Alfred Kreymborg collection
Date Published: 1916 to 1955
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Alfred Kreymborg was an American poet, novelist, playwright, literary editor, and anthologist. The son of a cigar-store owner, he attended public school in Manhattan and became a chess phenomenon by the age of ten. He began writing poetry in his late teens and soon became an active figure in the Greenwich Village literary circles. The first writer to be involved with Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery, he joined forces with the avant-garde photographer Man Ray in 1913 to create The Glebe, a Modernist journal. His first book of poetry, Mushrooms: A Book of Free Forms (1916), solidified his reputation as one of the first writers utilizing free verse. By the end of his life at the age of eighty-two, Kreymborg had edited several notable little magazines, written forty books, lectured, taught, and served as associate director of the Federal Radio of the W.P.A., president of the Poetry Society of America, and judge of the Pulitzer prize competition.
The collection contains 15 items dating from 1916 to 1955 specifically, 7 typed signed letters, 1 autographed post card, 5 signed books, and 2 photos.
7 Typed Letters Signed (TLS):
• 3 TLS to William W. Seward, Jr., President of the Poetry Society of Virginia, 6 August and 25 August 1953, and n.d., re giving a recital of his poetry and sending an inscribed copy of one of his books (Selected Poems).
• TLS from Charles Hanson Towne (New York poet end editor), 21 February 1925, re “Pewee” in the current issue of Commonweal.
• TLS from W.D. (William Dorsey) Kennedy, The Writer, 20 November 1925, who served as editor from March 1926 till December 1928, asking Kreymborg to subscribe to the magazine.
• TLS from John S. Mayfield (bibliophile and collector), 19 June 1938, praises Kreymborg’s Anthology of American Poetry, asking Kreymborg to sign his copy, encloses a tribute to Sidney Lanier (not present).
• TLS from Anna A. Russell, The University of Buffalo, 9 November 1955, re drafts of “Brevities”.
5 Signed Books:
• Mushrooms, a Book of Free Forms. New York: John Marshall Co. Ltd., 1916. Pictorial paper boards (shadowing on lower board) in Alfred A. Knopf dust jacket (stained, spine panel repaired and missing section), signed on front free endpaper for William Stone (5.15,21).
• Plays for Poem-Mimes. New York: The Other Press, 1918. Khaki paper boards in dust jacket (a few tears on the spine panel). Some discoloration to the covers. Signed “For William Stone, From Alfred Kreymborg, 5, 15, 21”.
• Edna: The Girl of the Street. New York: Guido Bruno, 1919. Very good in wire-stitched wrappers. Signed by the author on p. 9. This short story was banned by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and is here reprinted with George Bernard Shaw's advice (dated 25 January 1917) to the society regarding the work, as well as the story of the publisher's arrest and trial.
• Scarlet and Mellow. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1926. Marbled paper boards, quarter bound in greenish mustard cloth, in jacket, almost fine, inscribed by Kreymborg to George Irving Quimby, 18 November 1926, and by Dorothy Kreymborg, Mother of Puppets.
• The Four Apes and Other Fables of Our Day. New York: Loker Raley, 1939. Yellow cloth in chipped dust jacket, signed on the front free endpaper: “To Bee and Hugo | Hugo and Ben | and I say these lines | eternally. | Alfred K, 10, 10 1939”.
1 Autographed post card:
• From Babette Deutsch (American poet), 18 January , re her attendance at the luncheon at Sherry’s on 28 January.
2 b&w photos:
• One large B&W with n.d. (circa 1925?)
• The other “Author of Verse Drama”, Kreymborg reading a script on NBC, 26 May 1938.
Collection on consignment with LDRB.