Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Lucie Brock-Broido Papers, 1965-2017, bulk 1981-2013

Summary Information


Lucie Brock-Broido (1956-2018) was an American poet and educator. She authored four volumes of poetry A Hunger (1988), The Master Letters (1995), Trouble In Mind (2004), and Stay, Illusion (2013). The papers contain production material related to each book, drafts, manuscripts, personal and professional correspondence, teaching material, personal and biographical documents, printed resources, childhood mementos, books owned by Brock-Broido, and editions of Brock-Broido's books.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#2041
Bib ID 15440183 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Brock-Broido, Lucie
Title Lucie Brock-Broido Papers, 1965-2017, bulk 1981-2013
Physical Description 34.5 Linear Feet (22 record storage cartons (boxes 1-21); 2 small flat boxes (boxes 22-23); manuscript box (box 24); 9 CMI book boxes (boxes 25-33))
Language(s) English .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

Materials in box 24 are restricted until the date specified. This collection has no other restrictions.

This collection is located on-site.



Content Description

Lucie Brock-Broido followed a consistent process to complete her four volumes of poetry. The collection contains handwritten drafts of poems in notebooks, printed typescript drafts of poems, initial arranged manuscripts, and multiple manuscript drafts with annotated revisions, all of which developed into each book.

The collection also includes editorial correspondence between Brock-Broido and Harry Ford while editing A Hunger (1988) and The Master Letters (1996) and some editorial correspondence between Brock-Broido and Deborah Garrison related to Trouble in Mind (2004) and Stay, Illusion (2013). The collection also contains contracts, setting copies, proofs, material related to the books' publicity, copies of reviews in magazines and journals, post publication correspondence, and book cover options.

The collection also contains Brock-Broido's early literary projects from the 1970s and 1980s, a small number of completed prose pieces, and several drafts of presumably unpublished poems, which she identified as "Stillborn Poems."

Brock-Broido was known as a beloved, committed teacher and her inventive approach to poetics left an impression on a generation of poets and educators. The collection contains a significant amount of Brock-Broido's course material. There are also routine department memos and correspondence from both Harvard and Columbia University, which includes appointment notices, salary reports, invoices, and schedules. In some of the departmental correspondence, Brock-Broido describes her specific goals for Columbia's writing program as director of the poetry concentration.

Brock-Broido maintained long term correspondence with several notable American literary figures: Stanley Kunitz, Richard Howard, Charles Simic, Franz Wright, and others. The collection contains these letters, as well the intimate correspondences that further detail Brock-Broido's emotional life. The papers also contain exchanges regarding writing, relationships, and literature between Brock-Broido and her close friend, the literary critic Helen Vendler. The collection includes outgoing correspondence written by Brock-Broido, including multiple revisions of some significant letters.

The collection includes professional materials such as job applications, adjunct teaching appointments, and invoices and invitations for speaking engagements. There is also a significant amount of acceptances, rejections, and solicitations from editors at various publishing venues. The papers contain Brock-Broido's detailed applications to many grants and fellowships, fellowship acceptances and rejections, as well as her allocation of funds from the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

The personal and biographical materials contained in this collection illuminate Brock-Broido's interests, habits, and emotional life. The collection contains several notes written by Brock-Broido, the majority of which describe her personal relationships and developments in therapy. Brock-Broido also kept several astrological charts with related commentary.

Medical records, name change documents, and routine planners and address books are also located here. The collection contains materials concerning Brock-Broido's cats, particularly the illness and death of her longtime pet William Ernest Winkler. The collection includes eulogies written by Brock-Broido for her mother, Virginia Greenwald, and the poet Liam Rector. The collection includes extensive documentation of Brock-Broido's home renovation and decor purchases.

The collection contains a range of printed material meticulously saved and stored by Brock-Broido. Brock-Broido often marked particular phrases in pieces of journalism to later use in poetry. An assortment of newspaper and magazine clippings, complete issues of magazines, and printed images organized and annotated by Brock-Broido are located here. The papers also include some printed copies of annotated literary texts, encyclopedic entries, and ephemera accumulated by Brock-Broido.

The collection contains an unpublished manuscript inscribed to Brock-Broido by the poet Bruce Smith. It also contains Franz Wright's annotated copy of Brock-Broido's book Stay, Illusion, identified as "one of Lucie's most treasured objects." Brock-Broido's annotated copy of The Master Letters of Emily Dickinson is located here. There is also a significant amount of books annotated by Brock-Broido, as well as books inscribed to Brock-Broido by colleagues and friends. The collection contains Brock-Broido's copies of her own books.

The collection contains some materials from Brock-Broido's childhood and adolescence. There is one scrapbook, school records, some personal notebooks, and a handmade prayerbook.

The collection contains material related to Brock-Broido's father, David Broido, including photographs, correspondence, and his obituary. The collection also contains letters received by Brock-Broido while attending the Chautauqua Institution in 1970, as well as several letters received from 1971 to 1974, which may provide insight into Brock-Broido's personal life in the years following her father's death in July, 1968.

  • Series I: Writing and Related Book Production, 1970-2017

    This series contains all material related to the completion of Brock-Broido's four volumes of poetry; A Hunger, The Master Letters, Trouble in Mind, and Stay, Illusion, each corresponding subseries follows the earliest drafts of poems included in each book to the final proofs produced by Knopf. Each subseries also includes the contract, editorial correspondence, publicity, and reviews.

    Creative prose by Brock-Broido is located in this series, including materials related to her introduction to Thomas James' Letter to A Stranger.

    Works written before the publication of Brock-Broido's first book are organized here in the subseries "Early Work."

    Any personal writing, such as diary entries and journaling, can be found in personal and biographical materials.

  • Series II: Teaching Material, 1982-2017

    Brock-Broido was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard from 1988-1993 and directed the poetry concentration at Columbia School of the Arts from 1993-2018. The bulk of this series contains annotated reproductions of literary texts referenced in poetry seminars at these two universities. These seminars were conceptualized at Harvard and continued to evolve throughout Brock-Broido's nearly thirty years of teaching.

    Drafts of Brock-Broido's master teaching "Anthology" are also located in this series.

    Thesis evaluations, course rosters, recommendation letters, and assignments which include individual students' names have been restricted.

    Applications for teaching jobs, adjunct appointments, contracts, and other administrative documents related to teaching employment are located in professional materials.

  • Series III: Correspondence, 1976-2016

    This series contains both correspondence organized by the correspondent's name and miscellaneous outgoing and received correspondence found throughout the collection. Editorial correspondence directly related to revising Brock-Broido's books is located in the writing series.

  • Series IV: Professional Materials, 1981-2017

    This series contains materials related to Brock-Broido's participation in various "poetry gigs," or contracted work, which financially supplemented her career. Documents arranged in this series cover the administrative components of Brock-Broido's professional engagements, including invoices for readings and teaching jobs, publishing administration, royalties, and applications, acceptances, and rejections for monetary awards.

  • Series V: Personal and Biographical Materials, 1976-2017

    This series contains material related to Brock-Broidio's personal and private life, including handwritten notes, medical records, documents regarding her cats, eulogies, daily planners, address books, and home renovation material.

  • Series VI: Printed Materials, 1980-2017

    This series contains Brock-Broido's accumulated print material, such as clippings, magazines, reproductions of literary texts, assorted ephemera, and a select number of print objects with significant personal value. The series also contains Brock-Broido's annotated books, as well as books inscribed to Brock-Broido by colleagues and friends. Published copies of Brock-Broido's own books are also located here.

  • Series VII: Photographs, 1990-2015

    The bulk of this series is made up of professional headshots taken from approximately 1990 to 2015. The series also contains a small amount of assorted photographs, the majority of which were taken in Brock-Broido's youth. All other photographs found throughout the collection have been kept in their original location near letters, clippings, etc.

  • Series VIII: Juvenilia and Other Childhood Materials, 1960-1977

    Materials in this series arrived in a shared box labeled "childhood," and have been arranged together to reflect the items Brock-Broido preserved from her youth. The series includes a handmade scrapbook, some school materials, some adolescent writings, a prayer book, photographs, some adolescent correspondence, and the only material in the collection directly related to Brock-Broido's father, David Broido.

  • Series IX: Audio and Digital Materials, 1994-2017

    Two audiocassettes, one labeled "No. June 1994 No." and the other labeled "Summer."

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

Materials in box 24 are restricted until the date specified. This collection has no other restrictions.

This collection is located on-site.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lucie Brock-Broido Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


A posthumous collection of Brock-Broido's unpublished work is currently being prepared for publication. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library expects to receive two additional boxes of material once this work is complete. These two boxes contain recent materials, manuscripts, clippings, USB flash drives, and leather notebooks. The Library does not expect to receive this material prior to late 2023 at this time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Julie Brock-Broido, 2021

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Iva Moore (School of the Arts, 2023) in 2022.

Finding aid written by Iva Moore in August 2022.

Revision Description

2022-08-19 Biographical note and collection description updated. CCR.

2022-10-07 Container information added for Boxes 25-33 (leather notebooks). Subseries I.8 added. CCR.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
American poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brock-Broido, Lucie Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Harvard University -- Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poetry -- Publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women poets, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Lucie Brock-Broido was born on May 22, 1956 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the younger of Virginia (Ginger) Brock and David Broido's two daughters. Her parents divorced in 1959 and Brock-Broido's mother, Virginia, married Jerry Greenwald the following year, on June 1, 1960. According to an unpublished autobiographical essay, a half-sister, Melissa Greenwald, was born four hours before Brock-Broido's twelfth birthday in 1968. Later that summer, Brock-Broido's biological father, David Broido, died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 43.

Shortly after her father's death Brock-Broido decided to become a poet. She wrote her first poems in high school. Brock-Broido eventually enrolled in the writing program at John Hopkins University, where she studied with Cynthia Macdonald and Richard Howard, writing hundreds of pages of poetry and prose each year. Brock-Broido earned a Master's degree from John Hopkins in the spring of 1979. The following fall, she moved from Baltimore to New York City to complete an M.F.A. in Poetry at Columbia School of the Arts. She was a student of Stanley Kunitz, who would remain an influence and mentor.

Though Brock-Broido was prolific at Columbia, her struggles with anorexia became more severe during that period. In 1981, the summer after completing her M.F.A, Brock-Broido was briefly committed to Western Psychiatric Institute in Pittsburgh.

In March of 1984, Brock-Broido legally changed her first name from Lucie to Lucia, though she continued to publish under the name Lucie Brock-Broido.

After seven years of sending drafts to then poetry editor Alice Quinn, Alfred A. Knopf decided to publish Brock-Broido's first book in 1986. With her first book still in production, Brock-Broido was offered a five year Briggs-Copeland Lectureship in poetry at Harvard. A rare opportunity for a poet yet to publish a full length collection. She taught there from 1988-1993, and received the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award in 1989 and 1990 and the Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching in 1991.

When the distinguished poetry editor Harry Ford took over Quinn's position at Knopf, Ford became the editor of Brock-Broido's first two books A Hunger (1988) and The Master Letters (1996). Reviewed by The New Yorker, Poetry, Harvard Book Review, and elsewhere, both books attracted critical attention and established Brock-Broido as a truly original poet of femininity, sexuality, mysticism, and personae. Her style is often considered part of a "school of one."

Brock-Broido taught writing and was head of the poetry concentration at Columbia School of the Arts from 1993 to 2018. She constructed a famed teaching "Anthology" of over 300 pages of poetry, which became a somewhat iconic, cult object among poets.

Brock-Broido lived alone for all of her adult life, dividing her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City, New York. She was particularly committed to the style of her two homes and the lavish interiors of these apartments were characteristic of the poet's unique allure.

Brock-Broido published two more collections of poetry with Knopf, Trouble in Mind (2004) and Stay, Illusion (2013). Her last collection, Stay, Illusion, received wide critical acclaim and was nominated for a 2013 National Book Award.

According to her most recent editor, Deborah Garrison, Brock-Broido had written several poems after the publication of her last book and was working toward another collection before her death in 2018.

Brock-Broido died on March 6th, 2018, from an untreatable brain tumor found in late 2017.