Skip to main content

Helle collection of Plath family photographs

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MRBC-MS-00273

Scope and Contents

The Helle Collection of Plath Family Photographs was assembled by June Johnson Helle with additions from her mother, Martha Plath Johnson, and her aunt, Frieda Plath Heinrichs, who were sisters of Otto Emil Plath. Some of the photographs were originally sent by Aurelia Plath to her sister-in-laws Frieda Plath Heinrichs and Martha Plath Johnson. June Johnson Helle served as executor for the personal belongings of her mother and aunt Frieda Plath Heinrichs. The photographs are annotated by Otto Plath, Aurelia Schober Plath, Sylvia Plath, and June Johnson Helle.

The collection is arranged as follows:

Series I. Photographs of Otto Plath and Siblings (1910-1930s) contains 8 items. These photographs of Otto Plath and his brother Hugo Plath and sister Frieda Plath are arranged in chronological order.

Series II. Photographs of Sylvia Plath and others (1933-1963) contains 51 items. These photographs of Sylvia Plath, Aurelia Schober Plath, Otto Plath, Warren Plath and their Schober relatives are arranged in chronological order.

Series III. Other photographs contains one postcard of Berck-Plage.

Dates

  • 1910-1963

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The photographs are open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The Helle Collection of Plath Family Photographs is the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors and photographers of the works or their legal representatives.

Biographical / Historical

Otto Emil Plath (1885-1940) was a German instructor and biology professor at Boston University, 1922-1940. Born in Grabow, Germany, on April 13, 1885, to Theodore and Ernestine Kottke Platt, he was the eldest of six children. Otto Plath was educated at Northwestern College, Wisconsin (A.B., 1910), University of Washington (M.A., 1912), Harvard University (M.S., 1925; Sc.D., 1928). In 1932 he married Aurelia Frances Schober (1906-1994) who later became an associate professor in the College of Practical Arts and Letters at Boston University, 1942-1971.

They lived at 24 Prince Street, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, until 1936 when the family moved to 92 Johnson Avenue, Winthrop, Massachusetts, to be near Aurelia's parents-Frank Schober (1880-1965) and Aurelia Greenwood Schober (1887-1956)-and Aurelia's siblings Dorothy Schober Benotti (1911-1981) and Frank Richard Schober (1919- ). Otto Plath died on November 5, 1940 from complications of diabetes.

Otto and Aurelia Schober Plath had two children: Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) and Warren Joseph Plath (1935- ). In 1942, Aurelia Plath moved to 26 Elmwood Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts, with her daughter, son, and her parents.

Sylvia Plath graduated from Smith College (B.A., 1955) and Newnham College, Cambridge (M.A., 1957). Warren Plath graduated from Harvard College (A.B. 1957) and Harvard University (Ph.D., 1964). He was a Fulbright student at the University of Bonn, 1957-1958.

On June 16, 1956, 1956, Sylvia Plath married English poet Ted Hughes (1930-1998). Plath and Hughes honeymooned in Benidorm, Spain, visiting Paris en route where they met Warren Plath. Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes had two children: Frieda Rebecca Hughes (1960- ) and Nicholas Farrar Hughes (1962- ). Frieda Hughes was born on April 1, 1960 at home at 3 Chalcot Square in London near Primrose Hill. Nicholas Hughes was born on January 17, 1962 at home at Court Green in North Tawton, Devonshire, England. Before her death on February 11, 1963, Plath published The Colossus & Other Poems and her novel The Bell Jar. Her Collected Poems, published posthumously in 1981, won the Pulitzer Prize.

Extent

1 boxes (.5 linear feet)

Overview

This collection of Plath family photographs includes photographs of Otto Plath and his siblings, of Aurelia Schober Plath, Warren and Sylvia Plath and various other Schober relatives.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into three series:
  1. Series I. Photographs of Otto Plath and Siblings, 1910-1930s
  2. Series II. Photographs of Sylvia Plath and others, 1933-1963
  3. Series III. Other photographs, n.d.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Plath Family Photographs were donated by Anita Helle, daughter of June Johnson Helle, to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 2006.

Related Materials

Related materials can be found in these other repositories: Sylvia Plath Collection, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Ted Hughes Papers, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Processing Information

Processed by Karen Kukil, 2006
Title
Helle collection of Plath Family Photographs.
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Karen V. Kukil.
Date
2008
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)

Repository Details

Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063