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Pamela Alexander papers

Identifier: MC012

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes drafts and proofs of Alexander's first three published books, Navigable Waterways, Commonwealth of Wings: an ornithological biography based on the life of John James Audubon, and Inland, as well as drafts of various poems that may or may not have been included in the books. Some of the drafts include written comments by the author and by others, and reveal development of the work. There are also manuscripts of three short stories written by Alexander and a manuscript entitled "A Standing Wave Is a Mountain." Also included are writing journals from 1978-1981, and from 1997-2017; correspondence with family, colleagues, and publishers, including former Bates professor John Tagliabue; books and photocopies of published poems; and material documenting Alexander's teaching, poetry readings, and other professional activities.


  • 1963 - 2020


Access Restrictions

Copyright retained by the author.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Pamela Alexander was born in 1948 and graduated from Bates College in 1970 and received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop in 1973. In 1984 she won the Yale Younger Poets award for Navigable Waterways, which was published the following year. Her second book Commonwealth of Wings: An Ornithological Biography was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1991. In 1996 she was awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize for Inland, which was published in 1997. Alexander has taught at the writing program at MIT and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Fine Arts Work Center, among others. She currently teaches at Oberlin College and is the poetry columnist for the Boston Book Review.


4.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Poems (photocopies and books/journals), correspondence, and other writings of published poet Pamela Alexander (Bates Class of 1970). The collection includes a significant amount of letters with John Tagliabue, Alexander's professor at Bates College, as well as family, friends, colleagues, and others related to Alexander's career as a poet and educator.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Writings; II. Correspondence; III. Publications.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Gift of Pamela Alexander, 1993, 2001, 2017, 2021.

Separated Materials

One Side of the River, a compact disc compilation of poets reading their work, has been cataloged as part of the Bates authors collection.

Processing Information

Initial processing by Mary Riley, 1993.

Second arrangement and description by Kurt Kuss, Special Collections Librarian, 1999.

Accrual processed by Elaine Ardia, Archives Assistant, 2001.

Final processing by Pat Webber, 2022.

Guide to the Pamela Alexander papers, 1963-2020
Edited Full Draft
Pat Webber
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

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Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
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