I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.

Please note that this digitization of the Crane-Rychtarik papers is incomplete and that not all features are available. This site is meant as a conceptual project and experiment in archive development; work on the site has ceased for the time being.

Hart Crane (1899-1932) moved to New York City in 1916 with the intention of attending Columbia University. Instead, soon after arriving, he chose to pursue his literary career, voraciously reading modernist figures such as Rimbaud, Yeats, and Joyce. Despite returns to Cleveland a difficult home life, Crane settled (again) in New York in the early 1920s to work on the texts that would contribute to his inclusion in the modernist canon. The correspondence digitized here emerges from this period, beginning in 1923 with Crane's attempts to find stable housing and work in the city; his letters to Charlotte and Richard Rychtarik, both Cleveland natives and the latter a set and costume designer for the Cleveland and Metropolitan operas, provide insight into Crane's difficult family relations, creative work, and personal experiences. This collection currently represents the first fourteen (of seventy-nine total) folders of the Richard W. Rychtarik–Hart Crane Papers, held by Fales Library and Special Collections. Although a number of these letters have been transcribed and distributed by HathiTrust, this online collection makes available facsimile images, transcriptions, and annotated versions in compliance with the Text Encoding Initiative. It also seeks to track Crane's relationship to the New York City landscape in the early 1920s, and the site's map feature marks his letters' addresses of origin on historic maps from the Atlas of the city of New York, georeferenced and made public by the New York Public Library. Intended for scholars of Crane and those interested in considering the relationship between his correspondence with the Rychtariks and his creative work, this in-progress digital archive looks to bolster the corpus of accessible primary materials related to the poet Hart Crane as a historic and literary figure.

This website houses:
  • general information about Hart Crane and his correspondents, Richard and Charlotte Rychtarik

  • digital photographs of correspondence from the first 14 folders in the Richard W. Rychtarik-Hart Crane Papers

  • plain-text and annotated transcriptions of the correspondence

  • correspondence annotated using the Text Encoding Initiative, made available for download

  • a map feature tracking the addresses associated with Crane's correspondence

  • metadata and provenance information regarding the archives