Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections



Richmond Lattimore Papers (c. 1924-1984)

Part I: Description

Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Collection Number: M 48

Copyright 2005 by Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Last Updated: January 30, 2018

portrait photograph of Richmond Lattimore
Richmond Lattimore. Photograph by Bern Schwartz, 1978.





Total Boxes: 10
Linear Feet: 6.1

Administrative Information


Gifts of Richmond Lattimore and Alice Lattimore. Individual gifts of outgoing correspondence are noted.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Richmond Lattimore Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Cite as:

Richmond Lattimore Papers, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.


Richmond Lattimore (1906-1984)


Richmond Lattimore was born in 1906 in Paotingfu, China, to David and Margaret Barnes Lattimore. He received his A.B. in 1926 from Dartmouth College, where he often contributed his early poetry to the various college publications. He obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1928 and 1935 from the University of Illinois. He was a Rhodes Scholar (1929-1932) and a Fulbright Lecturer at Oxford, from which institution he received an A.B. in 1932 and an M.A. in 1964. Lattimore was also a fellow at the American Academy at Rome and it was there that he met and married Alice Bockstahler, with whom he had two sons, Steven and Alexander. In 1935 he was appointed to teach Greek at Bryn Mawr College, where he later held the Paul Shorey Chair in Greek until his retirement in 1971. While at Bryn Mawr, Lattimore frequently celebrated the college in verse, whether at faculty dinners, inaugurations, convocations, or in his personal poems. During World War II he became a lieutenant in the Navy and worked as a cryptanalyst.

His published volumes of original and translated poetry include Hanover Poems (with Alexander Laing), Poems, Sestina for a Far-Off Summer, The Stride of Time, Poems from Three Decades, and Continuing Conclusions. Critical works include Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs, The Poetry of Greek Tragedy and Story Patterns in Greek Tragedy. Translations from the Greek include The Iliad of Homer; The Odyssey of Homer, The Odes of Pindar, Greek Lyrics, The Works and Days, Theogony, and Shield of Herakles; The Oresteia, Iphigeneia at Tauris, The Four Gospels and the Revelation, and Acts and Letters of the Apostles. In addition, Lattimore authored many essays, lectures, and articles and collaborated with other scholars on books such as The Complete Greek Tragedies. Lattimore's translations of Homer and his original poetry also inspired the artworks of Leonard Baskin and Fritz Janschka.

As a translator and a scholar of Greek, as well as an original poet himself, Lattimore held memberships in the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Philological Society, and the Archaeological Institute of America. His honors and awards include the Rhodes Scholarship, Rockefeller Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship, American Council of Learned Societies Award, and Bollingen Translation Award. Richmond Lattimore was awarded the Academy of American Poets Fellowship shortly before his death on February 26th, 1984.



Organization of the Collection

The collection includes ten boxes of materials, dating from c. 1924 to 1984, although the bulk of the materials are concentrated c.1950-1980. The collection is divided into the following five sections: (1) Poetry; (2) Biblical and Classical Translations; (3) Articles, Essays, Lectures, and Reviews; (4) Correspondence and Works of Others; and (5) Miscellaneous Personal and Bryn Mawr Materials.

Poetry contains Richmond Lattimore's various handwritten and typed poetry drafts. The majority of the drafts, with the exception of a few translations from the ancient Greek in Folder 3, consist of his original works or translations from modern languages. Chronological groups of poems include the early poems from Dartmouth (1924-1926), poetry from Illini publications (1927-1929), poems of 1949-1957 and poems of 1957-1969. Groups of poetry drafts published in specific collections include the following: Sestina for a Far-off Summer, Continuing Conclusions, Poems, The Stride of Time, and Poems from Three Decades. Other materials included are clippings, offprints, notes on other poets, an unpublished manuscript, a list of published poems and publications, and poems concerning Bryn Mawr College. The groups of drafts are categorized chronologically, miscellaneously, and by publication. Individual poems with multiple drafts in different folder locations are cross-listed. All folder contents are arranged alphabetically by poem title except for Folder 20, which is by publication title, and Folders 3 and 4, which contain notebooks of drafts and are ordered according to page number. For poetry drafts elsewhere in the collection, see Box 8, Folder 13.

Translation materials include the following items: Richmond Lattimore's notebooks, typescripts, and notes for his biblical translations of The Four Gospels and the Revelations and Acts and Letters of the Apostles; the notebooks, typescripts, and notes for his translations from classical Greek texts, which include Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod's Works and Days, Theogony and Shield of Herakles, lyric poetry, comedy, and tragedy; and the unpublished manuscript and drafts of Three Battles in Herodotus.

Articles, essays, lectures, and reviews contain a number of Lattimore's published and unpublished works, as well as articles and dissertations written about him. There are also a number of published articles, essays, and reviews of other scholars and poets by Richmond Lattimore; his material from the Penrose Memorial Lecture; a bibliography in his hand; and book reviews of his work. The arrangement of the material is chronological.

Correspondence is largely constituted by incoming letters and is organized alphabetically by correspondent. His personal correspondents include his brother Owen Lattimore as well as many renowned poets and writers such as Richard Eberhart, Allen Ginsberg, Phyllis McGinley Hayden, Carolyn Kizer, Alexander Laing, William Meredith, Robert Penn Warren, William Carlos Williams, and Anne Sexton. Occasionally his correspondence with other writers enters into dialogue about generational differences among poets and the effect of classical languages on English poetry. Lattimore also corresponded with notable scholars, among them Rhys Carpenter, E.R. Dodds, I.A. Richards, Eric G. Turner, and T.B.L. Webster. The collection also houses correspondence with several publishers of his works, Lattimore's memorial of Penn Haile, his former classmate at Dartmouth; the poems and translations of his sister Isabel Casseres, and poems and essays sent to Lattimore by other writers. For Bryn Mawr correspondence, refer to Box 8, Folder 1 of the miscellaneous personal and Bryn Mawr materials.

Miscellaneous personal and Bryn Mawr materials include incoming and outgoing correspondence with Bryn Mawr personages such as Rhys Carpenter, Katharine McBride, Gertrude Ely, and Carol Rittenhouse. Lattimore's affiliations with national institutions such as the The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (AAIAL) and the Peace Movement as well as with Bryn Mawr projects are attested by correspondence and other materials. A few small notebooks contain additional poetry drafts and various notes and lists. Other miscellaneous materials include clippings kept by Lattimore on various topics, a group of programs featuring his poetry or personal participation in various events, pencil sketches, and teaching evaluations by U.C.L.A. students. Also included among his personal materials are his cryptanalysis notebooks from the Navy during World War II and various laudatory certificates. Most material is chronologically arranged, except for the lists of poem drafts, which are arranged alphabetically by poem title.


Other Richmond Lattimore Materials at Bryn Mawr

Additional material on Richmond Lattimore may be located in the Faculty Publications and the Faculty Folder in Special Collections. Bryn Mawr Special Collections furthermore houses photographs of Richmond Lattimore and the Oral History Collection of the College Archives contains a recording of an interview with Richmond Lattimore by Caroline Rittenhouse, with a focus on his time at Bryn Mawr. The Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies Department of Bryn Mawr College also maintains a Richmond Lattimore webpage with a rich bibliography.


Part II: Box and Folder List

Processing and description by Jessica Sisk.



Full List of Guides to the Collections
Abbreviations Used in Guides


Last Update: January 30, 2018 , Special Collections at