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Terence Winch papers

Collection MS-2017-005: Terence Winch papers


  • Creation: 1960-2017
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970 - 2010

Scope and Content

This collection documents the life and career of Irish-American poet, writer, and musician Terence Winch, through correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts, handmade books, audio and video recordings, flyers, posters, clippings, and photographs. Topics include the poetry scenes of Washington, DC and New York City towards the end of the 20th century; modern Irish-American literature and history; and Irish-American music.

Notable correspondents include the actress Karen Allen, poets Tim Dlugos, Michael Lally, Ray DiPalma, Ted Greenwald, James Liddy, Eileen Myles, and Seamus Heaney, musician Charlie Piggott, and politician Margaret Heckler. There is substantial material related to Winch's band Celtic Thunder, his work at the Smithsonian, and his dissertation on the writer Edward Lewis Wallant.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Audiovisual recordings and digital content on media have been digitally copied; all original media was retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Terence Patrick Winch was born on November 1, 1945 in New York City to Patrick and Bridie (Flynn) Winch, who both emigrated from Ireland. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Iona College in 1967 and a Master's degree from Fordham University in 1969.

In the 1970s Winch worked for Dover Publications as a copywriter and Corcoran School of Art as an instructor and artist-in-residence. He published a number of poetry chapbooks, including Boning Up (1972), The Beautiful Indifference (1975), and The Attachment Sonnets (1978), and became part of a poetry movement called Mass Transit, through which he became acquainted with the actress Karen Allen, who was an inspiration for his short story "The Age of Transition". He also founded Some of Us Press with Michael Lally and others in 1971.

Winch performed in various bands, starting with The Fast Flying Vestibule, which released an album, Union Station, in 1976. He went on to form the traditional Irish band Celtic Thunder with his brother, Jesse Winch, in 1977. They recorded three albums together: Celtic Thunder (1981), The Light of Other Days (1989), and Hard New York Days (1995). Starting in 1998, Winch performed with Narrowbacks. He released a compilation album of his original compositions with Narrowbacks and Celtic Thunder, When New York Was Irish: Songs and Tunes by Terence Winch (2007), and one album with his brother, Jesse, and son, Michael, This Day Too: Music from Irish America (2017).

Winch worked for the Smithsonian Institution from 1985 to 2009, as head of the publications departments of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. While there, he produced more than 60 books. He also contributed regularly to various print and online publications, including Washington Post Book World, Washingtonian, and Best American Poetry Blog. In 2009 he served as the Poet-In-Residence for Howard County, Maryland, and for many years was a host on the Society's interview television series The Writing Life, during which he interviewed many Irish and Irish-American writers.

Winch published eight books of his own poetry, including Irish Musicians/American Friends (1985), The Great Indoors (1995), Boy Drinkers (2007), and This Way Out (2014), as well as one book of short stories, Contenders (1989), and a non-fiction story collection, That Special Place: New World Irish Stories (2004). He is the recipient of an American Book Award (1986), a Columbia Book Award (1995), National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1992), a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, and five Maryland State Arts Council Grants.


"Terence Winch." In Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2002. (Accessed April 1, 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000107154.

Winch, Terence. Biography.

"Winch, Terence." Literature Online Biography, 2011


21.5 Linear Feet (38 containers)

622 Gigabytes (447 files with approximately 105 hours of audio and video as well as digital documents)

Language of Materials



The Terence Winch papers document the life and career of an Irish-American poet, writer, and musician, through correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts, handmade books, audio and video recordings, flyers, posters, clippings, and photographs. Topics include the poetry scenes of Washington, DC and New York City towards the end of the 20th century; modern Irish-American literature and history; and Irish-American music.


The Terence Winch papers are arranged into eight series: I. Boards and committees; II. Correspondence; III. Employment; IV. Ephemera; V. Events; VI. Freelance projects and works; VII. Student works; and VIII. Works by others.

Series II is divided into two subseries: A. Letters and B. Email.

Series V is further divided into two subseries: A. Poetry readings, and B. Other.

Series VI is divided into nine subseries: A. Art; B. Editing; C. Grants; D. Interviews; E. Journalism; F. Literature; G. Music; H. Portfolio; and I. Speeches. Subseries F is further divided into four sub-subseries: 1. Essays; 2. Novels; 3. Poems; and 4. Short stories.

Series VIII is divided into three subseries: A. About Winch, B. Creative writing, and C. Music.

All series are arranged alphabetically.


Purchased from Brian Cassidy, Bookseller and Terence Winch (2017).

Related Materials

Related cataloged materials can be found under the location collection name "Mass Transit poets collection" in the Boston College Libraries catalog.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

  • Issues of the "Washingtonian".
  • Published materials including single issue serials, brochures, and clippings.
  • Test scores and transcripts
  • Administrative records
  • Audiovisual media: cassettes 7, 19, 36, 37, 44, 71, 75, 76, 82, 83, 90-92; VHS 3-4; CDs 5,6, 12-15, 18; and DVDs 1, 3, 10, 11.
Terence Winch Papers
1960-2017 (Bulk 1970-2010)
Annalisa Moretti
November 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States