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Howard McCord papers

Identifier: MSS 0118

Scope and Content Note

The Howard McCord Papers include 2.7 linear feet of letters, poems, brochures, essays, clippings, journals, pamphlets, and transcripts, which span the dates 1930 to 1972 (bulk dates 1964-1970). The majority of the collection was generated by the collaboration between McCord and Lowenfels in co-authoring The Life of Fraenkel’s Death.

The collection is organized into three series: Series I. Material regarding Michael Fraenkel, Series II. McCord’s general correspondence, and Series III. Work written by or about Walter Lowenfels. The manuscripts and correspondence in Series I. are related to the collaboration between Howard McCord and Walter Lowenfels in writing The Life of Fraenkel’s Death (1970). The items in Series III. are also related to Lowenfels and were probably enclosed in letters from him to McCord, but the original order of this collection was compromised in earlier processing. Series II is a collection of correspondence between Howard McCord and various poets, small press publishers, and friends; but unrelated to Walter Lowenfels or Michael Fraenkel.

McCord’s association with Lowenfels began with McCord's letter of April 9, 1964 in which he requested biographical information regarding Michael Fraenkel. McCord had begun research toward a book on Fraenkel and was aware of Lowenfels’s connection to Fraenkel. Both sides of the correspondence are present in the collection, including Lowenfels’s original letters and carbon copies of McCord’s letters. The letters are filled with information regarding Fraenkel, as well as transcripts of poetry and essays written by Fraenkel. Lowenfels’s wife, Lillian (Apotheker), who was also a close friend of Fraenkel, contributed comments about him to her husband’s letters as well as a manuscript titled “Fraenkel’s Return” (F29).

In additional to Fraenkel information in Lowenfels’s letters, the collection includes a draft of The Life of Fraenkel’s Death (F35), transcripts of Lowenfels’s correspondence with Michael Fraenkel, and McCord’s correspondence with other writers who knew Michael Fraenkel. The letters from Anas Nin, Will Slotnikoff, and Jonathan Williams add to information regarding Fraenkel.

In the course of their collaboration on Fraenkel, McCord and Lowenfels developed a friendship. In their letters they shared their poetry, discussed the state of contemporary poetry, mentioned mutual friends, wrote about their families and travel plans, and contemplated current and future writing projects. Lowenfels occasionally enclosed a copy of a poem or an essay on which he was working. Draft portions of his book The Portable Walter were also sent with the expectation that McCord would provide feedback on the work.

The second series of the collection, McCord's general correspondence, consists of letters written to Howard McCord between 1957 and 1972, as well as carbon copies of his responses. Many of the correspondents are poets, such as Gary Snyder, James Liddy, Diane Wakoski, and W. S. Merwin. The content of the letters ranges from simple inquiries about arranging readings at Washington State University, where McCord was teaching, to far- ranging discussions of poetry or philosophy. For example, the Allen Ginsberg letter is a brief request for a copy of Choudhury’s Stark Electric Jesus. But the letters between Gary Snyder and McCord are long exchanges on religious/moral philosophies, explorations of their chosen lifestyles, and discussions of their poetry.

In the correspondence between Malay Roy Choudhury and McCord, the Indian poet pleaded for international help in fighting his trial on charges of obscenity for his poem “Stark Electric Jesus.” McCord arranged for the publication of this poem in the United States and provided financial support and encouragement for Choudhury.

The most substantial exchange of letters in the general correspondence is between McCord and Irish poet James Liddy. The correspondence began in 1964 with McCord’s submission of poems to Arena, a poetry periodical edited by Liddy. As a friendship developed, Liddy sought McCord’s assistance in locating teaching positions in the United States, which McCord provided. As Liddy traveled to Spain, the United States (where he met McCord), and back to his family home in Ireland, he kept in communication with McCord, chronicling his activities, mentioning other poets and local events, and supplying McCord with carbon copies of many of the poems he wrote. Many of these poems are now available in F71 of this collection.


  • Creation: 1930-1972
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1964-1970


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Howard McCord

American poet Howard McCord was born on November 3, 1932, in El Paso, Texas. A recipient of a Fulbright award and a National Endowment for the Arst fellowship, McCord is author of more than twenty-five volumes of fiction, poetry, essays including The Life of Fraenkel’s Death, co-authored with Walter Lowenfels.

McCord was educated at Texas Western College and at the University of Utah, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1957 and a Master of Arts in 1960, respectively.

Howard McCord began his academic teaching career in 1960, as assistant professor at Washington State University, Pullman, where he taught until 1971. Since 1971 McCord has taught at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where he began as director of the M. F. A. and creative writing programs. He was later named director of the Ph.D. Creative Emphasis degree program.

McCord has written more than twenty-five volumes of fiction, poetry, essays, and most recently his first novel, The Man Who Walked to the Moon (1998). He has contributed his work to anthologies, such as A Geography of Poets (1977), and to periodicals, including The New York Times, Partisan Review, Harper’s Bazaar, and Iowa Review.

Howard McCord’s awards and honors include a 1965 Fulbright award, selection as a National Endowment for the Arts fellow (1976), the Hart Crane Memorial Award (1970), the Ohioana Award for Poetry, (1990) and the Golden Nugget Award, University of Texas at El Paso (1990).

Walter Lowenfels

Poet and social critic Walter Lowenfels (1897-1976) was born in New York City and began writing poetry following his military service in World War I. Together with Michael Fraenkel, he established the Carrefour Press.

After graduating from a New York City preparatory school in 1914, Lowenfels worked in the family butter business. He began writing poetry following his military service in World War I. Some of these early poems appeared in local newspapers. His first collection of poetry, Episodes & Epistles, was published in 1925, with the financial assistance of Lillian Apotheker, whom he met in 1924 and married in 1926, soon after his arrival in Paris.

By relocating to Paris, Lowenfels intended to dedicate his time to writing. His poems were soon accepted for publication in such little magazines as transition and This Quarter, as well as periodicals in London. In 1931 Lowenfels shared with E. E. Cummings This Quarter’s Richard Aldington Poetry Prize. His poetry was admired by Nancy Cunard, owner of the Hours Press, who published his Apollinaire: An Elegy in 1930.

It was in Paris that Lowenfels first met Michael Fraenkel. Although Fraenkel and Lowenfels disagreed philosophically – Fraenkel believing that the world was doomed to moral and physical destruction versus Lowenfels’s belief that the world could be saved by socialistic humanism – they became friends. Together they established the Carrefour Press, which was intended to support the “anonymous” movement. This movement was based on the idea of total anonymity in art, a concept which eventually proved unworkable. However, the Carrefour Press continued to publish work, but began to credit the authors. In 1970 Lowenfels co-authored with Howard McCord a biography of Fraenkel, The Life of Fraenkel’s Death: a Biographical Inquest.

In 1934 Lowenfels returned with his wife and three daughters to the United States and for several years worked in the family business. By 1938 he had moved to Philadelphia to become a reporter for the Pennsylvania edition of the Daily Worker. As his social activism increased, his poetry writing ceased and did not resume until his imprisonment for treason in 1953, the result of which was The Prisoner’s Poems for Amnesty (1954).

During the 1950s and 1960s Lowenfels worked as an anthologist, particularly of avant-garde writing. Where Is Vietnam? (1967), a collection of poetry protesting the war, and In the Time of Revolution (1969), civil rights poems by African Americans, were two of the volume of social consciousness poetry he edited. An anthology of Lowenfels’s writing was published as The Portable Walter (1968).

Walter Lowenfels died on July 7, 1976, in Tarrytown, New York.

Evory, Ann (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 3. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981. pp. 349-350.Rood, Karen lane (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 4: American Writers in Paris, 1920-1939. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. pp. 255-258.Trotsky, Susan M. (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 40. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993. pp. 294-295.Zadrozny, Mark (ed.) Contemporary Authors: Autobiography Series, Volume 9. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1989. pp. 171-189.


2.6 linear foot (8 boxes)

1 oversize removal


The Howard McCord Papers include 2.7 linear feet of letters, poems, brochures, essays, clippings, journals, pamphlets, and transcripts, which span the dates 1930 to 1972 (bulk dates 1964–1970). The majority of the collection was generated by the collaboration between McCord and poet and social critic Walter Lowenfels in co-authoring The Life of Fraenkel’s Death.


Purchase, 1972.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0099, F400, Walter Lowenfels letter to Eileen Egan

MSS 0207, University Place Book Shop papers

MSS 0363, Edward Field papers

MSS 0398, Ishmael Reed papers

Separated Material

Originally the collection included ten books written by Walter or Lillian Lowenfels. These books were removed and cataloged for Special Collections. The appendix linked here lists these titles and indicates the call number location for each item.

Shelving Summary

  1. Boxes 1-8: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes
  2. Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

OCLC Number


Processed by T. Stuart Dick, 1973; revised by Anita Wellner, January-February 2001. Encoded by Thomas Pulhamus, February 2010.

Finding aid for Howard McCord papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 February 12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA