The Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant papers house the personal papers and Robert Frost collection of Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, writer, sister of Katherine Sergeant White, and Bryn Mawr class of 1903. The collection, which ranges from 1949 to 1964, contains correspondence, Sergeant’s writings, photographs, and materials pertaining to Robert Frost.
The collection is organized into two series: “Series I: Correspondence” and “Series II: Other Papers.”
“Series I: Correspondence” consists of correspondence about Sergeant's book, Willa Cather: A Memoir, which she published in 1953. The correspondence, which includes carbons of Sergeant's outgoing letters, is to Sergeant's publishers; friends of Cather, including Edith Lewis and Carrie Miner Sherwood; and scholars, including Cather biographer E. K. Brown. There are also a few letters about Sergeant's biography of Robert Frost, which she published in 1960 (Robert Frost: The Trial by Existence).
“Series II: Other Papers” is organized into four subseries: “Writings by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant,” “Writings by Others,” “Photographs,” and “Other Material”. “Writings by Sergeant” includes notes, drafts, proofs, and other materials for Willa Cather: A Memoir, as well as notes and a few proofs for Robert Frost: The Trial by Existence. “Writings by Others” contains a book report on Sergeant's memoir of Cather by a young relative of Sergeant and a chronology of Cather's life written by an unidentified author. “Photographs” mainly consists of prints of Robert Frost, and people and places related to Frost. The majority are proofs or copy prints, some used by Sergeant in her biography of Frost, others collected by her but not used in the book. There are a few original prints as well. For the copy prints, when the location of the original photograph was known, this information has been given as a note under the folder title. The remainder of the subseries contains an original studio portrait of Willa Cather; original prints of people and places related to Cather; and three original prints of Sergeant. “Other Material” contains a transcript of a 1929 letter from Cather to Sergeant, a transcript of Cather's will, copies of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Newsletter, and brochures and programs that Sergeant collected about Robert Frost.
This collections captures a small, but interesting, sliver of Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant's long and full life. Correspondence and notes for Sergeant’s book Willa Cather: A Memoir provide a strong testimony to the intimate friendship held between Sergeant and author Willa Cather. The materials related to Robert Frost and Sergeant’s book on Frost highlight Sergeant’s skills as a writer. The collection as a whole captures Sergeant’s writing process, from note-taking to manuscript. It would be of value to those interested in Willa Cather, Robert Frost, or Elizabeth Sergeant.
Copyright and Rights Information
The Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.