Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Archibald MacLeish  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: May 7, 1892 in Glenco. Illinois

Died: April 20, 1982 in Boston, Massachusetts

-- Website --
-- Archibald Macleish on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

MacLeish was born and raised in Glencoe. He grew up on an estate bordering Lake Michigan.

Biographical and Professional Information

Archibald MacLeish is best known for his works of poetry, although he also wrote drama and criticism. He received a law degree fromm Harvard University, where he graduated first in his class. After practicing law from 1920 to 1923, he dicided to devote himself to literature. He was Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944 and Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard from 1949 to 1962.

Published Works

  • Tower of Ivory, 1917
  • Streets in the Moon, 1926
  • Conquistador, 1932
  • J.B. A Play in Verse, 1958 - reprinted by Houghton Mifflin in 1976
  • Poetry Experience, Houghton Mifflin, 1961
  • Martha Hillard MacLeish, Privately Printed, 1949
  • Freedom is the Right to Choose, Beacon, 1951
  • Poetry and Journalism, University of Minnesota Press, 1958
  • Poetry and Experience, Riverside Editions, 1960
  • The Eleanor Rooselvelt Story, 1965
  • A Continuing Journey, Houghton, 1968
  • Riders on the Earth Essays and Recollections, Houghton, 1978
  • Letters of Archibald MacLeish 1907 to 1982, Houghton, 1983
  • Collected Poems 1917-1982, 1985
  • Archibald MacLeish Reflections, University of Massachusetts Press, 1986

Selected Titles At Your Library

"J.B." :
ISBN: 0395083532. OCLC Number:

. .

This play is a modern poetic version of the biblical Book of Job which attempts to relate the concept of goodness to contemporary life.

Riders on the Earth :
ISBN: 0395263824. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. 1978.

"Essays and recollections."

Letters of Archibald MacLeish, 1907 to 1982 /
ISBN: 039532159X. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston, MA :. 1983.

Collected poems, 1917-1982 /
ISBN: 0395395690. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. 1985.

This expanded volume of the distinguished poet's work contains 29 previously uncollected poems, some that had been published, and some found in manuscript after MacLeish's death in 1982. This is the definitive volume produced by a life that filled several careers as writer, teacher, and public servant, but was devoted above all to poetry.

Archibald MacLeish :
ISBN: 0870235117. OCLC Number:

University of Massachusetts Press,. Amherst, Mass. :. 1986.

In these long interviews, conducted during the last five years of his life, a noted writer talks about his professional life as a poet, playwright, lawyer, editor of Fortune, Librarian of Congress and Harvard professor. Relatively reticent about his family, MacLeish (18921982) is outspoken about FDR, Truman ("totally himself all the time"), Joe McCarthy, George Marshall (a remarkable man of great intellectual powers) and Alger Hiss ("the most complete reactionary I ever saw in my life"), andalthough he claims that he avoided writers "like the plague"about Joyce, Hemingway and Ezra Pound ("He had the worst taste in people"). Arranged chronologically, these free-ranging memoirs reveal many hitherto undisclosed aspects of an eloquent, high-minded American. -- Publishers Weekly.



  • Pulitzer Prize for poetry, 1933
  • Collected Poems 19171952

  • Pulitzer Prize for poetry, 1953
  • National Book Award, 1953

    Other Awards