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Robert W. Smith collection of correspondence with Kay Boyle


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

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Robert W. Smith collection of correspondence with Kay Boyle, 1981-1990 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Robert W. Smith collection of correspondence with Kay Boyle, 1981-1990Add to your cart.

ID: 1/1/MSS 192

Primary Creator: Boyle, Kay, (1902-1992)

Other Creators: Smith, Robert W. (1926-)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.

Subjects: Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992, Communism - United States - History, Smith, Robert W., 1926-

Forms of Material: Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992 - Correspondence, Correspondence., Manuscripts for publication.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of correspondence by and about Kay Boyle as well as research materials collected by Robert W. Smith, and writings by Boyle. The correspondence between Smith and Boyle dates from 1981 to 1990. Also included in the collection is a piece by Boyle entitled "Summary of Experience with McCarthyism."

Biographical Note

Kay Boyle was born in 1902 and was a member of the American expatriate movement of the 1920s and 1930s.  As a young woman Boyle studied architecture at the Ohio Mechanics Institute in Cincinnati.  Boyle's first contribution to a national publication was a letter to the editor, which appeared in Harriet Monroe's Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in 1921.

Sometime in 1925 Boyle became involved in This Quarter, a literary review, which published her work in the first three issues.  Her first published pieces had been poems in Poetry, Broom, Forum, and Contact. In 1929 the Crosbys' Black Sun Press published Boyle's first book, titled Short Stories, in a limited edition of 185 copies.

In the late 1930's Boyle befriended several of the period's most notable writers, including James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, as well as Robert McAlmon.  In addition to lending advice as a fellow artist, McAlmon helped her to leave Duncan Colony and provided financial assistance when funds were low.  Although they never produced a collaborative work during his lifetime, Boyle revisited McAlmon's 1938 autobiography after his death, adding chapters that gave her perspective on the events he described.  The result was a revised edition of Being Geniuses Together, published in 1968.  During this time Boyle met Joseph Franckenstein, an Austrian baron, mountain climber, skier, and scholar.  In 1943 Franckenstein and Boyle were married.  He became an American citizen that year, and as an OSS officer, parachuted into France to help the Resistance.  Much of Boyle's World War II writing is inspired by Franckenstein.  He and Boyle were in Germany during the occupation when Boyle turned out some of the finest postwar fiction for the New Yorker (collected in 1951 in The Smoking Mountain). He also was with her when she was accused of communist sympathies during the McCarthy era of the early fifties, and consequently lost his government job.  Though the charges were fought and ultimately dismissed, the blacklisting and the time and resources required to fight the charges exacted immeasurable harm on their personal and professional lives.  Shortly after moving to San Francisco, where Boyle had been appointed to the creative writing faculty of San Francisco State College in 1963, Franckenstein died of cancer.  They had two children. Boyle died in 1992.

Subject/Index Terms

Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992
Communism - United States - History
Smith, Robert W., 1926-

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Robert W. Smith collection of correspondence with Kay Boyle, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Inventory, Scope and ContentAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 3: 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 4: 1983 January-August 8Add to your cart.
Folder 5: 1983 August 15-DecemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 7: 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 8: 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 9: 1987Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 2: 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 3: 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 4: undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence, re: Boyle, Boyle Writings Collected by SmithAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Miscellaneous WritingsAdd to your cart.

Book Reviews

Letter to the Editor, The Nation

Poem, A Lesson in Anatomy


Folder 7: Smith's Research on BoyleAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Mini-autobiography by BoyleAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Summary of Experience with McCarthyism by BoyleAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Extra copy of questions from R.W.S. to K.B.Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Extra copy of K.B.'s answers to the questions given her by R.W.S.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Extra copies of Questions from R.W.S. to K.B., 1983 SeptemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Extra Copies, A Talk with Enduring Kay Boyle, article by SmithAdd to your cart.

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