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Collection Number: 04408

Collection Title: Contempo Records, 1930-1934

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 720 items)
Abstract "Contempo" was a journal of literature and social commentary published by Milton Abernethy and Anthony Buttitta in Chapel Hill, N.C., from 1931 to 1934. The collection includes incoming correspondence, typescripts of literary works, clippings of articles, and photographs pertaining to "Contempo." Among the correspondents are Conrad Aiken (one letter, one poem), Sherwood Anderson (four letters), Kay Boyle (three letters, one long poem), James Branch Cabell (one letter), Erskine Caldwell (one letter, one short story), Hart Crane (two letters, one poem), e. e. cummings (one letter), Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) (one long poem), T.S. Eliot (one letter), William Faulkner (two letters, one note), Langston Hughes (3 letters); H.L. Mencken (three letters), Eugene O'Neill (one letter), Ezra Pound (twelve letters, one clipping), Upton Sinclair (ten letters), Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (two letters), Wallace Stevens (two letters), and William Carlos Williams (seven letters, one article).
Creator Contempo.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Contempo Records #4408, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the Gotham Book Mart, New York, New York, in April 1985.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Milton Abernethy, Anthony Buttitta, and three other young men began publishing Contempo in Chapel Hill early in 1931, describing it in their first issue as a review of "ideas and personalities of some significance that demand immediate comment." Combining literature and a progressive political slant (while avoiding the championship of "any particular group or definite order"), Contempo featured poetry, fiction, and literary and social criticism by a variety of writers, including Kay Boyle, Erskine Caldwell, William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.

In mid 1933, Buttitta and Abernethy, Contempo's remaining editors, quarreled and parted ways. Abernethy and his wife Mina continued to edit Contempo until February, 1934, when it ceased publication, apparently for lack of funds.

See "A History and Index of Contempo," by Judith Hay, master's thesis, University of Louisville, 1971. The North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, holds a copy of this thesis as well as a complete run of Contempo

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists chiefly of letters from contributors or potential contributors to Contempo, and typescripts of their poetry, fiction, and articles. There is also correspondence of a more routine nature, with booksellers and publishers, and a few clippings, photocopies of articles, and photographs.

[The Contempo Collection in The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas, Austin, houses "a substantial portion of the correspondence files from the two main editors..and a large and miscellaneous assortment of materials connected with printing the magazine and running the bookstore where Contempo was headquartered - contributors'manuscripts, galley proofs, page proofs, and various bookkeeping records from The Intimate Bookshop," according to the Library Chronicle of The University of Texas at Austin, New Series No. 27.]

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933.

About 550 items.

Arrangement: Alphabetical by contributor.

Chiefly letters from authors who had been invited to submit work to Contempo, and, in some cases, writings by them. While many of the letters are rather brief, others are longer and reveal much about correspondents such as Kay Boyle and James T. Farrell. This series is particularly notable for material from Ezra Pound, Upton Sinclair, and William Carlos Williams.

Folder 1

Louis Adamic (30 letters, 4 clippings) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 1

Folder 2

Conrad Aiken (1 letter, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 2

Folder 3

Sherwood Anderson (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 3

Folder 4

Mary Austin (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 4

Folder 5

A: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (5 letters, 2 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 5

Folder 6

H.E. Bates (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 6

Folder 7

Sylvia Beach (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 7

Folder 8

John Peale Bishop (2 letters, 2 pages of poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 8

Folder 9

Kay Boyle (3 letters, 1 long poem, 2 book reviews) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 9

Folder 10

George Britt (2 letters, 1 book review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 10

Folder 11

Louis Bromfield (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 11

Folder 12

Bob Brown (9 letters, 1 clipping, 2 articles, 16 address lists) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 12

Folder 13

Sterling A. Brown (2 letters, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 13

Folder 14

Witter Bynner (2 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 14

Folder 15

B: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (16 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 15

Folder 16

James Branch Cabell (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 16

Folder 17

Erskine Caldwell (3 letters, 1 short story --"Picking Cotton") #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 17

Folder 18

Bennett Cerf (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 18

Folder 19

Grace Stone Coates (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 19

Folder 20

Jack Conroy (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 20

Folder 21

Malcolm Cowley (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 21

Folder 22

Hart Crane (2 letters, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 22

Folder 23

Countee Cullen (1 letter, 1 blank postcard) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 23

Folder 24

e.e. cummings (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 24

Folder 25

Nancy Cunard (2 letters, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 25

Folder 26

C: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (17 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 26

Folder 27

Edward Dahlberg (2 letters, 1 review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 27

Folder 28

Jonathan Daniels (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 28

Folder 29

Donald Davidson (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 29

Folder 30

Benjamin DeCasseres (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 30

Folder 31

Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) (1 long poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 31

Folder 32

Theodore Dreiser (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 32

Folder 33

D: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (9 letters, 1 review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 33

Folder 34

Max Eastman (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 34

Folder 35

T.S. Eliot (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 35

Folder 36

Havelock Ellis (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 36

Folder 37

E: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (1 letter, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 37

Folder 38

Clifton Fadiman (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 38

Folder 39

James T. Farrell, (12 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 39

Folder 40

William Faulkner (2 letters, 1 note) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 40

Folder 41

Waldo Frank (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 41

Folder 42

F: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (12 letters, 2 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 42

Folder 43

John Galsworthy (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 43

Folder 44

Mike Gold (2 letters, 1 article, 1 pamphlet) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 44

Folder 45

G: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (16 letters, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 45

Folder 46

James D. Hart (7 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 46

Folder 47

Langston Hughes (3 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 47

Folder 48

Aldous Huxley (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 48

Folder 49

H: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (30 letters, 1 clipping, 1 article) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 49

Folder 50

Robinson and Una Jeffers (2 letters by Una about her work and RJ's) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 50

Folder 51

I-J: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (8 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 51

Folder 52

William S. Knickerbocker (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 52

Folder 53

K: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (9 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 53

Folder 54

Sinclair Lewis (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 54

Folder 55

Walter Lowenfels (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 55

Folder 56

L: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (8 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 56

Folder 57

Robert McAlmon (1 letter, 3 short stories) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 57

Folder 58

Archibald MacLeish (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 58

Folder 59

Edwin Markham (2 letters, 1 poem, 1 pamphlet) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 59

Folder 60

W. Somerset Maugham (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 60

Folder 61

H.L. Mencken (3 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 61

Folder 62

Virginia Moore (3 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 62

Folder 63

Lewis Mumford (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 63

Folder 64

Gorham B. Munson (17 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 64

Folder 65

John Middleton Murry (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 65

Folder 66

M: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (10 letters, 1 short story) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 66

Folder 67

Ogden Nash (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 67

Folder 68

Eugene O'Neill (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 68

Folder 69

N-O: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (6 letters, 2 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 69

Folder 70

Julia Peterkin (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 70

Folder 71

Ezra Pound (12 letters, 1 clipping) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 71

Folder 72

P: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (2 letters, 1 short story, 1 review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 72

Folder 73

Carl Rakosi; Will Ransom (3 letters, 1 poem, 1 review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 73

Folder 74

Ben Reitman (14 letters, 1 clipping) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 74

Folder 75

Hector Rella (3 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 75

Folder 76

Kenneth Rexroth (1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 76

Folder 77

Charles Reznikoff (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 77

Folder 78

Dorothy Richardson; Lynn Riggs (2 letters, 1article, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 78

Folder 79

Selma Robinson; William J. Robinson (6 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 79

Folder 80

Edouart Roditi; Edwin Rolfe; E. Merrill Root (2 letters, 4 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 80

Folder 81

Paul Rosenfeld (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 81

Folder 82

Harry Roskolenkier; Arthur Leonard Ross; Samuel Roth; Dagobert Runes (7 letters, 1 article) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 82

Folder 83

Bertrand Russell (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 83

Folder 84

Carl Sandburg (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 84

Folder 85

William Saroyan (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 85

Folder 86

Evelyn Scott (1 letter, 1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 86

Folder 87

Upton Sinclair (10 letters, 1 set of galley proofs) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 87

Folder 88

Lincoln Steffens (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 88

Folder 89

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (2 letters, 1 canceled check) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 89

Folder 90

Wallace Stevens (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 90

Folder 91

S: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts 14 letters, 1 review) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 91

Folder 92

Genevieve Taggard (2 letters, 1 galley proof) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 92

Folder 93

Norman Thomas (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 93

Folder 94

T: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (5 letters, 3 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 94

Folder 95

Carl Van Doren (2 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 95

Folder 96

Mark Van Doren (1 poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 96

Folder 97

Hendrik Willem van Loon (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 97

Folder 98

George Sylvester Viereck (4 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 98

Folder 99

Nathanael West (1 poem, 1 article) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 99

Folder 100

William Carlos Williams (7 letters, 1 article "A Primer of Present-Day Poetic Practice",1 printed poem) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 100

Folder 101

Edmund Wilson (1 letter) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 101

Folder 102

V-Y: Miscellaneous Correspondence and Typescripts (5 letters, 2 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 102

Folder 103

Leane Zugsmith (7 letters) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 103

Folder 104

Louis Zukofsky (3 letters, 5 poems) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 104

Folder 105

Unidentified Correspondence - Signatures Illegible (7 letters, 2 address lists) #04408, Series: "1. Material from Contributors, 1931-1933." Folder 105

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Business Correspondence, 1931-1934.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers, 1930-1933.

About 75 items.

Photocopies of two articles by Abernethy; newspaper clippings and clippings from Contempo; and the envelopes in which much of the correspondence in Series 1 and 2 arrived.

Folder 114

Articles and Clippings #04408, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1930-1933." Folder 114

Folder 115

Envelopes #04408, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1930-1933." Folder 115

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures, 1931-1933.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Laura K. O'Keefe, May 1985

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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