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James McGowan, Works from 1957-1999

Identifier: 14-3: McGowan, James

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily contains James McGowan’s original notes, draft manuscripts, copies, published commentaries, and correspondence regarding his work as a translator, poet, scholarly writer, and teacher. The strength of the collection is in the interplay of a poet’s writing and publishing. All available papers of Anne Weston McGowan are also included.

The McGowan collection is organized into the following series:

    1. Pre-professional writing, 1957 – 1968

    2. Professional writing

    3. Major works

    4. Correspondence

    5. Illinois Wesleyan University

    6. Anne Weston McGowan

    7. Special Formats


  • Works from 1957-1999

Biographical / Historical

James Denis McGowan was born in New Jersey, June 9, 1937. His father was a lawyer, later a judge, and it was assumed that James would follow into that profession. Early in his life, however, James demonstrated his love of music and literature. Jazz was a particularly strong love of his and he played in a jazz ensemble in high school. Jim went to Middlebury College where he began a professional interest in the poetry of William Blake, graduating in May of 1958. In Middlebury he met Francis Anne Weston. They married July 3, 1957.

Jim spent two years in the US Army, then enrolled in the MA English program at Rutgers University, fall 1961. In May 1967, he completed a PhD in English with a dissertation on William Blake’s poetry. In 1969 Jim accepted a position at Illinois Wesleyan University. He, Anne, and their three young children moved to Bloomington. Jim was a much loved and highly regarded teacher at IWU for 31 years, retiring in May 2000. While at IWU Jim received a Fulbright Travel Award for his own studies and also took groups of students to England and Ireland.

Jim gained acclaim for his poetry and poetry translations and is especially known for his translations of the poetry of Baudelaire. After long illness Jim died at home in Normal, IL, March 7, 2014.

Francis Anne Weston was born in New York City August 12, 1937. After high school Anne enrolled in Middlebury College as a dance and theater major. In Bloomington, Anne completed a degree in English at IWU in 1976, taught dance and Latin in several area schools and held various jobs as she and Jim raised their family. Most significant of her work, perhaps, was with Operation Recycle, a predecessor to the Ecology Action Center. Anne was a Board member of this organization and served as its Environmental Educator for many years. Anne died March 7, 2015, one year and four hours after Jim’s death.


5.5 Linear Feet : 15 document boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

Collection is located in Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Illinois Wesleyan University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 2899
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington IL 61701 US