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Chester Page Collection

 Collection 0051-LIT
Pianist and art connoisseur, Chester Page (1929-) was a close confidant to Modernist American author, Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) during the final decade of her life, as well as a friend to several other major literary figures such as Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Bryher (1894-1983), and Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). Barnes and Page shared a mutual friendship with Moore. In the spring of 1970 Page wrote to Barnes to introduce himself and to offer his assistance. He was invited to tea at Barnes's apartment at 5 Patchin Place in New York City on 19 May 1970, and from that moment forward, enjoyed a close friendship with the author until her death. After Barnes's death on 18 June 1982, Page became an invaluable source of information on the reclusive author during her final days. He had managed a closeness which Barnes bestowed on a select few. The Chester Page Collection contains correspondence between Barnes and several friends and literary figures, some ephemera and periodicals with Barnes writing collected by Page. The collection spans the period 1933 to 1992. Correspondence with Louise Crane (1913-1997) dating between 1970 and 1973 constitutes the bulk of the collection.

Dates

  • 1918-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1973

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

1.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Chester Page Collection contains correspondence between Djuna Barnes and several friends and literary figures as well as one newspaper clipping and 17 literary periodicals with published Djuna Barnes writings. The collection spans the period 1933 to 1982. Correspondence with Louise Crane (1913-1997), dating between 1970 and 1973, constitutes the bulk of the collection.

Biography

Pianist and art connoisseur, Chester Page (1929 - ) studied music at the Mannes School in New York City with Hans Neumann and Frank Sheridan and has performed in numerous broadcasts and recital venues including the Mannes School, the New School (also in New York City), and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Page was a close confidant to Modernist American author, Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) during the final decade of her life, as well as a friend to several other major literary figures such as Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Bryher (1894-1983), and Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). Barnes and Page also shared a mutual friendship with Moore. In the spring of 1970, Page wrote to Barnes to introduce himself and to offer his assistance. He was invited to tea at Barnes's apartment at 5 Patchin Place in New York City on May 19, 1970, and from that moment forward, enjoyed a close friendship with the author until her death.

In a reminiscence of their relationship, published in Mary Lynn Broe's edition Silence and Power: A Reevaluation of Djuna Barnes, Page remembers how impressive Barnes was, even toward the end of her life.

Our friendship . . . Became, to our mutual surprise, rather close. Among memorable outings together were a shopping trip to Altman's on Fifth Avenue, where she was an awe-inspiring figure with her cape and cane and regal posture; a nearly disastrous afternoon at an Ingmar Bergman film, two hours of unrelenting gloom, from which we were rescued by having tea at the Palm Court of the Plaza. There a violinist played melodies from the 1920s and 1930s and ladies in cloche hats appeared as if on cue. ‘I never dreamed such things still existed,' said Miss Barnes. (Broe, 363)

When Barnes's vision began to fail due to cataracts, and she was unable to secure a satisfactory prognosis and treatment, Page suggested an eminent eye surgeon, who was able to restore much of her sight. After Barnes's death on June 18, 1982, Page became an invaluable source of information on the reclusive author during her final days. He had managed a closeness which Barnes bestowed on a select few.

To Page, "Djuna Barnes was incomparable. I consider all those afternoons spent with her in her gloomy little apartment, listening to her fabulous wit, or commiserating with her on the state of the world, feeling her affection and concern, one of the great privileges of my life." (Broe, 364)

Arrangement

The collection is divided into four series.
  1. Series 1: Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Ephemera
  3. Series 3: Photographs
  4. Series 4: Literary Periodicals

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Chester Page donated the collection to the University of Maryland Libraries in November 2002 and January 2012.

Related Material

The Papers of Djuna Barnes, of which this collection is a satellite, contain much information on the life and work of Barnes. They include correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, page proofs, and personal records as well as ephemera and clippings collected by Barnes.

In addition to the Papers of Djuna Barnes, the University of Maryland Libraries' literary manuscripts holdings include the Barnes Family Papers, the Papers of Saxon Barnes, the Papers of James Stern, the Papers of Phillip Herring, and the Irwin Cohen Collection. Important correspondence between Djuna Barnes and Emily Coleman (1899-1974) can also be found in the Emily Holmes Coleman Papers at the University of Delaware Library, in Newark, Delaware.

Processing Information

When donated in November 2002, the collection had no particular arrangement. During processing letters were arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and the clipping separated into its own series. Envelopes were retained and appear after their corresponding letter. A clipping duplicated an item in the Papers of Djuna Barnes, but it was nevertheless retained. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and housed in an acid-free box. None of the items contained metal staples or paper clips. The additional items Page donated in 2012 were incorporated into series 2 of the collection, which was renamed "Ephemera." A new series "Photographs" was also created at this time.
Title
Guide to the Chester Page Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Processed and guide completed by Jason Stieber, July 2003.
Date
2003-07-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212