Simple Search | Advanced Search | My Account | Interlibrary Loan | Course Reserves | Hours & Maps | Ask a Librarian

Sara Henderson Hay Collection

Sara Henderson Hay, award winning modern poet, was born on November 13, 1906. She became a "published poet" at ten for a poem about golf in Judge Magazine. During high school, her work was printed in her local newspaper, the Anniston Star.

She continued writing at Brenau College in Georgia where she edited the college magazine as a freshman. She transferred to Columbia University where her poems appeared in its magazine and in the publication of the Parnassus Club, a club for young women where she lived.

After graduation in 1929, Sara Henderson Hay began work at Charles Scribner's and Sons first as a secretary in the editorial offices, then in the bookstore, and finally in the rare book department. Meanwhile, she wrote poems and did freelance editing and proofreading. In 1931, the young poet had already begun gaining notice: four anthologies included her work that year: Selected Magazine Verse for 1931, Younger Poets, Anthology of Garden Verse, and Columbia University Poets.

Howard Vinal, the editor of Voices: a Journal of Poetry, introduced her to New York literary circles and she joined the Poetry Society of America. Two years later, her first book of poetry was published - a selection of 66 poems chosen in a contest from among 207 entries and printed by Kaleidograph Press. She titled it Field of Honor.

In 1935, syndicated columnist Gladys Baker engaged Sara Henderson Hay as her secretary and companion for a series of interviews for the New York Times that took her on a whirlwind trip through Europe meeting Pope Pius XI, Mussolini and Ataturk, among others.

After Hay's European tour, she returned to work at Scribner's, reviewing poetry and fiction for the Saturday Review of Literature, and writing more poems. Her second book came out in 1939, called This, My Letter. The collection included her "small son" series of poems--verses about a fictitious little boy so moving that many readers were convinced he was real.

Sara Henderson Hay's third book was published in 1951. This collection, entitled The Delicate Balance, received the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award for the Poetry Society of America. Hay's marriage to Russian-American composer Nicolai Lopatnikoff, then professor at Carnegie Mellon, brought her back to Pittsburgh, where she wrote her next book of poetry, The Stone and the Shell. Published in 1960, the book received the Pegasus Award, and two of the poems included received individual recognition. "Elegy" won the John David Leitch Memorial Prize and "Witness for the Defense" was given the Lyric Memorial Prize.

In 1963, her collection of poems called Story Hour was published and she received recognition as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania that year. Three years later, she wrote her last book, A Footing on This Earth. In 1980, The Kentucky Poetry Review published a Sara Henderson Hay issue. In 1983, she was elected to the Alabama Academy of Distinguished Authors. She died in her sleep on July 7, 1987.

The collection contains all of her books of poetry, her notebooks, scrapbooks, books about other poets, and papers. It also includes her diary, business letters, articles written by and about her, manuscripts and other memorabilia.