Sylvia Plath collection
Scope and Contents
Dates of Materials
- approximately 1930-1998
- Plath, Sylvia (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Plath married British poet Ted Hughes on 16 June 1956. The couple moved to Massachusetts after Plath graduated from Cambridge. Plath was an English instructor at Smith College from 1957 to 1958 while her husband taught English literature and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts at the Amherst campus before they moved to Boston to write for a year.
In 1959, Plath audited Robert Lowell's poetry writing course at Boston University where she met the poet Anne Sexton. After a ten-week stay at Yaddo, the artist's colony in Saratoga Springs, New York, the couple moved back to England in December.
Heinemann published Plath's first book, The Colossus: Poems, in London in 1960; The Bell Jar, Plath's thinly disguised autobiographical novel, was published by Heinemann three years later in 1963.
Plath died from suicide on 11 February 1963. Her Ariel poems were published posthumously by Faber and Faber in 1965, and her Collected Poems (1981) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982.
Chronology of major events in Sylvia Plath's life, 1932-1963
- October 27—Sylvia Plath born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Otto and Aurelia Schober Plath.
- April 27—Warren Joseph Plath (Sylvia’s brother) is born.
- The Plath family moves from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, to Winthrop, Massachusetts, to be close to Aurelia Plath’s parents.
- November 5—Otto Plath dies from complications of diabetes.
- Aurelia and her children and parents move to Wellesley, Massachusetts.
- September—Sylvia enters Phillips Junior High School.
- June—Sylvia graduates from Phillips Junior High School.
- September—Sylvia enters Gamaliel Bradford High School.
- June—Sylvia graduates from Gamaliel Bradford High School.
- September—Sylvia enters Smith College and lives in Haven House (September 1950-June 1952) and Lawrence House (September 1952-June 1955).
- June—Sylvia spends the summer in New York as guest editor of Mademoiselle.
- August 24—Sylvia attempts to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
- October—Sylvia moves to McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric facility in Belmont, Massachusetts.
- February—Sylvia returns to Smith College.
- May—Sylvia is awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Newnham College, Cambridge.
- June 6—Sylvia graduates summa cum laude from Smith College with an honors degree in English.
- October—Sylvia enrolls at Newnham College, Cambridge. She lives at Whitstead, a house for foreign students.
- February 25—Sylvia meets Ted Hughes.
- June 16—Ted and Sylvia are married at the Church of St. George the Martyr, London.
- June-August—Ted and Sylvia travel through Spain.
- September—Sylvia and Ted visit the Hughes family in Yorkshire.
- October—Sylvia returns to Cambridge. Ted returns to London.
- December—Ted and Sylvia move to 55 Eltisley Avenue, Cambridge.
- June—Sylvia completes her B.A. degree at Cambridge.
- June—Sylvia and Ted sail to New York. They visit Wellesley and spend the summer on Cape Cod.
- September—Sylvia begins teaching English at Smith College. She and Ted live at 337 Elm Street in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- September—Sylvia and Ted move to an apartment at 9 Willow Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Sylvia works part-time as a secretary at Massachusetts General Hospital’s adult psychiatric clinic.
- Spring—Sylvia works at Harvard University in the Sanskrit and Indian Studies department and audits Robert Lowell’s writing of poetry course (English 306) at Boston University.
- Summer—Sylvia and Ted drive across Canada and the United States to visit Sylvia’s aunt Frieda Plath Heinrichs and her husband Walter J. Henrichs in California.
- September-November—Sylvia and Ted are guests at Yaddo, an artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, New York.
- December—Sylvia and Ted move back to England.
- Sylvia and Ted rent an apartment at 3 Chalcot Square in London.
- April 1—Sylvia gives birth to a daughter, Frieda Rebecca Hughes.
- October 31 —The Colossus and Other Poems is published in London.
- August—Sylvia and Ted move to Court Green, their home in North Tawton, Devonshire.
- January 17—Sylvia gives birth to a son, Nicholas Farrar Hughes.
- October—Sylvia and Ted separate.
- December—Sylvia and the children move to 23 Fitzroy Road, London.
- January 14—The Bell Jar is published in London under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.
- February 11—Sylvia dies from suicide in her home in London.
26.75 linear feet (55 boxes, 4 items, and 2 flat file folders)
Language of Materials
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The finding aid was parsed into standard fields and entered into ArchivesSpace by Amanda MacLeod in April and May 2018.
- Finding aid for the Sylvia Plath collection
- Karen V. Kukil
- December 2006-2018
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- June 2013-May 2014: Revisions and additions by Barbara B. Blumenthal
- 2016/03/29: Corrections made to electronic file
- 2018/04-2018/05: Finding aid entered into ArchivesSpace by Amanda MacLeod
Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063