Guide to the Papers of Dilys Laing, ca. 1917 - ca. 1960Manuscript MS-984

Full Finding Aid

Title:

Guide to the Papers of Dilys Laing, ca. 1917 - ca. 1960

Call Number:

Manuscript MS-984

Collection Dates:

ca. 1917 - ca. 1960

Size of Collection:

7 boxes (8.75 linear ft.)

Abstract:

Dilys Laing, 1906-1960, writer, poet, and artist. Consists of correspondence of multiple family members, newspaper clippings, corrected scripts, drawings, an improvised Aztec dictionary, personal notes, drafts and chapters of Laing's book Corazun, printer's typescripts, files of poems, reviews, prose, political writing. Documents her relationship with her family and her development as an artist and writer and thinker.

Access to Collection:

Unrestricted.

Use & Access

The materials represented in this guide may be accessed through the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. Rauner Library is located in Webster Hall. The materials must be used on-site and may not leave Rauner Library.

Rauner Special Collections Library is open to the public and in most cases no appointment is necessary. The exception is in the case of materials stored off site for which there may be a delay of up to 48 hours in retrieval. Please consult the Access to Collection statement below or contact Rauner Reference.

Access to Collection

Unrestricted.

Publication & Use

These materials may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Introduction to the Collection

The papers of Dilys Laing include the continual correspondence of multiple family members, newspaper clippings (editorials, reviews, etc.), corrected scripts, drawings, an improvised Aztec dictionary, personal notes, drafts and chapters of Laing's book Corazun, printer's typescripts, files of poems (categorized under such headings as unpublished, in periodicals, in books, etc.), reviews, prose, political writing, and other documents concerning her poetry and writing.

The papers document her relationship with her family and her development as an artist and writer and thinker. Several items are worth noting. First, a used linoleum block cut, whose prints appear among her various sketches, which are also worth noting. Second, a fictionalized, prose document about an interview with an unnamed poet who is elsewhere acknowledged to be Robert Frost. Last, documents concerning a Beginner book project which mention correspondence with Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

Biography

Dilys Laing was born in North Wales in 1906 and was educated in England and Canada. She married Alexander Laing, a Dartmouth graduate and later professor, in 1936 and became an American citizen. She was a writer, poet, and artist whose work was published both in books and periodicals. She never became famous for her work, but it was admired by such contemporary poets as Robert Lowell. She died in 1960.

Box & Folder List

Box: 1, Dates: 1930s-1950s

Documents included are almost entirely correspondence, separated by her husband, all of them from family including: her mother (Emilie Frances Bennett), her father (A.J. Bennett), her brother (John Walter Bennett) and his wife (Lucy) and their children (Susan and Elizabeth), and from her cousin (Monica Roberts Chalmers, to whom Walk through Two Landscapes was dedicated). Most of the letters from the mid 1930's to the late 1950's, but the letters from her cousin Monica ("Mona") date to the mid 1940's, because she died in 1946. Also, a box of checks and stubs.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 2, Dates: ca. 1917-1930

Included are a box full of newspaper clippings (editorials, articles concerning Canada, and book reviews), small notes, a used linoleum block cut, a copy for a script of "War and Peace" which Laing corrected, drawings from the 1920's (with a few from c. 1917), an address book converted into an Aztec dictionary, personal notes and poets in a small file box.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 3, Dates: Undated

Included are drafts and chapters of Laing's book Corazun (including synopsis and handwritten drafts, the second and third drafts in original and carbons, and other chapters), a copy of the Vox which contains the first chapter of Corazun, and the printer's typescript, notes and worksheets for The Great Year.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 4, Dates: Undated

Included are documents listed under such headings as poems in books, poems in periodicals (as opposed to her collections), poems unpublished, translations, and readings. Also included is a binder of her poems.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 5, Dates: Undated

Included are reviews of books and other prose notices, poems, a prose, fictionalized interview with Robert Frost, and correspondence (with individuals as well as with publications, including Harpers). Also included is an alphabetized book of her poems, and a box of miscellaneous, typed poetry, mostly hers.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 6, Dates: Undated

Includes a document entitled Memorandum to the Concerned, which concerns the distribution of Letter to a Threatened World, a political statement written by her and her husband. Also, correspondence, to and about her, some separated into the category "last letters received prior to her death." There are reviews, the novel form of "Smoking Mirror", early newspaper contributions, young drawings, and advertisements.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Box: 7, Dates: Undated

Included are miscellaneous prose, short stories, critical writing, and fiction. Also, correspondence and documents concerning a Beginner book project with Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), and assorted photographs.

Box Contents

  • There is no folder listing for this box.

Finding Aids