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George Oppen letters

Identifier: C-39

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 32 letters written by George Oppen to various recipients (including Cid Corman and Paul Auster) between 1960 and 1980. No return correspondence is included. The collection includes both typescript and holograph letters, most of which discuss literary matters, with some mentions of Oppen's personal life and his experiences running To Publishers in France. One letter to Paul Auster was dictated by Oppen to his wife near the end of his life and discusses the effect that Alzheimers has had on his ability to write.

Box contains 32 folders, each containing one letter written by Oppen.


  • 1960-1980


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

George Oppen (1908-1984) was an American Objectivist poet. Oppen abandoned poetry for activism in the 1930's, but returned to poetry in 1958, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1969. Oppen lived in Mexico before his return to poetry, in order to avoid the attentions of the House Un-American Activities Committee (Oppen was a member of the Communist Party USA). Near the end of his life, Oppen was suffering from Alzheimers disease, which made it impossible for him to continue writing.


1 Box (1 box, 32 folders)

Language of Materials



The collection is divided by recipient and arranged chronogically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Included in folder 14 is provenance information pertaining to Oppen's letters to Paul Auster, which were purchased by Middlebury College from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in 1984.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States