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John Robert Doyle papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-10677

Ten linear feet reflect the interests, achievements, and commitments of this Citadel English professor who for more than thirty years was at the center of Charleston's cultural and academic life. His productive literary life is documented in thirty-five volumes which contain early notes, research materials, and critical essays on the poetry of Robert Frost, and drafts of his pioneering 1962 work The Poetry of Robert Frost; as well as various drafts of his tetralogy concerned with South African literature in English from 1820 to 1970,; completed during a nine-year period (1969-1978) and comprised: of books on Thomas Pringle, William Charles Scully, Francis Carey Slater, William Plomer, and Arthur Shearly Cripps. Related volumes contain lectures written and delivered in South Africa by Doyle while there in 1959 as Visiting Professor of American Literature at the Universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand under a Smith-Mundt Grant. Two volumes, 1953-1963 and 1955-1975, pertain to the Poetry Society of South Carolina, which Doyle served as president for ten years and whose writing group, the Forum, he led from 1947 to 1975. These contain minutes of board meetings, organizational records, correspondence, and poems subĀ­mitted for various prize competitions. Additional materials relating to the Society include a clippings file, 1949-1973, and eighteen specimen copies of mimeographed poetry sheets, 1950-1979, which circulated as working drafts to be critiqued by members at the seasonal meetings of the Forum. An autobiographical reminiscence, "Our Little Life," details Doyle's boyhood in Dinwiddie County, Va., his education, teaching experience at Dinwiddie High School, Clemson University , The Citadel, 1941-1944, 1946- 1975, and South Africa, 1958, and involvement in Charleston area civic and cultural activities, including the Poetry Society of South Carolina and The Citadel Fine Arts Series. The autobiography also contains genealogical notes on the Doyle, Rives, and Binford families of Virginia and a list of Doyle's published literary criticism. Doyle's vast correspondence reveals a lifetime of personal loyalties and professional accomplishments In addition to his long association with The Citadel and the strong collegial ties developed in South Africa during his year there, his letters show that he kept in touch with friends and colleagues from other institutions where he studied or taught: Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, Va.), the University of Virginia, the Bread Loaf School of English, the University of North Carolina, Clemson University, and Stephens College. Evidence of his organizational leadership is found in correspondence written on behalf of associations having to do with the teaching of English, as well as for the Charleston Civic Ballet, The Citadel Fine Arts Series, and the Poetry Society of South Carolina. South Carolina-related correspondents include John Bennett, Harriet Gray Blackwell, James F. Byrnes, Pat Conroy, Frank Durham, Ruby Fogel (Levkoff), Helen von Kolnitz Hyer, Raven I. McDavid, Jr., Alfred S. Reid, Carew Rice, Kinloch Rivers, Louis Rubin, Archibald Rutledge, Katherine Drayton Mayrant Simons, George Coffin Taylor, and John C. West. A wider circle of literary friendships and contacts, many of them on behalf of the Poetry Society, is manifested in letters from W.H. Auden, John Malcolm, Hardin Craig, Donald Davidson, Richard Beale Davis, Elizabeth Drew, T.S. Eliot, Richard Ellmann, Paul Engle, Robert Francis, Lesley Frost, R.G. Howarth, Mary von Schrader (Mrs. Randall) Jarrell, Lawrence Lee, Andrew Lytle, Lewis Mumford, Rena L. (Mrs. John Jacob) Niles, William Plomer, John Crowe Ransom, Donald A. Stauffer, Douglas V. Steere, and Allen Tate.


  • 1933 - 1986


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


10 Linear Feet