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The Rebecca Elizabeth Coy Patterson Collection

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Rebecca Elizabeth Coy Patterson (1911-1975)

Rebecca Elizabeth Coy Patterson (1911-1975)

Rebecca Elizabeth Coy Patterson was born in Ola, Arkansas, on August 6, 1911. When a child, her family moved to Amarillo, Texas. Rebecca graduated from the Amarillo High School in 1928. She died on December 24, 1975, after a lengthy illness.

Patterson received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1934, graduating summa cum laude. She received her masters degree there in 1935 and her doctorate degree in 1938. She taught English at the University of Texas for one year following her graduation and at Amarillo College in 1945 and 1946. She also taught at Stanford University in California in 1948 and 1949, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1950 and 1951.

Dr. Patterson was a noted authority on the poetess Emily Dickinson. Her first major publication, The Riddle of Emily Dickinson, was published by Houghton-Mifflin Company in 1951. Patterson's life of Dickinson, centering around the poet's sexual orientation, was groundbreaking scholarship and very controversial among Dickinson scholars. Patterson's second major work on Dickinson, titled Emily Dickinson's Imagery, was published posthumously by the University of Massachusetts Press in 1979.

Patterson joined the faculty of Pittsburg State University (then Kansas State Teachers College of Pittsburg) as an assistant professor in February 1954. In 1959 she became a full professor. In addition to her teaching duties and publications, Patterson participated in professional organizations, served on numerous academic committees, and was editor-in-chief of the Midwest Quarterly, a journal of contemporary thought published by the college.

In the Little Balkans Review (volume 5, no. 1: Fall-Winter 1984-1985) Patterson's colleague, Juanita Laing, wrote, "During the twenty-one years she taught at Pittsburg State University, most of Rebecca Patterson's students knew her only as an excellent English professor: thoroughly informed concerning a wide range of literature, demanding, and unfailingly fair. English majors, particularly graduate students who had greater opportunity to work with her, often developed an extravagant admiration for the professor, sometimes bordering on discipleship."

Collection #7

Patterson, Rebecca Elizabeth (1911-1975)
Papers, 1936, 1951-1975.

98 folders


Papers of Rebecca Patterson, a professor of English at Pittsburg State University from 1954 until her death. Patterson was a noted authority on the poetess, Emily Dickinson. These papers primarily reflect her activities as a teacher and Dickinson scholar.


The identity of the donor or donors of the Rebecca E. Patterson Papers to the Leonard H. Axe Library is unknown.


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The Rebecca E. Patterson Papers consist of a variety of professional and personal documents, including correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, teaching materials, and academic records. These materials, though extensive, provide a limited view of Patterson's life and activities. The majority of the materials pertain to her activities while teaching at Pittsburg State University. The papers are arranged into seven series:

Unless otherwise noted, the materials in each series are arranged in chronological order.

The Biographical series contains Patterson's obituary, a checklist of her published works, University news releases about her activities from the 1970s, and personnel fact sheets compiled by the University.

The Photographs series includes portrait images of Patterson from 1951, 1962, and 1968. Also includes several undated negatives.

The Correspondence series contains a few letters from the period of 1955 to 1975. The letters concern academic and English as a second language programs at Pittsburg State University; letters of recommendation for students; personal correspondence with librarian Gene DeGruson; manuscript rejection letters; and materials relating to Patterson's funeral.

The Manuscripts series includes typed copies, photocopies, and off-prints of Patterson's published and unpublished manuscripts relating to Emily Dickinson.

The Research series consists of correspondence and documents from 1962 and 1963 relating to Patterson's research on Emily Dickinson. The materials relate specifically to an article on the Bowles family. Includes letters to other libraries, some on Patterson's behalf by Pittsburg State University librarians.

The Teaching and Course Materials series includes copies of notes, course outlines, examinations, reading lists, suggestions for research topics, syllabi, handouts, and other materials relating to poetry and American literature classes taught by Patterson at Pittsburg State University. This series is arranged by class title and course number.

The Academic and Miscellaneous series contains materials relating to Pittsburg State University committees, students, and organizations, and to other educational and professional activities in which Patterson was involved. Includes correspondence, minutes, reports, programs, and similar documents.


Biographical Series

f. 1 1954-1975

Photographs Series

f. 2 1951, 1962, 1968, and undated

Correspondence Series

f. 3 1955, 1957, 1964, 1967, 1969
f. 4 1970-1972
f. 5 1973, 1975

Manuscripts Series

f. 6 "A Study of Whitman's Diction," Studies in English, 1936
f. 7 "Emily Dickinson's Hummingbird," Educational Leader, 1958
f. 8 "Emily Dickinson and Canticles," 1967
f. 9 "Emily Dickinson's Leopard," [1967]
f. 10 "Emily Dickinson's Jewel Imagery," American Literature, 1971
f. 11 "Emily Dickinson's 'Double' Tim: Masculine Identification," American Imago, 1971
f. 12 "The Dating of Emily Dickinson's Letters to the Bowles Family, 1858-1862," Emily Dickinson Bulletin, 1972
f. 13 Book Review: "Mythopoesis: Mythic Patterns in the Literary Classics by Harry Slochower," Literature and Psychology, 1973
f. 14 "The Orient is in the West: Emily Dickinson's Asia," n.d.

Research Series

f. 15 1962-1963

Teaching and Course Materials Series

f. 16 Modern Poetry 107
f. 17 Neo Classical Period 542; Neo Classical Period 742
f. 18-19 English Novel 104; English Novel 254; English Novel 416; English Novel 505; English Novel 554
f. 20 English Novel 505 (Spring 1975) Teaching Notebook
f. 21-22 Emily Dickinson Seminar 317
f. 23-26 American Literature 316; American Literature 317
f. 27 American Literature 416
f. 28-34 American Literature 617 (Hawthorne-Melville Seminar)
f. 35-38 American Literature 617 (Henry James Seminar)

Academic and Miscellaneous Series

f. 39-41 Faculty Affairs Committee, 1972
f. 42-49 Student-College Publications Advisory Board, 1968-1974
f. 50-52 Scholastic Honor Society, 1961-1974
f. 53-56 Specialist in Education Degree, 1959-1972
f. 57 Yearly Report, 1971
f. 58 Advisees, 1961-1969 (Transcripts and grade rosters were discarded)
f. 59-60 National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 1971, 1974
f. 61-69 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Faculty Self-Evaluation Study, 1950-1952
f. 70-79 Women in Higher Education, 1972-1974
f. 80-86 Kansas Cultural Arts Commission/Kansas Arts Commission, 1971-1975
f. 87-96 Research Articles and Reprints
f. 97-98 Literature Papers/Program from 9th Pittsburg Conference on English, 1975/K.A.C.T.E. Program, 1970


American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Literature - Study and teaching
DeGruson, Eugene Henry (1932-1997)
Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)
Education, Higher
English as a Second Language
English Department (Pittsburg State University)
Faculty Affairs Committee (Pittsburg State University)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel (1804-1864)
James, Henry (1843-1916)
Kansas Cultural Arts Commission
Melville, Herman (1819-1891)
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Patterson, Rebecca E. (1911-1975)
Pittsburg State University
Scholastic Honor Society (Pittsburg State University)
Specialist in Education Degree
Student Publications
Weisslitz, Esther
Whitman, Walt (1819-1892)
Women - Education (Higher)

Selected local material

Last Modified: May 22, 2006 - 14:48

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