Crapsey, Adelaide

Date range: 1878-1934
Location: A.C89
Size: 4 boxes

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Algernon Sidney Crapsey and Adelaide (Trowbridge) Crapsey. Her father was assistant minister of Trinity Church, Brooklyn, but within the first year after Adelaide's birth he became rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Parish, Rochester.

Adelaide Crapsey attended public schools in Rochester, then entered Kemper Hall, Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1893. She graduated in 1897 at the head of her class, and entered Vassar College, from which she graduated in 190l. At Vassar she was the class poet for three years and editor-in-chief of the 1901 Vassarion.

Before beginning her planned teaching career Adelaide Crapsey took a year's vacation to regain her strength and to recover from the shock caused by the death of her sister Emily in 1901. She then taught literature and history at Kemper Hall from 1902 to 1904, and Miss Lowe's School in Stamford, Connecticut from 1906 to 1908. In the meantime she had spent the year 1904-05 in Rome studying at the School of Classical Studies of the American Academy. She returned to Rochester in time to attend her father's trial for heresy, at the end of which he was deposed from the ministry.

The strain of the trial, with the death of her eldest brother Philip in May 1907, left Adelaide Crapsey in poor health. She accompanied her father to the Hague Peace Conference in June, but her health did not improve from the trip, and it was decided that she should return to Rome in December 1908. In the following two years she lived in Rome and London, with short periods in Paris and Fiesole. She continued her study of English prosody at the British Museum in 1910, and corresponded with T.S. Omond, an English prosodist, concerning possible publication of her work.

Adelaide Crapsey obtained an appointment as an instructor in poetics at Smith College in 1911, and returned to the United States immediately to begin work in February. Her health continued to be poor, and she was frequently overcome with fatigue. In the summer of 1911, her condition was diagnosed as tuberculosis. She did not tell her family, but continued to teach at Smith. In July 1913, she collapsed and was sent to a private nursing home at Saranac Lake, New York, where she stayed until August 1914. She then returned to her family home in Rochester, grew suddenly worse, and died October 8, 1914.

Her poetry was published after her death by Claude Bragdon (Verse, Manas Press, 1915) and the completed portion of her work on prosody as A Study in English Metrics in 1918. A second edition of Verse was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1922, reprinted in 1926 and 1929, and a third edition was published in 1934, reprinted 1938.

The collection consists of correspondence, manuscript and typed copies of poems, manuscript and typed drafts of the studies of metrics, reading notes, critical notices of Verse, published and unpublished articles about Adelaide Crapsey, photographs and memorabilia.

Gift of: Paul B. Crapsey January 23, 1961; Esther Lowenthal January 23, 1961, June 8, 1965, and November l, 1966; Arthur H. Crapsey, Jr., March 24, 1970; John S. Marsh March 20, 1978. Also various purchases.


Box 1: Correspondence and Scrapbooks

  1. Scrapbook. Compiled by Mrs. Adelaide (Trowbridge) Crapsey. Adelaide Crapsey 1878-1914. "This book contains the collected data covering the period 9 Sept. 1878 - Oct. 1914 and extracts from her Mother's journal". Transcripts of letters in scrapbook, 1893-1912
  2. Correspondence: Transcripts of letters in scrapbook, 1893-1912
  3. Correspondence: Adelaide Crapsey to Esther Lowenthal, July - December 1913
  4. Correspondence: Adelaide Crapsey to Esther Lowenthal, January - February 1914
  5. Correspondence: Adelaide Crapsey to Esther Lowenthal, March - May 1914
  6. Transcripts of Crapsey-Lowenthal correspondence
  7. Correspondence: 1909 - 1914
  8. Correspondence: 1930 - 1933
  9. Enlarged photographic reproduction of Adelaide Crapsey's graduation picture, Vassar College, 1901 (original in scrapbook in folder 1); Graduation photograph, 1901; Photograph of Adelaide Crapsey, 1909
  10. Cyanotypes (5).
    • Adelaide Crapsey at Alice Ward’s house, College Avenue, Rochester, NY, n.d.
    • Adelaide Crapsey, Hawley Ward, Alice Ward, and “Bandit” at Ward house, n.d.
    • Ward House, College Avenue, Rochester, NY, n.d.
    • Alice Ward.
    • Adelaide Crapsey and Carl Gordon at Ward house, College Avenue, Rochester, NY, n.d.
  11. Scrapbook. Compiled by Mrs. Adelaide (Trowbridge) Crapsey. Adelaide Crapsey 1878-1914. "This book contains the collected data covering the period 8th Oct. 1914 to date [ca1933]"

Box 2: Poems

The arrangement of material in this box follows that suggested by Susan Sutton Smith in her book The Poems of Adelaide Crapsey, pp.viii-xxii, xxxix-xlvi.
  1. Poems. Holograph manuscripts
  2. Poems. Drafts of "Nor moon..." and "Snow"
  3. Poems. Drafts of longer poems
  4. Bound manuscript volume of "Verse"
  5. Notebooks
  6. Translations, Holograph copies
  7. Arrangements of poems for "Verse" made by Adelaide Crapsey
  8. Typed copy of Verse. "Presentation Copy"
  9. Poems. Typed copiescorrected by Adelaide Crapsey
  10. Poems. Typed copies. Imperiale Parchment
  11. Poems. Manuscript copies in hand of Esther Lowenthal
  12. Poems. Typed copies, Hammermill Bond
  13. Poems. Typed copies in Scrantom, Wetmore & Co. binder
  14. Typed copies of "The Fiddler"
  15. Poems. Typed copies, Berkshire Linen USA
  16. Poems. Typed copies, Ravelstone Bond
  17. Poems. Typed copies, Mount Tom Bond
  18. Poems. Typed copies, No watermark, blue ribbon, elite typewriter
  19. Poems. Typed copy, Berkshire Parchment Linen USA
  20. "The Witch". Clipping. Published in The Century Illustrated Magazine, November 1914
  21. Esther Lowenthal's notes concerning "Verse"

Box 3: Other Writings
  1. "Experiment in Prosodic Analysis,"Holograph draft
  2. "Experiment in Prosodic Analysis," Typed draft
  3. "Metrics and Phonetics," Two typed drafts
  4. "A Study in English Metrics," Rough drafts
  5. "A Study in English Metrics," Rough drafts
  6. "A Study in English Metrics," Holograph draft
  7. "A Study in English Metrics," Typed drafts
  8. "A Study in English Metrics," Typed final draft
  9. Metrical analysis, Book lists
  10. Metrical analysis, Notes
  11. Stories and poems published at Vassar, Photocopies
  12. Readers' tickets, British Museum Reading Room, 1909-1910
  13. The Poems of John Keats. Copy annotated by Adelaide Crapsey

Box 4: Writings about Adelaide Crapsey
  1. Nathaniel Schmidt. "Adelaide Crapsey". Typescript. 5pp.
  2. Hideo Kawanami. "Adelaide Crapsey and Michel Revon: Their Connection with Japanese Literature". Printed version (in Japanese) and typescript copy of English translation (16pp)
  3. John Rothwell Slater. "The Adelaide Crapsey Collection". Typescript of article published in the University of Rochester Library Bulletin, vol 16, no.3 (Spring, 196l). 4pp.
  4. Sister M. Edwardine. "Adelaide Crapsey: A Biographical Study". Thesis, 1929. Bound typescript. 39pp.
  5. Walter O. Loescher. "The Personality and Poetry of Adelaide Crapsey". M.A. thesis, University of Rochester, 1947. Bound typescript. 87pp.
  6. Volume of Verse owned and inscribed by Louise Townsend Nicoll with three letters regarding Adelaide Crapsey: John S. Van E. Kohn to Bob [Robert Kolvoord?] (May 19, 1976), Louise Townsend Nicholl to John S. Van E. Kohn (May 8, 1976), and Louise Townsend Nicholl to R[obert?] Kolvoord (June 2, 1976). Also a letter found in Cecila Beaux's copy of Verse and mistakenly attributed to Adelaide Crapsey.
  7. Karen Alkalay-Gut. "Death, Order, and Poetry: 'The Presentation Copy' of Adelaide Crapsey". Computer print-out of article published in American Literature, vol. 57, no. 2 (May, 1985). 32pp. An offprint copy of the article has been cataloged for the book collection.
  8. Karen Alkalay-Gut. "'Keeping the Edge of Deprivation Sharp': Adelaide Crapsey's 'To the Dead in the Grave-yard Under My Window'". Computer print-out. 5pp.
  9. Karen Alkalay-Gut. "The Dying of Adelaide Crapsey". Computer print-out. 35p.
  10. Volume of Verse owned by Medora Addison Nutter. Two letters from Adelaide Crapsey to Medora Addison are tipped in (a third letter was not attached and has been added to the correspondence in Box l, folder 6) and a photograph of Adelaide Crapsey is pasted on the title-page.
  11. Jean Webster. "Poems by Adelaide Crapsey," Century (February, 1916), p.5ll.
  12. Mary Elizabeth Osborn. "The Vocabulary in Adelaide Crapsey's Verse," reprinted from American Speech, vol. III, no. 6 (August,1928), pp. 457-459.
  13. Winifred Wells. "'The Shimmering Shroud'". [Review of Knopf 1922 edition of Verse removed from an unidentified periodical]
  14. W.S.B. "Adelaide Crapsey", Transcript, March 8, 1916.
  15. F.H. "'The Immortal Residue'", The New Republic (January 22, 1916), pp.312-313.
  16. Charles Kenfield. Score for "Six Cinquains." Poems by Adelaide Crapsey set to music for soprano and piano by Charles Kenfield. Included are notes by the composer.
  17. James Brasic. Score for "Triad for Bass Voice, Flute and Piano." Words by Adelaide Crapsey; music by James Brasic. 1974.
  18. Jean Mason. "Tuberculosis as Muse: Three Poets on North America's 'Magic Mountain.'" Ars Medica, vol.1, no. 1 (Fall 2004).
  19. Karen Alkalay-Gut. Alone in the Dawn: The Life of Adelaide Crapsey. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988.