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Finding Aid for the Barbara Guest papers, 1980-1985
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Barbara Guest papers
    Date (inclusive): 1980-1985
    Collection number: 1992
    Creator: Guest, Barbara 1920-2006
    Extent: 1 document box (.5 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Barbara Guest was an American poet and prose stylist who gained prominence in the 1950s and 1960s as an active member of the New York school of poetry. This collection contains a manuscript of her biography about the Imagist poet H.D. entitled Herself Defined: A Biography of the Poet H.D. It was later published in 1984 as Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives,   the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)   and the UCLA Library.  

    Processing Note

    Processed by Stacy Wood, 2012.
    The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives,   the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)   and the UCLA Library.   These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Barbara Guest papers (Collection 1992). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7103083 


    Barbara Guest was born in Wilmington, North Carolina but raised for most of her life in California. She was an American poet who is most often considered a member of the first generation of the New York school of poetry. The New York school poets were characterized by their vivid imagery, stream of consciousness writing, and spontaneous manner. Drawing their inspiration from the contemporary avant-garde art movements, they are also closely associated with the broader art movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Other poets commonly associated with this school are Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Alice Notley, and Kenneth Koch. Guest received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities in 1943 from University of California Berkeley. She was awarded the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poet's Society of America.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains a manuscript that was published in 1984 although this version is undated. The collection includes a draft by Barbara Guest about the life of the poet H.D. This version is entitled, Herself Defined: A Biography of the Poet H.D. but it would later have the title, Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World.
    These writings by Guest highlight the life of H.D. born Hilda Doolittle (September 10, 1886-September 27, 1961) in Pennsylvania. In 1911 she moved to London where she became recognized and involved with the Imagist movement of the time. The Imagists were an avant garde poetic school focused on precise, clear imagery and sharp, economic language. Their publications included the work of some of the most prominent figures in the Modernist movement. H.D. was the literary editor of the Egoist journal from 1916-1917 and her poetry appeared in the English Review and Transatlantic Review. She was married for a period of time to Richard Aldington although their marriage ended during World War I. H.D. befriended Sigmund Freud and later became his patient. She was an outspoken bisexual and had relationships with men and women throughout her life. Her work and life was rediscovered in the 1970s and she became an icon of the gay and feminist movements.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged according to original order.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Guest, Barbara -- Archives
    H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) 1886-1961 -- Archival Resources
    Imagist poetry, American -- Archival Resources
    Women poets, American -- Biography -- Archival Resources

    Related Material

    Barbara Guest's Papers   are held in the Beinecke Library at Yale University.