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Allen Tate Letters

 Collection — Box: VMF 15, Folder: 20
Identifier: MS-VMF-vmf166

Correspondence from Tate to Henry Wenning and Fred Millett


  • 1944-1964


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Conditions Governing Use

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5.00 items

1 folders

Biographical Information

John Orley Allen Tate (November 19, 1899 – February 9, 1979) was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.  Born near Winchester, Kentucky, Tate studied the violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music from 1916-1917.  He began attending Vanderbilt University in 1918 and was invited to join a group of young Southern poets under the leadership of John Crowe Ransom known as the Fugitive Poets and later as the Southern Agrarians. Tate contributed to the group's magazine The Fugitive and to the agrarian manifesto I'll Take My Stand published in 1930, and this was followed in 1938 by Who Owns America? Tate also joined Ransom to teach at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

In 1924, Tate moved to New York City. Over a four-year period, he worked freelance for The Nation, contributed to the Hound and Horn, Poetry magazine, and others (some years later, he would also contribute articles to the conservative National Review). To make ends meet, he worked as a janitor.  In 1928, Tate published his first book of poetry, Mr. Pope and Others Poems which contained his most famous poem, "Ode to the Confederate Dead." That same year, Tate also published a biography Stonewall Jackson: The Good Soldier. In 1929, Tate published a second biography Jefferson Davis: His Rise and Fall. In 1938, Tate published his only novel, The Fathers.

Tate was a poet-in-residence at Princeton University until 1942. He founded the Creative Writing program at Princeton, and mentored Richard Blackmur, John Berryman, and others. In 1942, Tate assisted novelist and friend Andrew Lytle in transforming The Sewanee Review, America's oldest literary quarterly, from a modest journal into one of the most prestigious in the nation. Tate and Lytle had attended Vanderbilt together prior to collaborating at The University of the South.

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

Accession number 1006, November 1968. Originally laid in Reason in Madness by Allen Tate (Typed letter signed to Fred Millett)

Accession number 1287, July 28, 1971. Gift of Henry Wenning. (Correspondence to Wenning)

Processing Information

Processed September 1969 and January 1972

Allen Tate Letters
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 March 18: 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