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"H.D." Hilda Doolittle collection

Identifier: SC MS 0307

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of an academic hood, diploma with brown and white cord and two black and white photographs (digital copies of originals) displayed May 2015 to December 2015. They were a center feature of a conference titled “H.D. and Feminist Poetics” held at Lehigh September 2015 to recognize H.D.’s place in the Western literary canon hosted by Lehigh as a part of its sesquicentennial anniversary celebration. Along with the academic hood, diploma and photographs was also displayed the Elkus operatic score of Helen in Egypt which is filed in the Elkus collection of scores.


  • Creation: 1896-2015


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Jenny Hyest, while a doctoral student in Lehigh’s English Department assembled this collection for display from May to December 2015 in the Bayer Galleria of Linderman Library. Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), referred in 1912 to as “H.D.” when poet and friend Ezra Pound submitted her poetry for publication. She then changed her signature to “H.D. Imagiste” was considered an innovative poet of literary modernism. Hilda’s poetry reflected a feminist commitment to a revision of patriarchal mythology as many of her poems had themes of Greek and Biblical imagery. She married Richard Aldington and with him launched the avant-garde Imagist movement. H.D. is known best as a poet but also was an accomplished memoirist, novelist, film critic, and actress. She was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Charles Leander Doolittle and Helen Wolle Doolittle. Hilda lived in Bethlehem until nine when her father took a position at the University of Pennsylvania and the family moved to Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and after a lifetime of living international came to be buried in Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem. Her father was Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Lehigh University doing research in the Sayre Observatory from 1874 to 1895 which brought international recognition to Lehigh and himself. Her mother, Helen Wolle Doolittle (1853-1927), a member of the Moravian community, was Professor Doolittle’s second wife. Professor Doolittle had two living sons from his first wife who both attended Lehigh University in Classes 1887 and 1891. Helen was an accomplished artist and musician in her own right and a great influence on Hilda. Hilda’s uncle, J. Fred Wolle, was founder of the Bach Choir which continues to perform every May in Lehigh’s Packer Church. As an adult, Hilda recognized that her mother and grandmother Elizabeth Weiss Seidel Wolle were sources of her own creative and spiritual gifts. On May 15, 2015 Lehigh University recognized Hilda Doolittle’s contributions to the literary world by awarding her a posthumous honorary Doctor of Letters which along with her father assumed a permanent place in Lehigh’s history.


2 box, .5 linear feet

Language of Materials



The collection is composed of an academic hood, diploma with brown and white cord and two black and white glossy photographs displayed in a commemorative exhibit in Lehigh University Linderman Library. They were a center feature of a conference titled “H.D. and Feminist Poetics” held at Lehigh September 2015. The exhibit curated by guest curator Jennifer Hyest.

Other Finding Aids

SC MS 0196. Doolittle Family Bible, 1868. Created by Charles Leander Doolittle (1843-1919) and his first wife, Martha Clayeo Farrand Doolittle (1844-1876).

SC MS 0165. Jonathan Elkus Collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The material was donated by Lehigh University English Dept. and Wolle Family, January 2016.

Related Materials

Doolittle, Hilda. 1931. Red Roses for Bronze. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Doolittle, Hilda. 1973. Trilogy. New York: New Directions. Doolittle, Hilda. 1998. The Gift: The Complete Text. Jane Augustine, ed. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Lowell, Amy, ed. 1915. Some Imagist Poets: An Anthology. New York: Kraus Reprint, 1969.

Lehigh University, Honorary degree recipients The Doolittle Family Bible, as SC MS 0196 is filed separately.

Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)