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Edna Worthley Underwood Papers


The provenance of the papers of Edna Worthley Underwood, an author and translator, is uncertain. According to the information available, the collection came to Kansas State University when the personal belongings of Underwood were sold after her death.

The papers are contained in five document boxes (2.1 linear feet) and span the years 1889-1946. They are divided n six series: 1)Correspondence, 1910-1944; 2) Literary Works, 1927-1938; 3) Individuals, 1918-1939; 4) Scrapbooks, 1905-1940, 5) Notebooks, 1889-1924; and 6) Printed Material, 1895-1946. Photographs have been transferred to the photograph collection of the University Archives.

The bulk of the collection consists of original works by Edna Worthley Underwood that includes poems, prose and short stories. It also contains numerous translations done by Underwood of various authors. The collection also contains three plays by Underwood's husband, Robert Earl Underwood.

The collection is identified as University Archives accession number P 1993.05. The processing of the collection was completed by Deborah Wallis, student intern, in May 1993.

A related manuscript collection of Underwood's is held by Fort Hays State University. A detailed description can be found in Mrs Underwood by Carol Ward Craine.

Biographical Sketch

1873          Born in Phillips, Maine on January 13.

1882          Moved to Arkansas City, Kansas.

1888          Graduated from Arkansas City High School. Gave the valedictory speech.

              Attended Garfield University, Wichita, Kansas for approximately two years.

              Attended University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

[1892]        Graduated from University of Michigan.

              Taught in Arkansas City Schools.

1897          Married Robert Earl Underwood on August 21.

              Moved to Kansas City prior to 1904. Lived in Kansas City until approximately 1910-1912.

1911-1938     Wrote original works of poetry, prose and short stories. Translated various writers' works of
                 poetry and short stories into English. Lived in New York City during most of this time.

1935          Made Corresponding member of the Institute of France.

1938-1939     Moved back to Arkansas City, Kansas.

1944          Robert Earl Underwood died.

1944-1953     Traveled back and forth from Maine, Boston and Arkansas City.

              Briefly lived in Edgetown Manor, Winfield, Kansas, due to illness before returning to live in home.

1961          Died on June 14 in Arkansas City, Kansas.

              Fluent in 6 languages and read several others.

              Actively published from 1911 to 1940.

Scope and Content Note

The Edna Worthley Underwood Papers (1889-1946) covers the period of her most active publishing. Underwood wrote original works of plays, poetry, prose, short stories and news articles. She also translated various author's works into English. She corresponded with many of the authors, often asking for a biographical sketch and a photograph. After 1938, not much is known of her life. She did not publish but traveled in the U.S.

The Underwood Papers are divided into six series: 1) Correspondence, 1910-1944; 2) Literary Works, 1927-1938; 3) Individuals, 1918-1939; 4) Scrapbooks, 1905-1940; 5) Notebooks, 1889-1924; and 6) Printed Material, 1895-1946. The first series, Correspondence (1910-1944), is divided into Personal Correspondence, letters from friends and admirers; Business Correspondence, letters regarding publishing of books and reviews; Postcards; Telegram; Robert Earl Underwood's Correspondence; and a Letterbook, letters and poems used for background information for her book of translation of poets of Haiti. The poets include Madame D. Viard, M. Leon Laleau, Victor Mangones, and Maurice A. Casseus.

Literary Works (1927-1938) is divided into several sub series. Original Works contains works by Underwood; criticism of other authors; news articles on points of interest; notes; poems; prose; play, A Petersburg Night; short stories, "The Shudder of Don Giovanni", "Madame Dorette and Nature", and three untitled. The sub-series: 1) Translations, includes translations of short stories put into the book Flemish Short Stories; 2) plays, The Yellow Tent and Improvisations in June poems; 3) short stories, "The Van Helmers", "The Beggar Minar", "Tramp and Peasant", "Vaudrevil", "If Life is White", "Exile", "A Game of Chess", "Martha Timar", "Father, A Portrait", "The Trick", "Christmas Eve", and "The Wedding". Also included are original works by Aberto Zum Felde, Fernand Knopf, Robert Earl Underwood, and works by unknown authors. The last sub series contains miscellaneous items.

The series Individuals (1918-1939) contains folders on individuals that Underwood corresponded with and whose works she translated. The folders contain correspondence and original works of poetry and prose. The individuals include Max Dickman, Fabio Fiallo, Germaine Lassara-Bouchecourt, Coelho Netto, Luis Felipe Rodriguez, Daniel Thaly, and Cesar Vallejo

The series Scrapbooks (1905-1940) contains three scrapbooks. Scrapbook #1 covers 1905-1939. It contains newspaper clippings, letters and various printed material. Scrapbook #2 covers literature of South America. It contains correspondence and original works of poetry. Individuals included are Julio Herrera, Xavier Abril, Carlos Wyld Ospina, Lartigau Lespada, Juan Borch, and Fernando Torregrosa. Scrapbook #3 contains correspondence and poetry from individual poets included in Underwood's translation of poets from Haiti. The poets include Emile Roumer, Clement Magloire, Maurice Casseus, Carl Brouard, Milo Riguad, Jacques Romain, Justinien Ricot, Jean F. Brierre, and Timothee Paret.

The series Notebooks (1889-1924) contains seven notebooks. They cover the time Underwood attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. These are handwritten notes from lectures. Notebook #5 contains prose written in 1924, thirty years after her graduation from the University.

The last series, Printed Material, contains booklets, "El Pais Lilac", "Revista de Las Indias", "The Hobart Guild", "De Godsdienstige Keinst Van Rubens", "La Poesia Sorprendida", and "Requiem Por Los Muertos De Europa"; translations: newspaper clippings: and miscellaneous.

Twelve photographs were removed and filed in the University Archives photograph collection under the heading of Underwood. The photographs include Maurice Andre Casseus, Concepcion Monterrosa, Cesar Vallejo (2), Xavier Abril de Viver, Jorge Luis Borges, Germaine Lassara-Bouchecourt, Coelho Netto, Helery, Balleitein de Martin, and unknown.

Container List

Box Folder

1     01       Personal, 1923-1936
      02       Personal, ND
      03       Business, 1910-1940
      04       Business, ND
      05       Postcards, 1936, 1930, [1939], ND
      06       Telegram, 1944
      07       Robert Earl Underwood, 1931
      08       Letterbook, 1933-1936
      09       Letterbook, 1933-1936
      10       Letterbook, 1933-1936

            Literary Works
               Original Works
      11          Criticism, ND
      12          News Articles, 1932, ND
      13          News Articles, 1932, ND
      14          Notes, ND
      15          Poems, ND
      16          Prose, ND
      17          Play, A Petersburg Night, ND
      18          Short Story, "The Shudder of Don Giovanni", ND
      19          Short Story, ND
      20          Short Story, ND
      21          Short Story, ND
      22          Short Story, "Madame Dorette and Nature", ND
      23          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
      24          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
      25          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
      26          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
      27          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
      28          Book, Flemish Short Stories, [1934]
2     01          Play, The Yellow Tent, ND
      02          Play, Improvisations in June, ND
      03          Play, Improvisations in June, ND
      04          Play, Improvisations in June, ND
      05          Poems, ND
      06          Poems, ND
      07          Short Story, ND
      08          Short Story, ND
      09          Short Story, ND
      10          Aboard Zum Felde. ND
      11          Fernand Knopf, ND
      12          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      13          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      14          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      15          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      16          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      17          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      18          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      19          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      20          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      21          Robert Earl Underwood, ND
      22          Robert Earl Underwood, The White Mask, 1927
      23          Robert Earl Underwood, The White Mask, 1927
      24          Robert Earl Underwood, The White Mask, 1927
      25          Robert Earl Underwood, The White Mask, 1927
3     01          Robert Earl Underwood, Every Dog Has His Day, 1938
      02          Robert Earl Underwood, Every Dog Has His Day, 1938
      03          Robert Earl Underwood, Every Dog Has His Day, 1938
      04          Robert Earl Underwood, Every Dog Has His Day, 1938
      05          Unknown Author, ND
      06          Unknown Author, ND
      07          Unknown Author, ND
      08          Unknown Author, ND
      09          Unknown Author, ND
      10          Miscellaneous, ND

      11       Max Dickman, 1934-1935
      12       Max Dickman, 1934-1935
      13       Max Dickman, 1934-1935
      14       Fabio Fiallo, 1934-1936
      15       Fabio Fiallo, 1934-1936
      16       Germaine Lassara-Bouchecourt, 1926-1937
      17       Coelho Netto, 1931
      18       Coelho Netto, 1931
      19       Luis Felipe Rodriguez, 1938
      20       Daniel Thaly, 1925-1939
      21       Daniel Thaly, 1925-1939
      22       Daniel Thaly, 1925-1939
      23       Cesar Vallejo, 1918-1938
      24       Cesar Vallejo, 1918-1938
      25       Cesar Vallejo, 1918-1938

4     01       #1, 1905-1939
      02       #1, 1905-1939
      03       #1, 1905-1939
      04       #1, 1905-1939
      05       #2, 1930-1940
      06       #2, 1930-1940
      07       #2, 1930-1940
      08       #3, 1909-1935
      09       #3, 1909-1935
      10       #3, 1909-1935

      11       #1, 1889
      12       #2, ND
5     01       #3, ND
      02       #4, ND
      03       #5, 1924, ND
      04       #6, ND
      05       #7, ND

            Printed Material
      06       Booklet, May 1939
      07       Booklet, January 1938
      08       Booklets, 1889, 1928, 1946
      09       Translations, February 1946
      10       Newspaper Clippings, 1895, 1921, 1929, 1933, ND
      11       Miscellaneous, 1928, ND