Louis Untermeyer

Louis Untermeyer


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Louis Untermeyer was born in New YorkCity on 1st October, 1885. After a brief formal education he left high school without graduating and found work with his father's jewelry manufacturing company.

Untermeyer was very interested in literature and in 1911 he published his first book of poetry, First Love. He also held left-wing political views and was the literary editor of the Marxist journal, The Masses. The assistant editor of the journal, Floyd Dell, later recalled: "The Masses' literary editor, Louis Untermeyer, who had written about poetry for the Friday Review, was a friend already; we were interested in the same things, and lunched together frequently to discuss the universe."

Like most people involved with the journal, Untermeyer believed that the First World War had been caused by the imperialist competitive system. Untermeyer and journalists such as John Reed who reported the conflict for The Masses, argued that the USA should remain neutral. After the USA entered the First World War the team working on The Masses came under government pressure to change its policy. When it refused to do this, the journal lost its mailing privileges.

In July, 1917, it was claimed by the authorities that articles in the journal by Floyd Dell and Max Eastman and cartoons by Art Young, Boardman Robinson and H. J. Glintenkamp had violated the Espionage Act. Under this act it was an offence to publish material that undermined the war effort. The legal action that followed forced The Masses to cease publication. One of the journals main writers, Randolph Bourne, commented: "I feel very much secluded from the world, very much out of touch with my times. The magazines I write for die violent deaths, and all my thoughts are unprintable." Untermeyer and his friends went on the publish a very similar journal, The Liberator.

By 1923 Untermeyer was vice-president in his father's company but he decided to resign and concentrate on writing. Over the next fifty years he wrote, edited or translated over one hundred books. This included several volumes of his own poetry. He also produced a series of anthologies, notably Modern American Poetry (1919), Modern British Poetry (1920), This Singing World (1923) and Selected Poems and Parodies (1935).

Untermeyer also lectured on poetry, drama and music. In 1939 he was appointed Poet in Residence at the University of Michigan. He also held the same post at the University of Kansas and Iowa State College. In 1939 he published his autobiography From Another World.

Arthur Miller knew him during this period: "Louis Untermeyer, then in his sixties, was a poet and anthologist, a distinguished-looking old New York type with a large aristocratic nose and a passion for conversation, especially about writers and to become a poet... All this with wisecracking and banter, at which Louis was a lovable master, what with his instant recall of every joke and pun he had ever heard."

Untermeyer was an entertaining talker and in 1950 became a panelist on the television programme, What's My Line. He continued to be active in campaigning for left-wing causes and as a result the FBI had been collecting a file of his activities. His name was also mentioned during the House of Un-American Activities Committee investigation into communist subversion. This was brought to the attention of the television industry and in 1951 Untermeyer was sacked from the television show and was blacklisted. Like many left-wing artists during this period, Untermeyer became a victim of McCarthyism.

In his autobiography, Timebends - A Life (1987), Arthur Miller, explained how Untermeyer responded to this victimization: "Louis went back to his apartment. Normally we ran into each other in the street once or twice a week or kept in touch every month or so, but I no longer saw him in the neighborhood or heard from him. Louis didn't leave his apartment for almost a year and a half. An overwhelming and paralyzing fear had risen him. More than a political fear, it was really that he had witnessed the tenuousness of human connection and it had left him in terror. He had always loved a lot and been loved, especially on the TV program where his quips were vastly appreciated, and suddenly, he had been thrown into the street, abolished."

In 1956 Untermeyer was awarded a Gold Medal by the Poetry Society of America. He also served as a consultant in English poetry for the Library of Congress from 1961 until 1963.

Louis Untermeyer died on 18th December, 1977.

Down the rapt and singing streets of little Lawrence

Came the stolid columns; and, behind the blue-coats,

Grinning and invisible, bearing unseen torches,

Rode red hordes of anger, sweeping all before them.

Lust and Evil joined them - Terror rode among them,

Fury fired its pistols, Madness stabbed and yelled

Down the wild and bleeding streets of shuddering Lawrence

Raged the heedless panic, hour-long and bitter;

Passion tore and trampled men more mild and peaceful,

Fought with savage hatred in the name of Law and Order.

And, below the outcry, like the sea beneath the breakers,

Mingling with the anguish rolled the solemn organ.

Eleven in the morning - people were in the church -

Prayers were in the making - God was near at hand -

It was Sunday!

The Masses was presently indicted for criminal libel at the complaint of the Associated Press, for saying that it suppressed the news in the Colorado strike; the case was afterwards dropped. The magazine, among other news, told of Frank Tannenbaum's being arrested for leading homeless men into a New York church to sleep. Jack Reed was sending vigorous, realistically beautiful short stories to us from Mexico. I was thrilled when John Sloan drew a picture of a girl being beaten by the matron of a reformatory, to illustrate my story, The Beating. Among The Masses' literary editors, Louis Untermeyer, who had written about poetry for the Friday Review, was a friend already; we were interested in the same things, and lunched together frequently to discuss the universe. At the monthly editorial meetings, where the literary editors were usually ranged on one side of all questions and the artists on the other, I saw Horatio Winslow, Mary Heaton Vorse, William English Walling, Howard Brubaker; and Art Young, John Sloan, Charles A. and Alice Beach Winter, H. Turner, Maurice Becker, George Bellows, Cornelia Barns, Stuart Davis, Glenn O. Coleman, K. R. Chamberlain. The squabbles between literary and art editors were usually over the question of intelligibility and propaganda versus artistic freedom; some of the artists held a smouldering grudge against the literary editors, and believed that Max Eastman and I were infringing the true freedom of art by putting jokes or titles under their pictures. John Sloan and Art Young were the only ones of the artists who were verbally quite articulate; but fat, genial Art Young sided with the literary editors usually; and John Sloan, a very vigorous and combative personality, who was himself hotly propagandist and felt no desire to be unintelligible, spoke up strongly for the artists who lacked parliamentary ability, and defended the extreme artistic-freedom point of view in their behalf. I, who had tried to get up a rebellion against Max Eastman when I first came on the magazine, over some high-handed proceeding of his, had soon become his faithful lieutenant in a practical dictatorship. Once the artists rebelled and took the magazine away from us; but, as they did nothing toward getting out the next issue, Max and I got some proxies from absentee stockholders and took the magazine back. It stood for fun, truth, beauty, realism, freedom, peace, feminism, revolution.

The resurgent American right of the early fifties, the assault led by Senator McCarthy on the etiquette of liberal society, was among other things, a hunt for the alienated, and with remarkable speed conformity became the new style of the hour.

Louis Untermeyer, then in his sixties, was a poet and anthologist, a distinguished-looking old New York type with a large aristocratic nose and a passion for conversation, especially about writers and to become a poet. He married four times, had taught and written and published, and with the swift rise of television had become nationally known as one of the original regulars on What's My Line?, a popular early show in which he, along with columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, publisher Bennett Cerf, and Arlene Francis, would try to guess the occupation of a studio guest by asking the fewest possible questions in the brief time allowed. All this with wisecracking and banter, at which Louis was a lovable master, what with his instant recall of every joke and pun he had ever heard.

One day he arrived as usual at the television studio an hour before the program began and was told by the producer that he was no longer on the show. It appeared that as a result of having been listed in Life magazine as a sponsor of the Waldorf Conference (a meeting to discuss cultural and scientific links with the Soviet Union), an organized letter campaign protesting his appearance on What's My Line? had scared the advertisers into getting rid of him.

Louis went back to his apartment. He had always loved a lot and been loved, especially on the TV program where his quips were vastly appreciated, and suddenly, he had been thrown into the street, abolished.


Collection inventory

Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977), was an American poet. Best known as an editor of poetry anthologies, Untermeyer believed that poetry is for everyone, and should not be regarded exclusively as a high art. His books aimed to make poetry accessible to the public, and lead others to love poetry as he did. Throughout his life he remained passionate about poetry, corresponding with such notable people as Robert Frost, and eventually became poet laureate of the United States from 1961 to 1963.

Pirie MacDonald (1867-1942) was a prolific American portrait photographer. As he only photographed male subjects, he dubbed himself the "Photographer of Men." Throughout his career, he estimated he had photographed a total of 70,000 men overall, including such notable subjects as United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and many other notable contemporaries worldwide.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Louis Untermeyer Photograph is a single item, Pirie Macdonald's portrait of Untermeyer with Untermeyer's autograph.

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

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.

Related Material

A collection of Pirie MacDonald's photographs is also held by New York Historical Society, in the Pirie MacDonald Portrait Photograph Collection, which also includes a portrait of Untermeyer.


HOW DOES SAMUEL UNTERMEYER FIT INTO THE SCHEME?

Scofield was "taken under the wing of Samuel Untermeier (Untermeyer) (Untermyer). " Following is excerpted from The Hidden Tyranny, by Benjamin H. Freedman.

See also Benjamin Freedman Speaks.

PRESIDENT WILSON BLACKMAILED

Shortly after President Wilson's first inauguration, he received a visitor in the White House by the name of Mr. Samuel Untermeyer. Mr. Untermeyer was a prominent New York city attorney who contributed generously to the National Democratic committee that installed President Wilson in the White House in Washington in the 1912 election. Mr. Untermeyer was a very welcome guest and President Wilson was very glad to welcome him to the White House. They had met before during the campaign.

Mr. Untermeyer surprised President wilson that he had been retained to bring a breach of promise action against President Wilson. Mr. Untermeyer informed President Wilson that his client was willing to accept $40,000 in lieu of commencing the breach of promise action. Mr. Untermeyer's client was the former wife of a Professor at Princeton University at the same time President Wilson was a professor at princeton University.

Mr. Untermeyer produced a packet of letters from his pocket, written by President Wilson to his colleague's wife when they were neighbors at Princeton University. These letters established the illicit relationship which had existed between President Wilson and the wife of his colleague neighbor. He had written many endearing letters to her, many of which she never destroyed. President Wilson acknowledged his authorship of the letters after examining a few of them.

President Wilson left Princeton University to become the Governor of New Jersey. In 1912 he was elected to his first term as president of the United States. In the interim, President Wilson's former sweetheart had divorced her husband and married again. Her second husband resident in Washington with a grown son who was in the employ of one of the leading banks in Washington.

Mr. Untermeyer explained to President Wilson that his former sweetheart was very fond of her husband's son. He explained that this son was in financial trouble and suddenly needed $40,000, as he told the story, to liquidate a pressing liability to the bank for which he worked. The details are not relevant here except that the son needed the $40,000 badly and quickly. President wilson's former sweetheart thought that Wilson was the logical prospect for that $40,000 to help her husband's son.

President Wilson quickly set Mr. Untermeyer's mind at rest by informing him that he did not have $40,000 available for any purpose. Mr. Untermeyer suggested that President Wilson should think the matter over and said he would return in a few days to discuss the matter further. Mr. Untermeyer used the next few days in Washington looking into the credibility of the son's story about his pressing need for $40,000 to liquidate a pressing liability. He learned that the son's story was not misrepresented in any way to his mother by her son.

Mr. Untermeyer returned to President Wilson a few days later as they had agreed. President Wilson did not hesitate to inform Mr. Untermeyer that he did not have the $40,000 to pay his blackmailer. President Wilson appeared irritated. Mr. Untermeyer considered the matter a few moments and then volunteered a solution to President Wilson for his problem.

Mr. Untermeyer volunteered to give President Wilson's former sweetheart the $40,000 out of his own pocket on one condition: that Wilson promise Untermeyer to appoint to the first vacancy on the United States Supreme court a nominee to be recommended to Wilson by Untermeyer.

Without further talk, President Wilson accepted Mr. Untermeyer's generous offer and Mr. Untermeyer promptly paid the $40,000 in currency to president Wilson's former sweetheart. The contemplated breach of promise suit was never heard of after that. Mr. Untermeyer retained in his possession permanently the packet of letters to insure against any similar attempt at some future time. [or could it be the letters were held by Untermeyer to further blackmail him should Wilson 'step out of line'? jp]

President Wilson was most grateful to Mr. Untermeyer for everything he was doing to solve his problem. Mr. Untermeyer was a man of great wealth. The law firm in New York of which he was the leading partner, Messrs. Guggenheim, Untermeyer and Marshall, is still today one of the nation's most prominent and most prosperous law firms. Mr. Untermeyer organized the Bethlehem Steel Company for his friend, Mr. Charles M. Schwab, who resigned from the United States Steel Company to form his company in competition with it.

JUSTICE BRANDEIS -- THE PAY OFF

As anyone might reasonably suspect, Mr. Untermeyer must have had something in mind when he agreed to pay President Wilson's former sweetheart $40,000 out of his own pocket. He paid the money out of his own pocket in the hope that it might bring to pass a dream close to his heart -- a Talmudist ("Jew") on the United States Supreme Court on which none had ever served.

The day soon arrived when President Willson was presented with the necessity of appointing a new member of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Untermeyer recommended Louis Dembitz Brandeis for the vacancy, who was immediately appointed by Wilson. President Wilson and Justice Brandeis became unusually intimate friends. Justice Brandeis knew the circumstances of his appointment to the Supreme Court by President Wilson.

In 1914 Justice Brandeis was the most prominent and most politically influential of all Zionists in the United States. As a justice of the United States Supreme Court, Brandeis was in a better position than ever before to be of service to Talmudists ("Jews") both at home and abroad. The first opportunity to perform a great service for his Zionist followers soon became available to Brandeis.

Justice Brandeis volunteered his opinion to president Wilson that the sinking of the S.S. Sussex by a German submarine in the English Channel with the loss of lives of United States citizens justified the declaration of war against Germany by the United States. Relying to a great extent upon the legal opinion of Justice Brandeis, President Wilson addressed both houses of Congress on April 2, 1917. He appealed to Congress to declare war against Germany and they did on April 7, 1917.

After the October 1916 agreement was concluded between the British War Cabinet and the World Zionist Organization, the Talmudists throughout the world were hopeful that an international incident would soon occur to justify a declaration of war against Germany by the United States.

The declaration of war against Germany by the United States guaranteed the Talmudists throughout the world that Palestine was to be turned over to them upon the defeat of Germany. The defeat of Germany was certain if the United States could be railroaded into the war in Europe as Great Britain's ally. [end excerpt]

Freedman quotes Winston Churchill (Scribner's Commentator in 1936) as saying: "America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn't entered the war, the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the spring of 1917.
If we had made peace there would have been no collapse of Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty. If America had stayed out of the war, all these 'isms' wouldn't be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government, and if England had made peace early in 1917 it would have saved over one million British, French, American and other lives" (The Hidden Tyranny, p.15).

Introductory Note: Benjamin H. Freedman was born of Jewish parents in 1890. He became a successful businessman in New York City, and was at one time the principal owner of the Woodbury Soap Company. He broke with organized Jewry after World War II, and spent the remainder of his life and at least 2.5 million dollars publicizing the facts of Jewish influence on the United States. Mr. Freedman knew. He had been an insider at the highest levels of Jewish organizations, and was personally acquainted with Bernard Baruch, Samuel Untermeyer, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy, and many more of the movers and shakers of his time.


The best and worst of February 1918: Magazines, stories, cover art, and jokes

Two months into My Year in 1918, I feel like I used to feel two months into a Foreign Service posting: completely at home in some ways but totally bewildered in others. I know who Viscount Morley was*, and which author every critic trots out to bemoan the sad state of fiction**, but there are references that go right over my head. Who is Baron Munchausen? What is Fletcherizing? And the jokes. I’ll never get the jokes.

Best magazine: The Crisis

This is a repeat, but no other magazine approaches The Crisis in terms of quality of writing and importance of subject matter. Aside from W.E.B. Du Bois’ autobiographical essay, which I wrote about last week on the 150 th anniversary of his birth, the February issue includes Du Bois’ scathing take-down of a government-sponsored study on “Negro Education” that advocated the replacement of higher education institutions with manual, industrial, and educational training. There’s a horrifying account of the mob murder of an African-American man in Dyersburg, Tennessee—so brutal, the magazine reports, that some white townspeople felt he should have had a “decent lynching.” On the literary side, there’s “Leonora’s Conversion,” a slight but engaging story about a wealthy young black woman’s brief flirtation with the church.

I’m not awarding a Worst Magazine this month. Good Housekeeping was a contender again—dialect-talking black maid Mirandy has the month off, but Japanese manservant Hashimura Togo*** expounds on his employer’s marital problems in equally fractured English. (“‘You have left off kissing me as usually,’ she dib. ‘O.’ He march and deliver slight lip.”) The magazine redeems itself somewhat, though, with an article by suffragist Anna Kelton Wiley called “Why We Picketed the White House.”

Good Housekeeping, February 1918

Best short story: “A Sordid Story,” by J., The Egoist

February wasn’t a great month for short stories. Most of the ones I read, including two that made it into The Best American Short Stories of 1918, started out promisingly but ended with pathos or a gimmicky twist. “A Sordid Story,” in the January**** Egoist, isn’t great literature, but it has daring subject matter and lots of atmosphere. It features a Cambridge student named Alphonse, whose life is described in the most British sentence I’ve ever read:

He made friends easily and took friendship seriously so seriously that he spent nearly the whole of the Michaelmas term following the taking of his degree in reading Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound and The Gospel according to St. Luke in the Greek with a much younger man—a certain Roderick Gregory—who was in his second year, but had hitherto failed to pass his Little-Go.

Maxwell Armfield, from “Cambridge and its History,” 1912

Alphonse falls for Roderick’s sister Beatrice, who “used to have a pet pig, and she called him Shakespeare, because he would be Bacon after his death.” But he spends the night with a working-class girl who grabs his arm as he’s walking near Midsummer Common and says, giggling, “Can yer tell me what o’clock it is?” Horrified with himself the next day, he goes back to her lodgings to pay her off. She tells him that he was her first lover, then, when he tells her it’s over, says, “Yer weren’t the first, then!” Relieved “not to be the first to help send a woman downward,” he goes back to his rooms, where Roderick is playing the cello and twenty-five copies of the Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, in which he has published a paper, await him. It’s only years later that he figures out that he was, in fact, the first.

Worst short story: “A Verdict in the Air,” J.A. Waldron, Judge

Lawrence Fellows, Judge, February 9, 1918

Harwood, on leave from aviation training, goes to a cabaret in Chicago. To his surprise, one of the singers is his childhood sweetheart Bessie Dean, who left their Ohio hometown to pursue a career in opera. She introduces Harwood to her husband Grindel, who takes a dislike to him. A few days later, Harwood is training on the Pacific Coast, when who should show up as a mechanic but Grindel! Harwood has a series of flying accidents, and Grindel is suspected, but he goes AWOL. Harwood is sent to fight with the French army. He visits a friend at a field hospital, where the nurse is none other than Bessie, who has escaped her husband. Back at the front, there’s a heated battle. Harwood pursues the last remaining German plane and hits its rudder after a lively skirmish. As the plane plunges to the ground, he sees that the pilot is—you guessed it—Grindel!

Well, the illustration is kind of cool.

Best magazine covers:

February was a great month for magazine covers. I just wish that the insides of the magazines were half as good. Besides the ones from Harper’s Bazar and Vanity Fair that I’ve mentioned already, there’s this Helen Dryden cover from Vogue,

Helen Dryden, February 1918

and this one, which Norman Rockwell sold to Judge after the Saturday Evening Post turned it down. I can kind of see why.

Norman Rockwell, Judge, February 9, 1918

This isn’t exactly a joke, but it made me laugh. It’s the opening of Louis Untermeyer’s review of poetry collections by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Samuel Roth, and Edwin Curran in the February 14 issue of The Dial.

These three first volumes, with their curious kinship and even more curious contrasts, furnish a variety of themes. They offer material for several essays: on “What Constitutes Rapture” on “The Desire of the Moth for the Star” on “The Growing Tendency among Certain Publishers to Ask One Dollar and Fifty Cents for Seventy Pages of Verse” on “A Bill for the Conservation of Conservative Poetry” on “Life, Literature, and the Last Analysis” on “Why a Poet Should Never be Educated.”

Louis Untermeyer, ca. 1910-1915, Library of Congress

The Growing Tendency among Certain Publishers to Ask One Dollar and Fifty Cents for Seventy Pages of Verse! That Louis Untermeyer is such a card!

Not amused? Okay, then, you go back to 1918 and try to find something funnier.

Judge magazine, February 9, 1918

Once again, hard to choose. Maybe this, from the February 9 issue of Judge:

“You don’t—know me, do you, Bobby?” asked a lady who had recently been baptized.
“Sure I do,” piped the youth. “You’re the lady what went in swimming with the preacher, last Sunday.”

***Really Wallace Irwin, who made a career of writing about Togo. Mark Twain was a fan.

****I was reading The Egoist a month late on the principle that it would have taken time for the magazine to get to the United States, which I’ve since decided is ridiculous.


Louis Untermeyer

God, though this life is but a wraith,
Although we know not what we use,
Although we grope, with little faith,
Give me the heart to fight—and lose.
Ever insurgent let me be
Make me more daring than devout
From sleek contentment keep me free,
And fill me with a buoyant doubt.
Open my eyes to visions girt
With beauty, and with wonder lit
But let me always see the dirt
And all that spawn and die in it.
Open my ears to music
Let me thrill with spring’s first flutes and drums:
But never let me dare forget
The bitter ballads of the slums.
From compromise and things half done
Keep me, with stern and stubborn pride,
And when at last the fight is won,
God, keep me still unsatisfied.

Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) was an author, poet, anthologist, and editor. He wrote or edited more than 100 books, including anthologies of short stories, humor, poetry, and children’s literature.


Louis Untermeyer

Louis Untermeyer (October 1, 1885 – December 18, 1977) was an American poet, anthologist, critic,[1] and editor. He was appointed the fourteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1961.[2]

Untermeyer was born in New York City. He married Jean Starr in 1906. Their son Richard was born in 1907 and died under uncertain circumstances in 1927. After a 1926 divorce, they were reunited in 1929, after which they adopted two sons, Laurence and Joseph. He married the poet Virginia Moore in 1927 their son, John Moore Untermeyer (1928), was renamed John Fitzallen Moore after a painful 1929 divorce. In the 1930s, he divorced Jean Starr Untermeyer and married Esther Antin. This relationship also ended in divorce in 1945.[3] In 1948, he married Bryna Ivens, an editor of Seventeen magazine.

He was known for his wit and his love of puns. For a while, he held Marxist beliefs, writing for magazines such as The Masses, through which he advocated that the United States stay out of World War I. After the suppression of that magazine by the U.S. government, he joined The Liberator, published by the Workers Party of America. Later he wrote for the independent socialist magazine The New Masses. He was a co-founder of "The Seven Arts," a poetry magazine that is credited for introducing many new poets, including Robert Frost, who became Untermeyer's long-term friend and correspondent.

In 1950, Untermeyer was a panelist during the first year of the What's My Line? television quiz program. According to Bennett Cerf, Untermeyer would sign virtually any piece of paper that someone placed in front of him, and Untermeyer inadvertently signed a few Communist proclamations.[4] According to Cerf, Untermeyer was not at all a communist, but he had joined several suspect societies that made him stand out.[4] He was named during the hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigating communist subversion. The Catholic War Veterans and "right wing organizations" began hounding Mr. Untermeyer. Goodson-Todman, producer of the show, held out against the protests of Untermeyer for some time, but finally war veterans began picketing outside the New York City television studio from which What's My Line? was telecast live. The pressure became too great, and the sponsor Jules Montenier, inventor of Stopette deodorant, said, �ter all, I'm paying a lot of money for this. I can't afford to have my product picketed.”[4]

At that point, the producers told Untermeyer that he had to leave the television series. The last live telecast on which he appeared was on March 11, 1951, and the mystery guest he questioned while blindfolded was Celeste Holm.[5] The kinescope of this episode has been lost.[6] His exit led to Bennett Cerf becoming a permanent member of the program.[4]

The controversy surrounding Untermeyer led to him being blacklisted by the television industry. According to Untermeyer's friend Arthur Miller, Untermeyer became so depressed by his forced departure from What's My Line? that he refused to leave his home in Brooklyn for more than a year,[7] and his wife Bryna answered all incoming phone calls.[7] It was she who eventually told Miller what had happened because Untermeyer would not pick up the phone to talk to him,[7] even though Miller's support of blacklisted writers and radio and television personalities was well-known to Untermeyer and many others.[7] But for more than a year, whenever Miller dialed the Untermeyers' phone number, Bryna "talked obscurely about [her husband Louis] not wanting phone conversations anymore, preferring to wait until we could all get together again," wrote Miller.[7]

Miller was a "very infrequent television watcher" in 1951, according to words he used in his 1987 autobiography,[7] and so he did not notice that Bennett Cerf had replaced Untermeyer on the live TV game show.[7] Miller did read New York City newspapers every day, but apparently there was no published report of Untermeyer's disappearance from television,[7] therefore Miller was unaware that anything was wrong until Untermeyer's wife Bryna revealed what it was eventually after they had conversed by phone for more than a year.[7]

Louis Untermeyer was the author or editor of close to 100 books, from 1911 until his death. Many of them and his other memorabilia are preserved in a special section of the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Schools used his Modern American and British poetry books widely, and they often introduced college students to poetry. He and Bryna Ivens Untermeyer created a number of books for young people, under the Golden Treasury of Children's Literature. He lectured on literature for many years, both in the US and other countries. In 1956 the Poetry Society of America awarded Untermeyer a Gold Medal. He also served as a Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1961 until 1963.

The Younger Quire (parodies), Mood Publishing, 1911. First Love, French, 1911. Challenge, Century, 1914. These Times, Holt, 1917. Including Horace, Harcourt, 1919. The New Adam, Harcourt, 1920. Roast Leviathan, Harcourt, 1923, reprinted, Arno, 1975. (With son, Richard Untermeyer) Poems, privately printed, 1927. Burning Bush, Harcourt, 1928. Adirondack Cycle, Random House, 1929. Food and Drink, Harcourt, 1932. First Words before Spring, Knopf, 1933. Selected Poems and Parodies, Harcourt, 1935. For You with Love (juvenile), Golden Press, 1961. Long Feud: Selected Poems, Harcourt, 1962. One and One and One (juvenile), Crowell-Collier, 1962. This Is Your Day (juvenile), Golden Press, 1964. Labyrinth of Love, Simon & Schuster, 1965. Thanks: A Poem (juvenile), Odyssey, 1965. Thinking of You (juvenile), Golden Press, 1968. A Friend Indeed, Golden Press, 1968. You: A Poem, (juvenile), illustrations by Martha Alexander, Golden Press, 1969.

From Another World (1935) Bygones (1965) Essay collections[edit] American Poetry Since 1900 (1923) The Forms Of Poetry (1926) Play in Poetry (1938) Doorways to Poetry (1938) The Lowest Form of Wit (1947) The Pursuit of Poetry (1969) Critical collections[edit] The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1943) The Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (1949) The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer (1963) The Love Poems of Elizabeth and Robert Browning (1994) The Love Poems of Robert Herrick and John Donne (1948) Fictional volumes[edit] Moses (1923) The Fat of the Cat and Other Stories The Donkey of God and Other Stories (1932) The Kitten Who Barked (1962), illustrator: Lilian Obligado The Second Christmas (1964), illustrator: Louis Marak Cat O' Nine Tales (1971), illustrator: Lawrence DiFiori The Dog of Pompeii(1915)

Heinrich Heine: Paradox and Poet (1937) Makers of the Modern World (with John Moore) (1955) Makers of the Modern World selections, Japanese translation (1971)

Anthologies, as editor or compiler

Modern American Poetry (1919) (2nd edition, 1921 6th edition, 1942) Modern British Poetry (1920) (5th edition, 1942) Modern American and British Poetry (1919) Yesterday and Today (1926) New Songs for New Voices (1928), with Clara and David Mannes, illustrator: Peggy Bacon A Treasury of Great Poems (1942, 1955) The Golden Treasury of Poetry (1959), illustrator: Joan Walsh Anglund Story Poems (1946, 1972) Early American Poets (1952) An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry (1963) A Galaxy of Verse (1978) Men and Women: the Poetry of Love (1970), illustrator: Robert J. Lee Collins Albatross Book of Verse (1933, 1960) Stars To Steer By (1941) Lots of Limericks (1961), illustrator: R. Taylor The Book of Living Verse (1932, 1945) Rainbow in the Sky (1935), illustrator: Reginald Birch A Treasury of Laughter (1946) An Anthology of New England Poets (1948) The Best Humor of 1949-1950 (with Ralph E. Shikes, 1950) The Best Humor Annual (with Ralph E. Shikes, 1951) The Best Humor Annual (with Ralph E. Shikes, 1952) The Magic Circle (1952) A Treasury of Ribaldry (1956) The Britannica Library of Great American Writing (1960) Big and Little Creatures (1961), with Bryna Ivens Untermeyer Beloved Tales (1962), with Bryna Ivens Untermeyer Old Friends and Lasting favorites (1962), with Bryna Ivens Untermeyer Fun and Fancy (1962), with Bryna Ivens Untermeyer Creatures Wild and Tame (1963), with Bryna Ivens Untermeyer The Golden Book of Poems for the Very Young (1971) A Treasury of Great Humor (1972)

Adapted or translated books

Poems of Heinrich Heine (1917) The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan (1946), illustrator: Everett Gee Jackson More French Fairy Tales (1946), illustrator: Gustave Doré Cyrano de Bergerac (1954), illustrator: Pierre Brissaud Aesop's Fables (1965), illustrator: A. and M. Provensen Songs of Joy from the Book of Psalms (1967), illustrator: Joan Berg Victor Tales from the Ballet (1968), illustrator: A. and M. Provensen A Time for Peace (1969), illustrator: Joan Berg Victor The World's Great Stories (1964) The Firebringer (1968) Lines to a Pomeranian Puppy Valued at $3500 (1950), musical adaptation of Untermeyer poem by Irving Ravin


Collection inventory

Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977), was an American poet. Best known as an editor of poetry anthologies, Untermeyer believed that poetry is for everyone, and should not be regarded exclusively as a high art. His books aimed to make poetry accessible to the public, and lead others to love poetry as he did. Throughout his life he remained passionate about poetry, corresponding with such notable people as Robert Frost, and eventually became poet laureate of the United States from 1961 to 1963.

Pirie MacDonald (1867-1942) was a prolific American portrait photographer. As he only photographed male subjects, he dubbed himself the "Photographer of Men." Throughout his career, he estimated he had photographed a total of 70,000 men overall, including such notable subjects as United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and many other notable contemporaries worldwide.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Louis Untermeyer Photograph is a single item, Pirie Macdonald's portrait of Untermeyer with Untermeyer's autograph.

Arrangement of the Collection

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.

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

A collection of Pirie MacDonald's photographs is also held by New York Historical Society, in the Pirie MacDonald Portrait Photograph Collection, which also includes a portrait of Untermeyer.

Subject Headings

MacDonald, Pirie, 1867-1942.
Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977.

Poets, American.
Portrait photography.

Administrative Information

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Louis Untermeyer Photograph,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries


Browse

Louis Untermeyerwas an American poet, anthologist, critic, editor and translator of more than one hundred books for readers of all ages.. He is best remembered as a prolific anthologist whose collections have introduced students to contemporary American poetry since 1919. Untermeyer was appointed the fourteenth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1961.

This collection includes 13 items dating from 1925 to 1969, specifically 7 Typed Letter Signed 2 Other Typed Letters 3 Books and 1 Ephemera.

7 Typed Letter Signed (TLS)

• TLS to Mr. Carter, 7 July 1925, re Yesterday and Today: A Comparative Anthology of Poetry.

• TLS to Ted Robinson, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 18 April 1946, with envelope, re publication of Robinson&rsquos poems (“Live, Love and the Weather”).

• TLS Typed signed poem entitled “Portrait of a Machine”, 1 p., n.d.

• TLS to Mr. Upton, 8 February 1940,

• TLS of poem ("Questions At Night")

• 3 TLS on personal printed letterhead of 310 West 100th Street, New York City, to Grace Hazard Conkling (American poet, professor at Smith College):

- 28 June 1920, 28 July 1928, and 2 September 1920, with one envelope, on literary matters, including references to her daughter, Hilda Conkling (a "child prodigy" poet), in part:

- 28 June 1920, “Don't accuse me of failing to follow your letter when you read my review of Hilda's book! Three weeks before… I impertinently suggested -- the printer has it now -- that Hilda's mother should lock her library of the 'best' modern poets, resign from all poetry societies and pack Hilda off to Tahiti or points adjacent. In a sense, you will tell me, that is what you are doing… We shall… be glad to have Hilda's picture and it shall go where it deserves to be placed, alongside the few real and poignant poets of our acquaintance. And you can make up for your 'indebtedness' in re 'Modern American Poetry' by sending on your own recent book. I want to use… one or two more of your poems in the contemplated amplified edition. As what the department stores call an 'extra inducement', I shall… send you my forthcoming 'Modern British Poetry' (due from the binder's in a fortnight or so), which will give you an idea of what the revised edition of the American companion volume will be like."

- 28 July 1920, “I am sending The Dial to you (or rather a badly mauled clipping from it) containing my article on Hilda's book. It is the last thing I am doing before leaving for a month's solid loaf at a point removed from Literature, and everything else with a Capital" and 2 September 1920, “Your book… contains several things which I knew and which I am glad to see between covers. There are two in particular which… I would like to use in the revised, simplified edition of 'Modern American Poetry', eliminating April in the Huasteca, which is in the present collection… 'The Whole Duty of Berkshire Brooks' and 'Frost on a Window'. I hope that you feel the same way that I do about these two”. Folds some browning and soiling else good overall.

• TLS from “The Macdonell Colony” written and signed by Jean Starr Untermeyer, 28 December 1969.

• TL entitled “From Another World Foreword by Letter”, 2 pp., From Another World The Autobiography of Louis Untermeyer published in 1939 unsigned

• First Love: A Lyric Sequence (Boston: Sherman, French & Company, 1911), greenish blue cloth, very good, light edge wear with rubbing, signed card by Untermeyer on the front free endpaper.

• Moses (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1928). Inscribed by Untermeyer in year of publication on front free endpaper, brown gold cloth near fine condition, in very good jacket.

• The Younger Choir (New York: Mood Publishing Company, 1910), #213 of 500 copies, cream cloth, very good copy in a worn and torn glassine wrapper. Owner's signature and signed card of Edwin Markham (introduction by Markham) on front free endpaper, Untermeyer&rsquos poems on pp. 94-5.

• Signed card with a quotation from William Blake: “Great things are done when men and mountains meet | This is not done by jostling in the street.”

All material housed in a handsome clamshell box with a reproduction of the dust jacket of Moses on the box.


Louis Untermeyer American Personality

According to our records, Louis Untermeyer is possibly single.

Relationships

Louis Untermeyer was previously married to Bryna Ivens (1948 - 1977) , Esther Antin (1933 - 1948) , Virginia Moore Untermeyer (1926 - 1927) and Jean Starr (1907 - 1926) .

About

Louis Untermeyer is a member of the following lists: People from New York City, American poets and 1977 deaths.

Contribute

Help us build our profile of Louis Untermeyer! Login to add information, pictures and relationships, join in discussions and get credit for your contributions.

Relationship Statistics

TypeTotalLongestAverageShortest
Married4 30 years, 11 months 17 years, 3 months 2 years
Total4 30 years, 11 months 17 years, 3 months 2 years

Details

First Name Louis
Last Name Untermeyer
Full Name at Birth Louis Untermeyer
Age 92 (age at death) years
Birthday 1st October, 1885
Birthplace New York City
Died 18th December, 1977
Place of Death Newtown, Connecticut, United States
Cause of Death Natural Causes
Zodiac Sign Libra
Sexuality Straight
Ethnicity White
Nationality American
Occupation Text Author, anthologist, editor, poet,panelist
Occupation Personality

Louis Untermeyer (October 1, 1885 – December 18, 1977) was an American poet, anthologist, critic, and editor. He was appointed the fourteenth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1961.


Louis Untermeyer was an American editor, literary anthologist, essayist, novelist, literary critic, poet, and translator.

This is a synthetic collection consisting of typescripts, a manuscript, and correspondence. The typescripts consist of a poem and notes for work by the author, as well as poems by Muriel Rukeyser sent to Untermeyer. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from the author, dating from 1914 to 1975, to Wystan Hugh Auden, Saul Bellow, Truman Capote, T. S. Eliot, Randall Jarrell, Charlotte Mary Mew, Harold Monro, Mary Norton, Muriel Rukeyser, Tennessee Williams, Humbert Wolfe, and others, as well as a letter, dated 1923, from Amy Lowell to Mrs. Becker, relating to the author. There are letters to Untermeyer from Conrad Aiken, Ray Bradbury, Erskine Caldwell, Mary Ellen Chase, Padraic Colum, Crowell-Collier Publishers, Christopher Davis, Babette Deutsch, Paul Engle, Langston Hughes, Mary Lavin, Archibald MacLeish, Bernard Malamud, Muriel Rukeyser, W. D. Snodgrass, John Steinbeck, William Styron, Gore Vidal, Eudora Welty, Herman Wouk, and others, dating from 1936 to 1971.


Watch the video: Louis Untermeyer, Robert Frost: A Backward Look 1967