A Guide to the Allen Polite Papers, 1955-1993.

A Guide to the Allen Polite Papers An Inventory

Summary Information

Title
A Guide to the Allen Polite Papers
Creator
Polite, Allen, 1932-1993.
Inclusive Dates
1955-1993.
Extent
11.0 Linear feet
Abstract
Handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, letters, typed transcriptions of poetry, prose and a play for voices, by Allen Polite, writer and artist affiliated with the Black Arts Movement. Published works of Allen Polite's poetry, and transcriptions, produced by his widow Helene Polite can be found throughout.
Call Number
2010.0117
Language
English
Finding Aid Prepared By
Finding aid prepared by Melissa Watterworth. (January 2011)
Repository
University of Connecticut Libraries 405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205 Storrs, Connecticut, 06269-1205 860.486.2524 archives@uconn.edu

Preferred Citation

[Item description, #:#] Allen Polite Papers.  Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center,  University of Connecticut Libraries.

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Access and Use

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Helene Polite in September 2010, with the generous assistance of Samuel and  Ann Charters.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open and available for research.

Preferred Citation

[Item description, #:#] Allen Polite Papers.  Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center,  University of Connecticut Libraries.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts (document genre)
  • Notes
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Sketches
  • Works of Art

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States

Subject(s)

  • African American authors
  • African American poets

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Biography

Writer and artist Allen Polite (1932-1993) was born in  Newark, NJ. He was raised and went to school there until he was drafted into the  United States Army. He served in  Korea and  Japan in 1952 and 1953. Polite settled in Greenwich Village, and between 1954 and 1956, studied philosophy at  Columbia University. After 1958, he worked at the  United Nations headquarters in New York. The writer  LeRoi Jones acknowledged Polite as his 'mentor' in his  Autobiography and first published Polite's poetry in 1958 in the magazine  Yugen. In the early 1960s Polite worked on a novel (never completed) and a long cycle of poetry and prose called "The Dead Seeds," but he refused to publish his work. Polite's writing was included in  Sixes and Sevens, An Anthology of New Poetry (Paul Breman, London, 1962), and  Langston Hughes'  New Negro Poets, U.S.A. published in 1964.  Carlene Hatcher Polite in her first novel  The Flagellants, published initially in  France in 1966, featured the relationship of a young couple that is partially based on her relationship with  Allen Polite.

In 1963 Polite left New York for Paris, London, and Stockholm, where he visited his friend the artist Harvey Cropper. He decided to settle in Stockholm, where he joined an international group of artists which centered on a number of black Americans already resident there. Polite began drawing and painting in addition to his writing, and in 1964 he organized and sponsored the exhibition "10 American Negro Artists Living and Working in Europe" at Den Frie, the largest gallery in Copenhagen. To support himself, Polite took a job as a clerk at  CWZ Grafiska AB, a company that supplied material for the graphic industry, and subsequently gained the position of head buyer for bookbinding material. In Sweden he met  Helene Etzelsdorfer who remained his companion, and later his wife, from 1963 until his death from cancer in 1993. She prepared Allen's work for publication and privately published three volumes including  Poems (1996),  The Rice and Fiol of the Turd Rake (1996), a 'rhapsodic play for three voices', and  Looka Here, Now! (1997), poems from the 1950s.

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Scope and Content

The collection contains handwritten manuscripts by Allen Polite of poetry, prose, aphorisms, dialogues, songs and a play for voices; early writing and student work; notebooks including drafts and notes; transcriptions of poetry by  Helene Polite; published works edited and produced by Helene Polite, and a self-portrait in watercolor.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Box Inventory 1955-1993 

BoxFolder

Family letters and student work, circa 1955-1958 

1:1-3

Manuscripts (uncataloged), undated 

1:4-9

Postcard ( LeRoi Jones) and personal documents, undated, 1958 

1:10

Notebooks and typed transcriptions of the poetic cycle 'The Dead Seeds', and other poems including 'Politics' [Reference: Binder 1A] undated 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], undated

2:11-14

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 1B] undated 

2:15-18

Notebooks (1959, 1964) and draft transcriptions of 'May 66', 'Aug 59', '64 doc', 'Mephisto', and others [Reference: Binder 2A], 1959, 1964 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], 1959, 1964

2:19-20

Notebook (1966) and draft transcriptions of 'May 66', and others [Reference: Binder 2A] 1966 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], 1966

3:21-22

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 2B] undated 

3:23-25

Manuscripts and longer prose texts, including section 'Intimate Letters' and 'Teaball'; and notebooks and draft transcriptions. [Reference: Binder 3A] undated 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], undated

3: 26-29

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 3B], undated 

4: 30-33

Manuscripts and transcriptions [Reference: Binder 4A], undated 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], undated

4: 34-36

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 4B], undated 

4:37-38

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 4B], undated 

5: 39-40

Manuscripts, including 'In the North' and poems from 'The Dead Seeds' and 'Abra - Beuhla - Cadabra (play for voices)'; a notebook, and draft transcriptions. [Reference: Binder 5A], undated 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], undated

5: 41-42

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 5B], undated 

5: 43-45

Manuscripts, including 'The New Poets', 'Tolstoy', and two notebooks (ca. 1963 to 1965), with transcriptions [Reference: Binder 6A], undated 

Poem titles included in this series [link below], undated

6: 46-49

Typed transcriptions [Reference: Binder 6B], undated 

6: 50-54

Materials chosen for 'The Dead Seeds' with copious notations by several different readers (no manuscript materials included). [Reference: Binder 8A], undated 

6: 55-57

Materials chosen for 'The Dead Seeds' with copious notations by several different readers (no manuscript materials included). [Reference: Binder 8A], undated 

7: 58-61

Final draft of 'The Dead Seeds' (poems selected by Helene Polite from various manuscripts and transcriptions). [Reference: Typescript 8B], undated 

7: 62-65
Box

Self portrait in watercolor 

X II.5 no. 7

Transcripts of interviews by and about Allen Polite, typed draft manuscript for "Looka Here, Now!" edited by Helene Polite, books of Allen Polite poems published by Helene Polite, Helene Polite memoir 1964, 1996, 1997, 2010, 2014 

8

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