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Florence Ripley Mastin Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: DB
Date: 6 Feb 1978

Biographical History

Florence Ripley Mastin (1886-1968) was an award-winning American poet.

Mastin was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania but her family moved while she was still very young to "Four Gables," the Mastin family home in Piermont, New York. Mastin graduated from Tappan Zee High School in 1903 (she wrote the class poem) and then from Barnard College.

Her poetry career began at the age of 14 when the Nyack Star published her poem, "The Hudson River." Her first book, Green Leaves, was published in 1918. She taught poetry for 38 years at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, where her students included Bernard Malamud and others. Many of her former students have publicly expressed their appreciation for her teaching and her influence on their work.

Ms. Mastin was a member of the Poetry Society of America and winner of many poetry awards. Her work was published in the New York Times, the Saturday Review and other national periodicals. In 1959 the New York State Commission on Historic Observances selected her poem, "Freedom's Dream" as the official "Year of History" poem for the 350th Hudson-Champlain Celebration, and this poem also won the Freedom Foundation Medal that year.

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from The Piermont Newsletter, Volume XXXIX No. 1 (Spring 2009).]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Florence Ripley Mastin Papers are divided into personal records, correspondence, writings, miscellaneous, and memorabilia.

Personal records include Mastin's 1920 diary of a trip to England, the 1857 diary of her grandmother, and family genealogical information.

Correspondence, which is both incoming and outgoing, spans more than eighty years. Correspondents include former students and colleagues at Erasmus Hall High School, editors, friends and family. Some of the letters contain poems by Mastin, such as one about fellow Erasmus teacher Grace MacColl.

The largest section, Writings, is subdivided by type (books, poetry, prose, published material, school publications, and songs). Some of the handwritten poems are illustrated either with collages or original artwork.

Miscellaneous contains writings by authors other than Mastin, while Memorabilia consists of a framed poem and some photographs.

Arrangement of the Collection

All material is arranged alphabetically by name (for correspondence) or by title or first line (for writings). The exception is miscellaneous correspondence, which is arranged chronologically.


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.

Subject Headings


Gresham, William Lindsay, 1909-1962.
Malamud, Bernard.
Mastin, Florence Ripley.


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

Genres and Forms

Genealogies (histories)
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Florence Ripley Mastin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Original collection, gift of Florence Ripley Mastin, 1967, 1969.

Marcel-Robin Lowell correspondence, gift of the estate of Marcel-Robin Lowell, 2011.

Sullivan correspondence, gift of Robert J. Sullivan, 2013.

Table of Contents

Personal records