Curtis Hidden Page:
An Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Curtis Hidden Page was an American educator and translator born in Greenwood, Missouri, in 1870. The Pages trace their roots back to some of the founding members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, including Gov. John Winthrop. Page graduated from Harvard University in 1892 with a doctorate in English Literature and a concentration in French. He taught French and English at Harvard for fifteen years. In 1911, after a brief stint at Columbia and Northwestern Universities, Page became a professor of English Literature at Dartmouth College, where he remained until his death in 1946.
In World War I, Page served as an officer in the Ordinance Corp. from 1917 to 1919. He advanced to the rank of major through a series of rapid promotions during his first few months due to his ability to speak both French and German and translate effectively. Page later served his state of New Hampshire as a state legislator in 1933 and again in 1939 at the age of 69.
Throughout his life, Dr. Page was a prolific and gifted poet. He published not only in literary journals and magazines like Vanity Fair, but also in stand-alone collections. Page is known for his theatrical translations of plays by Molière, Rabelais, and de Bergerac. His translation of Tartuffe, or the Hypocrite by Molière remains the definitive text for English productions.
Page's translated works make up a significant portion of this collection, but there are also original texts from his poems, essays, and other original works in numerous stages of editing. His handwritten corrections and changes are present throughout the collection, and he was quite an aggressive editor. The collection is organized into three series: I. Works, divided into original and translated works and arranged alphabetically by title (5 boxes); II. Correspondence, subdivided into outgoing and incoming and arranged chronologically (1 box); and III. Personal Papers, including his notes and works as a graduate student (3 boxes).
The Works Series contains typescripts, manuscripts, and proofs, many thoroughly edited in Page's hand. His original works include the historical work Japanese Poetry, as well as an intended magnum opus, entitled French Influences on English Literature, which was never published, but on which he had worked for nearly forty years according to his "Conclusion." Also included are multiple drafts of scores of poems written from 1896-1917, including several that were not published. The translations are of works by French dramatists and poets. Also present are his translations of the eight great works of Molière, material from both editions of Songs and Sonnets of Pierre de Ronsard, and works originally by Anatole France, Lord Michael of Montaigne, and Rabelais.
The Correspondence Series includes letters from throughout Page's literary career, his time as a student, and his tenure with both the military and the state legislature. Some of his correspondents include J.H. Wheelock, Henriette Hovey and Hariette Hovey, the wife and mother of Richard Hovey respectively, William Plumer Fowler, and Brander Matthews. Three handwritten letters addressed to Mrs. Page mark her only appearance in the collection.
The Personal Papers Series is predominantly Dr. Page's notes and works as a student, spanning three boxes. Also included is a newspaper sketch of Dr. Page, his military service record, extensive materials on the family genealogy, a bound scrapbook, and a handwritten copy of his "Will and Testament" from 1913.
Open for research
Purchase, 1963 (R1088)
Jonathan Reynolds, 2006