MS 775 - Frederick W. Eckman Collection
|MS 775 - Frederick W. Eckman Collection
|BGSU Centennial History
The Frederick Eckman Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in 1997, thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Martha Eckman and through the assistance of Paul Yon, Director of the Center for Archival Collections and Dennis East, Assistant Dean, Libraries and Learning Resources, Bowling Green State University. Additional materials have been donated by James Crowder, a cousin of Frederick Eckman, from time to time, and have been incorporated into the collection. The Frederick Eckman collection is open to all researchers. Researchers are responsible for securing permission to reproduce unpublished materials. The materials were processed and this register was prepared by Lee N. McLaird, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections. The register was revised in Spring 2006.
Frederick Eckman was born October 27, 1924 to Hector B. and Helen Osborn Eckman in Continental, Ohio. Educated in the Continental Public Schools, he graduated from high school in 1942. During World War II, the Army selected Eckman to be trained as a doctor and he began studies at the University of Florida; however, an attack of appendicitis and emergency appendectomy made him ineligible to continue with the training program. After his service in the Army, Eckman attended the Ohio State University, where he earned his bachelor of arts (cum laude, 1948), master of arts (1949), and doctoral degree (1954) in literature. He was an instructor of English at Glennville State Teachers College in Glennville, West Virginia (1949-1951), an assistant instructor at the Ohio State University (1952-1954), and a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin (1954-1960). In 1961, he accepted a position in the English Department at Bowling Green State University. During his tenure here, he was a co-founder (in 1968) of the Creative Writing Program with Philip O'Connor (MS 624). This program, offering a Master of Fine Arts and later a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, was soon recognized as among the best in the nation.
In 1947, Eckman married Mary Drummer Campbell (MS 776), a widow with a young son, Michael. Thomas Eckman was born to the couple on October 2nd of that year. The marriage was a troubled one, and the couple divorced in 1960. Eckman married Martha Campbell Kilpatrick on January 14, 1961.
Stepson Michael Campbell entered the army in the mid-1960s, and while serving in Korea married Li Song. Two children were born to the couple. Song was hospitalized for mental illness, and the two boys were raised by their paternal grandmother Mary.
Thomas Eckman traveled to Spain with his mother in 1962-1963. He graduated from Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio in 1966 and registered as a freshman at the University of Texas-Austin for the summer term. On August 1, 1966, Thomas Eckman was among those killed by a sniper shooting from the University Tower. In Thomas' memory, Frederick and Martha Eckman established the Thomas F. Eckman Memorial Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of BGSU's Jerome Library, donating the core poetry collection and establishing a fund for its continued growth.
When Eckman first turned his attention to the study of literature, particularly modern American poetry, he began to follow the conventional academic route--writing critical articles, appearing in professional journals, and presenting papers at conferences. As a writer himself, he was also interested in publishing and promoting other new writers. While he was a graduate student, he joined Richard Wirz Emerson as an editor for Cronos Magazine at the fledgling Golden Goose Press at the Ohio State University. Through the press, Eckman made contacts among other poets and writers, which are reflected in his correspondence. In the early 1950s, Eckman was among those writing the scripts and reading for OSU's radio program, "Voices," which provided a forum for poetry and criticism of 20th century American poets. Additional material on this time in Eckman's creative life can be found in the Robert Beum Collection (MS 777). Throughout this time, Eckman wrote both poetry and prose, publishing in notable literary magazines and establishing a solid reputation as a poet and critic. Particularly after the death of his son Thomas, Eckman turned his attention to teaching young poets in the BGSU Creative Writing Program, while continuing with his own work. He once said, "I'm a poet who happens to be a teacher." It is this work with students, combined with his own skills as a poet that will prove to be Eckman's most lasting legacy.
Following their retirement from academic life in 1980, the Eckmans moved to El Paso, Texas, and Eckman continued work as the poetry reviewer for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Music, always one of his favorite recreations, continued as he joined the Border Chorders, a barbershop group in El Paso. He returned to Continental, Ohio regularly and assisted in the writing of a history of the community, The Centennial Book of Continental, 1896-1986: An Anthology of History and Folklore in 1986. He died October 28, 1996 in El Paso.
Selected Bibliography of Monographs:
XXV Poems. Columbus: Golden Goose Press, 1949.
The Exile, 1956.
Cobras and Cockle Shells; Modes in Recent Poetry. West Lafayette, Indiana: Sparrow, 1958.
Magazine, 1958 (rev. ed. 1969).
Hot and Cold: Running, 1960.
The Epistemology of Loss. West Lafayette, Indiana: F. Stefanile, 1963.
Poems from Bowling Green (editor). Bowling Green, Ohio: Winesburg Editions, 1966.
The Noon-Day Devil. Bowling Green, Ohio: Winesburg Editions, 1967.
Sandusky & Back; New & Selected Poems. New Rochelle, N.Y., Elizabeth Press, 1970.
Nightmare Township: Poems. Bowling Green, Ohio : Newedi Press, 1977.
The Continental Connection: Selected Writings of Frederick Eckman, 1947-1980, edited by Gerald Burnsteel & Bim Angst. Bowling Green, Ohio: Itinerary, 1980.
The Centennial Book of Continental, 1896-1986: an anthology of history and folklore / Fred Eckman and Jon Shafer, co-editors. Evansville, Ind.: Whipporwill Publishers, 1986.
Over West: Selected Writings of Frederick Eckman, with Commentaries and Appreciations, edited by Linda Wagner-Martin and David Adams. Orono, Maine: National Poetry Foundation, 1999.
|Scope and Content
The Frederick Eckman Collection includes correspondence, subject files, literary works by Frederick Eckman and others, clippings, printed material and a small amount of legal papers, bibliographies, and artwork gathered by Frederick Eckman from approximately 1948 to his death in 1996. Some correspondence continues from Martha Eckman after Frederick Eckman's death.
The correspondence and literary works will be of the greatest interest to researchers. Correspondence is both incoming and outgoing from 1948-1998, with the bulk dating from the 1950s and early 1960s, and increasing in volume again in the 1980s. The correspondence is arranged by correspondent and then by date, although some letters are grouped (for example "Continental Folks"), reflecting Eckman's own filing system. These letters include correspondence with a variety of friends, poets, and students, and many are undated or undated by year. Incoming and outgoing correspondence with a single individual is generally interfiled by date (as there are considerably fewer outgoing letters), unless the number of letters warrants such a separation. The fifty years of correspondence reveal the relationships of Eckman with his friends and family, and, later, with his students. These relationships often continued for years after the student's graduation. Of particular interest are letters between Eckman and Richard Wirz Emerson and Robert Beum regarding the Golden Goose Press (researchers should also refer to the subject files on the Golden Goose Press). There are also good exchanges with Barris Mills, Leslie Woolf Hedley, Ted Nostwich, Felix Stefanile, James Weil, and Jonathan Williams.
The subject files reflect a variety of activities. Martha Eckman established a business as a literary agent after her retirement from teaching, and there are correspondence and business records on that endeavor. Frederick Eckman's involvement in publishing endeavors with the Golden Goose Press and Bowling Green State University is documented in the subject files. There are six folders on Eckman's son Thomas and over 40 clippings on the Texas Tower murders.
The literary productions include Eckman's research and class notes taken while a graduate student at the Ohio State University as well as lecture notes he prepared for his own teaching. Of most interest to researchers, however, is the large manuscript section, showing Eckman's work in poetry, fiction, and criticism (arranged by genre, then by date where possible). The journal material reveals Eckman's thoughts on his writing and on his personal life, and though mostly undated, provides insight into Eckman's development as a poet and teacher. The poetry reviews written for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reveal his continuing interest in contemporary poetry and in promoting an interest in it by the general reading public. A list of dates when these reviews appeared is located at the end of this finding aid. Eckman's daybooks, although not detailed, provide a glimpse of his daily academic and personal activities. Finally, literary works by others document his influence as a teacher and fellow poet. Material is included from Carroll Arnett, Robert Creeley, Richard Wirz Emerson, Philip O'Connor, Janis Pallister, Simon Perchik, and Linda Wagner-Martin.
Small series include legal papers, financial information, bibliographies and curriculum vitae, and newsclippings. Printed material includes works by Eckman and his friends and students, arranged alphabetically by author and title. A series of photographs and artwork is included. The photographs depict Eckman, his friends and family and their activities, as well as materials prepared for classroom presentation. The artwork includes instruction and assigned projects for a cartooning course Eckman once took, as well as his recreational drawing. A collection of sound recordings document poetry readings at BGSU. More than one dozen video recordings document performances of the Border Chorders, whose annual concerts often were scripted by Eckman.
An important part of Eckman's collection was his gift of books and periodicals for a special library collection in memory of his son Thomas. These books have been cataloged and can be identified in the Bowling Green State University online catalog by their call number designation Special Collection B (SC-B). A fund was established for the continued growth of this collection, and purchases made with these funds are also designated "SC-B." At this writing, the collection is comprised of over 7,000 titles. A listing of these books is also maintained in the Rare Books and Special Collections office.
Researchers may also be interested in two associated manuscript collections, the Mary Jackson Collection (MS 776) containing correspondence from Eckman to his first wife Mary in the years immediately following their divorce, and the Robert Beum Collection (MS 777) containing correspondence between Frederick Eckman and Robert Beum, documenting a friendship begun at the Golden Goose Press and renewed in the 1990s.
BGSU PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
GOLDEN GOOSE PRESS
TEXAS TOWER (shelved with oversize materials)
LITERARY PRODUCTIONS BY OTHERS
OFF-PRINTS BY FREDERICK ECKMAN
OFF-PRINTS BY OTHERS
OTHER PRINTED MATERIAL
A complete listing of correspondence is available at the Center for Archival Collections.
Box 2: Correspondence C-E
Box 3: Correspondence F-I
Box 4: Correspondence J-Ma
Box 5: Correspondence Mc-R
Box 6: Correspondence S-We
31. BGSU Publications Committee, correspondence
32. BGSU Publications Committee, invoices
33-37. Eckman Communications: Correspondence
38. Eckman Communications: Contracts and invoices
39. Golden Goose Press: Operations Manual, 1953
40. Golden Goose Press: Production Schedule for 1953
41. Golden Goose Press: Contracts
42. Golden Goose Press: Editorial notebook
43. Golden Goose Press: Printed material
44. Thomas Eckman, correspondence
45. Thomas Eckman, school papers and notes
46. Thomas Eckman, report cards, bank statements, passport, diploma, etc.
47. Thomas Eckman, clippings
48. Thomas Eckman, condolence letters
49. Thomas Eckman, condolence cards
50. Notes: Medieval Literature, 1949
51. Notes: Greek Grammar, 1950
52. Notes: American Literature
53. Notes: Graduate Literature classes
54. Notes: sight singing
55. Notes: Italian
Box 9: Literary Works
Box 10: Literary Productions
Box 11: Literary Productions
Box 14: Printed Material
Eckman's Collection of phonograph albums and cassette tapes documents his interest in popular music. A complete list of the titles in this series is available in the Rare Books and Special Collections office.
Box 16: Artifacts and Oversize Material
Box 17: Additions
Box 18: Magnetic Media
VCR Recordings--El Paso Border Chorders concerts
Oversize Box: Printed Material--Newspaper Clippings
Appendix: Frederick Eckman - Dates of Reviews Appearing in Minneapolis Star-Tribune