Louis Zukofsky papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk 3.4.2021.1

Level of description



Louis Zukofsky papers


  • 1928 - 1969 (Creation)


1.00 Linear feet, 2.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Louis Zukofsky was an American writer and poet. Born in New York City in 1904, Zukofsky’s poems first appeared in print in 1920 and he earned his M.A. degree from Columbia University in 1924. His friendship with contemporary poets Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams began in 1927, the same year when Zukofsky began work on his piece “A.” From 1930 to 1931, he taught at the University of Wisconsin. In 1934, “Le Style Apollinaire,” a work in conjunction with his close friend Rene Taupin, was published. From 1947 to 1966, Zukofsky taught at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York, and he was the Poet in residence for San Francisco State College in 1958. In 1959, his work “A” 1-12 was published, while his first complete American edition of poetry was published in 1965. Zukofsky retired from teaching in 1966, after which he spent time translating the works “Catallus Fragmenta” in 1968 and “Catallus” in 1969. Zukofsky died in 1978.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Louis Zukofsky Papers (1923-1969) chronicle his relationship with a number of his contemporaries, particularly Rene Taupin, as well as describing what life was like for a poet in the 1930's. The papers contain correspondence, printed material and typescripts.
They are housed in two document boxes. The papers are divided into four series: 1) Correspondence (1928-1969), 2) Literary works (1931, n.d.), 3) Printed material (1930-1933) and 4) Miscellaneous. The most significant part of this collection is the correspondence. It is divided into four sub-series: a) Louis Zukofsky to Rene Taupin (1930-1941), b) Louis Zukofsky to various others (1942-1969), c) various individuals to Rene Taupin (1923-1946) and d) other correspondence (1927-1940).
The correspondece in each sub-series is arranged in chronological order. The correspondence from Zukofsky to Taupin is the largest and most significant part of the collection (70 items) containing references to works in progress and contemporaries, such as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Harriet Monroe, George Oppen, Basil Bunting, Jesse Loewenthal, Tibor Serly and Robinson Morton. Other comments offer insight into the economy and social atmosphere of 1930's America. The second sub-series of correspondence (22 items, 7 correspondents) focuses primarily on Zukofsky's literary career: responses to inquiries to reprint his poetry, notification of new works and mention of reviews. His family and contemporaries are mentioned in a number of letters. Primary correspondents are: Clayton Hoagland and Tom Pickard. The third sub-series of correspondence (60 items, 47 correspondents), various individuals to Rene Taupin, focuses primarily on the creation of La France en Liberte (13 items) and responses to a questionnaire concerning France's survival under German occupation (8 items). A significant portion of these letters (29 items) is in French and has not been translated. Notable correspondents include: Ivan Goll, Sommerville Story, Germaine Sinclair, Warre Bradley Wells, Carl Van Doren, Patrick Braybrooke, Dorothy Canfield Fischer, A. E. Bacon, Charles A. Beard, Charles M. Stern and Tibor Serly. The fourth sub-series of correspondence is primarily in French and has not been translated.
The correspondence in English contains comments on Taupin's abilities and promotional information about La France en Liberte. Correspondents include: Jean de Gourmont, Raymond Arne and Fernand Baldensperger. The literary works series includes typescript reviews by Zukofsky of Hidden Flame by Bunichi Kagawa and Redimiculum Matellarum by Basil Bunting. Also included is an essay in French on Andre Salmon by Rene Taupin. The printed material series contains a review of Zukofsky's Objectivists' Anthology, an essay on Ezra Pound by Zukofsky, a review of Maldorer by Taupin and reviews of Taupin's L'Influence du symbolisme Francais sur la poesie Americaine (de 1910 a/ 1920) The final series contains a prescription sheet, a bibliographical sketch of Taupin (1923-1930) and the first page of an essay entitled Profession of Faith. The Special Collections unit of the Kansas State University Libraries' contains a collection of publications written by Louis Zukofsky.

System of arrangement

The papers are housed in two document boxes. They are divided into four series: 1) Correspondence (1928-1969), 2) Literary works (1931, n.d.), 3) Printed material (1930-1933) and 4) Miscellaneous.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restriction: All materials are open for research.

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Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for assuming all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

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      Acquisition and appraisal elements

      Custodial history

      The Louis Zukofsky Papers are identified as accession number PC 1994.07 (P1994.07) and are available at the University Archives.

      Immediate source of acquisition

      Acqusition Method: Purchased.
      Acqusition Date: 19840401

      Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

      The papers of Louis Zukofsky (1928-1969) were purchased by Kansas State University Libraries in April 1984. Louis Zukofsky was an American poet, critic and translator. He was associated in the "objectivist" movement of the early 1930's and was thought of as a disciple of William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound.
      The bulk of the collection contains correspondence from Zukofsky to Rene Taupin discussing mutual friends and documenting his career. The collection also offers insight into what life was like in the 1930's for a poet, economically and socially.


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      Specialized notes

      • Citation: [Item title], [item date], Louis Zukofsky papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

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      Archivist's note

      Finding Aid Author: Cindy Von Elling
      Processing Info: Processing of the papers was completed by Cindy Von Elling in September 1994.
      Container list updated by Cindy Harris and Helena Egbert, in 2021.
      Archon migration by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, September 2015.
      Publication Date: 2015-06-30

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