Skip to main content

John Curtis Underwood Poems,

Identifier: MSS-701-SC

Scope and Content

This collection contains typescripts of eleven poems with holographic notes. The poems are signed John Curtis Underwood or J.C.U. They are dated from 1920-1936. All but one have a geographic location, ranging from Los Angeles to London, written underneath the poem.

The poems were found in three different books previously owned by Raymond Jonson and donated to the UNM Library. In the book, Americans, were "Nineteen," "The Pagan," "The Swimming Teacher," and "Surf." In Trails' End, were "Another Year," "Needles," "Gates," and "Pastelle." In Interpreters, were the poems "Sports Goods Clerk," "The Collector (Light)," and "Convalescence." Three of the poems, "Convalescence," "The Pagan," and "The Swimming Teacher" were published in Underwood's book Pioneers. "The Pagan" slightly differs from the published version, which is labeled Santa Fe, 11-12-21. There is a poem with the title "Nineteen" published in Interpreters, but it is not the same as the one in this collection by the same title. The published version is labeled Santa Fe, 2/15/36.


  • 1920-1936

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

John Curtis Underwood, poet and literary figure, was born July 26, 1874 in Rockford, Illinois. He graduated in 1896 from Trinity ( Hartford, Connecticut) with a Bachelor of Arts. In November 1918, Poetry: a Magazine of Verse, awarded Underwood the Helen Haire Levinson prize for the best poem of the year for "The Song of the Cheochas." At the time he lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico and gave his check to the United War Work Drive. On November 28, 1928 he married Emily Rudolph, a Californian artist. In addition to their writing and painting, they ran the Pioneer Art Gallery in Santa Fe.

Underwood, a supporter of the New Mexico Museum and the arts, gave 68 books to the Museum Library in 1921. In 1925 he gave prize money for a poetry and painting contest. Raymond Jonson won the painting contest. Underwood purchased Jonson's prize winning work, The Power of God, for the Museum collection. Mary Austin won second prize in the poetry contest.

During his career Underwood published various books of poetry and literary criticism. His poems were published in magazines like Everybody's, and Ainslee's Magazine. Some of his books are Trails End (1921), Americans (1912), The Iron Muse (1910), Interpreters (1939), Processionals(1915), Pioneers (1923), and Literature and Insurgency (1914). Reviews of his work can be found in newspapers as the New York Times and the Boston Transcript. In the preface to his book, Literature and Insurgency, Underwood gives his opinion of American literature and ideas about what poetry should be. "Poetry that is real, that is fit to survive through the centuries, needs no defense. ..., it rises triumphant from each defeat to summon men and women to greater heights of aspiration, to greater intensities and charities of common humanity shared and exalted. Great poetry like all great literature is born of storm and stress in the individual or the community."

John Curtis Underwood died at age 74 on January 14, 1949 on his ranch near Santa Cruz, New Mexico.


1 folder (11 items)


The collection consists of corrected and autographed typescripts of eleven poems by John Curtis Underwood.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • El Palacio, multiple articles, see Index: Underwood, John Curtis.
  • "John Curtis Underwood." New York Times, (January 16, 1949): 68.
  • "New Mexico in the Great War; Art, Drama, and Literature in War Service." New Mexico Historical Review, 1:4 (October 1926): 400-405.
  • Who's Who in New Mexico. The Abousleman Company: Albuquerque, 1937.
Fiinding Aid of the John Curtis Underwood Poems, 1920-1936
Edited Full Draft
Processed by T. Reinig
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 701 SC::John Curtis Underwood Poems)//EN" "nmu1mss701sc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131