Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth Papers, 1892-1986

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Volume: 7 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized into the following four series:
I. Biography, notebooks, and photographs;
II. Manuscripts;
III. Correspondence;
IV. Articles and other published material

Biographical Note: Elizabeth Coatsworth was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1893 and graduated from Vassar College in 1915. She completed an MA in 1916 at Columbia, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine in 1955. With her family, Coatsworth traveled widely in her youth to Europe, Africa, Mexico, and the Far East, and kept extensive notebooks of writing and artwork from her travels. She began writing poetry in 1914, and published her first book, Fox Footprints, in 1923. In 1929 she married Henry Beston, the noted author and naturalist, and the two settled first in Hingham, MA, and then at Chimney Farm in Nobleboro, Maine. Coatsworth continued to successfully publish books – mostly for children – as her work achieved solid readership and popularity for the rest of her life.

She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal in 1931 for The Cat Who Went to Heaven. Her stories largely involve animals and nature, and show the influence of her travels. One of her collections of fiction, The Snow Parlor and Other Bedtime Stories, includes stories written by her husband. In addition to writing children's books, Coatsworth published several novels and nonfiction works for adults, including the autobiographical Personal Geography in 1976. She also edited a collection of her husband's work entitled Especially Maine (1970). Coatsworth continued to live at Chimney Farm after the death of her husband in 1968, until her own death in 1986. She and Beston had two daughters, Margaret and Kate. (Kate Barnes was appointed Maine's first Poet Laureate in 1996.)

Description: This collection includes manuscripts, diaries and notebooks, personal and professional correspondence and memorabilia, appointment books, scrapbooks, and other papers from Coatsworth's life. It is possible that Coatsworth used the scrapbooks she constructed of clipped images from magazines and other sources as inspiration for her own work. The scrapbooks also contain personal momentoes from her family such as a short poem from her husband, Henry Beston, signed the Chimney Farm Farmer, a child’s crayon drawing, an original Christmas song on sheet music written by Elizabeth Coatsworth, sketches and correspondence from friends, clipped stories and poems. There are early family photographs, photographs of Coatsworth as a Vassar student and later in her life, of Chimney Farm, her coastal home, sketchbooks, and notebooks from her school days and travels. Also included are drafts and manuscripts of poems and some of her published works, including The Cat Who Went to Heaven, The Princess and the Lion, and Jock’s Island. The bulk of the collection is made up of correspondence to and from Coatsworth, dating from 1917, including family, Vassar College friends, and a number of emerging writers and literary professionals with whom she retained relationships. There is a large collection of letters written by Coatsworth in the last three decades of her life to the children's book publisher, Susan Hirschman and some responses from Hirschman, rich in personal touches and whimsy. The collection also includes secondary literature about Coatsworth, such as magazine interviews and profiles, as well as book reviews.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth Papers, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:

I. Biography, notebooks, and photographs

001.  Genealogy
002.  Diary of Mrs. Ida Reed Coatsworth, January 1917-December 1921
003.  Biographical sketches
003a.  "Elizabeth Coatsworth" by Grace Hogarth, Books For Your Children
004.  Promotional sheet, 1931; MacMillan descriptive folder, 1939 
004a.  Boston book readings, 1930s 
005.  Autobiography typescript re: HB and EC meeting/marriage, 1967
006.  Tax bill, Hingham, MA, 1934
006a.  Lease for Hingham "Ship House" June 3, 1937
007.  Wedding photograph, invitation, cake verse
008.  Chimney Farm visit, 1939
008a.  1975 Kerlan award
009.  Obituary, 1986
010.  Funeral poems
011.  Diary, January 1-June 28, 1908 
012.  Diary, 1910 
013.  Buffalo Seminary senior class play review, 1910-1911 
013a.  Buffalo Seminary "The Amazons" playbill, 1911 
014.  Buffalo Seminary Seminaria, 1911 (2 copies)
015.  Vassar Class Day Book
015a.  Vassar College Honor List notification
016.  4 drawing books, 1906, undated
017.  Drawings, 1900-1906
018.  Drawings, 1900-1906 
019.  School notebook with individual drawings
020.  Sketchbook, 1914 
021.  Travel
022.  1925 Passport 
023.  Photographs, unidentified 19th cent.
024.  Photographs, 1893, 1911, 1917, 1929, 1935, children, undated
025.  Photographs
026.  Photographs by MWWC 1964, 1969
027.  Photographs, ECB, HB, and daughter, 1964; door detail and burial plot, 1969 
028.  Travel booklets: History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its Church of St. Andrew
029.  Travel booklets: Drawings from the Old Masters
030.  Travel booklets: York Minster Medieval Stained Glass
031.  Notebook: Book III: Spain, Provence
032.  Notebook: Book IV: Italy
033.  China By Land and Water: a Series of Vandyck Photogravures
033a.  Photographs inserts in China By Land and Water: a Series of Vandyck Photogravures
034.  News clippings: Pasadena Star-News, 1918; St. James Gazette, 1892 
035.  News clippings and photocopies
036.  Inserts in A Wanderer in London by E. V. Lucas (includes photograph of EC?), 1914 
037.  Garden and Travel notes, undated 
038.  Registration form for National Registry of Historic Places for Chimney Farm, 2006
039a-c.  Calendars, 1955, 1956, 1964
040.  Wallet and identification cards
041.  Photography of awarding of honorary degree, 1955
042.  Newbery Medal, 1930
043.  Notebook, I.R. Coatsworth?, 1890s, 
044.  Recipe book with enclosures: drawings, verse, 1903-1906 
045.  Notebooks: 4 cloth-covered, 1 spiral
046.  Notebooks, 1930; gift list; 2 poems
046a.  Notebook, by Margaret Coatsworth, 1930 
047.  Writing case with gift list; one small MS sheet
048.  Los Rubles School, notebook with articles, 1909
049.  Two scrapbooks, 1930s
050.  Scrapbook contents, 1930s
051.  Etching of river scene with man and dog, artist unidentified
052.  Original Helen Sewell drawing from Away Goes Sally
053.  Sheet music with words by E.C.
054.  Framed photo of young girl with daisies, EC?, 1890s
055.  Unidentified young woman, EC?, early 1900s
056.  Undated B+W portrait of EC as a young woman
057.  E. Coatsworth, framed photo, 1912? 
058.  B+W portrait of older EC, in silver frame 
059.  Double photograph of Chimney Farm, wooden frame
060.  Unidentified photo of young woman, E.C.?
061.  B+W photo of EC in later years, undated

II.  Manuscripts

001.  School essays with Pasadena address, 1906-1909
002.  Carbons of descriptions of journeys, 1915
003.  Largely Oriental, poems
004.  1916-1935
005.  Pre-1920 school essays
006.  Pre-1920
007.  Pre-1920
008.  8 stories, includes early draft of “Mrs. French and Archaeology"
009.  "The Auction," "The Imagination of Don Ramon," "The End of the World"
010.  "Being Fair to Anna," "The Sweeping of the New Broom," "Christine," "The Escape Closed,” 1921-1929
011.  "Skin and Bones;" "Mrs. French and Archaeology"
012.  Miscellaneous notes on Ontario, Quebec, and Missouri
013.  "The Little Women", 1945-46
014.  Undated, untitled fragments
015.  "Godiva: A Little Doll Remembering a Tea Party"
016.  "Ceremonial Hunt"
017.  Away Goes Sally, cover illustrations, 1934
018.  "Captain Bob and the Good Ship Toner", first draft and typed MS
019.  The Cat Who Went to Heaven, chapters 1-8
020.  The Cat Who Went to Heaven, promotional literature
021.  "Chimney Farm Stories"
022.  Jock's Island, 3 notebooks
023.  Jock's Island, typescript with corrections
024.  Notebook containing notes from ? and outlines for chapters of The Last Fort, Silky and The White Heron
025.  The Little Drummer typescript, undated 
026.  Typescripts short works, undated
027.  Notebooks containing first draft of The Princess and the Lion
028.  The Princess and the Lion
029.  Must is Must
030.  Three children's stories in h.w.: “The Do-without Box,” “Big Enough,” “The Viking Ship”
031.  "Very steady and shining excerpts from the letters of a poet of ninety" Christmas 1983
032.  Poetry, 1930s
033.  Poetry
034-037.  Poetry Typescripts, undated 
038.  Poetry, undated
039.  Poetry typescript "An Alphabet of Stars"
040.  Poetry, undated drafts: Owl Poem, Earth Does not Ever Grieve
041.  Sheet music-"Moonlight" A Tone Poem; words by EC, signed by composer N. Bubee, 1944

III.  Correspondence

001.  To parents, 1904? 
002.  To Mrs. Coatsworth, 1910?-1915
003.-005.  From Vassar to family, 1911-1915
006.  Letter from mother, May 6, 1912
007-008.  From Vassar to mother, 1912
009.  From Vassar to family, 1913, 1914
010.  MS, Poetry
011.-015.  Submissions and Correspondence w/ Publications
016.  To Elizabeth Marshall Maltby, 1914, 1917
017.  To Mrs. E.J. Reid, 1915
018.  To friends and family, 1916-1918
019.  To mother while travelling, 1920s
020.  To mother, 1921
021.  To mother while travelling, 1928, 1929
022.  Letter to family, 193-
023.  From Henry Beston, 1920s
024.-025.  To Henry Beston, 1920s
026.  To Henry Beston, ca. 1929
027.  To Harry Hurd
028.  To Henry Beston,, 193-
029.  To Karen Kaye, 8/19/45
030.  To Gertrude Angell, 1913-1917
031.  To Gertrude Angell, 1940s and 50s
032.  To Gertrude Angell, undated
033.  From Henry Beston, 9/16/47
034.  To Ann Lucas, 4/14/48
035.-037.  To Maine Women Writers Collection, 1959-1981
038.  To Grace Barney, 5/18/1978
039.  Undated Christmas greetings
040.  Henry Beston to Patt Gannon, 1952-58
041.  Henry Beston to Patt Gannon, 1960s
042.  To Patt Gannon family, 1970s
043.  From Mrs. Coatsworth, 1911
044.  To ECB, May-June 1912
045.  To ECB, July-August 1912
046.  To ECB, 1918
047.  From P., 1922
048.  From R.P. Lawrence, 1914
049.  To ECB, 1916
050.  To ECB, 1926
051.  From H., 1929
052.  From Helen Douglas, 1916
053.  From Helen Douglas, 1917
054.  From Helen Douglas, 1918
055.  From Helen Douglas, 1919
056.  From Helen Douglas, undated
057.  From Margie McLean, 1914
058.  From Margie McLean, 1915
059.  From Margie McLean, 1916
060.  From Margie McLean, 1917
061.  From Margie McLean, 1918
062.  From friends 1907-09
063.  LMH to S. Antoinette Bigelow from China, December 20, 1938
064.-065.  To ECB, 1911-1912
066.-068.  From E.M. Maltby, 1913-1916
069.  To ECB, 1912
070.  To ECB, 1913
071.-072.  Vassar Notes, 1913
073.  To ECB, 1913-1916
074.  To ECB, 1915
075.  To ECB, 1916
076.  To ECB, 1917
077.  To ECB, 1917-1919
078.  To ECB, undated, 1917-1924?
079.  To ECB, 1918
080.  To ECB, 1919
081.  To ECB, undated 1920s
082.  To ECB, undated 1920s
083.  To ECB, 1920-1922
084.  To ECB, 1923
085.  To ECB, 1924
086.  To ECB, 1925
087.  To ECB, 1926-1927
088.  To ECB, 1928
089.  To ECB, 1929
090.  To ECB, 1930
091.  To ECB, 1930s, undated
092.  To ECB, Congratulatory letters/notes re: second daughter's birth, April 1932
093.  To ECB, Typed letters re: second daughter's birth, April 1932
094.  To ECB, Telegrams re: second daughter's birth, April 1932
095.  Numerology chart for second daughter's naming
096.  To ECB and HB, Wedding invitations
097.  To ECB, 1931-1935
098.  To ECB, Investments, 7/23/1937
099.  To ECB, 1937-1939
100.  To ECB, 1932-1937 undated
101.  To ECB, 1940s
102.  To ECB, Misc. postcards, 1920-1947
103.-104.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB 1930s-1940s
105.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB 1930s-1940s, Cooney card
106.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB, Nash book
107.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB, Nash card
108.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB, Nash
109.  Christmas cards to ECB and HB, 1950?
110.  Gift cards to ECB, undated
111.  To ECB, Misc. 1929-1945
112.  To ECB, From W.S. Ormsby, Ottawa, 1951; Albert Tessler, Trois Riviers, 1951
113.  To ECB, "A Pastoral from Lumpkin County" from A.R.H., undated
114.  To ECB, From schoolchildren of Elmont, NY; letter from ECB re: receiving letters from classes
115.  To ECB, From Henry Ford's office 1/30/1923
116.  To ECB, From Vita, Sackville-West Nicolson (Tehran, Persia), 3/7/1926
117.  To ECB, From Katherine Cornell, 5/20/1926
118.  To HB, From Katherine, Butler-Hathaway? 1/25/1928
119.  To ECB, From Rachel Field, 1930s
120.  To ECB, From Rachel Field, 1/10/1940
121.  To ECB, From Cornelia Otis Skinner, 1930s
122.  To ECB and HB, from Mary Ellen Chase, 1948
123.  To ECB and HB, from August Denleth, Sank City, WI, 1960
124.  Correspondence to ECB--Abbie Huston Evans, Helen (1960s)
125.  To ECB, From the Stephen Greene Press, 1976-1977 (with copy of Liv Ullman letter)
126.  From Dorothy Simpson
127.  From Elizabeth Ogilvie
128.-129.  From Rachel Carson
130.  From May Sarton
131.  To ECB, From The Liberator, Magazine Floyd Dell, undated
132.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1917
133.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1918
134.  Literary correspondence to ECB, From Amy Lowell 1918-1923
135.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1919
136.  Literary correspondence to ECB, undated, 1920-1930
137.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1920-1921
138.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1922
139.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1923
140.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1924
141.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1925
142.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1926
143.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1927
144.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1928-1929
145.  Literary correspondence to ECB, from editors, critics, writers, 1930
146.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1931
147.  Literary correspondence to ECB, 1932, 1934-1938
148.  Literary correspondence to ECB--From editors, critics, writers 1946-1964
149.  Copyright certificate for "Still day on the pond", 1975
150.  To Susan Hirschman, 1960s
151.  To Susan Hirschman, 1966
152.  To Susan Hirschman, 1960s,?
153.-156.  To Susan Hirschman, 1967
157.-158.  To Susan Hirschman, 1968
159.  To Susan Hirschman, 1970s undated
160.-162.  To Susan Hirschman, 1970s,?
163.  To Susan Hirschman, 1972-73
164.  To Susan Hirschman, 1973-74
165.  To Susan Hirschman, 1974
166.-167.  Between ECB and Susan Hirschman, 1974-75
168.-169.  To Susan Hirschman, 1975-76
170.-171.  To Susan Hirschman, 1976
172.-173.  To Susan Hirschman, 1977
174.  To Susan Hirschman, 1978
175.  To Susan Hirschman, 1978-80, undated
176.  To Susan Hirschman, 1979-80
177.-178.  To Susan Hirschman, 1980s,?
179.  To Susan Hirschman, 1981
180.  To Susan Hirschman, 1982
181.-182.  To Susan Hirschman, 1983
183.-184.  To Susan Hirschman, 1984
185.-186.  To Susan Hirschman, 1985
187.  Kate Barnes to Susan Hirschman and readers' letters
188.  EC to Sally Brun; Brun to Gary Lawless, 1975, undated

IV.  Articles and other published material

001.  Articles and interviews, 1920s
002.  Articles and interviews undated, 1920s-1930s
003.  Articles and interviews, 1930
004.  Articles and interviews, 1931
005.  Articles and interviews, 1932
006-009.  Clippings, 1936-1938
010.  Articles and interviews, 1939
011.  Articles and interviews, 1940s
012.  Articles and interviews, 1950s
013.  Articles and interviews, 1960s
014.  Articles and interviews, 1970s
015.  Clippings, 1980s-1990s
016-017.  Published poems
018.  International Studio June 1924, "Address of Welcome to Two Exiles"
019.  Poetry, 1930s
020.  Poetry, in Borzoi Battledore 1945-47 (12)
021.  Essay, "On Writing for Children" The Writer, 1931
022.  Through the Diamond Mountains, editor's proof
023.  Anne Carroll Moore essay, Junior Bookshelf, 1936
024.  "The Moon Rabbit", undated
025.  Short story, "On Second Thought" 1935
026.  Sheet music "Song of the Camel"
027.  Five Bushel Farm publicity, 1939
028.  Children's Books Suggested as Holiday Gifts, NYPL, 1931
029.  MacMillan Co. brochure of Coatsworth books, undated
030.  Knock at the Door advertising, Hornbook? 1931
031.  Bess and the Sphinx, reviews and publicity, 1967
032.  Maine Memories, press release/dust jacket 1968
033.  Dust jackets (7)
034.  Dust jacket fragment, The Trunk
036.  Original illustration, Coatsworth's Elephant With Rider by Cosgrave, 1985
037.  "Hilare Belloc" Augustan Books of Modern Poetry
038.  Carbons of war poems by soldiers, published in Yank, The Nation, The New Yorker
039.  Notes, 1929? ; bookplates
040.  Henry Beston: Books about Boston and New England (1930) p.9: Outer Most House
041.  "The Mysterious House of the Swan" television adaptation, 1950?
042.  Clippings of two poems
043.  New England Galaxy, Summer, 1959; Spring, 1963--published works (See MWWC Periodical Collection)