Allen Tate Papers Correspondence and Manuscripts Collection

Identifier: MSS.0431

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content Note

This small collection (.21 linear feet) includes personal correspondence between Allen Tate and family members Benjamin E. Tate, Sr., Benjamin E. Tate, Jr. (Chuck), and Louise Fleishman Tate. There are also letters to J. Edgar Simmons and others, and incoming letters from Mark Van Doren, William S. Knickerbocker, and others making a total of 39 letters. The collection also includes the Chronology and Resume of Allen Tate, typescripts of two poems and several articles by Tate.


  • 1923-1974


Language of Materials


Biographical Note

John Orley Allen Tate was born near Winchester, Kentucky November 19, 1899. He graduated from Vanderbilt University Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1922. During this time at Vanderbilt he became one of the Fugitive poets who published their magazine The Fugitive during the years 1922-1925. Later he contributed an essay to the Agrarian manifesto I’ll Take My Stand (1930) and in 1936 he was co-editor with Herbert Agar of Who Owns America? He published poetry throughout his long career and was an accomplished man of letters writing one novel The Fathers (1938), criticism, and biographies.Tate was also the editor at The Sewanee Review from 1944-46. He received many awards for his poetry including the Bollingen Prize in 1956 and held the Chair of Poetry at the Library of Congress in 1943-44.

Allen Tate was also a teacher with appointments at among others the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina, Princeton, New York University, and the University of Minnesota where he taught from 1951 until his retirement in 1968.

He was married twice to the writer Caroline Gordon from 1924 to 1959. They had a daughter Nancy born in 1924. After his divorce from Caroline Gordon in 1959 he married poet Isabella Gardner. And after his divorce from Gardner in 1966 he married his former student at Minnesota Helen Heinz. They had three sons, one of whom died in an accident in infancy.

Tate lived in many places including England and France (on a Guggenheim Fellowship), New York, Minnesota, Sewanee, and at his farm Benfolly near Clarksville, Tennessee. He had lifelong friendships with writers Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson, Andrew Lytle, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, John Peale Bishop.

Allen Tate died in Nashville, Tennessee in February 1979. His papers are at the Firestone Library at Princeton University.


.21 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Allen Tate Papers Correspondence and Manuscripts Collection
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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