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Guide to the Robert Creeley Letters to Sarah Creeley

MSN/MN 3007

 

Collection Summary

Title: Robert Creeley letters to Sarah Creeley
Dates: 1973-2005 (bulk 1993-2005)
Collection No.: MSN/MN 3007
Creator: Creeley, Sarah H., 1957-
Creator: Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005
Extent: 34 folders; 1 container; .5 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A small collection of around 30 manuscript items preserved by Sarah Creeley, daughter of the American poet Robert Creeley. Most are short personal letters or cards directed to Sarah by her father in the 1990s.

Selected Search Terms

Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005 -- Correspondence
American Literature -- 20th Century
American Poetry -- 20th Century
Poets, American

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: Robert Creeley Letters to Sarah Creeley, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Creeley letters were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2011 from Granary Books of New York. Arranged and described 2012, by Joel Duncan. Finding aid 2012, by Joel Duncan.

Biographical Note

The American poet Robert White Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1926, and attended Harvard before receiving his B.A. from Black Mountain College in 1955. He went on to receive his M.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1960. Creeley began teaching at Albuquerque Academy in the late 1950s, and in 1967 joined the English faculty at the University of Buffalo. He stayed there until 2003, when he took a post at Brown University.

Creeley edited The Black Mountain Review (1954-1957), and developed a lasting relationship with Charles Olson, as well as other major poets of his generation. Creeley and Olson's complete correspondence fills ten volumes published by Black Sparrow Press. Creeley is primarily known as a poet, publishing thirty volumes of verse since 1952. His Collected Poems (1982, 2006) are published in two volumes by the University of California Press. His Collected Prose (2001) is published by Dalkey Archive Press.

Creeley married three times, first to Ann MacKinnon, with whom he had four children (one dying at birth). He met his second wife, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, while teaching in New Mexico. They had three daughters together. After twenty years they divorced, in 1976, the same year Creeley met his third wife, Penelope Highton, while travelling in New Zealand. They had two children together. Creeley died in 2005 in Odessa, Texas, of complications resulting from lung disease.

Scope and Content Note

A small collection of around 30 manuscript items preserved by Sarah H. Creeley, daughter of Robert Creeley. These include short personal letters, postcards, greeting cards, and printed emails, mostly directed to Sarah by her father in the 1990s. Some of these contain enclosures; among these is a small photograph album with a dozen photos, mostly of Creeley and his granddaughter Miranda. Sarah Creeley (b. 7 November 1957) was the daughter of Robert Creeley and Bobbie Lou Hawkins, Creeley's second wife. Creeley was living in Buffalo, New York and Waldoboro, Maine when he sent these notes to Sarah, in Richmond, California. Many appear to have been cover letters for checks directed to Sarah for her half-sister Kirsten, Creeley's stepdaughter from his second marriage. The money appears to have been associated with a family home in New Mexico. Also present are several items relating to Creeley's death and memorial, including his death certificate.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Related Material

Creeley's papers, including his working manuscripts and personal and business correspondence, are held in the Department of Special Collections, Green Library, Stanford University (Robert Creeley Papers, M0062). Creeley's personal library of more than 6000 volumes, with attendant ephemera, is held in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame.

Container List

  • Postcard. "Daddy" [Robert Creeley], Bristol, Maine, to Sarah Creeley, San Rafael, California, 1983 September 15. Folder 1 (MSN/MN 3007-1).
    APS.
    Creeley thanks Sarah for presents and mentions his and Penelope's travel plans to Germany, and that he will see Sarah shortly. The postcard photograph is of Stonington, Maine; Creeley reveals that this is where his mother left as a child to move to Massachussetts.
    • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1993 January 4. Folder 2 (MSN/MN 3007-2).
      TLS, one page on one sheet.
      Creeley thanks Sarah for presents and tells her he will be sending copies of photos of her and the kitten. Creeley looks forward to 1993, writing that 1992 "was somehow a drear one. Your getting that house was one of the few very happy moments."
      • Letter with envelope. [Robert] Creeley, Buffalo, New York, to Sarah Creeley, Richmond, California, 1993 February 1. Folder 3 (MSN/MN 3007-3).
        TLS, one page on one sheet, with envelope.
        Creeley writes: "Just a quick note to get you the money for Kirsten. How are things going for her? I feel all too faint as a backup." He mainly discusses the Buffalo Bills' loss in the Super Bowl the previous day, which he writes "was an emotional disaster here in Buffalo."
        • Letter with encolsure and envelope. [Robert] Creeley, Buffalo, New York, to Sarah Creeley, Richmond, California, 1993 May 22. Folder 4 (MSN/MN 3007-4).
          ALS, yellow post-it note attached to single-page enclosure, with envelope.
          The note reads: "Dear Sarah, GREAT to talk to you! We'll see you soon! Love to you and Jim, Dad" The encolusre is an announcement for the launch of Charles Olson's Selected Poems edited by Creeley at UC Berkeley, on Thursday, May 27, 8pm, with Creeley reading Olson's poems. Also announces the panel "Remembering Charles Olson" the following day which includes Creeley.
          • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1993 September 15. Folder 5 (MSN/MN 3007-5).
            TLS, one page on one sheet, with handwritten postscipt.
            Creeley writes: "It was very happy talking this morning, just to hear that Kirsten's situation is now so comfortable and happy. Here is the $300 for the month and, as said, I'll send an additional $200 as much before the end of the month as possible." Creeley also sends condolences regarding Sarah's husband Jim's difficulty getting his unemployment claim.
            • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1994 March 9. Folder 6 (MSN/MN 3007-6).
              TLS, one page on one sheet.
              Creeley writes: "Such a relief that breast trouble was benign" and encourages his daughter to "find a medical connection appropriate." Also writes about difficulty of receiving mortage payments: "Thinking of New Mexico, the people there again have missed a mortgage payment—like car with failing battery or the ignition going out. Each time they get a 30 day grace period and come in just at the line, but it's a drag—and it can't be great for them either, if they are that pinched for $300—but really they are spec owners and ours is one of many such they are dealing. So enough of that." Also writes of Buffalo winter as "depressed and depressing."
              • Letter with envelope. [Robert] Creeley, Waldoboro, Maine, to Sarah Creeley, n.p., 1994 July 22. Folder 7 (MSN/MN 3007-7).
                TLS, one page on one sheet with handwritten note, with envelope.
                Creeley writes: "Here finally is the money for Kirsten—sorry for the delay." Writes of trip with Will to Boulder where they "saw Bobbie very happily." Also on Sarah's grandmother Nora's age and aging and habits generally.
                • Letter with envelope. [Robert] Creeley, Buffalo, New York, to Sarah Creeley, n.p., 1995 Septemeber 6. Folder 8 (MSN/MN 3007-8).
                  ALS, one page on one sheet, with envelope.
                  This very brief letter begins: "Dear Folks, Still very happy with your GREAT news! A lovely name: Miranda Rose."
                  • Letter with envelope. [Robert] Creeley, Buffalo, New York, to Sarah Creeley, Richmond, California, 1995 October 4. Folder 9 (MSN/MN 3007-9).
                    TLS, one page on one sheet, with envelope.
                    Creeley writes how happy he is about his granddaughter, and that he would like to visit on November 17-19.
                    • Letter. Robert Creeley, Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1996 January 25. Folder 10 (MSN/MN 3007-10).
                      TLS, one page on one sheet.
                      This very brief letter begins: "Here's Kirsten's money for February while it's in hand. I'll also get the business together for Miranda Rose very shortly."
                      • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1996 May 30. Folder 11 (MSN/MN 3007-11).
                        ALS, one page on one sheet.
                        Creeley writes to Sarah regarding her "car prospects" offering to send her $800. He also writes: "hope it keeps running!"
                        • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1996 September 6. Folder 12 (MSN/MN 3007-12).
                          ALS, one page on one sheet.
                          Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, Not too long now before we see you here. Meantime we hope all's well indeed! Our love, Dad"
                          • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1997 February 7. Folder 13 (MSN/MN 3007-13).
                            ALS, one page on one sheet.
                            Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, All's well and I'll get moving on the tickets for Summer shortly. Lovely to talk the other night. Love to you both, Dad"
                            • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1997 April 6. Folder 14 (MSN/MN 3007-14).
                              ALS, one page on one sheet.
                              Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, Just to get this off amid all else. SAD Allen died—so quick! At least he didn't have to hang around. Onward! Dearest love to you both, Dad"
                              • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1997 May 12. Folder 15 (MSN/MN 3007-15).
                                ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                Creeley thanks Sarah for a card she sent to Penelope, and sends Sarah a "friendly."
                                • Printed email. Robert Creeley, Waldoboro, Maine, to "Dear, dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1997 July 20. Folder 16 (MSN/MN 3007-16).
                                  Printed email, two pages on two sheets, from creeley@acsu.buffalo.edu to Sarah46784@aol.com.
                                  Creeley writes of being in Maine with Will, Penelope, and Hannah; of the landscape and going swimming with Sophie; and of travelling to Concord with Helen to the U.S.'s first Howard Johnsons. He calls his graddaughter (Sarah's daughter) "the 'Looking Glass' of my Soul!"
                                  • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1997 December 27. Folder 17 (MSN/MN 3007-17).
                                    ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                    Creeley thanks Sarah for sending him a shirt and wishes her a happy new year.
                                    • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1998 January 22. Folder 18 (MSN/MN 3007-18).
                                      ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                      This very short letter begins: "Here's Kirsten's money for February."
                                      • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1998 March 15. Folder 19 (MSN/MN 3007-19).
                                        ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                        This very short letter begins: "Sorry to be slow with this!" Creeley mentions his visiting Seattle, as well as summer plans to see Sarah.
                                        • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1998 May 4. Folder 20 (MSN/MN 3007-20).
                                          ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                          Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, I'll be in touch shortly about visit thru May 28th and the day before. Ok! Love to you both, Dad"
                                          • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1998 June 1. Folder 21 (MSN/MN 3007-21).
                                            ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                            This very short letter mentions his recent "lovely visit" to Sarah's, and her upcoming visit to Maine on 25 June.
                                            • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1998 Oct 7. Folder 22 (MSN/MN 3007-22).
                                              ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                              Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, Here's this, like they say—and I'll call soon to tell you what I find out about Xmas travel. Love to you all! Dad"
                                              • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1999 May 13. Folder 23 (MSN/MN 3007-23).
                                                TLS, one page on one sheet.
                                                In this short letter Creeley informs Sarah of her and Miranda's travel itinerary for their visit to Buffalo from June 17th to 27th. Creeley also mentions he is "just leaving to visit Genevieve's school (Helen's granddaughter)."
                                                • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1999 May 15. Folder 24 (MSN/MN 3007-24).
                                                  ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                                  Letter reads: "Dear Sarah, Here are the two tickets and all looks well. See you soon! All my love, Dad"
                                                  • Letter. "Grandad" [Robert Creeley], Buffalo, New York, to "Dearly Beloveds" [Sarah and Miranda Creeley], n.p., 2001 March 28. Folder 25 (MSN/MN 3007-25).
                                                    TLS, one page on one sheet.
                                                    This very short letter discusses Creeley's and Penelope's travel plans, and the pleasure of Hannah's company while Penelope is away.
                                                    • Card. "Dad and Pen" [Robert and Penelope Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., n.d. Folder 26 (MSN/MN 3007-26).
                                                      Greeting card.
                                                      This is a Christmas and New Year's card, with a sentimental note from Creeley to Sarah.
                                                      • Letter. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., "Friday" [n.d.] Folder 27 (MSN/MN 3007-27).
                                                        ALS, one page on one sheet.
                                                        In this very short letter Creeley writes how great it was talking to Sarah and Miranda the previous day.
                                                        • Letter with enclosure. "Dad" [Robert Creeley], n.p., to "Dear Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., "Saturday" [n.d.] Folder 28 (MSN/MN 3007-28).
                                                          ALS, one page on one sheet, with enclosed photograph album containing twelve photographs with accompanying labels.
                                                          In this very short letter Creeley writes that his favorite photos are those of him and Miranda, and mentions Miranda's birthday presents. In the album there are nine black and white photographs, mostly of Creeley, in Bolinas, Buffalo, and Norway. All the black and white photos were taken between 1972 and 1976. There are also three color photographs of Creeley and his granddaughter Miranda taken by Sarah in Richmond, California in 1995, and in Maine in 1997.
                                                          • Card. "Daddy" [Robert Creeley], Bolinas, California, to "Sarah" [Sarah Creeley], n.p., 1973 November 4. Folder 29 (MSN/MN 3007-29).
                                                            Folded card, with poem pasted on inside.
                                                            This is a birthday card for Sarah, with Creeley's poem "For The Graduation: Bolinas School, June 15, 1973" pasted on the inside.
                                                            • Photocopy. Steve Aikenhead, Group Memories: School Days in Bolinas and Stinson Beach, Bolinas, California: 1993,  Folder 30 (MSN/MN 3007-30).
                                                              Four pages on four sheets, stapled together.
                                                              This is a photocopy from Group Memories, with the cover, the copyright page, page 222 and a photograph from the 1971 graduation, which includes Sarah Creeley. Page 222 discusses 1972 and includes Creeley's poem which was given to the graduates and their parents that year.
                                                              • Photocopy. Sarah Creeley with others, Truth Telling—Father's Day, Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley: June 21, 1998,  Folder 31 (MSN/MN 3007-31).
                                                                Ten pages on six sheets, stapled together.
                                                                This photocopy is partly of a three-page handwritten reminiscence by Sarah Creeley on her father, as well as the same page on 1972 from Group Memories as in MSN/MN 3007-30. Sarah's reminiscence recounts Creeley teaching Sarah not to be prejudiced toward people from the other side of Mt. John (from Bolinas). When as a child she called a man who greeted Bob "'a turkey!' My Dad said, 'Sarah, I don't like to hear you talk like that. We are all turkeys.'" Sarah also recounts how her Dad sat in on her Women's Studies course when she had cracked her pelvis, so that she would not lose her place in the class. Sarah states: "He was very impressed with my Women's Studies' [sic] teacher who asked him 1) Did I know he was there? and 2) Did he have my permission to be there?"
                                                                • Card. Helen Caroline Power (May 24th 1922-Janurary 3rd 2002) memorial, Orff's Corner Community Church on June 22nd at 1pm, [2002]. Folder 32 (MSN/MN 3007-32).
                                                                  Folded card.
                                                                  This invitation includes a photograph of Helen, and a poem by her written in 1940 entitled 'To Love New England. . .'
                                                                  • Postcard. Photograph by Elsa Dorfman, "Robert Creeley at Good Harbor Beach, 1967," 2005 May 7. Folder 33 (MSN/MN 3007-33).
                                                                    Folded card.
                                                                    This card was produced for the occasion of a "Robert Creeley Memorial Reading" at MIT.
                                                                    • Death certificate. Robert W. Creeley, Ector County, Odessa, Texas, 2005 April 1. Folder 34 (MSN/MN 3007-34).
                                                                      One document.
                                                                      This is an official copy of Creeley's Certificate of Death.