Cage 733

Ruth Slonim

Papers, circa 1900-2000

(bulk 1930-1990)

Ruth Slonim, circa 1950s

Acquisition and Processing Information

This collection of Ruth Slonim's papers was donated to the Washington State University Libraries by her estate after her death (MS 2007-10). It was processed by Ph.D. candidate Katy Fry in 2008 and 2009. The Washington Women's History Consortium provided funding assistance for processing.

Extent/Quantity Information

Number of Containers: 52

Linear Feet of Shelf Space: 27.5

Biography

Ruth Slonim was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1918, and grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Duluth State Teachers' College in 1938 and a Master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1944. By 1952, she had completed all necessary course work to receive a Ph.D., but because of family complications was unable to finish her dissertation. She taught in the English department at Central Washington College from 1944 to 1946, before taking a position as a visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico where she developed the humanities division of the General Education Program.

Slonim came to Washington State College, then the State College of Washington, in 1947 and taught modern poetry and English literature. She took a leave of absence in 1970 when she was invited by the School of Irish Studies University College and Trinity College to teach a course on William Butler Yeats. She taught at WSU for thirty-six years, retiring in 1983. Slonim was dedicated to teaching and strove to inspire her students and to instill in them a commitment to academic integrity, critical thinking, and compassion to those around them. Because of her tireless service to her students and to the university she received many awards and much recognition, including being named the Woman of Achievement in 1952. In 1965, students voted for her to receive the Outstanding Faculty Woman award; in 1966, the Washington division of the American Association of University Women named her a Distinguished Woman of Achievement. In 1967, she became the first woman faculty member to deliver the WSU Distinguished Faculty Address. Her faculty colleagues selected her to deliver the annual Invited Address in 1969. She served on many important university committees, including the Faculty Executive Committee, the University Planning Committee and the International Education Committee. Slonim was also keenly interested in international affairs and was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the International Conference of UNESCO in Paris in 1951.

Slonim published five volumes of poetry: "Sketchings" (1938); "London: An American Appreciation" (1954); "San Francisco: 'The City' in Verse" (1965); "Outer Traces, Inner Places" (1981) which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; "Poems and Proems" (1992). Other poems and academic papers were published in various periodicals. In 1989, Washington State governor Booth Gardner gave her a Governor's Arts Award. In 1962, Slonim initiated the Poetry Reading Series at WSU, which continued through 1981. She was able to bring many notable poets to campus for this series, including William Stafford, Galway Kinnell, Richard Hugo, W.H. Auden, Carolyn Kizer and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Slonim died in Moscow, Idaho on February 16, 2005.

Collection Description

The collection includes Slonim's personal papers as well as materials related to her career and writing. The personal papers include primarily correspondence, personal memorabilia and notes from her time as a student. Letters from individuals worthy of interest are noted in the folder descriptions below. The professional papers include primarily correspondence, her time in Puerto Rico and as a delegate to UNESCO, materials related to her position at WSU, and manuscripts of her writing, including both typed and hand-written poetry.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in four series. Series 1 contains her personal papers; Series 2 contains her professional papers; and Series 3 contains photos; Series 4 contains miscellaneous and oversized items.

Series List

Series 1: Personal papers, 1930-2000

Series 2: Professional papers, 1938-1998

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1900-2000. Organized by subject.

Series 4: Oversize and miscellaneous, circa 1920-1997.

Subjects

Slonim, Ruth -- Archives
Poets, American -- 20th century -- Archives
Women poets, American -- 20th century -- Archives

Separated Material

Books received with this collection have been separated and cataloged individually. Small collections of papers of others, including Slonim's father, Sigmund Slonim, and her colleagues, Paul Philemon Kies and Frank and Irene Potter, were received with Slonim's papers and will be processed separately.

Access

This collection is open and available for research use. Copyright restrictions apply.

Preferred Citation

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
Ruth Slonim Papers, circa 1900-2000
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA

Related Materials

Languages

The documents are primarily in English (some in shorthand); a few items related to Slonim's time in Puerto Rico are in Spanish.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
    Series 1: Personal papers, 1930-2000
    Subseries 1.1: Family correspondence, 1944-1998
1 1 1944-1949
  2 1950-1954
  3 1955
  4 1956-1957
  5 1958-1959
  6 1960-1961
  7-8 1962
2 1-2 1963
  3 1964
  4 1965
  5 1966
  6 1967-1968
  7 1969
3 1 1970
  2 1971
  3 1972
  4 1973-1974
  5 1975
  6 1976-1978
  7 1985-1989
  8 1993-1998
  9 Undated
  10 Outgoing letters to family members: drafts and copies
    Subseries 1.2: General correspondence, 1931-2000
    Incoming correspondence
4 1 1931-1939; includes a letter from Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretary and a letter from writer Vera Brittain
  2 1940-1949; includes some photos, a letter from Congressman Hal Holmes, Senator Joseph H. Ball, and Washington State College faculty Frank F. Potter, Milton C. Peterson
  3 1950-1952; includes letter from radio newsman Jack Thornton, correspondence regarding an accident Slonim sustained in England
  4 1953; includes letters from Washington State College faculty Fred A. Dudley, Clement and Helen French
  5 1954; includes letter from Washington State College faculty Clement and Helen French
  6 1955-1956; includes letter from Congressman Hal Holmes
5 1 1957; includes cards from Washington State College faculty Wilson Compton and Clement French, letter from attorney Albert B. Clarfield
  2 1958-1959; includes a letter from the State Library in Olympia asking for a copy of her book "London: An American Appreciation"
  3 1960-1961; includes letters from folklorist Barre Toelken
  4 1962; includes letter from Washington State College faculty Claudius O. Johnson, cards regarding surgery and hospitalization
  5 1962-1963; includes letter from poet James B. Hall, letters in regards to an illness,
  6 1964-1965; includes letter from poet Dick Bakken
  7 1966; includes letter from poet Edward Field, letters regarding putting some of Slonim's poems to music
6 1 1967; includes photos, letter from the Chairman of the Washington State Poetry Foundation
  2 1968-1969; includes letters from Sen. Warren G. Magnuson, Sen. Henry M. Jackson, Representative Catherine May, Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, Elizabeth Kray, Morris B. Abram
  3 1970-1971; letter from University of Washington Libraries, Irish editor David Marcus, Fred A. Dudley and Mary Avery, poet Doug Flaherty, poet Betty Fukuyama
  4 1972-1975; includes letters from Glenn Terrell, scholar Ronan Fanning, Maurice Harmon, poet Faith Beamer Cooke, folklorist Barre Toelken
  5 1976-1982; includes letter from Barre Toelken
7 1 1983-1987; includes letters from Rep. Thomas S. Foley, University of Minnesota about The Slonim Memorial Scholarship, Albert Thompson
  2 1988-1989; letters from Catherine M. Friel, cards about William Stafford reading, writer LaVerne Harrell Clark, Jean Gardner
  3 1990-2000; letters and clippings about dedication of WSU Centennial Grove, honorary membership to Phi Beta Kappa, letter from writer Elsa Kirstin Peters, card from Johnetta Cole, Barre Toelken, photos
  4 Undated; includes card and negative from Maurice Harmon, letter from Claudius O. Johnson
    Outgoing correspondence
  5 Drafts and copies, 1939-1969; includes letters to writer Vera Brittain, Sen. Vance Hartke, poet William Stafford, Mrs. Wilson Compton, Sen. Warren Magnuson, and Glenn Terrell
  6 Drafts and copies, 1970-1992; includes letters to Maurice Harmon, Faith Beamer Cooke, and poet Howard Nemerov
8 1 Drafts and copies, undated; includes letters to William Stafford, Wilson Compton, Sen. Henry
    Subseries 1.3: Correspondence with soldiers during World War II, circa 1940-1945
  2 A-B
  3 C-D
  4 E-G
  5 H-J
9 1 K-L
  2 M-R
  3 S
  4 T-Z
  5 Miscellaneous
    Subseries 1.4: Correspondence with frequent correspondents, 1938-1982
    Ed Palcich
  6 1938-1939
  7 1940-1946
    James (Jimmie) Lambert
10 1 1951-1965
  2 1967
  3 1968-1969
  4 1970
  5 1971
  6 1972
  7 1973
  8 1974
  9 1975
  10 1976
  11 1977
11 1 1978
  2 1979-1982
  3 Undated
  4 Miscellaneous
    Robert Carr
  5 1955-1960
  6 1961-1962
  7 Undated
  8 Miscellaneous
12 1 C.H. Brewer, 1951-1957
    Irene Potter
  2 1955-1963
  3 1964-1970
    Subseries 1.5: Subject files, 1930-1991
    Class notes: Secondary school and college
  4 1930
  8 1936
13 1 1936 (continued)
  2 1937
  3 1937-1938
  4 Miscellaneous, 1931-1938
  5-7 1939
14 1 Duluth State Teachers College, 1939-1944: classes, programs, brochures, employment
    Graduate school
  2 Graduate school, 1941-1953
  3 Correspondence, transcripts, diploma
    Class notes, graduate school
  4-7 1941
  8 1941-1942
15 1-8 1942
16 1 1944
  2 1945
  3 1949
  4-6 1949-1950
  7 1950
17 1-2 1950 (continued)
  3-4 1952
  5-6 1954
  7-9 Miscellaneous
18 1-9 Miscellanous (continued)
19 1-3a Miscellanous (continued)
  4 Childhood projects: book of games, Girl Scouts' song book, handmade book
  5 Childhood projects: student writing collections
  6 Personal memorabilia
  7 Miscellaneous notes, postcards, letters, travel pamphlets
  8 Miscellaneous programs
  9 Miscellaneous pamphlets
  10 Lectures at University of Minnesota
  11 Ephemera
20 1 Washington State University (WSU) programs and events, 1948-1962
  2 WSU programs and events, 1962-1991
  3 WSU programs and events, undated
  4 Lectures at WSU
  5 Student movement at WSU
  6 Berkeley programs and events, circa 1960s
  6a Miscellaneous publications including The Crisis (1934), fall out shelter pamphlet; The Outpost (1945), Students for a Democratic Society affiliate newsletter, "The Slander of a Nation"
  7 Calendars (includes notes and clippings); 1955, 1963
  8 Weekly planner (includes notes and clippings), 1992
  9 Address book
21 1 Address book (includes inserts and clippings)
  2 Finances (notebooks, ledgers)
  3 Notebook from service as a UNESCO delegate, 1951
  4 Notebook from the Pacific International Writers Conference at University of Washington, 1957
  5-6 Notebooks from Poetry Conference, Berkeley, California, a
  7 Notebook from visit to England, circa 1960s
  8 Diary, 1974 (includes addresses)
22 1-6 Miscellaneous notebooks
  7-8 Clippings
  9 Clippings about Invited Address
  10 Clippings about family members
  11-13 Notes
23 1 Notes (continued)
  2 Annotated items
  3 Ephemera and correspondence regarding a trip to Europe, 1951
  4-5 Travel (miscellaneous)
  6 Travel (WSU Museum of Art Chicago trip), 1990
24 1 David Ericson by William G. Boyce (printed item), 1963
  2 Chapbook The Exile's Book of Hours: A Sequence by James J. McAuley (inscribed), 1982
  3 Mill's Quarterly (printed item, with insertions), 1963 February
  4 The Oceanic Educational Foundation
  5 Finances
  6 Medical directive, wills, estate
  7 Miscellaneous
    Series 2: Professional Papers, 1938-1998
    Subseries 2.1: Correspondence, 1938-1983
25 1 Job inquiries, 1938-1943
  2 Job inquiries, 1946-1966
  3 Central Washington University, 1944-1945; includes clippings, articles, and a letter from Sen. Warren Magnuson
  4 Washington State College, salary, professional leave
    Subseries 2.2: Puerto Rico, 1946-1947
  5-6 Incoming correspondence
26 1-3 Incoming correspondence (continued)
  4 Outgoing correspondence
  5 About University of Puerto Rico
  6 Class lists
  7-10 Lecture material
27 1 Lecture material, notes, assignments
  2 Student work
  3 Slonim's writing
  4 Notes, scholarly paper
  5 Clippings
  6 Photographs
  7 University of Puerto Rico newspapers
    Printed ephemera (magazines, other materials) (Location note: in oversize, box 51)
  8 Ephemera
  9-10 Miscellaneous
    Subseries 2.3: UNESCO, 1951-1955
  11 Correspondence
  12-13 General Conference, 6th session, June 1951
28 1 General Conference, 6th session, June 1951 (continued)
  2 1952
  3 1953
  4 Conference on Fundamental Education, 1956 June 18-29
  5 Washington State Council
  6 "Paris Potential" (article written by Slonim), 1952
  7 Lectures and articles written by Slonim
  8 Notes
  9 Notes, bibliographies
29 1 Clippings
  2 Miscellaneous
  3 UN and UNESCO publications
    "Courier" - UNESCO publication
  4 1951-1952
  5 1952-1953
  6 1954-1955
  7-8 Miscellaneous publications
    Subseries 2.4 Teaching (Washington State University), undated
30 1-5 Teaching material
  6 Teaching material (from folder labeled "English 108-Introduction to Lit." Includes a letter from William Stafford.)
  7 Course descriptions and syllabi
  8 Examinations
31 1 Examinations (continued)
  2-4 Student evaluations
    Subseries 2.5: Committees (Washington State University), 1949-1978
32 1 Faculty Executive Committee, 1954
  2 Faculty Executive Committee, 1955-1956
  3 General Education Committee, 1955-1956
  4 General Education Study Council, 1967-1968
  5 General Education Study Council, 1968
  6 Humanities Building Committee, 1966
  7 Humanities Divisional Committee, 1952
  8 Humanities Study Council, 1968
  9 International Students Advisory Committee, 1951-1955
33 1 International Students Advisory Committee, 1956-1959
  2 International Students Advisory Committee, 1960-1961
  3 misc. committee work
  4 Nunemaker Scholarship Committee, 1957-1959
  5 Selection and Reviewing Committee, 1949-1950
  6 Selection and Reviewing Committee (Humanities Division), 1949
  7 Student Personnel Work Committee, 1949-1950
  8 Study Council
  9 Study Council
  10 University Planning Committee, 1972
34 1 University Planning Committee, 1973-1974
  2 University Planning Committee, 1973-1974
  3 University Planning Committee, 1974
  4 University Planning Committee, 1974-1975
    Subseries 2.6: Professional associations and conferences, 1944-1976
    American Association of University Women
  5 1944-1953
35 1 1959-1968
  2 Conference, Spokane, WA, 1965 April
  3 Berkeley Poetry Conference, 1965
  4 Conference on British Studies, 1976
  5 International Association for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature
  6 Irish Studies
  7 Manuscript Conference, Eugene, OR, 1962
  8 misc. association memberships
  9 misc. conferences
  10 National Council of Teachers of English, 1945-1953
36 1 National Council of Teachers of English, 1953-1956
  2 National Council of Teachers of English, 1956-1961
  3 Northwest Regional Conference on Higher Education, Spokane, WA, 1949
  4 Phi Kappa Phi, 1955-1970
  5 Phi Kappa Phi Convention, Madison, WI, 1962
  6 Phi Kappa Phi journals, 1969
  7 Radio
  8 War--Education
  9 Writers' War Board
    Subseries 2.7: English Department and Washington State University, 1946-1989
37 1 English Department, 1951-1960 (about composition classes)
  2 English Department, 1965-1989 (memoranda, meeting minutes, newsletters)
  3 English Department, student writing
  4 English Department, Graduate Studies, 1965-1972
  5 English Department, Graduate Studies, 1972
  6 Washington State University, 1965-1978 (memoranda, letters to faculty)
  7 Washington State University News Bulletin, 1948-1968
  8 Washington State University, "A Letter to Glenn Terrell" 1968-1971
  9 Washington State University, News Bulletin of the Division of Humanities, 1952-1962
  10 Washington State University, Faculty Publications, 1954-1961
38 1 Washington State University, advising, 1949-1952
  2 Washington State University, surveys and evaluations, 1946-1973
  3 Washington State University, miscellaneous (Faculty Forum, Invited Address)
    Subseries 2.8: Subject files, 1948-1998
  4 Announcements of Slonim's work
  5 Applications for awards, fellowships
  6 Awards and achievements
  7 Bibliographic entries, 1958-1974
  8 Curriculum vitae
  9 Faculty Activity Reports, 1972-1979
  10 Interview, undated
  11 Invitations
  12 Miscellaneous
39 1 Ruth Slonim Poetry Corner at WSU Library, 1997
  2 Ruth Slonim Poetry Corner (location note: related materials are in oversize, box 52)
  3 Speaking engagements, 1959-1962
  4 Speaking engagements, 1965-1982
    Poetry Reading Series
  5 1962-1963
  6 1964
  7 1965
  8 1966
  9 1967
40 1 1968
  2 1969
  3 1970-1971
  4 1972
  5 1973
  6 1974
  7 1975
41 1 1976-1981
  2 Miscellaneous
    Subseries 2.9 Manuscripts, writing, and publishing, 1939-1989
  3-7 "London: An American Appreciation" (location note: related material in oversize, box 51)
42 1 "An Irish Gamut"
  2 "An Irish Garland"
  3 "An Irish Garland"
  4 "Prospectus" and "An Irish Gamut-Garland"
  5 Publishing attempts for "An Irish Gamut" (correpondence)
  6 Drafts, "An Irish Garland," "Dublin in Verse"; correspondence with publishers; loose poems, notes
  7 "Refractions" (unpublished, bound book of poems)
43 1 "Refractions"
  2 "Bitter Sweet"
  3 "Cosmic Grammar"
  4 "Cosmic Grammar"; includes correspondence
  5 "Tropical Topic"; includes notes, clippings
  6 Printed copy of "Sketchings"
  7 "San Francisco: The City in Ditty"
  8 "San Francisco: The City in Verse"
  9 "Outer Traces, Inner Places"
44 1 "Outer Traces, Inner Places"
  2 "Outer Traces, Inner Places"
  3 "Gropings for Destiny," "Take a Deep Breath," "Portent"
  4 Miscellaneous (includes "Alpha to Omega," poem for Paul Kies, poem for Humphrey W. Leynse, poem for Dedication of WSU Centennial Grove)
  5-7 Miscellaneous
45 1-9 Miscellaneous (continued)
46 1-3 Miscellaneous (continued)
  3a "Saul" (audio recording on paper disc), 1942 February 22
    Prose
  4 "Utilization of Radio as an Interpreting Medium in a College Public Relations Program"
  5 "Utilization of Radio in the Teaching of High School English"
  6 "Techniques and Procedures for Administering a Public Relations Program in Colleges and Universities"
  8 "CWIs Overseas Radio Operations," "News Reporting and News Writing," "Bomb Sight," "Commencement Daze," "The College and You," "The Fourth 'R'", "Radio as a Public Relation Medium," "Farther, Farther Sail," "Walt Whitman's 'Open Road'"
47 1 Miscellaneous
  1a Newspaper article by Slonim
    Publishing attempts (correspondence with publishers)
  2 1939-1953
  3 1954-1962
  4 1962-1975
  5 Correspondence with Bruce Humphries, Inc. about "London: An American Appreciation"
  6 Publications
    Writings by others
48 1 William Stafford, James B. Hall, John Tagliabue, Louis Golding, Robert Knox)
  2 Erich S. Klossner
  3-7 Miscellaneous
  8 Chapbooks and articles signed by authors
  9 Creative writers of Sacramento AAUW, "Sampler II" (1966); Students of Colusa County, "Poems of the Buttes" (1965)
    Series 3: Photographs, circa 1900-2000
49 1-5 Family photographs, circa 1900-2000
  6-7 Ruth Slonim, 1918-2000
50 1-3 Ruth Slonim, 1918-2000 (continued)
  4 Ruth Slonim home, circa 1960s-1980s
  5 Puerto Rico, 1946-1947
  6 Poets, actors, Distinguished Faculty Address (WSU), circa 1964-1974
  7 [Jimmie Lambert?], circa 1920s-1970s
    Series 4: Miscellaneous and oversized, circa 1920-1997
51 1 Puerto Rico materials (Spanish language magazines and other printed materials), 1946
  2 Sheet music for "London" by Caroline Bosanquet, 1966
  3-6 Scrapbook (primarily photographs), circa 1920s-1960s
52 1 Handmade book of Slonim's poems (includes inserted items), 1938-1942
  2 Program for Scholarship Dinner (WSU), 1957
    Ruth Slonim Poetry Corner Dedication, 1997
  3 Video recording (VHS)
  4 Photograph album
  5 Guest book
  6 "Sounds of Pacific Northwest Poetry" (audio recording, 33 1/3 disc), undated. Includes a reading by Slonim.