Edna St. Vincent Millay's Life and Works (1892-1950)

By Krista Wescott

Biographical Note:

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine, on February 22, 1892. She was the daughter of Henry T. and Cora (Buzzelle) Millay. She received a Gold Badge from St. Nicholas magazine in 1906; this was the first publication of her writing.

Edna graduated from Camden Hills High in 1909. Renascence, a verse, was published in Lyric Year in 1912. She attended Vassar College from 1913 –1917, writing many lyric pieces, and receiving her A.B. from Vassar. Upon graduation she published Renascence and Other Poems, her first book. She then moved to Greenwich Village, sharing an apartment with her sisters, and acting with the Provincetown Players on MacDougal Street.

In 1919 Aria da Capo, a peace-loving play was published. A Few Figs from Thistles was published in 1920, Second April was published in 1921, and in 1922 she won a Pulitzer Prize with The Harp Weaver and Other Poems. On July 18, 1923 she married Eugen J. Boissevain. After traveling around the world together in 1925, they settled in Austerlitz, New York.

She became involved with the Sacco-Vanzetti Tragedy, where two immigrant workers were to receive the death sentence for murder and for believing in Anarchism. She demonstrated, protested, and was arrested for these protests. She wrote The King's Henchman, an opera lyric, in 1927 and Fatal Interview and Wine from These Grapes along with many other poems in the 1930's.

Due to reverses in her husbands foreign import business, they experienced serious financial losses during World War II. She suffered a nervous breakdown in 1944 and also after the loss her husband in 1949, and died of a heart attack on October 19, 1950.

Description of Collection:

Materials in the Maine Women Writers Collection include published works, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, signatures and a nightgown.