Babette Deutsch (1895-1982) was a poet, author and critic. Collection consists of correspondence, copies of her published and unpublished works, research and teaching notes, personal papers, photographs, and memorabilia.
Biographical/historical: Babette Deutsch, the daughter of Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch, was born on September 22, 1895 in New York City. After matriculating from the Ethical Culture School, she attended Barnard College and graduated in 1917 with a B.A.; in 1946 she received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University. On April 29, 1921, Deutsch married Avrahm Yarmolinsky, chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library (1918-1955), who was himself a writer and translator. They had two sons, Adam and Michael.
Deutsch made valuable contributions as a translator of Russian, German and French poetry, as a critic and editor, and as an author of novels and children's books. However, her permanent gift to literature is her poetry - free verse and rhymed poems which are sensitive and serious, yet sparked with humor. Critics have said that her phrasing is brilliant and swift, and that her chief charm is the completeness with which she renders and realizes a subject.
While she was an undergraduate, Deutsch began contributing to the periodicals North American Review and The New Republic. After her graduation, she worked for a brief period with the Political Science Quarterly, and also wrote several critical essays, among them one on Thorstein Veblen, for Reedy's Mirror, Marion Reedy's one-man journal of opinion. Shortly thereafter, Veblen asked Deutsch to be his secretary while he was teaching at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
Deutsch's first book of poems, Banners, was published in 1919. From then until 1962, she wrote ten volumes of poetry including Honey Our of the Rock (1925), Epistle to Prometheus(1931), Take Them, Stranger (1944), Coming of Age (1959), and Collected Poems, 1919-1962 1963. Among her novels are A Brittle Heaven (1926), In Such a Night (1927), Mask of Silenus (193), and Rogue's Legacy (1942). Her criticism includes Potable Gold (1929), This Modern Poetry (1935), Poetry In Our Time (1952, 1956, 1963), and Poetry Handbook (1957, 1962, 1974); and in collaboration with her husband, she edited and translated Modern Russian Poetry (1921), Contemporary German Poetry (1923), and Two Centuries of Russian Verse (1966).
Deutsch's poem Thoughts at the Year's End, which was published in her book Five for the Night (1930), won the Nation Poetry Prize. She was Phi Beta Kappa poet at Columbia in 1929, taught at the New School for Social Research from 1933 to 1935, and was a lecturer in English at Columbia University from 1944-1951, and a guest professor from 1952 to 1971. She was also Honorary Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1960 to 1966. Deutsch died on November 13, 1982.
Content: The Babette Deutsch Papers, 1860s-1982, contain personal and professional correspondence, copies of her published and unpublished works, research and teaching notes, photographs, and memorabilia of the poet and literary critic. The bulk of the collection documents the period of the 1920s through the 1960s when Deutsch was most active in the literary world.
The General Correspondence includes letters written to Deutsch by other poets and critics and, occasionally, her replies. The correspondents discuss primarily literary matters and often include copies of their poems. A separate series, Correspondence re Contemporary German Poetry (1923), contains letters from German and Austrian poets whose work Deutsch anthologized. Lists of prominent correspondents in each of these series con be found following the series description.
Deutsch herself is better represented in the Family Correspondence. Included here are the letters she wrote during her trip to Russia in 1923-1924 in which she comments on the new Soviet state and the various literary figures she and her husband, Avrahm Yarmolinsky, met there. Yarmolinsky, Chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library, is represented in this series by a small amount of general correspondence and numerous love letters written to Deutsch in 1920-1921.
Some of Deutsch's literary work, 1919-1981 appears in the collection in typescript, including poetry, novels, essays, and works for children, while her scrapbooks, 1917-1947, contain clippings of her book reviews. A few essays by Yarmolinsky are also present. The Photographs series contains a fine collection of portraits of Deutsch, her husband, parents, and grandparents.
Extent: 6.2 linear feet (16 boxes, 1 package and 5 pieces)