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William Everson Papers

Identifier: MS-MS-ms042

The William Everson Papers include correspondence between the author and the well-known book dealer Henry Wenning. Wenning was a friend and confidante to a great number of authors, many of whom are included in Washington University's Modern Literature Collection. He acted as publisher for Everson's poetry collection, The Blowing of the Seed (1966), and much of this correspondence deals with this book. The collection also contains a number of poetry manuscripts and galley proofs bearing Everson's corrections.


  • 1942-1971


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


2.00 boxes

Biographical Information

William Everson (September 10, 1912 – June 3, 1994), also known as Brother Antoninus, was an American poet, literary critic, and small press printer. Born in Sacramento, California, Everson attended Fresno State College, but left in 1935 to write poetry. In 1943, he was sent to a Civilian Public Service (CPS) work camp, Camp Angel, for conscientious objectors in Waldport, Oregon. Everson founded a fine-arts program in which the CPS men staged plays and poetry-readings and learned the craft of fine printing. During his time as a conscientious objector, Everson completed The Residual Years, a volume of poems that launched him to national fame.

In 1949, Everson converted to Roman Catholicism, joining the Dominican Order in 1951 and adopting the name "Brother Antoninus." Soon he became involved with the Catholic Worker Movement in Oakland, California. Everson's religious commitments removed him from the literary scene for a number of years, but the San Francisco Renaissance of the late 1950's drew him out and he reappeared in 1957. He left the Dominicans in 1969 to embrace a growing sexual awakening, and married a woman many years his junior. Everson was stricken by Parkinson's Disease in 1972, and its effects on him became a powerful element in his public readings.

Everson served as poet-in-residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz during the 1970s and 1980s. There he founded the Lime Kiln Press, a small press through which he printed highly sought-after fine-art editions of his own poetry, as well as of the works of other poets, including Robinson Jeffers and Walt Whitman.

Everson produced numerous books of poetry and prose under his given name and as Brother Antoninus. Much of his work arose from his political/ethical positions prior to his religious conversion (notably his War Elegies (1944) and Waldport Poems (1944), which were written and printed at the Waldport Work Center for conscientious objectors) and from his religious convictions after 1949. Critics have had both extremely positive and extremely negative reactions to Everson's poetry, much of which is autobiographical. Some have praised him for his honesty and intensity, while others have condemned him for dishonesty and pretentiousness.

Method of Acquisition

Accession number 780. Purchase from Henry Wenning, September 15, 1966.

Accession number 788. Purchase from Henry Wenning, November 3, 1966.

Accession number 806. Gift of William Everson, January 25, 1967.

Accession number 943. Purchase from Stonehill, July 12, 1968.

Accession number 1065. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 14, 1969.

Accession number 1070. Purchase from Henry Wenning, August 5, 1969.

Accession number 1135. Henry Wenning, January 21, 1970.

Accession number 1217. Purchase from Serendipity Books, September 1, 1970.

Accession number 1265. Gift of Henry Wenning, March 19, 1971.

Accession number 1284. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 23, 1969.

Accession number 1292. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 28, 1969.

Accession number 1295. Gift of Henry Wenning, July 28, 1969.

Accession number 1311. Gift of Henry Wenning, October 20, 1971.

Accession number 1752. Laid in material, February 1, 1988.

Accession number 23057. Purchase from Peter Howard, 2002.

Accession number MSS2016-018. Purchase from Ralph B, Sipper, August 8, 2016.

Accession number MSS2016-029. Purchase from Ralph B, Sipper, December 16, 2016.

William Everson Papers
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 April 7: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495