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Joanne Townsend papers

Guide to the Joanne Townsend papers

Collection number: HMC-0246.
Creator: Townsend, Joanne.
Title: Joanne Townsend papers.
Dates: 1962-2019.
Volume of collection: 0.4 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of a former Poet Laureate for Alaska.

Biographical note:
Joanne Townsend was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She came to Alaska with her husband and son in 1970. Townsend received a master’s degree in English from the University of Arkansas in 1983. She worked as a registered nurse and wrote part-time until 1975, when she decided to pursue her career as a writer full-time. Townsend’s poetry has appeared in various publications including Hunger and Dreams: Alaska Women’s Anthology, and the Alaska Quarterly Review. She published her first book of poetry, entitled Balancing Act, in 1979, and taught English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Joanne Townsend was named Poet Laureate for Alaska by the state legislature in 1988.

Collection description:
The collection consists of papers regarding Joanne Townsend’s work as a poet and her relations with other Alaskan authors. The collection contains: correspondence; events where Townsend read poems, spoke, or was involved; poetry and drafts; papers regarding a memorial for poet Margaret Mielke; biographical and poetry clippings; publications of life stories by the creative writing class of the Anchorage Senior Center; photographs of Townsend’s poetry reading at the opening of Borders Bookstore in Anchorage, and Townsend in Bethel during a period as poet in the schools; and an audiocassette recording of Townsend’s poetry reading at the Coffee Mill. The correspondence and event files also contain poems that were either attached to letters, sent in emails, or read at the events.

Arrangement: The records in this collection are arranged roughly by type.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Joanne Townsend retains copyright to the materials in the collection. Archives and Special Collections can grant permission for use.

Preferred citation: Joanne Townsend papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Separated materials: Published books and journals were separated from the collection and added to the Consortium Library Rare Books collection.

Acquisition note: The collection was given to the Archives by Joanne Townsend in 1988, with additions made in 2003, 2004, 2015, and 2022. A deed of gift was signed by Townsend in 2015.

Processing information: This collection was arranged and described by Jeffrey Sinnott in 2004. The collection was converted to current standard by Veronica Denison in 2014. Additional materials were added by Veronica Denison in 2015 and by Becky Butler in 2023.

Container list:

Folder Description Dates
1-2 Correspondence 1980-2015
3 “I have saved some memories” by Anchorage Senior Center creative writing class 1991-1993
4 Event and materials on classes taught by Townsend; Contests and certificates undated, 1997-2014
5 Margaret Mielke memorial undated, 1968-1981
6 Publications: poetry and drafts 1962-2012
7 Publications: poetry and drafts 1993-2019
8 Alaska State Council on the Arts, travel grant material 1988
9 Clipping: biographical and poetry 1979-2009
10 Photographs undated, 1990
11 Audiocassette: poetry reading at the Coffee Mill 1991 May 23

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