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Myra Shapiro papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00753

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, emails, diaries/journals, calendars, writings, both prose and poetry, both published and unpublished, course work, workshop materials, and photographs.

Revisions and drafts of her books may be of particular interest.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1948 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to materials is owned by the creater or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond fair use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy all copyright holders.

Biographical Note

Myra Shapiro was born in Bronx, New York, the daughter of Ida Leader Stein and David Stein, a businessman who moved the family to northwestern Georgia when she was nine years old. She graduated from the Ward-Belmont School, a boarding school for girls in Nashville, in 1949. Shapiro briefly attended college before marrying her "college sweetheart," Harold M. Shapiro, in 1953. Together, they raised their family of two daughters in Chattanooga where Myra Shapiro returned to college in the early 1960s, receiving her BA in 1968 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She credits her reading of Betty Friedan's now-classic,"The Feminine Mystique"(1963) with inspiring her to seek a life beyond marriage and motherhood. After working for several years as an English teacher and a librarian (and completing a Master's in English at the Bread Loaf School, Middlebury College, in 1973), Shapiro began writing in earnest in 1981. That year, with her youngest daughter off to college, Myra Shapiro sublet for a few months the first of several apartments in New York City so as to focus on her writing and attend poetry workshops with many of the renowned poets of the time. By the late 1980s, the Shapiros moved to New York year-round as a growing number of Myra Shapiro's poems appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. She completed a MFA in Writing at Vermont College in 1993. Myra Shapiro's first collection of poetry, "I'll see you Thursday," was published in 1996 (Blue Sofa Press), and edited by Robert Bly. Her memoir, "Four Sublets: Becoming a Poet in New York" was published in 2007, the same year she published the chapbook entitled "In Greenwich Village We Talk of Love," both published by Chicory Blue Press. In 2012, Shapiro published yet another collection of her poems, "12 Floors Above the Earth" (Antrim House Books). She has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Dylan Thomas Poetry Award, The New School (1981) and the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention (2014). Shapiro has held several fellowships and been invited to take part in many readings from the Library of Congress to the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. She serves on the Poets House Board of Directors and for many years has taught poetry workshops for the International Women's Writing Guild.


18.021 linear feet (22 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection contains correspondence, diaries/journals, writings, both prose and poetry, course work, workshop materials, and photographs of Myra Shapiro, New York poet and author.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has a container list that is available upon request by contacting

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted by Myra Shapiro in 2015 and 2023.


During accessioning in 2023, an oversized reproduction of a 1914 feminist handbill and an award from the Brandeis University National Women's Committee were seperated to offer back to the donor.

Related Materials

International Women's Writers Guild Records

Processing Information

Accession 2023-S-0021 was accessioned by Grace Phippard, 2023.



Finding aid to the Myra Shapiro papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-10-18: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2020-03-24: Added boxes 1-13

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063