Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Kenneth L. Beaudoin Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Jan 1967

Biographical History

Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin (1913-1995) was an American anthropologist and poet. Born in Elmiro, Michigan on December 12, 1913, he graduated from Memphis State College in 1935, attended Louisiana State from 1936 to 1937, Loyola (La.) in 1940, and the New School for Social Research from 1944 to 1946. His specialties were American anthropology and archeology, with special interest in the folk literature of American Indians and primitive literature, and he published several monographs including 4 Sioux myths and 2 Blackfoot legends, The Papago genesis and two other legends of origin, and The Warren mounds: A preliminary survey.

From 1936 to 1940 Beaudoin lived in New Orleans and headed the Louisiana Historical Records Survey, and he later ran an art gallery for several years in Greenwich Village, New York. From 1950-1980 he worked as chief clerk in criminal intelligence with the Memphis Police Department, a job which he considered invaluable for the insights it offered into the human condition, which in turn nourished his poetry.

Beaudoin is perhaps best known for inventing the "eye poem," a poetic collage form that combined words and pictures. He published several collections of poems, including Elegy for a southern poet and other poems (1951), On hot summer afternoons, and other poems (1953), and Where the new laughed any new laughed (Eye poem) (1959). He conducted poetry clinics at Southwestern University, and Inisfree, his river-side home in Memphis, Tennessee, was a kind of literary salon where local poets would gather to read and talk about poetry. In 1976 he was named "Poet Laureate of the River" at the Mid-South Festival, and his work has been widely published in England, Wales, France, West Germany, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Kenneth L. Beaudoin Papers consist of artwork, correspondence, numerous manuscripts, and published material.

Artwork contains the original "eye poems" -- collages of words and images -- for Beaudoin's book 16 Eye Poems and several other pieces. Most are annotated on the back with additional information (name, dates of exhibition, etc)

Correspondence consists of outgoing letters written by Beaudoin to others.

Manuscripts includes articles by Beaudoin, a manuscript book of poems, news releases, notes, holograph and typescript poems, reviews about and by Beaudoin and manuscripts of others.

Published material contains two published copies of Beaudoin's work 16 Eye Poems and copy of "A Book of the Hours" (1965).

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Manuscripts are filed alphabetically by type. Within that, articles are arranged alphabetically by title; news releases are filed chronologically; poems are divided by whether they are holograph or typescript and then filed alphabetically by title; and reviews are filed in chronological order by date of publication of the book being reviewed.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Several of the "eye poems" in Artwork are stuck together due to the adhesive used by Beaudoin, and a few have fragments coming loose. Great care should be taken when looking at these items.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Beaudoin, Kenneth Lawrence, 1913- Archives.


American poetry -- 20th century.
Poets, American.

Genres and Forms

Book reviews.
Collages (visual works)
Manuscripts for publication.
News releases.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Kenneth L. Beaudoin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Biographical material




Published material