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Anthony Hecht papers

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 926

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the literary and personal papers of Anthony Hecht from 1894-2005. The papers include correspondence (1895-2005); drafts of poetry and prose writings (1951-2004); writings by other authors that is primarily undated; personal files (189402005); adademic files (1945-2000); printed material (1941-2005); subject files (1951-2005); a small group of audio-visual materials (1964-2004); photographs (circa 1880s-2002); scrapbooks (1951-1998); artwork (circa 1960-1996); and unprocessed additions. The colletion documents the development of Hecht's writing career as well as his lengthy teaching career. In addition materials document Hecht's professional efforts in literary organizations and his interest in the arts.


  • 1894-2005

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Subseries 1.1, Family Correspondence and Subseries 1.2, General Correspondence, contains some correspondence that is closed to researchers.

Some personal files in the Series 4 are also closed to researchers.

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: writings by Ted Hughes (letters and literary works) may not be reproduced without the written permission of Carol Hughes.

Biographical Note

Anthony Hecht, son of Melvyn Hahlo Hecht and Dorothea Holzman Hecht, was born on January 16, 1923. He was educated at various schools in New York City before attending Bard College, where he discovered such writers as Stevens, Auden and Eliot and decided to become a poet. His parents were not pleased about his choice of careers and enlisted family friend Ted Giesel (Dr. Seuss) to advise against this course. Hecht completed work for his BA degree at Bard College in 1944 and for his MA at Columbia in 1950. He married Patricia Harris in 1954, and they had two sons, Jason and Adam. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1961, and Hecht remarried in 1971. He and his second wife, Helen D'Alessandro, had one son, Evan Alexander.

At the beginning of World War II, when Hecht had finished three years at Bard College, he was drafted into the 97th Infantry Division of the United States Army. His division was shipped to Europe and he served in France, Czechoslovakia and Germany, where his division was the first to discover the concentration camp at Flossenburg. These war-time experiences had a lasting impact on his life and writing.

In 1946 after leaving Germany and serving a little time in Japan, Hecht was discharged from the Army and went to Kenyon College for a year of study followed by a short teaching assignment in Iowa. Post-traumatic stress relating to his war service resulted in his return to New York and ultimately to New York University where he studied with Allen Tate.

Hecht's career was concentrated in the areas of teaching and writing. He had a long and illustrious teaching career beginning at Kenyon College in 1947 and at New York University in 1948. He also served on the faculties at Bard College (1952-1967), the University of Rochester (1967-1985), Georgetown University (1985-1993). In addition he held distinguished visiting professorships at such institutions as Harvard (1973) and Yale (1977). During these years he was also publishing volumes of his poetry, beginning with A Summoning of Stones in 1954. This was followed in 1967 by The Hard Hours, which broadened his recognition as a poet. Hecht's writing career included the publication of additional volumes of poetry, critical essays, lectures, and translations as well as numerous book reviews, articles, and poems in popular and literary sources.

The recognition and honors Anthony Hecht received during his lifetime were numerous and prestigious. Among these honors were his appointment as poetry consultant at the Library of Congress (1982-1984); literary prizes, including the Prix de Rome (1951), the Pulitzer Prize (1968), and the Bollingen Prize (1983); and fellowships , including two Guggenheim fellowships (1954, 1959), Ford Foundation fellowship (1960), Rockefeller Foundation fellowship (1967) and two Boliasco Foundation fellowships (1979, 1999). Helen Hecht accepted a posthumously awarded National Medal of Arts in November of 2004. Anthony Hecht died October 20, 2004.


96.5 linear feet (187 boxes); 3 oversized papers boxes and 3 oversized papers folders (OP); 7 bound volumes (BV); 4 oversized bound volumes (OBV); 1 extra oversized paper (XOP); AV Masters: 1 linear foot (2 boxes)


Papers of American poet Anthony Hecht, including correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts of writings, personal files, academic files, printed material, subject files, a small group of audiovisual materials, photographs, scrapbooks, and artwork.

Organization Note

Organized into twelve series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Writings by Hecht, (3) Writings by others, (4) Personal files, (5) Academic material, (6) Printed material, (7) Subject files, and (8) Photographs, (9) Audiovisual material, (10) Scrapbooks, (11) Artwork, and (12) Unprocessed additions.


Purchase, 2002.


Control level 3


File name: hecht926.doc


Processed by Kerry Higgins Wendt, Steven Schessler, Erin Sells, and Pat Clark, May 2007.

Control level 3

File name: hecht926.doc

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Anthony Hecht papers, circa 1894 -2005
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
December 18, 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • November 24, 2014: Restricted container lists in Series 1.1 and 1.2 identified in finding aid. Restricted container list in Series 4 redacted in finding aid.
  • January 19, 2016: Lifted restrictions on Seamus Heaney correspondence.

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States