Hilda Doolittle Papers

In line with the University of Rochester’s recommendations regarding COVID-19, the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation will be closed to the public until further notice, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD Note: You may browse using the navigation on the left, or use Ctrl-F to search within this finding aid.

Hilda Doolittle papers
Creator: H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), 1886-1961
Call Number: D.257
Dates: 1924-1949
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Related Materials
Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Miscellaneous correspondence
Collection Overview
Title: Hilda Doolittle papers
Creator: H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), 1886-1961
Call Number: D.257
Dates: 1924-1949
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a writer and poet of the Imagist movement who published under the name "H.D." Her work is characterized by the strength of her images, economy of language, and widespread use of classical mythology for models on which to base her early poetry. H.D.'s first published poems appeared in the journal Poetry in 1913, after she sailed to Europe in 1911 and joined London's literary circles. She married fellow poet and translator Richard Aldington in 1913. After a few short years, the couple permanently separated, although they did not officially divorce until 1938.

H.D. lived in Europe for the remainder of her life, maintaining a lifelong relationship with the novelist Winifred Ellerman. "Bryher," as Ellerman was called, saved H.D. from a serious illness and depression after her daughter Perdita was born in 1919. Perdita was eventually legally adopted by Bryher, who was married to Kenneth Macpherson at the time. H.D. and Bryher often shared a home over the years and frequently traveled throughout Europe together. Following a severe mental breakdown after World War II, H.D. moved to Switzerland with Bryher, where she lived and wrote until her death in 1961.

Through H.D.'s early connections with poets such as Ezra Pound and D.H. Lawrence, she grew interested in and quickly became a leader of the Imagist movement, and is regarded by some as the finest of all Imagist poets. However, her poems did not receive as much widespread appreciation and acclaim during her own lifetime, perhaps because many of her poems spoke to an audience that was unready to respond to the strong feminist principles articulated in her work. As Norman Holmes Pearson, H.D.'s literary executor, remarked after her death, "we may not yet know how to read her."

Scope and Content
This small collection consists primarily of correspondence between H.D. and her brother Harold Doolittle and his wife Nettie, as well as correspondence between Bryher and Harold. There are also a few letters written by H.D.'s mother Helen Doolittle; another brother Melvin Doolittle; a distant relative W.F. Doolittle; Norman Holmes Pearson; and miscellaneous business letters written to Harold Doolittle. Most of the letters were written by H.D. and Bryher, during the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.

The correspondence is described using the following abbreviations: TL = typed letter; AL = autograph letter; TLS = typed letter signed; ALS = autograph letter signed; TPCS = typed postcard signed; APCS = autograph postcard signed.

Subject(s):
Correspondence
H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), 1886-1961
Bryher, 1894-1983
Poets, American
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was given in 1997 by James William Johnson, Professor of English at the University of Rochester from 1955 to 1997.Access
The Hilda Doolittle papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Hilda Doolittle papers, D.257, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
Along with approximately 48 letters, the donation also consisted of 17 books, mostly containing poetry written by H.D. These books have been catalogued and are shelved in the Rare Books Department stacks.

Book Collection

(catalogued and housed in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections & Preservation, Rush Rhees Library)

Aldington, Richard. The Colonel's Daughter. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1931. Autograph inscription: "H. Doolittle." (RBSC call no: PR 6001 .A36c)

Aldington, Richard. Women Must Work. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1934. Autograph inscription: "--Doolittle--." (RBSC call no: PR 6001 .A36wo 1934)

Bryher (Winifred Ellerman). Beowulf. New York: Pantheon Books Inc., 1956. (RBSC call no: PZ 3 .B847 Be)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). By Avon River. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691by)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Collected Poems. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1925. Autograph inscription: "To 'Henrietta' in recognition of fine rescue-work at Territet beginning Dec. 1921, from 'H.D.' Territet, May 1925." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691c)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). The Flowering of the Rod. London: Oxford University Press, 1946. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691f)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Helen in Egypt. New York: Grove Press Inc., 1961. Autograph inscription: "Harold Doolittle." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691hele)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Hermetic Definitions. No publisher's information. 1971. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691her 1971)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Hymen. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1921. Autograph inscription: "To her dear Mother--'H.D.' Montreux, Christmas 1921." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691hy 1921)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Palimpsest. Paris: Contact Editions, 1926. Autograph inscription: "Much love to dear 'Henrietta' from 'H.D.' London, Aug. 18, 1926." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691p 1926)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Red Roses for Bronze. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1931. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691r)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Selected Poems. New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1957. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691se)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Tribute to Freud. New York: Pantheon Books Inc., 1956. Autograph inscription: "Harold from Hilda. As for September 10, 1956, New Haven." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691tr)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Tribute to the Angels. London: Oxford University Press, 1945. Autograph inscription: "to Harold & Nettie & Annette with love from Hilda...we pause to give thanks...London, April 10, 1945." And "H.D. to Harold & Nettie & Annette Doolittle." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691tri 1945)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). The Walls Do Not Fall. London: Oxford University Press, 1944. (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691w)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). What Do I Love? London: The Brendin Publishing Co., Ltd., no publication date. Autograph inscription: "Harold & Nettie from Hilda." (RBSC call no: PS 3507 .D691wh)

Some Imagist Poets, 1917: An Annual Anthology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917. (RBSC call no: PR 1225 .S6 1917)


Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 1Harold Doolittle
Doolittle, Harold. TL to George Derby (of The National Cyclopedia of American Biography). April 7, 1925. 1p.
Doolittle, Harold. AL to Norman Holmes Pearson. May 10, 1944. 2p.
Doolittle, Harold. TL to Christine Kash. June 6, 1947. 1p.
Box 1, Folder 2Helen Doolittle
Doolittle, Helen. ALS to Harold Doolittle. March 3 [1926?]. 5p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Helen. ALS to Harold Doolittle. October 6 [1926]. 4p. Envelope. Enclosed: Doolittle, Melvin. ALS to Harold Doolittle. September 11, 1926. 6p.
Doolittle, Helen. ALS to Nettie Doolittle. November 5 [1926?]. 5p.
Doolittle, Helen. AL to Harold Doolittle?. No date. 3p.
Box 1, Folder 3Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), 1932?-1939
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. November 20 [193?]. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. July 29 [1932?]. 2p. Envelope. Enclosed: 4 photographs of H.D.'s home.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Nettie Doolittle. November 25 [1936]. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. [December 5, 1937.] 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. January 5 [1939]. 1p. Envelope.
Box 1, Folder 4Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), 1940-1943
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. April 9 [1940]. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. May 4 [1940]. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. September 25 [1940]. 4p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. November 6 [1940]. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. April 29 [1943]. 2p. Envelope. Enclosed: Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. April 29, 1943. 1p.
Box 1, Folder 5Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), 1946
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. June 22, 1946. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. September 2 [12?], 1946. 2p.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. September 20, 1946. 4p.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. September 27, 1946. 2p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. December 14 [1946]. 3p. Envelope.
Box 1, Folder 6Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), 1947-1949? and undated
Doolittle, Hilda. APCS to Harold Doolittle. August 5 [1947]. 1 postcard.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. September 29 [1947]. 4p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. August 7 [1948]. 1p. Envelope.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. December 1 [1948]. 1p. Envelope. Enclosed: 1 blank Christmas postcard.
Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Harold Doolittle. March 25 [1949?]. 1p. Enclosed: 4 blank Christmas postcards.
Doolittle, Hilda. ALS to Harold Doolittle. No date. 4p.
Doolittle, Hilda. Typed envelopes to Harold Doolittle. No dates. 2 empty envelopes.
Box 1, Folder 7W.F. Doolittle
Doolittle, W.F. APCS to Harold Doolittle. February 8, 1924. 1 postcard.
Box 1, Folder 8Winifred Ellerman (Bryher), 1929-1940
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. November 27 [1929]. 1p. Envelope. Enclosed: Check for ten dollars from Winifred Ellerman (signed "W. Macpherson") to Harold Doolittle. November 28, 1929. Also enclosed: Doolittle, Hilda. TLS to Nettie Doolittle. November 30 [1929]. 2p.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. May 6, 1939. 1p. Envelope.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold and Nettie Doolittle. December 10, 1940. 2p. Envelope.
Box 1, Folder 9Winifred Ellerman (Bryher), 1946-1948 and undated
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. June 9, 1946. 2p.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. September 1, 1946. 3p.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. October 2, 1946. 1p.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. October 26, 1946. 1p.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. November 16, 1946. 2p. Envelope.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. November 7, 1947. 1p. Envelope.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. March 29, 1948. 1p. Envelope.
Ellerman, Winifred. TLS to Harold Doolittle. June 22 [?]. 3p.
Series II: Miscellaneous correspondence
Box 1, Folder 10Other correspondence
Derby, George (of The National Cyclopedia of American Biography). TLS to Harold Doolittle. February 13, 1925. 1p.
Kash, Christine. ALS to Harold Doolittle. May 28 [1947]. 1p. Envelope. Enclosed: Doolittle, Harold. AL response to Christine Kash, written on back of Kash's letter to Doolittle. [June 6, 1947.] 1p. (See Folder 1 for typed version of this letter.)
Pearson, Norman Holmes. TLS to Harold Doolittle. May 9, 1944. 3p. Envelope.
White, James T. (of James T. White Co. Publishers). TLS to Harold Doolittle. January 17, 1927. 1p.


Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD