Susan Wilbur, b. 1893. person
associatedWith Joyce, Frieda Leffler, 1911- , person
correspondedWith Karsner, David, 1889-1941 person
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correspondedWith Lindsay family. family
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associatedWith Masters, Ellen Coyne, 1899- person
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parentOf Masters, Marcia Lee person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
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correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
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associatedWith Poetry (Firm) corporateBody
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correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
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associatedWith Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 person
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associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Melrose Park PA US
Chicago IL US
Garnett KS US
Subject
Lawyers--Illinois--Chicago--Biography
American poetry--20th century
Journalism--United States
Poetry
American poetry
Literary agents
Poets, American--Biographies
Chautauquas
Postage stamps--Topics--Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950
American literature--20th century
Manuscripts, American
Poets, American
Poets, American--20th century
Authors, American
Occupation
Journalists
Poets, American
Lawyers
Poets--20th century.--United States
Authors
Poets
Poets--United States--20th Century
Function

Person

Birth 1868-08-23

Death 1950-03-05

Americans

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6xd115c

SNAC ID: 74336748