1 Hollinger box (.33 cu.ft.)
About Witter Bynner:
Harold Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1881, but at age 7 his family moved to Brookline, Massachusetts after the death of his father. In 1898 he began his studies at Harvard University where he served on the editorial board of the Harvard Advocate (1900-1902). After graduating in 1902, Bynner worked for four years as associate editor of McClure’s Magazine before retreating from the pressures of the New York literary world and devoting himself to writing. He rented a bedroom/study from his college friend, sculptor Homer Saint-Gaudens and was a nine year resident of Cornish, N.H.’s flourishing art community. Witter Bynner’s first book, An Ode to Harvard and Other Poems (1907), was only mildly successful, but he went on to publish several plays and seventeen other volumes of poetry over the course of his life. He is, however, perhaps best remembered for the Spectra hoax* (1916), a spoof on literary “schools,” initiated by Bynner in conjunction with Arthur Davison Ficke.
After leaving Cornish, Bynner was elected President of the Poetry Society of America (1921-1923) and travelled extensively in the Orient, where he became influenced by Chinese poetry. In fact, The Jade Mountain (written with Kiang Kang-Hu, 1929), an anthology of T’ang Dynasty poems, is considered Bynner’s “greatest contribution to twentieth-century literature.” Bynner spent the latter part of his life in New Mexico. He died in 1968.
* see William Jay Smith. The Spectra Hoax (Middletown, Ct.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961).
About the Witter Bynner papers:
The Witter Bynner Collection contains correspondence (1905-1962), autographed manuscripts, some published works by Bynner, and three photographs.
|f.1||Bynner to Lawrence Mott. New York, February 25, 1905.|
|f.2||Bynner to Corbin. Chesham, N.H., August 2, 1907.|
|f.3||Bynner to White. New York, July 12, 1910.|
|f.4||Bynner to Charles W. Eliot. Saybrook, Ct., September 5, 1914.|
|f.5||Bynner to Brown. New York, June 12, 1927.|
|f.6||Bynner to Aunt Naomi, Miss C. N. Bynner. Chapala, Mexico, November 28, 1931 [postcard].|
|f.7||Bynner to Aunt Jean [Mrs. G.A.O. Ernst], Santa Fe, September 23, 1935.|
|f.8||Bynner to “Mr. Roberts,” Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 17, 1939.|
|f.9||Bynner to “Mr. Roberts,” Chapala, Mexico, May ll, 1940.|
|f.10||Bynner to Roger [Ernst], Chapala, Mexico, May 30, 1945.|
|f.11||Bynner to Roger and Ruth [Ernst], New York, November 29, 1947.|
|f.12||Bynner to Mr. and Mrs. Roger Ernst. Golfe-Juan, France, June 4, 1950 [postcard].|
|f.13||“Though You Would Follow.” Poem. “Copied for W. C. Goodson.”|
|f.14||“Traveler.” Poem. With corrections and instructions for typesetter.|
|f.15||“To Henry Ford.” Poem, initialled in pencil “WB.”|
|f.16||Pencilled list of 5 Bynner books.|
|f.17||“A Canticle Of Praise.” San Francisco, John Henry Nash, 1918. First edition. Inscribed, “Naomi Bynner, with the deep love of her nephew/Witter Bynner.”|
|f.18||“The New World.” Frontispiece by Ray F. Coyle. San Francisco, John Henry Nash, 1919. Inscribed, “Roger/Witter Bynner/not reprinted but reaffirmed in 1947.”|
|f.19||Pins For Wings [by Emanuel Morgan]. Caricatures by Ivan Opffer and William Saphier. N.Y. Sunwise Turn, 1920. Inscribed by Bynner, “this one is a rarity/by both E. Morgan and by me.” One of 200 copies. First edition.|
|f.20||“A Group of Poems by Li Po.” Broadside. Translated by Witter Bynner and Kiang Kang-Hu, Signed by Bynner. Reprinted from Asia Magazine, February 1922.|
|f.21||“Wisteria,” broadside. San Francisco, 1923. Signed by Bynner.|
|f.22||The Borzoi, 1925. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1925. Inscribed to Stuart P. Sherman by Alfred and Blanche Knopf. Contains Bynner’s “Kahlil the Gibranite.”|
|f.23||“Roots.” N.Y., Random House, 1929. First edition. One of 475 numbered copies.|
|“Anne.” Reproduction of painting by Anne Bremer. “Made for Albert M. Bender by Ansel Easton Adams, Christmas, 1930.” Press of Johnck and Seeger.|
|f.24||“Against The Cold.” With designs by Marguerite Jones Drewry. N.Y., 1933. Inscribed “For Aunt Jane, Witter Bynner, Christmas, 1933.” First edition. Borzoi Chapbook #5.|
|f.25||“Till We Watch the Last Low Star.” Printed sheet music. New York: General Music Publishing Co., 1962. Poem by Witter Bynner, music by Richard Owen.|
|f.26||Spring. n.p., n.d.|
|f.27||Clippings of printed poems: “War,” “A Modern Game,” and “Two Chinese Poems.”|
IV. Materials about Witter Bynner
|f.28||“In Praise of Witter Bynner.” W.A. Norris, 1920 (typed manuscript).|
|f.29||“Sanctuary. A Bird Masque by Percy Mackaye…September 12, 1913.” Cornish, N.H.: Meriden Bird Club, 1913. Heintzemann Press, Boston. Bynner is cast as Stark, the plume hunter (program).|
|f.30||“Witter Bynner: Poet, Dramatist, Lecturer. The Harvard Dramatic Club Presents Its Fortieth Production, Cake,” (program).|
|f.31||“The Works Of Witter Bynner.” Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. with holograph note: “Who’s Who tells the rest, W. B.” (publisher’s brochure).|
|f.32||Newspaper clippings, 1914-1937 & n.d.|
|f.33||a. “©L.J.S.”, 2.5 x 3.5 black and white.
On accompanying envelope, “Dear Aunt N. / The photograph is for Aunt F- (?). She wanted one, bless her. You shall [sic] one presently and she a book. The last doctor thinks I have appendicitis. But I am beginning to laugh at doctors. Big love, H.
b. “Sante Fe, July 1922.” Inscribed: “For Aunt Naome,” 3.5 x 5.5, black and white.
c. 1961 “Inscribed for William W. Stewart Jr. by Witter Bynner (1961).” 8 x 10 black and white.