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Brendan Galvin papers

Collection MS-2009-008: Brendan Galvin papers


  • Creation: 1921, 1958-2010

Scope and Contents

Papers highlighting the writing endeavors and accomplishments of American author Brendan Galvin through ephemera, drafts, collected research, correspondence, and notes. The bulk of the collection focuses on his essays, novels, poems, reviews, and short stories. Among the earliest records are his student works. Galvin's relationships and publishing endeavors can be traced through his correspondence, creative works shared with him, and peer edits to his poetry. Materials created and gathered by Galvin illustrate his participation in research and production of the documentary, Massachusetts Story. Events, conference presentations, and honors throughout his career are chronicled by ephemera, graphic material, and interviews. Of note are the files pertaining to his nomination as a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Some financial materials are closed.

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

Brendan Galvin was born in Everett, Massachusetts on October 20, 1938 to James Russell and Rose Galvin. He attended Malden Catholic High School, before enrolling at Boston College, where he earned his BS in Natural Sciences in 1960. Galvin went on to receive his MA in English from Northeastern University in 1964 and his MFA in Creative Writing and PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1968 and 1970 respectively.

On August 1, 1968, Galvin married Ellen Baer and they had two children, Peter and Anne. They summered in Truro, Massachusetts before settling at Durham, Connecticut.

From 1969 until 1997, Galvin taught as a professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He also held numerous other teaching positions, including serving as Coal Royalty Distinguished Writer in Residence at University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in spring 1993; Wyndham Robertson Visiting Writer in Residence at Hollins University in spring 1999; and Whichard Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities at East Carolina University in fall 2002. He was the founder and director of the Connecticut Writers' Conference from 1973 until 1982, and also taught at other writers’ conferences and workshops throughout his career.

Galvin has published numerous books of poetry, including Winter Oysters (1983); Hotel Malabar (1998); Ocean Effects (2007); and Egg Island Almanac (2017), as well as his translation of Women of Trachis by Sophocles (1998). Additionally, his poems appeared in over 600 magazines, textbooks, and anthologies, including Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and Poetry.

His book Habitat: New and Selected Poems (2005) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Other honors for his work include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1988); Folger Shakespeare Library’s O. B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize (1991); and two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships (1974, 1988).

Galvin died on August 17, 2023.


"Brendan Galvin." Poetry Foundation. Accessed April 17, 2019.

“Brendan Galvin” autobiography, circa 1991, Box 5, Folder 30, Brendan Galvin papers, MS.2009.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

“Brendan James Galvin”, Chapman Funerals and Cremations, August 17, 2023. Accessed September 27, 2023. "Ellen B. Galvin - Obituary - Norton, MA / Provincetown, MA / Truro, MA / Durham, CT - Gately McHoul Funeral Home." Obituary. Accessed April 17, 2019.

Resume and list of published poems, undated, Box 5, Folder 26, Brendan Galvin papers, MS.2009.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.


25.75 Linear Feet (23 containers)

Language of Materials



These papers comprise the correspondence, honors, manuscripts, and schoolwork of American writer Brendan Galvin. The majority of his manuscripts are drafts of his poems, but they also include essays, short stories, and unpublished novels. Additionally, the papers contain articles and interviews about Galvin and reviews of his works, as well as his collected research materials.


This collection is arranged into seven series: I. Correspondence; II. Events; III. Graphic material; IV. Honors; V. Professional materials; VI. Writings; and VII. Works by others.

Series VI. Writings is divided into nine subseries: A. Autobiography; B. Massachusetts Story documentary; C. Notes; D. Poetry; E. Prose; F. Publishing; G. Research; H. Reviews; and I. Student works.

Series VI. Writings, Subseries D. Poetry is divided into four sub-subseries: 1. Books; 2. Clippings of published poems; 3. Individual poems; and 4. Notebooks.

Series VII. Works by others is divided into two subseries: A. About Galvin and B. Creative works shared with Galvin.


Gift of Brendan Galvin in May 2009 and June 2010 and transferred from Hollins University's Wyndham Robertson Library in June 2009.

Related Materials

Derek Mahon papers, MS.1990.013, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Gerald Dawe papers, MS.2000.016, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

John F. Deane papers, MS.2002.009, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Terence Winch papers, MS.2017.005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

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.

Brendan Galvin Papers
1921-2010 (bulk 1971-2010)
Stephanie Hall
April 2019
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