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Printed Matter, 1899-1975 and undated

 Series 7

This series consists of printed material that Porter collected, including art prints; book jackets; business and calling cards; brochures; ballet, music, lecture and theatre programs; reports; monographs; short stories (torn from books); offprints and photocopies from serials; sheet music; and travel-related materials. Some of the materials pertain directly to Porter and her life, but others appear to be items that she collected.

Materials are arranged in fourteen subgroups: Art Prints; Book Jackets; Brochures and Reports; Cards; Monographs; Music; Offprints and Photocopies--About Porter; Offprints and Photocopies- -Other; Posters; E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr.; Programs; Publisher and Mail Order Catalogs; Short Stories; and Travel Brochures and Maps.

Art prints are print reproductions of art works. A few are annotated; most seem to have been purchased at European museums. A large number are the work of Peter Breughel the Elder. There are book jackets for Porter's never-published book The Devil and Cotton Mather and for Ship of Fools.

The Brochures and Reports subsection includes a number of different types of brochures, reports, and other material on a variety of subjects. One folder relates to Porter's participation in the press coverage of the Apollo 17 lunar landing in 1972; Carl Sagan's autographed article, now in the Offprints from Serials section, was originally with those materials. Many programs and other materials from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and National Institute of Arts & Letters are annotated with her opinions of the artistic and personal merits of the individuals nominated for election to the Academy or Institute. Annual reports from the Guggenheim Foundation document her interest in the Foundation; materials from Yaddo include printed descriptions of the colony and the history of Yaddo, along with a guest handbook. Materials from the Congress for Cultural Freedom's Masterpieces of the 20th Century conference in 1952 document some of the international cultural debates taking place at this time.

The cards include an assorted collection of business cards, calling cards, religious cards, and postcards, both signed and unsigned. The business cards are from both American and European businesses; the calling cards are from unknown individuals. Cards of known individuals with written messages are in Series I: Correspondence--Personal.

Monographs are a mix of political and personal materials. Most of the political materials focus on Axis atrocities in World War II and their aftermath in Europe and the political activities of the Catholic church. One item, William Jay Smith's A Rose for Katherine Anne Porter, was written for her and presented as a gift. A copy of Porter's "A Bright Particular Faith," a chapter from her Cotton Mather biography originally published in Hound & Horn in 1934 (Jan.-Mar.), is here in a rebound copy inscribed and presented to her for Christmas in 1955. There is also a collection of cookbooks (none annotated), a history of Agnes Scott College, a collection of photos of the New York City Ballet by George Platt Lynes, and a memorial album to John F. Kennedy.

The Music group consists of one Mexican songbook of revolutionary songs (1929), three pieces by David Diamond, and two pieces of French sheet music. One of Diamond's pieces, "Anniversary in a Country Cemetery," is a musical setting for Porter's poem of that title. There is a photocopy of the manuscript of the work, inscribed by Diamond to Porter, as well as a copy of the piece published in 1942. The two other Diamond pieces are dedicated to Porter, "As Life What is So Sweet?"and "Plus Ne Suis Ce Que J'ai Eté." The latter was presented to her on her eightieth birthday.

Offprints and Photocopies are divided in two groups: About Porter and Other. Articles about Porter are mostly critical and scholarly works taken from journals or collections of criticism; some are annotated. Other articles focus on various literary and political topics.

The Posters group contains an advertisement for a 1962 Glen Tetley ballet, a poster advertisement for Ship of Fools, and a number of posters for the movie version of Ship of Fools, including lobby cards, a German poster, and a very large lobby poster. There is also a group of posters that advertised Porter's lectures on various college and university campuses and from the opening ceremonies for the Katherine Anne Porter Room at the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries.

E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., materials are those that her lawyer and friend gave her or enclosed in letters and cards. The materials were moved from the Prettyman correspondence in Series I: Correspondence--Financial and Legal.

Programs from ballets, lectures, and theatres show Porter's lifelong interest in these art forms; some programs, particularly those for ballet, are annotated with her opinions of the production and the circumstances under which she attended it. The folder of programs from colleges and universities mostly contains programs for Porter's many lectures and readings. A group of programs from adaptations of Porter's works includes materials from the Jan Hus Theatre production of Pale Horse, Pale Rider. There is also a program for the party held for Porter's eightieth birthday. Some programs are not included in this group but are retained under organizations in the Brochures and Reports group. There are also programs from performances Porter saw in Europe in the Travel-Related Materials.

Publisher and Mail Order Catalogs include catalogs for books, musical recordings, groceries, garden plants, and toiletries. There are a few brief annotations in the book catalogs that may indicate the provenance of some of Porter's book collection.

Short Stories were clipped from books. Very few are annotated, but they may relate to Porter's planned short story anthology.

Travel Brochures and Maps include maps, books, postcards, programs, business cards, ship passenger lists, travel brochures, serials about weekly entertainments in Paris, lists of shipboard activities and menus. Many of these items are annotated. A map from France, for instance, shows the route Porter traveled and her comments on it, and a 1929 map of Mexico City has notes relating to the Itching Parrot. One folder (France: Paris, wedding materials, 1933 and undated) contains advertisements and business cards for clothing, restaurants, and cars for hire for her 1933 Paris wedding to Pressly. Programs for musical performances she attended are included with the France and Switzerland materials.

For other items from Porter's travels, on her teaching, schedule of lectures at colleges and universities, and awards received, see Series III: Awards and Professional Activities or Series V: Personal. Her notes and writings on travel and her notes and transcripts from lectures can be found in Series II: Writings. For items she clipped from newspapers and magazines, including book reviews, see Series VI: Clippings. Further information concerning her involvement with the American Academy of Arts and Letters/National Institute of Arts & Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, Mexico, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and writer's conferences may be found in Series I: Correspondence, Subseries 5, Professional Activities, Lectures, Awards, and Interviews.


  • 1899-1975 and undated

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public, non-circulating, and must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.


40.75 Linear Feet

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742