Elizabeth Coatsworth papers

Summary

Creator: Coatsworth, Elizabeth, 1893-1986
Date(s): 1902-1948
Call Number: MSS 0437
Language: Materials entirely in English.
Abstract: Family papers relating to the poet and children's author Elizabeth Coatsworth, including letters to Coatsworth from the English poet and novelist L.A.G. Strong and from the American author Josephine Pinckney, as well as letters to Coatsworth's husband, the writer Henry Beston.
Physical Description: 0.3s (1 box)
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchase, September 2001
Processing Information: Processed by Kevin Burke, May 2002. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, July 2021. Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical and Historical Notes

The American author Elizabeth Coatsworth was a prolific poet and writer of fiction and nonfiction for adults. She is best remembered, however, as a writer of children's books. Between 1927 and 1975 she published over 80 books for children, and her book The Cat Who Went to Heaven won the Newberry medal in 1931. Coatsworth was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1893. As a child and adult she ". . . traveled widely in the Orient, in North Africa, and in Europe." She graduated from Vassar in 1915, and received an M.A. from Columbia University in 1916. In 1929, Coatsworth married the American writer Henry Beston with whom she had two daughters. Coatsworth and Beston lived in rural New England, which provides the setting for many of her books. She died in Nobleboro, Maine, in 1986.

Henry Beston was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1888. He attended Harvard University (A.B. 1909, M.A. 1911) and served in the First World War as a member of the Harvard Ambulance Service. From 1919 to 1923, Beston was editor of the Living Age. He spent a year living in solitude in a small house on the outer dunes of Cape Cod in 1927 and translated this experience into his best known book The Outermost House. Following his marriage to Elizabeth Coatsworth, Beston continued to write adult nonfiction and a weekly column for The Progressive, as well as children's books, from their Maine farm. He died in 1968.

Sources

Beston, Henry." 1996 Biography from World Authors 1900 –1950. Retrieved May 3, 2002 from http://vweb.hwwilsonweb.com

"Elizabeth (Jane) Coatsworth." Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2000. Retrieved May 3, 2002 from http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC

Scope and Contents

The Elizabeth Coatsworth Papers represents a small collection of family papers relating to the poet and children's author Elizabeth Coatsworth. Included in the collection are letters to Coatsworth from the English poet and novelist L.A.G. Strong and from the American author Josephine Pinckney. Also included are a number of letters to Coatsworth's husband, the writer Henry Beston. The collection contains about thirty pages of Coatsworth's school exercises, a photograph of a young girl, presumably Coatsworth, annotated "Switzerland 1902-03," and a signed passport photograph of Coatsworth about age twenty. Other materials include Christmas and greeting cards sent to the Beston/Coatsworth family, and printed material related to Hingham, Massachusetts, one of the towns in which they lived. The Elizabeth Coatsworth Papers contains a copy of Wood Forms: A Writing in Basic English About a Basic Interest in the Form of Things, inscribed to Elizabeth Coatsworth by its author, Erastus S. Allen; a copy of The Triangle, a school literary magazine with contributions by Catherine Beston, Elizabeth and Henry's daughter; and printed sheet music for "Derby Song," with words by Catherine Beston.

Using these materials

Shelving Summary

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

MSS 0437, Elizabeth Coatsworth papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec

Container List

Letters to Elizabeth Coatsworth

Typed letter signed, undated 1 page Box 1, F1

From L.A.G. Strong, English poet and novelist, requesting permission to reprint verses by Coatsworth in an anthology.

Typed letter signed, 1940 December 19 1 page Box 1, F1

From H.S. Latham, vice president of MacMillan Company, regarding publishing decisions on Coatsworth's forthcoming book.

Typed letter signed, 1945 October 9 1 page Box 1, F1

From American author Josephine Pinckney expressing gratitude for Coatsworth's praise of her book.

Letters to Henry Beston

Typed letter signed, 1931 May 21 1 page Box 1, F2

From Winifred Brigham inviting Beston to address the November Club of Andover, Mass. on the subject of his book The Outermost House.

Autograph letter signed, 1931 May 22 1 page Box 1, F2

From Winifred Brigham correcting the date of the invitation given in her previous letter.

Autograph letter signed, undated 1 page Box 1, F2

From Ella Bay, an admirer of The Outermost House, giving her own observations of Cape Cod.

Autograph letter signed, 1948 February 23 1 page Box 1, F2

From Fiske Rollins reporting on damage to Beston's house on Cape Cod.

Letters and Cards to the Beston Family 9 items Box 1, F3

Includes Christmas cards with autograph notes from family friends, a photograph of a young man in military uniform signed "To Beston Family from Ellis," and a letter (January 24 1946, AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED, 2 pages) from "Uncle George."

Juvenalia Box 1, F4

Contains about 30 pages of a child's school exercises, including practice signatures of the name Elizabeth Coatsworth.

Photographs Box 1, F5

Includes a reproduction of a photograph of a young girl (presumably Coatsworth) annotated "Switzerland, 1902 – 3," and a signed passport photograph of Coatsworth as a young woman.

Allen, Erastus S., Wood Forms: A Writing in Basic English about a Basic Interest in the Forms of Things . Glendale, Ohio: Erastus S. Allen, 1943, 1943 Box 1, F6

Presentation copy of a book self-published by the author in 1943. Inscription reads: "To Elizabeth Coatsworth. For contributing in inspiration to the writing of this little book Sincerely Erastus S Allen."

"The Triangle", Vol. XLVI, No. 1, 1945 December Box 1, F7

Literary magazine of Emma Willard School in Troy, New York with contributions by Catherine Beston, the daughter of Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth.

"Derby Song." Boston: John Worley Co, 1949 Box 1, F8

Printed sheet music with words by Catherine Beston and music by Mary F. MacNaught, signed by MacNaught.

Manuscripts 5 items Box 1, F9

Includes 2 unsigned, undated autograph poems, a typed poem "Miss Gingham of Hingham" by Arthur Upton, printed version of the Coatsworth poem "Calling in the Cat" on a page torn from a book, and a sketch in pencil of the design for a house.

Clippings and Pamphlets 11 items Box 1, F10

Includes reproductions of photographs and drawings of The "Old Ship" Church in Hingham, Mass., and other miscellany.

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