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Julia C.R. Dorr papers

Identifier: C-9

Scope and Contents

Seven archival boxes of materials pertaining to the poet and novelist. The bulk of the papers date from the 1890s and early 1900s. Mrs. Dorr’s correspondence includes a wide selection of esteemed literary figures of the late 19th century, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, who states that, “You Vermonters should have rare inspirations: Nature, our travelers tell me, has made no fairer land”; Ivy Compton Burnett; William Dean Howells; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who admired “the dignity, the finish, the melody of the verse you have given your audience in place of the cheap entertainment they commonly have to put up with.” Also included in the collection are Dorr’s holographic drafts of her prose manuscripts, with corrections; galleys that have been pasted into bound volumes; drafts of her poetry; and assorted reviews, press notices, and contracts; and also includes related posthumous material from her daughter, Zulma DeLacy Steele.


  • 1829-1934


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

The papers of Julia C.R. Dorr reveal a poet and novelist who was, in her own time, celebrated along with Julia Ward Howe and Harriet Beecher Stowe in the pantheon of 19th century female literary greats. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that her poetry was “written with an elegance which shows much practice & easy command of lyric metres & expressions; but much more than that, with great tenderness & humanity.” She was also (before Robert Frost definitively assumed the role) unofficial poet laureate of Vermont. From the Dorr residence on the banks of Otter Creek known as “The Maples,” she penned poetry celebrating nature and society in northern New England. She composed the “Centennial Poem” for Vermont in 1877, and became only the second woman to receive an honorary degree from Middlebury College, in 1910.


7 Boxes

3.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in five (5) series. Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Prose Manuscripts; Series III: Poetry; Series IV: Reviews, Press notices, Contracts; Series V: Miscellaneous Papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Zulma DeLacy Steele to the Julian W. Abernethy Collection of American Literature.
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

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