Constance Carrier papers
Scope and Contents
Dates of Materials
- 1801 - 2014
- Majority of material found within 1900-1990
- Carrier, Constance, 1908-1991 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
It was while at Trinity College that she began to write poetry in earnest. Later upon request from classicist Smith Palmer Bovie, she started translating some of the Latin classics into English. While continuing to teach, it was her writing of poetry and her translation work that formed her contribution to American letters. She was an instructor in classics for summer workshops at Tufts University (1966-1976) and at Suffield Academy.
In the mid-1940s she was the recipient of awards for her poetry from the Poetry Society of America. Carrier was awarded the first Lamont prize in poetry in 1954, and through the years was the recipient of other poetry prizes. Carrier had fellowships at the Bread Loaf School, The Writers’ Conference at the University of New Hampshire (1940s), the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo in Saratoga, New York (1975 and 1978).
Carrier’s poems were published in various journals and newspapers, including The New Yorker, American Scholar, The Nation, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry and the Christian Science Monitor. Two major books of poetry were published: The Middle Voice (1955) and The Angled Road (1973). Many of her poems were also anthologized in various books and textbooks of American poetry and literature.
Carrier’s translations include plays by Plautus and Terence and the poems of Propertius and Tibullus. She also contributed to: Esopus Hodie: Aesop Today: A Reader Workbook for Latin Students (1984-1990). Dorothy McLaren wrote the lessons for Latin study and Carrier translated the Aesop verses into succinct English poems.
Carrier taught Latin, French and English at New Britain High School and at Hall High School, West Hartford, Connecticut between 1931 and 1970. Among her activities in New Britain was her leadership of a writing group for many years.
Based on the letters and notes Carrier received during her lifetime, it is clear she had a wide circle of friends and admirers. Carrier continued to be in contact with some of her high school students. Admiring letters and notes came from fans of her poetry, including letters from American soldiers during World War II. The letters she received reflect friendships made at Smith College and Trinity College, as well as friendships begun with other writers and artists. Some friendships and the resulting correspondence apparently came from chance meetings with individuals during her travels to Europe.
Carrier wrote frequently to friends—often on note cards, postcards or scraps of paper—in her small but legible written script. She could write almost an entire letter on a US postal card and often used a portion of the front side of the postcard to finish her text. Her correspondence is rarely dated, but postmarks serve as a guide for when the item was written.
The drafts of her poetry are usually in her extremely small but legible written script and in her typed copies. Carrier often wrote on any scrap of paper available—backs of envelopes, bills of sale, hotel stationery—and in various notebooks. She also kept detailed journals when she traveled to Europe.
One of the last literary endeavors Carrier undertook was to proof read the manuscript of Marilyn J. Ziffrin’s book, Carl Ruggles: Composer, Painter, and Storyteller (1994) before it went to the publisher. Waldemar Block in a note records that Carrier “would go through each chapter automatically as it was presented to her, lay it aside when she was finished and perhaps go on to doing a crossword puzzle for the N.Y. Times (in ink). When Marilyn wanted the proof sheets back, Jeanne LaRocque or Barbara [Block] would have to sift through her papers to find the wanted items.” Jeanne LaRocque was a long-time friend of Carrier’s and fellow-teacher (French) at New Britain High School; Barbara (Carrier) Block is a cousin.
Constance Carrier died in New Britain, Connecticut, on December 7, 1991. She is buried in Ponemah Cemetery in North Westchester, Conn.
A celebration of the life and work of Constance Carrier was held at the New Britain Public Library on November 22, 2008 to mark the hundredth anniversary year of her birth.
Barbara Block noted that Carrier was quite eccentric in her speech and dress. She was very frugal, with a charming personality and well liked. Carrier had a way with words and wrote jingles, birth announcements, retirement accolades and epitaphs. She particularly like to prowl old cemeteries. One demonstration of her use of humor was in her misuse of words, as when she asked Waldemar Block to “be her executioner,” instead of the executor of her estate.
27 linear feet (51 boxes)
Language of Materials
I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS (1849-2008)
II. CORRESPONDENCE TO CONSTANCE CARRIER
III. CORRESPONDENCE WRITTEN BY CONSTANCE CARRIER
IV. OTHER CORRESPONDENCE
V. MANUSCRIPTS OF WRITINGS AND PUBLISHED WORKS OF CONSTANCE CARRIER
VI. MANUSCRIPTS OF TRANSLATIONS AND PUBLISHED TRANSLATIONS OF CONSTANCE CARRIER
VII. CONFERENCES, ARTISTS COLONIES, ETC.
VIII. INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND ITEMS RELATED TO TEACHING
IX. RECORDINGS—READINGS BY CONSTANCE CARRIER OF HER POETRY
Immediate Source of Acquisition
In 1969 Constance Carrier gave the Sophia Smith College and College Archives manuscript materials for her translation of The Poems of Propertius (published in 1963), letters to and from Palmer Bowie who wrote the introduction, notes and glossary to these poetic translations. These items were transferred from the Sophia Smith College to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 1993.
In 1993 Doris Cook (Smith College Class of 1933) gifted the Mortimer Rare Book Room with Carrier’s correspondence (1974-1989) to Cook.
In 2002 Marilyn J. Ziffrin gifted the Mortimer Rare Book Room with the correspondence she received from Constance Carrier (1969-1992) and the letters Kathryn Martin (1970-1983) had received from Carrier.
In 2010 Eleanor Panysh Fusaro gifted the Mortimer Rare Book Room with notes she received from Carrier and some ephemera related to Carrier. Fusaro was a Latin student of Carrier at the New Britain High School and graduated from Smith College, Class of 1952.
- Finding aid to Constance Carrier papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Melvin Carlson Jr.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063