Skip to Content

13th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Library Exhibition

February 1 – March 10, 2013
Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Jar

Featuring items courtesy of:
Sylvia Plath Collection
Mortimer Rare Book Room

Smith College Libraries
Northampton, Massachusetts
Redwood Library
Newport, Rhode Island

Sponsored by: The Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Library Fund

Prepared by:
Professor Christine S. Fagan, Collection Development / Acquisitions Librarian
Roger Williams University
Karen V. Kukil, Associate Curator of Special Collections
Smith College Libraries

Featured Items:

  • First edition of The Bell Jar published by Heinemann in England under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas (1963)
  • First American edition of The Bell Jar published by Harper & Row (1971)
  • Facsimile of Sylvia Plath’s holograph outline for The Bell Jar (1961)
  • Royal manual typewriter owned by Sylvia Plath, 1950’s
  • Original typescript of “Dirge,” annotated by Alfred Young Fisher, [1955]
  • Original typescript of “Mad Girl’s Love Song”, 1959
  • Correspondence between Sylvia Plath and her publishers.
  • Articles from the Boston Herald regarding Sylvia Plath’s attempted suicide, 1953.
  • [Study of a Woman], gouache and ink, [cs. 1950-1952]
  • Reviews from various sources upon the publication of The Bell Jar, 1963.
  • Death Certificate of Sylvia Plath, certified copy from the General Register Office, Somerset House, London
  • Correspondence between Aurelia Plath, Sylvia’s mother, and Olwyn Hughes, sister of Ted Hughes, regarding the potential publication of The Bell Jar in the United States, 1968.
  • Page Images from Eugene D. Fleming, "Psychiatry and Beauty" Cosmopolitan Vol. 146, no. 6 (June1959)
    In her journal, Sylvia Plath resolves to write a novel about a college girl suicide after reading the June 1959 issue of Cosmopolitan cover to cover.
    pages:  31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 57 58 59 60 61

Additional resources produced by the Library in support of this event include:
Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar:  A Selective Bibliography
Selected titles located on the Featured Collection display case near the Bestsellers Collection