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Josephine Miles Papers

Identifier: MS-MS-ms084

The Josephine Miles Papers consists of correspondence (1960-1968) to Miles from Donald Hammonds, editor, Little, Brown and Co. writing about publication of Classic Essays in English [anthology] and Style and Proportion [language study], other editors concerning copyright permissions, production arrangements, etc.; friends, colleagues writing with suggestions, comments on Style and Proportion; J.R.T. Bueno, Wesleyan University Press, concerning publication of Kinds of Affection [collection of poems]; letters from friends with praise for Kinds of Affection, including Winfield Townley Scott and Louis Untermeyer. Other correspondents include W.K. Wimsatt, William Stafford, Frederick Morgan, and Henry Rago. Letters from Miles to University of California editors concerning printing arrangements, to Graham McIntosh concerning additional copies of Saving the Bay [poem]. 

The collection also includes essays “Innovation in English Poetry”, publisher's readers' comment sheets on The Poem: A Critical Anthology, reprint of 3 poems from Uclan Review, autograph drafts of unidentified poems, an untitled essay on metrical stress and lexical stress, and typescript setting copy [incomplete] of Short Stories: A Study in Pleasure by Sean O'Faolain.  Finally, the collection included material towards the books, Eras and Modes in English Poetry [language study], Renaissance, 18th-century, and Modern Language in English Poetry [language study], Classic Essays in English [anthology], Style and Proportion [language study], Saving the Bay [poem], Civil Poems [collection of poems], and autograph drafts of poems later included in Kinds of Affection.


  • 1957-1968


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.)


5.00 boxes

Biographical Information

Josephine Louise Miles (June 11, 1911 – May 12, 1985) was an American poet and literary critic. Born in Chicago, Miles earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where she spent her entire academic career and where, in 1947, she became the first woman to be tenured in the English Department.

Miles was fascinated with Beat poetry, and was both a host and critic to many Beat poets from her chair at Berkeley. Most notably, she helped Allen Ginsberg publish Howl by recommending it to Richard Eberhart, who published an article in the New York Times praising the poem. In 1974, she founded the internationally distributed Berkeley Poetry Review on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Miles mentored many young poets, including Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, Diane Wakoski, Diana O'Hehir, William Stafford, and A. R. Ammons.

Miles wrote over a dozen books of poetry, among them Collected Poems: 1930-1983 (1983), winner of the Lenore Marshall/ Nation Prize and nominated for a Pulitzer; Coming to Terms (1983); To All Appearances (1974); Kinds of Affection (1967); Prefabrications (1955); Local Measures (1946); and Lines at Intersection (1939). She was also a well-known scholar of the conventions of grammar and vocabulary in literature and published several books on poetic style and language.

Miles received a Fellowship from the American Association of University Women in 1939. Also, in 1964, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, The American Council of Learned Societies, and The Guggenheim Foundation.

Method of Acquisition

Accession number 946. Gift of Josephine Miles, July 19, 1968

Accession number 964. Gift of Josephine Miles, August 8, 1968

Accession number 978. Gift of Josephine Miles, August 30, 1968

Accession number 1001. Purchase from Serendipity Books

Josephine Miles Papers
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Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 April 14: 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