Merrill Moore and Louise Davis Collection

Identifier: MSS.0302

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Merrill Moore and Louise Davis Collection, 1943-1956, includes an Autobiographical sketch of Merrill Moore, correspondence, poetry, bibliography and articles, publication materials, articles about Merrill Moore, and personal and biographical materials. The collection is small, only 1/3 of a cubic foot. The majority of this collection is focused on the person of Merrill Moore, both as a doctor and a poet.


  • 1943 - 1956


Language of Materials


Biographical Note - Merrill Moore (1903-1957)

Austin Merrill Moore was born on September 11, 1903, in Columbia, Tenn. His father, John Trot­wood Moore, was a writer, editor, and state librarian of Tennes­see; his mother, Mary Brown Daniel Moore, was a music teach­er who succeeded her husband as state librarian upon his death in 1929. The family moved to Nashville in 1907, where the father began editing the Taylor-Trotwood Magazine. Moore attended Montgomery Bell Academy, a private preparatory school in Nash­ville, and in 1920 entered Vanderbilt University. He joined the Fugitive group in 1922, while still an undergraduate and contrib­uted prolifically to its magazine during its four years of publication. He spent the summer of 1923 in Germany, and in 1924, upo graduation from the college, he entered Vanderbilt Medical School, completing his M.D. in 1928. After a year's internship in Nashville, he was appointed in 1929 as neurological house officer at the Boston City Hospital. He lived most of the rest of his life in Boston, except for a period of military service during World War II. He studied psychiatry with Dr. William Herman (1931) and Dr. Hanns Sach (1934-1938). He was awarded a Common­ wealth Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and in 1950 began teaching there. He also maintained a private psychiat­ric practice in Boston (Edwin Arlingtmi Robinson was among his patients). Moore died in Boston on September 20, 1957. Moore successfully combined a professional career as a psychiatrist with an energetic amateur career as a poet. At the Fugitive meetings, Moore often produced a sheaf of poems when other poets were·laboring to perfect a single poem; he said he found it easier to write a new poem than to revise an old one. He kept up his sonneteering habit all his life, writing more than 50,000 altogether. His sonnets are outwardly conventional, all in fourteen lines, but otherwise quite unconventional, since he preferred a loose free verse to traditional rhyming patterns. Moore's sonnets are always frank and refreshing, and if few of them are more than momentarily arresting, of these few it can be said, in his friend Allen Tate's words, "They have, at their best, a fluency, an ease, and a subtlety of statement which gives them a definite place in contemporary poetry." WORKS: The Noise That Time Makes, foreword by John Crowe Ransom (1929). It ls a Good Deal Later Than You Think (1934). Six Sides to a Man (1935). Poems from the Fugitive, 1922-26 (1936). Sonnets from the Fugitive, 1922-26 (1937). 15 Poems from the Fugitive, 1922-26, and One Additional Poem: Ego (1938). Sonnets from New Directions, preface by William Carlos Williams {1938). M: One Thousand Autobiographical Sonnets (1938). The Fugitive: Clippings and Comment about the Maga­ zine and the Members of the Group that Published It (1939). Clinical Sonnets (1949). Illegitimate Sonnets (1950). Case Record from a Son­netorium (1951). More Clinical Sonnets (1953). Homo Sonetticus Mooren­sis, twelve sonnets by Moore with Italian trans. Alexander Bode (1955). Poems of Americcm Life, intro. Louis Untermeyer (1958). The Dance of Death (1959).

Biographical Note - Louise Davis

Louise Littleton Davis was a writer for The Tennessean newspaper.


.42 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger box)

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Louise Littleton Davis of The Tennessean newspaper.

Finding Aid for the Merrill Moore and Louise Davis Collection
Hosanna Banks
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

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