Guide to the Katherine Beswick Papers, ca. 1920-1960

Department of Special Collections
Green Library
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6004
Phone: (650) 725-1022
Email: speccollref@stanford.edu
URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/
© 1999
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Katherine Beswick Papers, ca. 1920-1960

Collection number: M0361

Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Stanford University Libraries

Stanford, California

Contact Information

  • Department of Special Collections
  • Green Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Stanford, CA 94305-6004
  • Phone: (650) 725-1022
  • Email: speccoll@sulmail.stanford.edu
  • URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/
Processed by:
Heidi Beck
Date Completed:
1982 Sept.
© 1999 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Katherine Beswick Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1920-1960
Collection number: Special Collections M0361
Creator: Beswick, Katherine.
Extent: .75 linear ft.
Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

None.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

Provenance

Purchased, 1979.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Katherine Beswick Papers, M0361, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biographical Note

Former classmate and close friend of John Steinbeck.

Scope and Content

This collection of writing by Katherine Beswick consists of stories poems, and essays, probably written over a fairly long period in her life. All are typescript and some bear hand-written corrections and revisions. A number of these writings may have been published in magazines.
The collection consists of two boxes of material. Box 1 contains 16 stories listed alphabetically by title, followed by six untitled stories alphabetized by the first line. Box 2 is a half-size box of poems and other writings. Collections of poems, alphabetized by the collections' titles, are followed by individual poems arranged by title; these are followed in turn by untitled poems listed by the first line. Other writings by Katherine Beswick, two essays and an open letter, follow alphabetically by title. Other material includes one folder containing five poems by Fred H. Lape. It is unclear why Lape's typescripts are among Beswick's papers, however, she may have acquired them while she was working as a literary agent.

Container List

 

STORIES (TITLED)

Box 1, Folder 1

...And Curtain,

Physical Description: TS, 7 pp.,

Scope and Content Note

holograph corrections. Dancer and fair-haired boy come together, break apart. Finale on stage.
Box 1, Folder 2

And Glory Shone Around,

Physical Description: TS, 11 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Joanna attends the Tabernacle meeting and sees the Light.
Box 1, Folder 3

The Baby Sister Drawer,

Physical Description: TS, 5 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Joanna waits for her baby sister, until it's no use waiting any more.
Box 1, Folder 4

A Broken Engagement,

Physical Description: TS, 6 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Joanna breaks her engagement to Peter over a reconcilable difference.
Box 1, Folder 5

The Dry, Sweet Smell of Old Roses,

Physical Description: TS, 5 pp.

Scope and Content Note

A man and woman drunk and tired beyond desire share a bed for the night. Peter B. Howard of Serendipity Books, Berkeley, suggests the sory is a narration of events which surrounded Steinbeck's affair with Katherine Beswick.
Box 1, Folder 6

Eleanor Has No Piano,

Physical Description: TS, 6 pp.,

Scope and Content Note

plus four lines. Geoff has his music to love, but Eleanor has no piano for her release.
Box 1, Folder 7

The First Woman,

Physical Description: TS, 14 pp.

Scope and Content Note

The secret `nobody ever had any right to know' between the warm and gentle Dr. Gerry Carswell and his cold and distant nurse, Eve Sullivan, revealed.
Box 1, Folder 8

From the Letter Files. Documentary Evidence in the Case of Two who were Feminists,

Physical Description: TS, 9 pp.

Scope and Content Note

The story of two friends and their views on the subjects of men, love, and marriage as revealed by their letters.
Box 1, Folder 9

Going to Red Hill,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p. plus two lines,

Scope and Content Note

a few corrections. Apparently fragmentary, two paragraph introduction to a story about Midwestern farmers' migration to Southern California.
Box 1, Folder 10

In Defense of Defenses,

Physical Description: TS, 8 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Burdick defends himself against his obnoxious guest, Woggle, who fails a lesson in self-defense.
Box 1, Folder 11

Joanna Poured,

Physical Description: TS, 6 pp.

Scope and Content Note

and carbon copy. Joanna's enjoyment of her tea party is marred by her special guest's enjoyment of the sandwiches.
Box 1, Folder 12

The Quick and the Dead,

Physical Description: TS. 11 pp.

Scope and Content Note

A family makes their annual trip to the cemetary to clear the lot. The child wanders about the cemetery, thinking about the dead and what it means to give dust to dust.
Box 1, Folder 13

Two at the Mill,

Physical Description: TS, 13 pp.

Scope and Content Note

An old maid's hopes for love and marriage are raised and finally dashed by a question from her widowed brother-in-law.
Box 1, Folder 14

The Whim Bloweth,

Physical Description: TS, 4 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Burdick learns from Woggle just how infectious whimsy is.
Box 1, Folder 15

Wise Woman,

Physical Description: TS, 5 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Fragment, the beginning to a story about two friends, the popular Betty and quiet Consuelo, the what's her name in whom everyone confides because of her interest and understanding.
Box 1, Folder 16

With All My Worldly Goods...,

Physical Description: TS, 3 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Derelict Jane refuses to admit her fate, even as she faces the poor-house.
 

STORIES (UNTITLED)

Box 1, Folder 17

As far back as 1899, before anyone had thought of a name for that weakness, Harry McCord adored his mother.

Physical Description: TS, 4 pp,

Scope and Content Note

holograph corrections. History of the McCord family, though focal point is boy's affection for his mother.
Box 1, Folder 18

In the sun, on the outmoded brownstone stoop of No.- Morton Street, sprawled an almost offensively innocent looking young man.

Physical Description: TS, 6 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Fragment; the beginning of a story -- a murder mystery?
Box 1, Folder 19

Mrs. Elida Allenby sat in a capacious chair pulled up to her own front window...

Physical Description: TS, 5 pp.,

Scope and Content Note

holograph corrections. Mrs. Allenby, confined by age, weight, and lameness, develops an imaginary relationship with the young couple-in-love across the street, but when she attempts to communicate with a note, finds they have been put out because they were not married.
Box 1, Folder 20

Samuel McGillicuddy was not, to use one of his phrases, `of the indigent poor'.

Physical Description: TS, 5 pp.

Scope and Content Note

some corrections. Man at his park bench receives invitation to Thanksgiving turkey dinner at St. Agnes Soup kitchen by something young and pretty, but is denied his dinner by an accident of fate.
Box 1, Folder 21

`Seems like sometimes when folks gets wrong idears into their heads, they'd ought to be left keep `em there.'

Physical Description: TS, 16 pp.,

Scope and Content Note

a few corrections. A couple's story told by Old Pap Ayers in his New England dialect. Emory finds out only at death and after 30 years of marriage that Jessie's love was true and undivided; he had suspected otherwise.
Box 1, Folder 22

There were two men present -- and she cared for neither of them except with her vanity.

Physical Description: TS, 2 pp.

Scope and Content Note

A woman cuts a a man's hair while a second man watches. Another point of view is offered from one who was fortunate enough to be an onlooker.
 

POEMS, COLLECTIONS

Box 2, Folder 1

Columbine Wonders and Other Poems,

Physical Description: TS, 17 pp.

Scope and Content Note

(unnumbered). Seventeen poems on loves and loves lost from the points of view of Columbine, Pierrot, Pierrette, and Harlequin.
Box 2, Folder 2

Joanna Medora McDee, The Book of,

Physical Description: TS, 24 pp.

Scope and Content Note

[Lacks p.7]. Poems from the point of view of a child facing the adult world; known as the Joanna poems in the letters of Steinbeck to Beswick. Katherine Beswick asked Steinbeck if he would be father of Joanna Medora McDee, and he replied positively. (See Steinbeck to Beswick, [ca. early December, 1928. S.F. and mid-December 1928] S.F., (M263/1/3).
Box 2, Folder 3

[Joanna Poems],

Physical Description: TS, 12 pp.

Scope and Content Note

(unnumbered). Apparently earlier versions of poems contained in The Book of Joanna Medora McDee. Holograph corrections and revisions, also notations of dates and magazine titles ( Childlife, Ladies' Home Journal, Parents and others).
Box 2, Folder 4

[Mythology Poems],

Physical Description: TS, 6 leaves. 10 poems:
 

1) The Gloomy King of Hades,

Physical Description: 24 lines.
 

2) How Deucalion and Pyrrha Made a New People,

Physical Description: 52 lines.
 

3) How Echo Pined for Narcissus,

Physical Description: 24 lines.
 

4) How Echo was Punished for her Mischief,

Physical Description: 24 lines.
 

5) How Narcissus Vainly Wooed his own Image, [I],

Physical Description: 16 lines.
 

6) How Narcissus Vainly Wooed his own Image, [II],

Physical Description: 30 lines.
 

7) How Niobe Lost her Children,

Physical Description: 64 lines.
 

8) How Phaeton Drove the Golden Chariot of Apollo,

Physical Description: 78 lines.
 

9) With Shoes of Swiftness, Sword of Might,

Physical Description: 32 lines.

Scope and Content Note

Apparently a fragment from The Wonderful Adventures of Perseus.
 

10) The Wonderful Adventures of Perseus. - I. How Perseus Went Voyaging in a Very Strange Ship,

Physical Description: 48 lines.
 

POEMS, INDIVIDUAL (TITLED)

Box 2, Folder 5

And This is Final!

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet. Holograph revisions.
 

And Yet I Live,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p., 8 lines,
 

Beggars' Horses,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p., 38 lines. 4 metrical forms used.

Scope and Content Note

[Perhaps separate poems?]
 

Greek Fruit Vendor,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p., 12 lines.
 

Memorandum for an Author's Acknowledgement,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet. Holograph revisions.
 

The Naked Truth,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet.
 

The Rejected Suitor Attends a Wedding,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet. Holograph corrections.
 

The Same Old Song,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p., 12 lines.
 

Vacancy,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet.
 

POEMS, INDIVIDUAL (UNTITLED)

Box 2, Folder 6

I have forgot your face, and come, almost,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet. Holograph revisions.
 

They said she walked with her head in the clouds,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p., 24 lines.
 

What patterns you have wrought with your small hand,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet.
 

Why must you search behind my eyes, as though,

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet.
 

OTHER WRITINGS

Box 2, Folder 7

Certain Theories of Cow,

Physical Description: TS, 4 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Theories of why a gentle cow would accept employment by the Chicago meat men as Official Welcomer to the Abattoir. Humorous essay.
Box 2, Folder 8

The Futile Elders,

Physical Description: TS, 15 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Essay on the rightness of youth and futility of middle age.
Box 2, Folder 9

We're Not Coming Back (An Open Letter to Alumni Organizations.)

Physical Description: TS, 9 pp.

Scope and Content Note

What's wrong with homecoming.
 

OTHER

Box 2, Folder 10

Holograph notes; alliterative titles with names or events in parentheses following. Apparently fragmentary political humor of some sort.

Physical Description: 1 p.
Box 2, Folder 11

Poems by Fred H. Lape.

Physical Description: [Three Poems]. TS, 1 p.
 

1) Autumn Day,

Physical Description: 14 lines.
 

2) Precaution,

Physical Description: 16 lines.
 

3) This Night of Fireflies and Red Haggard Moon,

Physical Description: 8 lines.
 

[Two Poems],

Physical Description: TS, 1 p.
 

1) High Noon, Santa Lucias, California,

Scope and Content Note

sonnet.
 

2) Organ Recital,

Physical Description: 24 lines.