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Eric W. Barker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Barker, Eric Wilson.
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 also seven letters from Llewelyn Powys, most of which are to Barker's wife, dancer Madelynne Greene, and two letters from 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 Wilson.
Greene, Madelynne.
Jeffers, Robinson, 1887-1962.
Powys, John Cowper, 1872-1963.


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

Purchase, 1965.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: May 1987
Revision history: 30 Apr 2008 - converted to EAD (AMCon)

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Subject file
Box 1 Photograph of Eric Barker undated
Incoming correspondence
Box 1 Gregory, Alyse 1938 (1 item)
Box 1 Grey, Marian Powys undated (1 item)
Box 1 Jeffers, Robinson 1955-1956 (2 items)
Box 1 Playter, Phyllis 1941 (1 item)
Box 1 Powys, John Cowper 1932-1959, undated (151 items; 7 folders)
Box 1 Powys, Llewelyn 1930, 1936, undated (7 items)
Box 1 "A Jade Pebble" - signed holograph poem
Box 1 Looking for Water undated - galley proof
Published material
Writings by
Box 1 Poems from Spectrum 1968 - "For a Metal Sculpture Made Entirely From Spare Parts of Abandoned Cars" and "In Memory of John Cowper Powys" (2 items)
Writings about
Box 1 Article - "Eric Barker - Figure in a Landscape" by Evelyn Ames, The Literary Review 1963
Box 1 Clippings from Newsweek and various newspapers 1961-1963

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