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Conrad Aiken Papers

Identifier: MS-MS-ms003

The Conrad Aiken Papers consist entirely of material from his long-standing correspondence with Robert Linscott, an editor with Houghton-Mifflin and later senior editor for Random House. Aiken and Linscott began their long friendship in 1917 and Linscott helped Aiken publish several of his works. Aiken's letters to Linscott document the progress of his work and often reflect Aiken's extreme frustration at his lack of popular success. In them, Aiken describes his personal situation, particularly his two divorces, and his dealings with friends and associates, notably T.S. Eliot and John Gould Fletcher. The letters provide an insider's view of the literary scene, particularly in England during the 1920's. Above all, the Aiken-Linscott correspondence stands as a monument to a friendship that is remarkable for its longevity and its openness.


  • 1917-1962


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.)


1.00 boxes

Biographical Information

Aiken, though neglected today and largely unappreciated during his lifetime, is one of the most significant figures in the development of American Modernism. Aiken enrolled at Harvard in 1907, thus qualifying him as a member of one of the famous classes of 1910-1915 which included T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, John Reed, Robert Benchley, and Walter Lippmann. Leaving Harvard in his senior year, Aiken embarked on the first of several trips to Europe. There he met Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell who were then launching the Imagist movement. Soon after his graduation, Aiken moved to Europe and began writing and reviewing for New Republic, Poetry, Dial, and other periodicals. By 1925, he was settled in Boston and well into a writing career that produced more than 50 books of poetry, fiction, and criticism.

Method of Acquisition

Purchase and gift. Accessions 867, 1365, 1369

Conrad Aiken Papers
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Revision Statements

  • 2021 February 17: 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