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Gene Baro Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS Group 231

Scope and Content

Primarily correspondence to Gene Baro from a wide assortment of friends and literary and artistic colleagues, some of his own letters, manuscript and published writings, and personal documents, including a few photographs, throughout Baro's adult lifetime, although bulk is from 1950 to 1965.

Most of the correspondence is from the period when Baro was at the University of Florida and Bennington College and may be regarded as primarily personal correspondence from friends, "professional" literary correspondence from publishers, editors, or other writers, and correspondence from literary figures, with whom he developed friendships, which may have overlapped with professional connections. A significant amount of correspondence concerns his activities as curator of UF's Creative Writing Collection.

Notable among the correspondents are Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings whose 55 letters constitute an important complement to the University of Florida's large collection of her correspondence. The largest number of letters is from the artist Albert Eugene Stadler, who was Baro's friend from childhood and heir upon his death. Letters from writer Clyde Miller, who lived with Baro at Cross Creek for several years, and UF professor William Carleton, represent two of his most important contacts from the University of Florida. A significant number of third-party letters to Miller are in the Baro Papers. The most prolific professional contact is New York Herald-Tribune Book Review editor Irita Van Doren. Correspondence with almost all literary figures seems to have dropped off by the mid-sixties. The smaller quantity of letters from the last twenty years of his life relates to his art endeavors and is less varied.

Principal correspondents include Robert O. Bowen (about 50 pieces), poet John Malcolm Brinnin (36 items), Princess Marguerite Caetani (38 items), William G. "Bill" Carleton (16 items), anthropological film maker Maya Deren (27 items), a young British friend, Dallas Edmonds (45 items), UF friend Stanley Fouraker (17 items), novelist Marianne Hauser (12 items), Colin Haycoft (12 items), John Clellon Holmes (15 items), Don. R. Howard (12 items), bookseller and publisher George Kirgo (10 items), landlord and friends, Mildred and Robert D. Leigh (about 40 items), Allan Lewis (10 items), David Loovis (14 items ), British journalist Roger Machell (28 items), Wallace Meyer (15 items), Clyde Miller (62 items), poet and editor Howard Moss (24 items), UF English professor Ants Oras (15 items), poet Bob Pack (16 items), Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (55 letters) and her husband Norton Baskin (32 letters), poet and Stand editor Jon Silkin (10 items), Albert Eugene Stadler (150 items), John and Ruth Stephan (32 items), British bookseller David Watmough (30 pieces), poet and editor John Hall Wheelock, (28 items), and novelist Marguerite Young (28 items).

Notable literary names in the correspondence, but in lesser quantities include Robert Bly, Paul Bowles, Kay Boyle, Truman Capote, James T. Farrell, Randall Jarrell, James Jones, Henry Miller, Marianne Moore Howard Nemerov, William Styron, May Swenson, and Dylan Thomas. Several of these letters regard contributions to the Creative Writing Collection.

There are also large segments of correspondence from various publishers or publications, often signed by well known figures, including American Scholar (21 items, mostly signed by Hiram Hayden), Atlantic Monthly (13 letters), Chtto and Windus (6 items, by C. Day Lewis), Harper's Bazaar (12 letters), Alfred A. Knopf, inc. (13 letters), the Nation (24 letters), New American Library (23 items, principally by Arabel J. Porter), New York Herald Tribune Book Review (about 130 items, mostly by Irita Van Doren), New Yorker (17 letters, mostly by Howard Moss), Poetry (about 40 pieces from Karl Shapiro and Henry Rago), Scribner's (20 items), University of Florida Libraries (45 letters, most by Stanley West, Director).

The manuscript portion of the papers is less rich, but does include a typed manuscript of "Northwind," and of an unpublished collection, "Looking for Winter," as well as several manuscripts of individual poems and short stories.

A detailed calendar has been prepared for some of the correspondence from Baro's closest friends, Albert Stadler and Clyde Miller, and individuals which have a special significance to the UF Libraries and its manuscript collections. These include Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband Norton S. Baskin, and some of the individuals who were among their friends; important figures in the history of the University, such as William Carleton; and the Florida writers, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, also a friend of Rawlings, and Lillian Smith.

Dates

  • 1945-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1965

Creator

Access

The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born Eugene Baroff, in 1924 in New York City, to Benjamin and Zissell Baroff. Graduated with a B.A. from the University of Florida (1947), he remained at the University for approximately ten years as a graduate student, instructor, and curator of the University Library's Creative Writing Collection. During this period, he became close friends with the novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and lived in her home at Cross Creek from 1952 until he left Florida. He began calling himself Gene Baro about 1950. He taught English at Bennington College from 1958-1963. From about 1950, Baro was an active literary figure, publishing short stories and especially poetry in numerous journals, as diverse as Botteghe Oscure and The New Yorker. He was a regular book reviewer for the Book Review of the New York Herald-Tribune from 1951-1961 and edited two literary anthologies. His major poetry collection was published as "Northwind" in the anthology-series Poetry Today VI (1959).

In 1963 he removed from Bennington for several years to England, where he was a lecturer for the United States Information Agency, a broadcaster for the British Broadcasting Corporation, and a correspondent for several publications. By the time he returned to the United States in 1969 or 1970, he seems largely to have abandoned literary endeavors and spent most of the remainder of his life in the art world as a writer, educator, and museum and exhibition curator. He was especially noted for his work in arranging major museum exhibitions. Positions included curator of the Corcoran Gallery, consultantships with the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, and teaching at Williams College. He died of cancer, November 15, 1982, in Old Bennington, Vermont. (Partially based on John Russell, "Gene Baro, 58, Organizer of Art Exhibitions," New York Times, November 16, 1982, D25.)

Extent

6.5 Linear feet (16 Boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Correspondence, writings and other papers created or accumulated by author and museum curator, Gene Baro. Includes correspondence with and about his friend, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

Arrangement

Boxes 1-3: Calendared Correspondence. Boxes 4-10: General Correspondence (Personal), A - Y. Boxes:11-13: General Correspondence (Business), A - Y. Boxes 14-15: Writings (Manuscripts and printed). Box 16: Documents.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

There are several related collections held by the UF Smathers Libraries. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Papers contain Baro's letters to Rawlings. The Robert O. Bowen Papers contain Baro's letters to Bowen, as well as carbon copies of Bowen's correspondence to Baro. The Jon Silkin Papers have materials pertaining to Baro because Baro was U.S.A. editor for Silkin's Stand magazine. Also see the Lillian Smith Papers.

Correspondence regarding Baro's work with the University of Florida Libraries is found in the records of the University Florida Libraries, Office of the Director, University of Florida Archives. The William G. Carleton Papers, University of Florida Archives, contain limited correspondence from Baro to Carleton.

The Bowen, Silkin, and Smith Papers, and most of the Creative Writing Collections were acquired for the University by Baro.

Creator

Title
A Guide to the Gene Baro Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Frank Orser
Date
October 2007
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

Contact:
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America
352-273-2755