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Helen Adam, Papers, 1956-1976


Prepared for the WWW by Brian Leszcz, March 14, 1997

1 manuscript box, .3 cubic ft., 11th floor


Scope and Content

This collection consists of letters written by James Broughton to Helen Adam from 1956 to 1976. These letters are personal in content and deal with his relationship with her and personal matters affecting him. As such these papers provide a valuable insight into the mind of James Broughton and his relationship with Helen Adam, but unfortunately is limited to this narrow viewpoint.

Additionally Special Collections has several of Adam's works: An Active Anthology, At the Window, Ballads, Counting Out Rhyme, Crystal, and The Doctor Generosity Poets, New York City; New American Poetry into the 80's.

If the researcher is interested in using further primary source materials about Helen Adam they should contact the University at Buffalo. Their poetry and rare books collection includes both sides of he r correspondence with Robert Duncan during the 1950's and 1960's. For more information on their holdings look at their Poetry/Rare Books (Contemporary Manuscripts Collection) page.


Biographical sketch

Helen Adam was born on December 2, 1909 in Glasgow, Scotland. She died in New York City on September 19, 1993. She was a writer of Scottish ballads and later participated in the Beat poetry movement.

She attended Edinburgh University for two years. After leaving Edinburgh University she worked as a journalist in London. In 1939 she moved to the United States. From there she moved to San Francisco. In San Francisco she worked with such influenti al poets as Allen Ginsburg and Robert Duncan.

Her publications include the following: The Elfin Pedlar and Tales Told by the Pixie Pool, 1923; Charms and Dreams from the Elfin Pedlar's Pack, 1924; Shadow of the Moon, 1929; The Queen O' Crow Castle, 1958; Ballads , 1964; Counting Out Rhyme, 1972; Selected Poems and Ballads, 1974; Ghosts and Grinning Shadows (a collection of short stories), 1977; Turn Again to Me and Other Poems, 1977; Gone Sailing, 1980 Songs with Mus ic, 1982; The Bells of Dis, 1984; (With Auste Adam) Stone Cold Gothic, 1984. She and her sister collaborated on a play entitled The City is Burning which was published in 1963. A collection of her poems was collected in a work titled Selected Poems and Ballads

She also acted in two films: Death and Our Corpses Speak, both of which were filmed in Germany. Her life was a subject of a documentary film directed by experimental film maker Rosa von Praunheim.


Folder -- Contents

  1. [1956, Fall]: [Broughton], Jaime, 1913- , Mexico. To Helen Adam.
    Describes the fish on the postcard. Signed autograph postcard. 1p., 8.7cm.
  2. [1956, Dec.]: [Broughton, James], 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Expressed his feelings of friendship for her. Autograph Card. 1p., 13.3cm.
  3. 1957, 9 Jan.: [Broughton, James], 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Thanked her for her contributions to their evening and announced the date of the next gathering of the Brotherhood of the Maiden & its Secret Six. Autograph Letter Signed. 1p., 27.8cm.
  4. [1957]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Thanked her for photos and commented on her ballad. Signed Autograph Letter. 1p., 21.5cm.
  5. [1957-65]: [Broughton, James Richard], 1913- . To [Helen Adam].
    Miscellaneous cards and notes.
    Includes photograph of Broughton with Robert Duncan.
  6. [1959, Nov.]: [Broughton], James, 1913- , Stinson Beach, Cal. To Helen Adam.
    Invited her for a Sunday at his beach house. Signed Autograph Postcard. 1p., 14cm.
  7. [1960, 17 June]: Broughton, James, 1913- , [Stinson Beach, Cal.] To Helen Adam.
    Advertisement for the movie The Subterraneans . Written on the back is a note inviting her to the world premiere. Autograph Letter Signed. 3p., 9.5cm.
  8. [1961, July]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Told her about his encounter with a bull and his life in the country. Signed Autograph Letter. 4p., 18cm.
  9. [1961, Dec.?]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Sent his regrets for not being able to attend her party; expressed sorrow that her play was closing. Signed Autograph Card. 2p., 12.5cm.
  10. [1962?]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Advises her not to be concerned about paying him back; offers advice and encouragement; indicates he will ask his psychiatrist about free clinical help for her. Signed Autograph Letter. 2p., 27.8cm.
  11. [1962?]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Asks her why she paid back the loan and thanked her for her letter. Signed Autograph Card. 2p., 12.4cm.
  12. [1963]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Thanked her for coming to his reading and for her gift. Signed Autograph Card. 2p., 16.2cm.
  13. 1965, May 27: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Commented on Kupferman's fading away, his daughter Serena's growth, and about Pearce Publishing his book, and about the Bard & Harper recording. Typed Letter Signed. 1p., 28cm.
  14. 1965, Aug.11: [Broughton], James, 1913- , [Stinson Beach, Cal.] To Helen [Adam].
    Talks about his daughter; discussed his recent performance at the amphitheater on Mt. Tamalpais; mentioned the marriage of his friend Kermit; talks about "the poetry doings at Berkeley", and the upcoming printing of his "sea book" and the printing of The Water Circle in chapbook form. Signed Autograph Letter. 4p., 26cm.
  15. [1965, 22 Oct.]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Talks about his family's reaction to the upcoming birth of their second child; says Tidings is coming along well, and talks about his record. He says that he has not been able to interest anyone in his Nicklewood play. Typed Letter Signed. 1p. 28cm.
  16. 1965, Dec. 1: [Broughton, James], 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Talks about his children; thanks Adam for the gift for his son; says that the new book will not be out in time for Christmas and the record is not selling very well. Typed Letter Signed. 2 p., 27.9cm.
  17. [1965?, Dec.]: [Hart, Suzanna]. To Helen [Adam] and Pat [Adam].
    Thanks them for gifts for the children and the "elegant poem". Autograph Card. 3p., 14.7cm.
  18. 1966, April 19: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Expresses love for Adam's poems; broadside printed by Andrew Hoyem enclosed with letter. Autograph Letter Signed. 1p., 28cm.
    Accompanied by a drawing by Broughton.
  19. 1966, April 22: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Talks about his children; discusses local social life and the work he is doing; believes he will be "pushed out" of Contemporary Films office by summertime; desires more intimate socializing with Robert Duncan. Typed Letter Signed. 1p., 27.9cm.
  20. [1966, May]: B[roughton], Orion Raphael, 1965- . To Helen A[dam].
    Refers to Adam's "Starlight" poem; indicates that Robert Duncan wrote him a poem. Autograph Card Signed. 3p., 12 cm.
    Presumably written by his mother, Suzanna Hart.
  21. 1966, 9 Aug.: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Writes about his children; complains about Floyd Pearce not releasing Tidings; talks about goings on in the Theater scene; says that the new professional group plans to revive two of his plays; discusses coming to New York in the fall. Autograph Letter Signed. 4p., 26cm.
  22. [1966]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Thanks her for poem about his son. Autograph Card Signed. 3p., 17.5cm.
  23. [1974]: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Thanks and congratulates her on her book. Autograph Card Signed. 2p., 12.5cm.
  24. 1976, 25 Jan.: [Broughton, James], 1913- , San Anselmo, Cal. To Helen [Adam].
    Thanks her for Christmas box; talks about various people briefly. Autograph Letter Signed. 2p., 28cm.
  25. n.d.: [Broughton], James, 1913- . To Helen [Adam].
    Expresses his opinions on costuming and selections for a play. Typed Letter Signed. 1p., 27.9cm.

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