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Catherine Seelye Papers

Identifier: 1998-0211

Scope and Content

The collection consists of the supporting material gathered and generated by Catherine Seelye while preparing Charles Olson's reflections on Ezra Pound for publication. The bulk of material dates from 1973-1976. It includes Seelye's correspondence with prominent literary figures such as Donald Allen, Charles Boer, Edward Dahlberg, Robert Duncan, Donald Gallup, James Laughlin. Other correspondents include Pound's son, Omar Pound, and Olson's widow, Constance (Olson) Bunker. Copies of Olson's work and correspondence are also included, the originals of which are in the Charles Olson Papers at the University of Connecticut. The inclusive dates for the collection reflect the dating of the originals.

Throughout the collection there is an ongoing discussion of copyright and libel concerns. Professional ethics in the archival and publishing fields is also addressed. Particularly notable is John Seelye's correspondence (Series I: Correspondence) proposing the project and the exchange regarding the publication of Robert von Hallberg's article on Olson's poem "Issue, Mood" (Series II: Subject Files). Seelye strenuously objected to von Hallberg's interpretation of Olson's poem and his extensive use of the collection's previously unpublished material with which she also was working.


  • Creation: undated, 1917-1978
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1973 - 1976


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


From 1960-1974, Catherine Seelye worked in the library of the University of Connecticut, first in Collection Development and later as Assistant Librarian. Her husband, John Seelye, was an English Professor also at the University of Connecticut. When the University purchased the Charles Olson Papers in 1972, John and Catherine Seelye developed a proposal to edit and publish Olson's reflections on Ezra Pound. (Olson had intended to publish the materials himself after Pound's death, but Olson's death in 1970 preceded Pound's in 1972.)

Once the publication was approved, Catherine Seelye took on the task of transcribing and editing Olson's material in collaboration with the curator of the Charles Olson Papers, George Butterick. By the time Charles Olson and Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St. Elizabeths was published in 1975, Catherine Seelye and her husband had moved to North Carolina. Seelye kept in correspondence with Butterick about extending the project to include the rest of Olson's notebooks, but their plans never reached fruition.

Catherine Seelye received her B.A. from West Virginia University and M.A. from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. As a librarian for the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina from 1955-1960, Seelye indexed and edited Popular Government and other publications. During her years at the University of Connecticut, she wrote articles for various library bulletins. Charles Olson and Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St. Elizabeths remained her only published book.


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Language of Materials



Research notes, correspondence, and transcriptions for Charles Olson and Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St. Elizabeths (NY: Grossman, 1975), edited by Catherine Seelye. Seelye was a librarian at the University of Connecticut, which holds the Charles Olson Papers. Her edited book reproduces notes, essays, and poems Olson wrote during his frequent visits with Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., after Pound was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for treason in 1945. The collection includes correspondence from prominent literary figures in American poetry and the Black Mountain School. Donald Allen, Edward Dahlberg, Robert Duncan, James Laughlin, and Omar Pound are among those represented. Professional ethics in the archival and publishing fields are also addressed.


Series I: Correspondence (1966-1978) Incoming and outgoing correspondence ordered alphabetically by individual. Exceptions: John Seelye's correspondence and general responses to publication appear first.

Series II: Subject Files (1917-1975) Subject files containing background research on Olson and Pound.

Series III: Charles Olson and Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St. Elizabeths (1973-1976) Publication materials, drafts and reviews.


The collection is arranged by subject with original order maintained as closely as possible. Correspondence has been ordered chronologically. If applicable, Seelye's notes of questions or an article by the correspondent are included in the correspondence folder. Duplicate copies of articles and reviews have been removed.

Acquisition Information


Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to Charles Olson and his interests. See especially the Papers of Charles Olson and George Butterick (partially processed). The published book, Charles Olson and Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St. Elizabeths (Dodd C2821), is also held in the archives. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Catherine Seelye Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2003 April
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US