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Michel Licht Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Licht, Michel, 1893-1953.
Title: Michel Licht Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1910-1957
Quantity: 1.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the Russian-born Yiddish poet and translator. Collection includes correspondence; manuscript poems and translations in English, Russian, and Yiddish; notes; and 9 wood-mounted metal cuts from designs by wife Evelyn Licht which were used in various of her husband's publications. Notable correspondents include James Branch Cabell, T.S. Eliot, Albert Einstein, Donald Gallup, Clement Greenberg, George Platt Lynes, Marianne Morre, Norman Holmes Pearson, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Karl Jay Shapiro, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams.
Language: English, Yiddish
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Michel Licht (1893-1953) was a Russian-born Yiddish poet and translator. Following his emigration to the United States in 1913, Licht's poems and Russian and Yiddish translations in English appeared in various American periodicals, including The New York Call and Pagan.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1910 to 1957, the Michel Licht Papers comprises correspondence, writings, and memorabilia.

Reflecting Licht's interest in the American avant-garde literary movement of the 1920s, the Correspondence includes letters of James Cabell Branch, T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. Other literary and publishing industry correspondents include Clement Greenberg, Guy Holt, George Platt Lynes, Norman Holmes Pearson, John Crowe Ransom, and Karl Jay Shapiro. A selected index to correspondence follows the box list. There is also a selection of unidentified letters and postcards of foreign origin.

Writings include Licht's published books in Yiddish and holograph and typescript manuscripts in English, Russian, and Yiddish. In addition to several of Licht's English and Russian poems, there are also a number of his English translations of French, Russian, and Yiddish poetry by various authors.

Memorabilia includes printed material and nine wood-mounted metal cuts from designs by wife Evelyn Licht which were used in various of her husband's publications.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is divided into English and other languages, and within that arranged chronologically. Writings and Memorabilia are arranged alphabetically by type.

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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


Cabell, James Branch, 1879-1958.
Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955.
Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965.
Gallup, Donald Clifford, 1913-2000.
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994.
Licht, Michel, 1893-1953.
Lynes, George Platt, 1907-1955.
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972.
Pearson, Norman Holmes, 1909-1975.
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972.
Ransom, John Crowe, 1888-1974.
Shapiro, Karl Jay, 1913-2000.
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946.
Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955.
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963.


American poetry -- Translations into Yiddish.
Modernism (Literature) -- Translations.
Poetry, Modern -- 20th century -- Tranlations.
Poetry, Translating.
Poets, Yiddish -- United States.
Translators -- United States.
Yiddish poetry -- Translations into English.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Michel Licht Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Evelyn Licht, 1962.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: May 1993
Revision history: 27 Nov 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 4 Jan 2017 - index code fixed (MRC)

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Box 1 English 1918-1957 (2 folders)
Box 1 Other 1910-1938
Box 1 Gezamlte Lider 1957
Box 1 Letste Lider 1954
Box 1 Moderne Amerikaner Poezye 1954
Box 1 Nit tsu Dertseyin 1955
Box 1 Oyf di Randn 1956
Box 2 Velvi Goth 1955
Box 2 Chronology of Licht's poetry and prose - book contents
Box 2 Notebook contents
Box 2 Notes (English) on authors, books, music, etc. (2 folders)
Box 2 English poems
Box 2 Russian poems
Box 2 Translations by Licht of Chinese pictographs in Yiddish
Box 2 Translations by Licht of the French poems of Sully Prudhomme
Box 2 Translations by Licht of Russian poems
Box 2 Translations by Licht of his Yiddish poems
Box 2 Translations by Licht of Yiddish poems by various authors
Box 2 Untitled biography of French dancer Yvette Chavire (English) - typescript ms.
Box 2 Russian
Box 2 Yiddish (3 folders)
Box 2 Printed material
Box 2 Wood-mounted metal cuts used in Licht's publications (from designs of Evelyn Licht) (3 of 9)
Box 3 Wood-mounted metal cuts used in Licht's publications (from designs of Evelyn Licht) (6 of 9)

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Selected index to correspondence

  • Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. : 1927 Jan. 4 (outgoing); 1927 Jan. 18; 1927 Jan. 20 (outgoing); 1927 Jan. 22
  • Cabell, James Branch : 1927 Mar. 15? (outgoing); 1927 Mar. 21
  • Commentary : 1953 Aug. 28
  • Einstein, Albert : see Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, Inc.
  • Eliot, Thomas Stearns : 1926 Feb. 12 (outgoing); 1927 Mar. 11
  • Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, Inc. : 1947 Mar. 20; 1947 Apr. 8
  • Faber and Faber ltd. : 1956 Oct. 9; 1956 Oct. 24
  • Gallup, Donald : 1954 Feb. 3; 1954 Oct. 4; 1957 Jan. 3
  • Greenberg, Clement : 1953 Aug. 28
  • Holt, Guy : see Robert M. McBride & Company
  • Kaylor, V. B. : see Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
  • Lynes, George Platt : 1927 Feb. 2; 1927 Feb. 7 (outgoing); 1927 Mar. 18; 1927 Mar. 23 (outgoing)
  • Moore, Marianne : 1942 Mar. 22; 1941 Jan. 28 (outgoing); 1942 Apr. (copy of fragment)
  • New Republic : 1954 May 10
  • Pearson, Norman Holmes : 1941 Dec. 24
  • Poetry : 1954 Feb. 7
  • Pound, Ezra : 1918 Dec. 20?
  • Ransom, John Crowe : 1953 Oct. 12
  • Robert M. McBride & Company : 1925 Nov. 10 (outgoing); 1925 Nov. 21; 1925 Dec. 24; 1926 Jan. 3 (outgoing); 1926 Jan. 28; 1926 Feb. 22 (outgoing); 1926 Oct. 25
  • Shapiro, Karl Jay : 1954 Feb. 7
  • Stein, Gertrude : 1927 Feb. 4 (outgoing); 1927 Mar. 1
  • Stevens, Wallace : 1954 Oct. 14
  • The Kenyon Review : 1953 Oct. 12
  • Williams, William Carlos : 1932 July 12

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