Marianne Moore collection

Marianne Moore collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
Title: Marianne Moore collection
Dates: 1963
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Coll. Number: ms2462

Biographical/Historical Note

Marianne Moore, a poet, critic, and translator, was born Marianne Craig Moore in Kirkland, Missouri, the daughter of John Milton Moore, a construction engineer and inventor, and Mary Warner. Moore had an older brother, John Warner Moore. She never met her father; before her birth his invention of a smokeless furnace failed, and he had a nervous and mental breakdown and was hospitalized in Massachusetts. Moore's mother became a housekeeper for John Riddle Warner, her father, an affectionate, well-read Presbyterian pastor in Kirkwood, until his death in 1894. Moore's mother, always overly protective, moved with her children briefly to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Moore attended the Metzger Institute (now part of Dickinson College) through high school.

In 1905 she entered Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; published nine poems, including "A Jelly-Fish," in its literary magazines Tipyn O'Bob and the Lantern; and majored in history, law, and politics, graduating with a B.A. in 1909. Much--perhaps too much--has been made of Moore's later casual assertion that laboratory studies in biology and histology caused her to consider studying medicine; at any rate, one result of such work was her love of intricately shaped animals and also a lifelong respect for precision in description. She also expressed a desire to become a painter. After taking secretarial courses at Carlisle Commercial College (1910-1911), she taught bookkeeping, stenography, and typing and commercial English and law at the U.S. Industrial Indian School at Carlisle with admirable success until 1915.

Moore has proved to be an engaging puzzle, not only to critics of her time but to later ones as well. It is seen that her themes broadened to a degree as she matured. In early works she emphasized a need for discipline and heroic behavior. Later she stressed the need for spiritual grace and love. To survive, she hinted, one must be alert, disciplined, and careful. Gradually she moved from scrutinizing one object to comparing several objects. She delighted in whimsically describing characteristics of animals and athletes, seeing both organisms as subjects and exemplars of art. Never dogmatic in propounding her morality, she often distanced herself and remained furtive by attributing declarative dicta to others and by commenting on quotations and even photographs expressing the point of view of others. For these reasons, critics have not yet reached a consensus--is she modern or anachronistic, imagistic or objectivistic? Regardless, Moore tremendously relished her quietly intense, largely bookish, often convivial life, made memorable to a host of friends by her rapid-fire talk. She was superb at her chosen craft. Her expression is notable for deftness and sharpness of detail, linguistic experimentation, and integration of fresh observation and obscure reading. She teases the reader into looking at reality with keener vision, as though, like her, seemingly for the very first time; challenges the reader to accept the relationship of big and little, animate and inanimate, ideal and object; and invites the reader to note, and practice, the power of words. To those who complained that her poetry often seemed obscure, she once replied that something that was work to write ought to be work to read. Her life displayed and her writings expressed the virtues of courage, loyalty, patience, modesty, spontaneity, and steadfastness.

American National Biography Online. (,%20marianne&ia=-at&ib=-bib&d=10&ss=0&q=1) Retrieved 6/11/2009.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of material relating to Marianne Moore's work, "Occasionem cognosce," including a publisher's letter to Mr. Stinehour, dated 22 March 1963, which gives specific instructions about how the book should be printed, bound, etc.; a proof of the cover with a pasted title label; a brief typed letter signed from Marianne Moore submitting the piece (30 March 1963); a proof of the poem on laid paper, marked on the verso in the publisher's hand: "First proof April, 1963" ; the publisher's mimeographed one-page brochure about the book; a four page proof of the finished version, marked in the publisher's holograph: "proof 2/18."

Index Terms

Covers (gathered matter components).
Laid paper.
Layout (Printing)
Mimeograph copies.
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 -- Correspondence
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 -- Occasionem cognosce
Poets, American--Correspondence.
Proofs (printed matter)
Signatures (names)
Stinehour, Roderick -- Correspondence

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Marianne Moore collection. MS 2462. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Occasionem cognosce