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Molly Peacock papers

Identifier: BUSC-2003-001

Scope and Contents

The works and related materials of Molly Peacock span the years 1955 - 2017 and deal primarily with the publication of her books and manuscripts, as well as personal correspondence.  However, the majority of the collection is concentrated between 1970-1997.  The collection is contained in 71 boxes and 10 map case drawers.


  • Creation: 1955 - 2017
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970 - 1997

Biographical Note

Molly Peacock is an internationally acclaimed poet, author of eight poetry collections. She has also written critically acclaimed biographies and memoirs. 

Molly Peacock was born in Buffalo, New York in 1947 and graduated with a B.A. magna cum laude from Binghamton University and M.A. with honors from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, as a Danforth Foundation Fellow. A distinguished poet, biographer, and creative nonfiction writer, she is the author of eight collections of poems, including The Widow's Crayon Box, Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems, and The Analyst.

Her other works include A Friend Sails in on a Poem, a memoir with poems about her half-century friendship in poetry with poet Phillis Levin; a book about reading poetry, How to Read a Poem and Start a Poetry Circle, a memoir about her choice to be childfree; Paradise Piece by Piece; a one-woman staged monologue in poems, The Shimmering Verge; and the noted biography The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 as well as a companion biography Flower Diary: Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door. Passionate about bringing poetry to the public, Peacock, a former President of the Poetry Society of America, was one of the creators of Poetry in Motion on New York city's subways and buses; she also inaugurated The Best Canadian Poetry series. Her poems appear in The Oxford Book of American Poetry and many other anthologies.

Peacock is featured in two documentary films about women's choices not to have children, "A Life Outside Convention," and "My So-Called Selfish Life" by Therese Shechter. Her essays have appeared in Elle, Oprah Magazine, and House and Garden, among others. She has read her poetry at numerous colleges, universities, and libraries including the Library of Congress. Over the past century she has received awards from The Leon Levy Center for Biography, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Danforth Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Society for citizens and Scholars, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Peacock has been Poet-in-Residence at Bucknell University, University of California, Riverside, Western University, Canada, and the American Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. For a decade she mentored graduate students at the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA Program. Modeling her work on the private teaching of music, she has worked privately with poetry students for forty years.

As an editor, she published The Private I: Privacy in a Public World, as well as overseeing the first ten volumes of The Best Canadian Poetry in English.

Peacock is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


71 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Molly Peacock papers contains personal and literary related correspondence, manuscript drafts and revisions of this American poet's prose and poetry works, publications, teaching materials, and photographs. The collection also contains artwork such as paintings by Molly Peacock and by other artists, as well as posters, particularly posters from Poetry in Motion on New York’s subway and buses, advertisements, and costumes for poetry readings and other events. The Binghamton University Libraries has a collection of monographs from her personal poetry library and all of her published works.


Box 1 - 16: Literary Activities

Box 17 - 45: Manuscripts

Box 46 - 55: Correspondence

Box 55 - 59: Photographs

Box 60: Ephemera

Box 61 - 64: Audio / Visuals

Box 65 - 68: Publicity

Box 69 - 70: Publications

Box 71: Ephemera

Drawer 01 - 10: Map Cases

Processing Information

The Molly Peacock papers were arranged and described in 2011 by Kyle Johnson, undergraduate Student Assistant, and Beth Turcy Kilmarx, Curator of Rare Books.

Guide to the Molly Peacock papers
Under Revision
Kyle W. Johnson and Beth Turcy Kilmarx
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Binghamton NY 13902 USA