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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

MsC 851
Collection Dates:(ca. 1957 -- 1994)
1.5 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

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Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

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Photographs: None

Alfred M. Lee, 1965
Alfred M. Lee, 1965

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of clippings, correspondence, and manuscripts. Correspondents include Mark Strand, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, Donald Justice, Cleath Brooks, and Gene McCarthy, among others. The correspondence with writers includes in-depth discussions of literary matters, including the letter-writers' assessment of their own work and that of others, making it an important resource for scholars of modern poetry.

Biographical Note

Alfred Matthew Lee was born in 1938 in Louisville, Kentucky and educated at Male High School, were he won a scholarship to Yale. After graduating from Yale in 1960, he attended the Writer's Workshop in Iowa City. In 1963 -- 1964  he served in the Peace Corps in Ghana. After living in New York for a time, he accepted a teaching position in the English and Humanities Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1977.

Lee published a book of poetry, Time, and edited Major Young Poets.

He died on November 26, 1994, at the age of fifty-six.

Box Contents List

Box 1

Clippings and Documents

Louisville Courier-Journal story reporting Yale scholarship

Transfer for Armed Forces Physical Examination or Induction (1966)

Order to Report for Armed Forces Physical Examination (1966)

The University of Iowa Placement Office Confidential Information (1966)

Notice re Selective Service Examination (1966)

Selective Service Statement of Acceptability (1967)

Peace Corps release of medical information (1967)

Selective Service notice (1968)

Acknowledgement for gift to The League School (1970)

Notice of Eligibility for appointment as a Foreign Service Information Officer (1973)

Obituaries, New York Times and Maplewood, NJ Star-Ledger (1994)

Ted Perry funeral statement. Fax

“The End,” Poem by Mark Strand, photocopy to be read at service


Aeschiman, M.D. (1)

Ahmadiya, T.I. (1)

Bradford, Gigi (1)

Bell, Marvin (19)

Benedikt, Micahel (1)

Brooks, Cleanth (1)

Brown, William (38; 2 postcards)


Carter, Jared (Jeb) (12 including 1 to Karen Lee with drafts of a poem, "Reprise for Al Lee" and

photocopy of a letter to Joseph Parisi, Poetry magazine; postcard; small volume of poems)

Cassill, R. Verlin (1)

Chapin, Victor (John Schaeffer Associates) (23)

Cooper, John Sherman, Senator from Kentucky (TLS, February 26, 1965)

Cumminghan, Dave (2)

Dacey, Philip. Editor of Crazy Horse (1)

Ecco Press (2 royalty notices, one with cover letter from Daniel Halpern)

Engle, Paul (1)

Fallon, Tom (1 letter; 1 signed prospectus)

Hittelman, Georgyn (1)

Hommon, Bill (2)

Humphrey, Hubert H., Vice-President (TLS, February 6, 1965, inviting Lee to Peace Corps conference)

Johnson, Denis (1)

Box 2

Justice, Donald (78; 12 postcards)

Karpas, Andrea (1 postcard)

Kennedy, John F., President (TLS. July 18, 1963, acknowledging Lee’s service in the Peace Corps)

Knott, Bill (2)

Lee, C. P. (Al's father) (1)

Leggett, John (1)

McCarthy, Eugene J. (TLS, 1968)

Merker, Kim (5 letters, 2 postcards)

Merwin, Bill. [W.S.?] (1)

Mvusi. (Winston) (1)

New, Melvyn, Chair, English, University of Florida (3)

O'Reilly, Kevin (1)

Parsons, Peter (1)

Perry, Tod (2)

Petrie, George W. (1)


Semonin, Paul (2)

Simic, Charles (14)

Spanidou, Irini (3)

Strand, Mark (51 letters;  2 postcards)

Box 3

Sucher, Laurie (1 postcard)

Talbutt, John (3)

Tate, James (4)

Thompson, Hunter S. (1)

Townsend, Henry (2)

Truitt, Mark (1)

Wild, Florie-Ann (1)

Williams, Charles K. (5)

Wilson, Kirke (1 letter, 1 postcard)

Workman, Sam (2)

Wright, Charles P. (Chuck). (21 letters; 4 postcards)

Young, David (8 letters, 1 postcardP

Box 4


Lee, Al

An Amiable American. Carbon typescript, 314p.

Righteousness. Typescript, 145p. “…how a working class boy from Bayonne finds adventure and fortune in the smuggler’s trade, how he achieves civic responsibility in service to the FBI.”

Prose Manuscripts

Harmon, William. Civic Choruses. Typescript, 50 pages

Lee, Al

"Although everybody knows how the story ends…” Three short Ms drafts removed from spiral-bound notebook

Ms fragments on pages removed from spiral-bound notebook

“Documentary Poetry and William Brown”. Four drafts; typescripts of Brown poems; rejection letter from Ramparts signed by Sol Stern

“How I Joined the Peace Corps and Found Mao.” Edited draft

“The Paradox of Volta Place.” Carbon typescript

“Three Days Late.” Ms draft removed from spiral-bound notebook

“Who Wrote Arthur Bremer’s Diary?” Edited draft; finished carbon; carbons of letters transmitting the article to The Nation and Harper’s

John Kennedy’s Dangerous Game, a book on the assassination. Printout of last draft, 267p.

Undated [1982?] outline of the book; long letter to Victor [Chapin]; letter to Marc Truitt; letter to Larry Bensky; draft of an article, “The Contemporaneity of Lee Harvey Oswald.”

Box 5

Drafts on three 3.5” disks; one Zip disk; one CD (notes may be encrypted)

Draft printouts

Research notes and articles; correspondence with E. Martin Schotz


Lee, Al

Ms draft poems on pages removed from spiral-bound notebook; with course outline for programs at The Academy of American Poets

First Poems, 1960-1970. Ribbon and carbon typescripts that collect drafts under three sub-titles: “Poems for the Year 2020 and Other Poems;” “Sex Lives of the Poets;” and “Experimental Poetry”

“Poems for the Year 2020 and Other Poems.” Three versions, mixed ribbon and carbon typescript