Poet, Author, Historian, Librarian of Congress, Activist
Birthplace: Glencoe, Illinois, U.S.A.
1937 Columbia Workshop
1937 Shakespeare Cycle
1939 President Franklin Roosevelt
1940 I'm An American
1941 The Free Comopany
1941 Dinner For Edward R. Murrow
1941 Hidden History
1942 This Is War
1942 Archibald MacLeish's Address To Radio Stations
1942 United China Relief
1945 Building the Peace
1945 American School Of the Air
1945 Freedom Forum
1946 Beyond Victory
1946 Operation Crossroads
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1948 The Son Of Man
1950 Art Education and the Creative Process
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1965 Some Friends Of Stevenson
1969 Man At the Moon
1974 NASA Audio News Features
Archibald MacLeish circa 1935
|From the April 21, 1982 edition of The New Mexican:
MacLeish: Poet, statesman,
3-time Pulitzer winner is dead
BOSTON (AP) -- Archibald MacLeish, a poet, statesman, librarian of Congress, winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and composer of verses hailing Americans and the "stars and expectations" that guide them, is dead at 89.
MacLeish helped plan the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; he worked as a soldier, lawyer, editor, professor at Harvard, dramatist and farmer. He condemned McCarthyism, urged writers to rally against facism, and explored theological questions in "J.B.," a play that won the Pulitzer Prize.
"There are all sorts of things I want to do that I haven't been able to," he said in his last published interview, which appeared six months ago.
MacLeish, who lived in Conway, Mass., and retired in 1970 as Boylston professor of literature at Harvard University, died Tuesday night in Massachusetts General Hospital, which he entered March 20 for treatment of an undisclosed illness. The cause of his death was not announced.
"Down to about two years ago, I was working my head in the usual way," MacLeish told the Greenfield (Mass.) Recorder in an interview published last November. "But I had a little heart business. I've been a lot slower."
In 1939 he published "America Was Promises," a strong and explicit social statement. He wrote:
"Tom Paine Knew.
"Tom Paine knew the People.
"The promises were spoken to the People.
"History was voyages toward the People.
"Americas were landfalls of the People.
"Stars and expectations were the signals of the People."
MacLeish exhibited his usual sharp opinions in the Recorder interview. He said President Reagan was "going to begin to think God talks to him," and aimed a dart at rock 'n' roll. "I'd like very much never to have to hear it again," he said.
MacLeish won a wide audience and his first Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for "Conquistador," a poem based on his trek by pack mule along the trail of the soldiers who conquered Mexico.
His second Pulitzer came in 1953 for "Collected Poems 1917-1952." "J.B.," which won the Pulitzer drama award in 1959, was a play in verse based on the Book of Job.
He spent much of his life on his 200-acre Uphill Farm in Conway, a small town in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts where he lived with Ada, his wife of 65 years.
Born in Glencoe, Ill., on May 7, 1892, MacLeish graduated from Yale University, where he won a Phi Beta Kappa key, and received a law degree in 1919 at the head of his class at Harvard Law School. His schooling was interrupted by World War I, and he served in the field artillery, first as a private, then as a captain.
MacLeish was a writer and later an editor with Fortune magazine for nine years during the Depression. During World War II, he directed the Office of Facts and Figures and was assistant director of its successor organization, the Office of War Information.
MacLeish served as head of the Library of Congress for five years beginning in 1939, then became assistant secretary of state for cultural affairs.
Among his many awards were the Antoinette Perry Award in drama in 1959, the Bollingen prize in poetry and the National Book Award for poetry in 1953.
In addition to his wife, MacLeish is survived by a son, William H. of Woods Hole, Mass.; a daughter, Mary H. Grimm of Kensington, Md.; a sister, Ishbel Campbell of Geneva, N.Y.; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.