Leonard L. Milberg Collections of American & Irish Poetry

Leonard L. Milberg Collection of American Poetry

In 1986, Leonard L. Milberg ’53 offered to fund a small collection of contemporary American poetry in honor of Richard M. Ludwig, a longtime professor of American poetry and a librarian at the University. Ludwig had noted during his time at Princeton that although the Rare Books Division of the University library had a wide assortment of works by modern poets like T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams, it nevertheless lacked any representative collection of contemporary American poets. After extensive deliberation over whom should be included in this new collection, seventy poets were chosen to be featured, such as John Ashbery, Anne Sexton, W.S. Merwin, and May Swenson. The collection includes a variety of printed material, including but not limited to items like broadsides, translations, and even greeting cards — all in impressive condition. This collection was compiled largely by J. Howard Woolmer, with the help of University library staff, students, and many others.

Leonard L. Milberg Collection of Irish Poetry

Like the Leonard L. Milberg Collection of American Poetry, this collection was compiled by J. Howard Woolmer and honors the late Rare Books librarian Richard M. Ludwig. In the early stages of this collection, the curators acquired Irish poetry books belonging to Lester Conner, a retired English professor at Chestnut Hill College and a good friend of some of the poets featured in the collection, such as Seamus Heaney — notably, the preface to this collection’s catalogue claims the University library now has “one of the finest collections of printed Heaney material in any library.” Like the sister collection of American Poetry, this collection’s poets were mainly active post-World War II, but it also features earlier poets like Austin Clarke, Padraic Colum, C. Day Lewis, and Louis MacNeice, all of whom published their first books in the early 1900s. The collection also similarly includes a variety of printed material, like broadsides, first and significant editions of the poets’ books, translations, and poem cards.

For more information on both Leonard L. Milberg Collections, please visit the collections’ finding aid.