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Raymond E. F. Larsson Papers

Identifier: MSN/MN 3000

Scope and Contents

The Larsson collection consists mostly of the correspondence, literary manuscripts, drawings, and published works of Raymond E. F. Larsson. Series 1, Correspondence, contains around 700 letters to and from Larsson. Frequent correspondents include George Dangerfield, the Wisconsin writer August Derleth, and Norbert Engels. Series 2, Literary Manuscripts, contains over 1,000 poems by Larsson, the great majority of which were never published. Also in this series are edited typescripts of Larsson's poetry collections and other works. Series 3 contains a small number of manuscripts of other authors, such as Derleth and Theodore Maynard. The collection also contains around 700 drawings by Larsson, dating from 1943-1956. Nearly all these drawings are in pencil or colored pencil, though a few are in ink or pastel. There are also a handful of collages. Some of Larsson's published writing is located in Series 5, Printed Material, in addition to other miscellaneous printed items. The Audio-visual series contains two audiocassette tapes, on which Norbert Engels discusses the life and work of Larsson. The final series comprises correspondence and other materials created and collected by Anton C. Masin for his thesis and the 1983 Special Collections exhibit about Larsson. Included are photocopies of some of Larsson's papers held by other institutions.


  • Creation: 1927-1983
  • Creation: Majority of material found within , 1940-1960


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Raymond E. F. Larsson was an American Catholic poet, whose literary career extended from the 1920s into the 1960s. He was born on 24 March 1901 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with the given name Raymond Edward Francis Larson. Later in his life, he added a second "s" to "Larson," and used the nickname "Ellery" and the pen name "Raymond Ellsworth Larsson." He was the eldest child of Emily Rosalie Larson and Louis Peter Larson, a livery operator who emigrated from Denmark to the United States as a child.

Larsson spent his childhood in Green Bay, where he attended East High School. While still a student, he worked for the Green Bay Press-Gazette (1918-1919). At some point in the early 1920s Larsson moved to New York City to pursue a career in letters. Though he traveled quite often, he lived there intermittently from that time until the late 1940s. In 1926 he went to Paris believing that he had secured a position as a correspondent with the New Yorker. The position never materialized, but he remained in Europe for a year and a half. While there, he met Oxford University student George Dangerfield, who would later become editor of Vanity Fair. The two men became close friends and lifelong correspondents. In 1933, a job with the Green Bay Press-Gazette brought Larsson back to Wisconsin, but by 1934 he was travelling again, this time on the West Coast.

During these years, Larsson earned a living by contributing poems and reviews to various publications, including the New York Sun, the New York Herald Tribune, the New Republic, The Bookman, The Commonweal, and Nation. His poems were also published in periodicals such as The Dial, The Criterion, Transition, Augustea, Prairie, and Poetry Magazine. O City, Cities, Larsson's first published book of poetry, was published in 1929. Other published books by Larsson include Wherefore Peace (1932), Weep and Prepare: Selected Poems 1926-1939 (1940), Saints at Prayer (1942) and Book Like a Bow Curved (1961). Larsson, who was inspired by abstract art, was also an avid drawer. In 1947 one of his drawings was published along with one of his poems in The Catholic C.O.

Larsson's career declined after mid-century. In 1949 he was hospitalized for mental illness; he remained in the care of various state institutions for nearly three decades, until being released to a retirement home in 1977. Despite his long-term hospitalization, Larsson continued to write poetry prolifically. His work was only published occasionally during these years, in publications including the University of Notre Dame's The Juggler.

Larsson converted to Catholicism in 1932. He was sponsored in his conversion by his friends from Green Bay, Vincent and William Engels, brothers of Norbert Engels, who was a professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Due to his ties with the Engels family and Notre Dame, Larsson donated various manuscripts and books to the University throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In 1983 the director of Rare Books and Special Collections, Anton Masin, curated an exhibit of these materials called Raymond Larsson: A Forgotten American Poet. Larsson, who was alive and aware of the recognition he received in 1983, died in 1991 at the age of 90.


19 containers; (7.6 linear feet)

Language of Materials



A collection consisting of the correspondence, writings, and drawings of the American poet Raymond E. F. Larsson (1901-1991). Also present are manuscripts by other authors, miscellaneous printed matter, and items relating to a 1983 exhibit about Larsson held in Notre Dame's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.


The collection is arranged into seven series, as follows: 1) Larsson's correspondence; 2) Larsson's literary manuscripts; 3) Literary manuscripts of miscellaneous authors; 4) Drawings; 5) Printed material; 6) Audio-visual material; and 7) Materials collected by Anton Masin for the 1983 Special Collections Exhibit. Each series is arranged either chronologically or alphabetically by author or subject.

Related Materials

Other significant collections of Larsson's work can be found at the Brown County Public Library in Green Bay, Wisconsin; The New York Public Library; the Princeton University Library; and the Library of Congress.

Raymond E. F. Larsson Papers
Sara Szakaly
July 2009
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556