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Matheson collection of Leonard Bacon poetry

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0317

Scope and Contents

The collection of poet and critic, Leonard Bacon, consists of a small grouping of correspondence, two Christmas cards privately printed with Bacon's original poetry, and six reprints of his published poetry. No personal items of the poet are included in the collection. The correspondence includes a letter of Bacon to R.A. Rushmore, October 27, 1928. Apparently, Rushmore was the printer who selected the style in which Bacon's epic poem, The Legend of Quincibald, was printed in 1928. In the letter, Bacon expresses his appreciation to Rushmore for the care and artistry shown in his finished work. In 1953, Bacon corresponded with Arthus W. Rushmore to arrange for a design of a Christmas card which would include a poem written by Bacon. An original poem, "Birds," is printed on the 1953 Christmas card and included in the collection. A Christmas greeting for 1952 includes a poem entitled "On the Frontier." Reprints of poems written by Leonard Bacon and included in the collection are: "In Memoriam: R.B.,"" New England-What it Means," "The Saga of Finn," "Sophia Trenton," "Simeon of the Pillar," and "Arthurian Interludes." Oversized items consist of "Lines read at the hundredth birthday meeting of the Century Association" and "Lines read by Mr. Leonard Bacon to celebrate the opening of Calhoun College." A final item of the collection is a letter of Mrs. John Farrar to the publisher, John Farrar, May 16, 1934 in which she relates a family incident.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1953


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Leonard Bacon, poet and critic, was born in Solvay, New York, May 26, 1887. Bacon grew up in Peace Dale, Rhode Island and graduated from Yale university in 1909. After working in several of his father's businesses, he obtained a teaching position in the English department, University of California, Berkeley. Bacon's earliest literary efforts were given to translating Spanish works including the Heroic Ballads of Servia (1913), the Chanson the Roland (1914), and The Cid (1919). In 1923 he published Ulug Beg, a mock epic that founded his career. He retired from teaching in 1923 and spent the rest of his life writing poetry, reviews, and occasional essays.

During the 1920s, Bacon published poetry in the Saturday Review of Literature using the pseudonym Autholycus. Ph.D.s, a volume of satiric verse, was published in 1925, followed by Guinea-fowl and other Poultry (1927), The Legend of Quincebald (1928), and Lost Buffalo, and other Poems, (1930). Between 1927 and 1932, Bacon lived with his wife and three daughters in Florence, Italy. He returned to the United States in 1932, and his poetry began to regularly appear in Atlantic, Harper's, The New Yorker, and Saturday Review. Bacon won a Pulitzer prize in 1940 for Sunderland Capture, and Other Poems. Leonard Bacon died in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, January 1, 1954.


0.17 Cubic Feet (1 folder and 1 over-sized folder)

Language of Materials



Leonard Bacon (1887-1954) was an American poet, translator, and literary critic. This collection consists of a small grouping of correspondence and poetry ranging in date from 1928-1953.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The items that form this collection were included with a gift of Leonard Bacon's published volumes given to the University by William and Nina Matheson in 1988. The accession number is 91-92.11.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in March 1992. The material was included with a gift of Bacon's books received in Special Collections and cataloged for Rare Books. The letters, cards, and reprints were removed to form the manuscript collection.

Matheson collection of Leonard Bacon poetry
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA