Joanne de Longchamps Papers

Identifier: 84-09

Scope and Contents

The Joanne de Longchamps papers span over fifty years of de Longchamps' career as an artist and poet. The papers consist primarily of materials relating to De Longchamps' career as a poet. Document types represent all aspects of her poetic endeavors from journals containing ideas and images to final printed versions of her poems. Journals and magazines containing individual poems have not been retained, although the title pages and poems have been photocopied. Although there are several folders entitled "Published poems," there is no complete listing of De Longchamps' published poetry. All seven volumes of poetry published in her lifetime are contained in the papers, as well as one unpublished manuscript.

A significant amount of materials in this group consists of publisher's correspondence from early in her career which takes the form of unsigned rejection forms; within a few years, however, the rejections become more personal and interspersed with acceptances. The original chronological arrangement has been retained. Publisher correspondence relating to specific books has been kept with the manuscript, personal correspondence, and reviews of each book. Except for an occasional check stub or royalty statement, there are no financial records in the collection, and except for one publisher's contract, there are no legal materials.

A small group of materials relates specifically to de Longchamps' artistic endeavors, especially the collages she created to complement her poetry. Only a few sketches and drawings exist, all undated and untitled. Most of the material in this group consists of a spotty account of De Longchamps' exhibitions. Correspondence relating specifically to her collage work retains its original separateness from poetry and personal correspondence. Except for two collages held in the Art Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, all of de Longchamps' collages have been either sold or given to friends.

About a third of the material consists of de Longchamps' personal papers, including correspondence. Prominent among the correspondence are letters to and from Harold Witt, a fellow poet and lifetime friend. The correspondence includes lengthy discussions of poetry and art and often contains poems and criticism from one poet to the other. Also noteworthy is the correspondence from Robert Caples, a friend and fellow artist in Reno. All correspondence is arranged first alphabetically and then chronologically. There are no letters or memorabilia from her husband or her son.


  • 1928-1991


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Joanne Cutten de Longchamps was born in Los Angeles in 1923 and attended schools in Los Angeles and Paris where she studied painting and music. She was encouraged to pursue her artistic and literary talents by her mother, Ruth Avery Cutten, herself a drama coach and producer. In 1941, when Joanne was 18, she married Galen De Longchamps, the adopted son of prominent Nevada architect Frederic Delongchamps. The couple moved to Reno, Nevada where they lived for the rest of their lives. In 1949 they had their only son, Dare. She later changed the spelling of her last name.

From an early age, poetry dominated de Longchamps' life. She wrote her first poem at the age of 5; her poems were regularly published in her school newspaper. She took poetry seriously and was persistent in her efforts to publish her work, eventually having her poems featured in more than 300 magazines and producing seven volumes of poetry. She won the Reynold's Lyric Award (1954) for her poem “R.S.V.P.”, the Carolina Quarterly Award, and the Nevada Governor's Art Award for Literature in 1983. In 1989, she was inducted in the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Writer's Hall of Fame.

In the 1950s, de Longchamps began exploring the medium of collage as a way of adding a visual element to her poetry. She audited virtually every course offered by the Art Department at the University of Nevada, Reno and became involved with both campus and community galleries. Joanne de Longchamps accumulated several awards for her artwork, which was exhibited throughout Nevada and northern California.

Thematically, both de Longchamps' poetry and art embrace the natural and animal world, and after moving to Reno her poems focus on a distinctly Nevadan landscape. She loved the air, open spaces, and light of Nevada and imbedded in her poems and collages are images of stones, insects, mountains, animals, and the colors and sounds of the high desert.

Beginning in 1962 and continuing intermittently for the next decade, de Longchamps taught poetry at the University of Nevada, Reno; in 1973 she was appointed the first Walter Van Tilburg Clark Chair in Creative Writing. Throughout her career, she continued to attend poetry workshops, give readings, and lecture to clubs and student groups on the subject of poetry.

De Longchamps is listed in Who's Who in Poetry; World Who's Who of Women; Who's Who of American Women; Writer's Directory; Directory of American Poets; Dictionary of International Biography; and Contemporary Authors. Shortly before her death in 1983, she received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.


14.2 Linear Feet (19 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Manuscripts, correspondence, reviews, printed material, personal papers of Joanne de Longchamps, longtime Nevada resident, poet, and artist from 1928-1991.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Literary Career; 2) Artistic Career; 3) Personal Papers

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Joanne de Longchamps estate on August 15, 1984. Another small group of materials was donated in 1993. 1 cu. ft. of de Longchamps' letters to Harold Witt were purchased from Witt's widow in 1995.

Separated Materials

Books which were part of de Longchamps' library were transferred to either the Special Collections or Main library stacks, and photocopies of title pages remain with the papers.

Photographs were extracted from the collection and are housed in the photo archives UNRS-P1993-09.


Guide to the Papers of Joanne de Longchamps
Victoria Yturralde
November 20, 1995
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)