Robert Penn Warren
Robert Penn Warren was born in Guthrie, Kentucky. Warren entered Vanderbilt University at the age of 16. At that time, he came under the influence of many exceptional literary minds affiliated with the University, including John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, and Merrill Moore. His earliest works of poetry were published in The Fugitive, the noteworthy Nashville literary journal. Warren graduated Vanderbilt summa cum laude and went on to earn an M.A. from the University of California at Berkley in 1927. He also undertook graduate work at Yale and in 1929 was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He earned his B. Litt degree in 1930 and upon returning to the States taught at several universities before being appointed to the English faculty at Louisiana State University in 1934. While there he helped found the Southern Review a major academic literary magazine to this day. He also published his first book of poetry, Thirtysix Poems (1936), and his first novel, Night Rider (1939). His third novel, All the King’s Men (1946), won him his first Pulitzer Prize and he received subsequent Pulitzers for two volumes of poetry, Promises (1958) and Now and Then (1979). He is the only American author to win the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry. His plethora of awards and honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the first Poet Laureateship of the United States, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the National Book Award. Robert Penn Warren died on September 14, 1989 at eighty-four.
Robert Penn Warren’s literary archive is housed at the Beinecke Library; for a detailed description of the collection visit the Guide to the Robert Penn Warren Papers. Selected materials from the archive can be seen online in the Beinecke’s Digital Library: Robert Penn Warren Papers. Additional related resources in Beinecke Library collections may be found in Orbis and the Finding Aid Database.