Collection inventory

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Eric W. Barker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Barker, Eric, 1905-1973.
Title: Eric Wilson Barker Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1930-1968
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American poet (1905-1973). Correspondence, manuscripts, and published material.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Eric Barker (1905-1973) was an American poet. Born and educated in England, he came to the United States at the age of 16 with his parents. Barker worked for short periods as a truck dispatcher, a gardener, a signal tower operator in a railroad yard, and a caretaker. His real "work" however was writing poetry and roaming the wild area around his home in Carmel, California. Among his books of poetry are The Planetary Heart (1942), Directions in the Sun (1956), A Ring in the Willows (1961), and Looking for Water (1964). He was awarded the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America in 1963.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eric Barker Papers include one subject file, correspondence, manuscripts, and published material.

The single Subject file contains a photograph of the poet. Correspondence, all incoming, consists mainly of letters written between 1932 and 1959 from John Cowper Powys. There are a few letters from others, including Llewelyn Powys (most of which are to Barker's wife, dancer Madelynne Greene), Karen Rose, and Robinson Jeffers. Manuscripts include a signed holograph poem and the galley proof of Barker's book, Looking for Water. Published material consists of a tearsheet from Spectrum (1968) to which Barker contributed two poems to the issue for which he was guest editor; an article by Evelyn Ames which appeared in the Literary Review; and clippings about Barker.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Barker, Eric, 1905-1973.
Greene, Madelynne.
Jeffers, Robinson, 1887-1962.
Powys, John Cowper, 1872-1963.
Rose, Karen.


American poetry -- 20th century.
Poets, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Eric Barker Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Original collection, purchased, 1965. Karen Rose correspondence and 1 folder photographs, gift of Lauri Rose, 2023.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: May 1987
Revision history: 30 Apr 2008 - converted to EAD (AMCon); 17 Jun 2024 - Karen Rose correspondence and 1 folder photographs added, inventory updated to match labels on folders (MRC)

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Box 1 Gregory, Alyse 1938
Box 1 Grey, Marian Powys undated
Box 1 Jeffers, Robinson 1955-1956
Box 1 Playter, Phyllis 1941
Box 1 Powys, John Cowper 1932-1959, undated
Box 1 Powys, Llewelyn 1930, 1936, undated
Box 1 Rose, Karen 1963-1965
Gift of Lauri Rose, 2023.
Box 1 Photograph of Eric Barker undated
Box 1 Photographs - of Barker, Karen Rose, Jean Burden, Barker's Big Sur cabin
Gift of Lauri Rose, 2023.
Printed material
Clippings about
Box 1 "Eric Barker: Figure in a Landscape" by Evelyn Ames, The Literary Review 1963
Box 1 Miscellaneous 1961-1963 - Clippings from Newsweek and various newspapers
Box 1 "A Jade Pebble" - signed holograph poem
Box 1 Looking for Water undated - galleys
Box 1 Poems from Spectrum 1968 - clippings: "For a Metal Sculpture Made Entirely From Spare Parts of Abandoned Cars" and "In Memory of John Cowper Powys" (2 items)

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