Guide to the Writers' Conference Files, 1935-1962
(Collection number: UA 17/6)

Size: 2 boxes (0.66 cu.ft.)

About University of New Hampshire Writers' Conference

This is Carroll S. Towle's collection of materials relating to the University of New Hampshire Writers' Conference, held each summer from 1938 to 1961 in Durham, New Hampshire. Towle was instrumental in establishing the Writers' Conference and continued as its director until his death in 1962. In fact, the conference was never re-scheduled after the cancellation of the summer 1962 session due to Dr. Towle's poor health.

Carroll S. Towle, a native of Maine, was graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College in 1922. He attended Yale University, then taught at the University of Texas. Later he returned to Yale, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1933. In 1931, he came to the University of New Hampshire, eventually becoming the head of the English Department. Dr. Towle remained at the University until his death in 1962. Dr. Towle's special interest was the short story. He was co-editor, with John Holmes, of A COMPLETE COLLEGE READER and co-authored WRITERS ON WRITING, a by-product of the conferences.

The Writers' Conference of the University of New Hampshire was initiated in 1938 because of the interest in and success of undergraduate writing at the University and the growing prominence of several young graduates. The conference was held each August on the University campus. It was one of the first popular university writers' conferences, attracting a large number of distinguished authors each summer. Eventually it became one of the important centers of literary development in the East. In 1962 a review of summer writing conferences in SATURDAY REVIEW rated the New Hampshire Writers' Conference as one of the Big Four of such conferences, and regretted its cancellation that summer.

The conference was intended for writers of all ages and degrees of experience. It was not a formal school, but rather intensive discussion groups for the exchange of opinions and information on good and bad writing, problems of publications and criticism, current opportunities in publishing, and the problems of the individual writer. A wide range of writing types was considered: the short story, novel, poetry, book length non-fiction, article writing, drama, and radio. The program included lectures, informal gatherings, manuscript readings, and personal conferences.

About the Writers' Conference Files

The collection contains letters, pamphlets, brochures, newspaper clippings, and photographs which relate to and document the history of the Writers' Conference.

The letters in the collection are both personal and business letters to Carroll Towle, many from the practicing writers-novelists, biographers and poets who staffed the conference during its twenty-four year history. These have been arranged alphabetically according to the sender, and where more than one letter exists, they are arranged chronologically. Undated letters are placed at the end, after the dated material. One folder (Number ll) of correspondence of others was found among Dr. Towle's papers. These too have been arranged alphabetically by sender.

Excluding the correspondence, the bulk of the collection has been subdivided according to form - clippings, news releases, schedules, brochures - and arranged chronologically with undated material at the end of each folder. See also UV 17/6 for photographs of the conference.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the University of New Hampshire.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Writers' Conference Files, 1935-1962, UA 17/6, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

These records were transferred to the University Library for storage prior to the establishment of the University Archives in 1992.

Collection Contents

Series I: Correspondence, 1935-1962

(1 box)

Subseries A: Letters to Carroll S. Towle, 1935-1962

(10 folders)
Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1 Mar 26, 1938 - Aug 31, 1941 Carroll, Gladys Hasty
Box 1, Folder 2 Jan 30, 1940 - Mar 7, 1940 Coffin, Robert P. Tristram
Box 1, Folder 3 May 3, 1951, Undated Coit, Margaret
Box 1, Folder 4 Jul 19, 1944 - Feb 8, 1945, Undated Eaton, Walter Prichard
Box 1, Folder 5 Undated Forbes, Esther
Box 1, Folder 6 Aug 13, 1938 - Feb 2, 1957, Undated Holmes, John
Box 1, Folder 7 Aug 29, 1940 - Aug 25, 1948 Humphries, Rolfe
Box 1, Folder 8 Oct 31, 1941 - Jul 31, 1957 Jones, Frangcon
Box 1, Folder 9 Aug 4, 1941 - Apr 12, 1948, Undated Kelly, Eric P.
Box 1, Folder 10 Oct 14, 1935 - Jul 30, 1957, Undated Brown, Herbert, Burnett, Whit, Coatsworth, Elizabeth, Edgerly, John H., Ellis, William D., President, Editorial Service, Inc., Gould, John, Gregg, Marion, Hitchcock, Alfred M., Holbrook, Stewart, McKaye, Percy, Packard, Ted, Page, Curtis, Richards, Laura, Roberts, Kenneth (postcard), Sagendorph, Robb (postcard), Schwarz, Felix Conrad, Shute, Henry A., Stowe, David, Widdemer, Margaret, Williams, Loring, Wilson, Robley C., Jr., Woodbury, David

Subseries B: Letters to Others, 1948-1962

(1 folder)
Box 1, Folder 11 Nov 25, 1948 - May 7, 1962 Robert Frost to Robert Chase, (unsigned carbon copy), Rolfe Humphries to Arthur Adams, President of UNH, (unsigned carbon copy), Elizabeth Yates McGreal to ??, James H. Rinker to Edmond A. Cortez (with enclosure "News Notes Never to be used in the Durham Bull"), James H. Rinker to Margery and Lorus Milne (with enclosure "News Notes Never to be Used in the Durham Bull" and envelope with pen and ink drawing and note), Carroll S. Towle to Ted Packard (See also folder 10), Margery and Lorus Milne to V.M. Talley

Series II: Programs and Schedules, 1938-1961

(1 folder)
Box 1, Folder 12 1938-1961 Programs and Schedules

Includes daily and weekly programs, annual evening lecture schedules, staff memo, biographical sketches of the conference staff and members. All material is in chronological order with undated material at the end of the folder.

Series III: News Releases and Clippings, 1938-1976

(2 folders)
Box 1, Folder 13 1938,1946,1950 News Releases

Chronological arrangement of new releases and a radio script publicizing the Writers' Conference.

Box 1, Folder 14 1942 - (1945-46) - 1976 Clippings

he 32 clippings are in chronological order; material for which no date could be determined has been filed at the end. The majority of the clippings are from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine newspapers.

Series IV: Brochures, 1938-1961

(3 folders)
Box 1, Folder 15 1938 - 1945 Brochures

Brochures, and some circulars for all the Writers' Conferences from 1938 (First Session) to 1945 (Eighth Session).

Box 1, Folder 16 1946 - 1961 Brochures

The brochures and/or circulars for the other sessions are in chronological order.

Box 1, Folder 17 1941 Brochure - Paste-ups and Proofs

The original galley proofs and paste ups used in preparing the brochure for the 4th Session, the 1941 Writers' Conference.

Series V: Lectures, Speeches, and Manuscripts, 1935-1962

(9 folders)

Subseries A: Lectures and Speeches,, 1935-1962

(1 folder)
Box 1, Folder 18 1942-1944 Lectures and Speeches

Towle, Carroll S. 1942 Aug 6. "Letters and Education." Digest of discussion., Towle, Carroll S. Seminar in Milton. 3 typed pages, Humphries, Rolfe and Holmes, John. 1942 Aug 12. "Poetry is Tough." Digest of lecture, Coffin, Robert P. T. 1944. "Carroll S. Towle Scholarship of the New Hampshire Writers' Conference." Original typescript of speech establishing the scholarship, with pen and ink drawing on cover.

Subseries B: Manuscripts, 1939/1954

(3 folder)

The manuscripts are primarily typescripts of original manuscripts found among Dr. Towle's papers. They have been arranged alphabetically by author with the anonymous material placed last.

Box 1, Folder 19 October 1954 Barker, Shirley

"Satan's Instruments." 27pp. Submitted to the Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Short Story Contest.

Box 1, Folder 20 Undated Mulstay, Walter H.

"The Elm." 100pp. Submitted to the DeRochemont Contest.

Box 1, Folder 21 May 1939, Undated Staples, Linnea Standig

"New Sweden, Maine, Its Birth and Settlement." Published in NATIONAL HISTORICAL MAGAZINE, "Tale of a Grist Mill." Published in the AMERICAN SWEDISH MONTHLY.

Box 1, Folder 22 Undated Anonymous

"How Plead Ye Now?" 17pp, "They had their Cake." 55pp, Milton's Areopagitica. lp.

Series VI: Chapbooks, 1944-1951

(2 folders)

For 17 years, starting in 1944, the American Weave Press, annually published the Durham Chapbook of poetry. The selection was made from manuscript folios submitted by those attending the current session of the Writers' Conference

Box 1, Folder 23 1944 Durham Chapbook Number One
Box 1, Folder 23 1946 Durham Chapbook Number Two
Box 1, Folder 23 1947 Babcock, Donald. "For Those I Taught"
Box 1, Folder 24 1949 Jewett, Sarah Orne. "Verses"
Box 1, Folder 24 1951 Babcock, Donald. "For Those I Taught and The Friendly Commonplace"
Box 1, Folder 24 1951 Durham Chapbook Number Seven
Box 1, Folder 24 Undated "Two Poets": Pearl Lunt Robinson and Blanche Gile.
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1 1958 Weil, James S. "Quarrel with the Rose"
Box 2, Folder 1 1958 Hinchey, Barbara D'Arcey. "Syllabus."
Box 2, Folder 1 1960 Durham Chapbook XV: Kneeland, Isobel

"Room of Shadows."

Box 2, Folder 1 1961 American Weave Award Chapbook: Parsons, Kitty

"People and People"

Series VII: Miscellaneous Pamphlets, Mimeographed Pages, 1935-1961

(1 folder)
Box 2, Folder 2 1935-1961 Miscellaneous Pamphlets, Mimeographed Pages

Holmes, John. "The World is One.", Holmes, John. "Along the Row at Tufts College", Malan, C. "The Watchmaker and His Family.", Nash, Ray, ed. "Fifty Years of Robert Frost, A Catalogue of Exhibition.", Parsons, Kitty. "People and People", A Winter Work, The Cradle. 2pp.

Series VIII: Durham Bull, 1953-1960

(5 folders)

The DURHAM BULL was an informal, mimeographed newssheet, Newsletter) for, by, and about the conference, the staff and the conferees. It commenced publication in 1953 and ceased in 1961 with the closing of the conference.

Box 2, Folder 3 August 1953 Vol. 1
Box 2, Folder 3 August 1954 Vol. 2
Box 2, Folder 4 August 1955 Vol. 3
Box 2, Folder 5 August 1956 Vol. 4
Box 2, Folder 6 August 1957
Box 2, Folder 7 August 1959
Box 2, Folder 8 August 1960
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