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Margaret Widdemer Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: 1960

Biographical History

Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) was an American author, novelist and poet.

Born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Ms. Widdemer attended Drexel, Bucknell, and Middlebury College. She began writing as a child and by 1916 had received the Trimmed Lamp prize for the best lyric. That same year she shared the American Poetry Society Pulitzer prize with Carl Sandburg. Her career as an author and poet continued, and she began to write essays, reviews, and short stories which were published in American magazines. Widdemer served as vice-president of the Poetry Society of America, and wrote several popular books, including Lady of the Mohawks, The Basic Techniques of Fiction, and Collected Poems. As an author she lectured widely and spoke on NBC radio in a series of talks titled "Do you Want To Write?" She spent most of her life in New York City.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Margaret Widdemer Papers consists of subject files, poems, poems set to music, manuscripts, microfilm, notes, published materials, clippings and scrapbooks.

All correspondence was returned to the donor in 1965, therefore Correspondence-subject files contains only subject files; these include appointment books, book reviews, royalty statements, some poems written by Ms. Widdemer's students, and assorted biographical and other material.

Poems contains more than fifty poems by Widdemer, while Poems set to music contains twenty or so of her poems that have set to music by various composers. In some cases, there are several different musical versions of a single poem.

Manuscripts contains those of novels and poems as well as an incomplete autobiography. This is followed by one reel of Microfilm (negative), containing "The Old Road to Paradise," and a small collection of Notes, both research and miscellaneous.

Published materials consists of published version of Widdemer's poems in a variety of publications, including Women's Day, Voices, Wisconsin Poetry Magazine, and The Lyric. Clippings include book reviews, articles, poetry, and other items.

Eighteen Scrapbooks (clippings, poems, recipes, and one on telepathy) complete the collection.

Arrangement of the Collection

The series are in no particular order, but within each series material is arranged alphabetically by subject, type or title, as appropriate.


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.

Folder "Poems, articles and proofs" in Box 6 marked on original finding aid as restricted (reason unknown). Thorough investigation turned up no documentation on this and Ms. Widdemer has been deceased for more than thirty years, therefore restriction lifted 3/4/09 (Michele Combs).

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.

Related Material

See also the papers of her sister-in-law, Mabel Cleland Widdemer.

Subject Headings


Widdemer, Margaret.


American literature -- 20th century.
American poetry -- Women authors.
Women authors, American.
Women novelists, American.
Women poets, American.

Genres and Forms

Appointment books.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.
Reviews (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Margaret Widdemer Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Correspondence-subject files


Poems set to music




Published Materials