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Ralph H. Stephens collection

Ralph H. Stephens collection

Descriptive Summary

Title: Ralph H. Stephens collection
Creator: Stephens, Ralph Haygood, 1910-1994
Inclusive Dates: 1910-1994
Language(s): English
Extent: 4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)
Collection Number: UA01-023
Repository: University of Georgia Archives

Collection Description

Historical Note

Ralph Haygood Stephens was born on October 4, 1910 in Wrens, Georgia. He grew up helping his father, Charles Wynn, put out The Jefferson Reporter, a weekly paper that had to be typeset by hand. During this time he became the first of four sons to serve as editor for his father's newspaper.

He graduated from Wrens High School as the class Salutatorian in 1928. Stephens went on to receive his BA degree from Georgia Southern College (1933) and his MA in English at the University of Georgia in 1939.

In the initial years of his professional life Stephens was the principle of two high schools, served in the Army during World War II, and taught English at the University of Georgia for several years. Along with John Donald Wade he was instrumental in establishing the Georgia Review, the University of Georgia's literary quarterly.

Ralph Stephens joined the University of Georgia's staff in 1936 as a graduate assistant in the English Department and served as assistant director of the University Press from 1940-1949. He was an assistant professor of journalism from 1949-1950. In 1950, Stephens became the director of the University of Georgia Press, a post he held until his retirement in 1978.

He was responsible for initiating several series, among them Contemporary Poetry, Georgia History, Lamar Lectures on Southern Life and Letters, and Wormsloe Foundation Publications on Colonial History. During his tenure at the university press, it published more than 500 books in various disciplines.

Throughout his career Stephens had been interested in promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and became much in demand for his poetry readings, with Robert Frost listed as his favorite poet. He regularly gave poetry recitals for high schools, colleges, writer workshops, and various clubs.

The Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists honored him for his lifetime of devotion to published works. Stephens was also the recipient of a Southern Books Competition award for book design and had served as Vice President of the Association of American University Presses.

Scope and Content

This collection offers a glimpse at the personal and professional life of Ralph Haygood Stephens, former director of the University of Georgia Press (1950-1978). The professional material consists UGA Press and awards/certificates. The UGA Press subseries consists of a small amount of office files that include publishing lists, notes, and newspaper articles concerning the Press and Stephens. Also included are a few biographical sketches and resumes of Stephens', a copy of Who's Who in Publishing, and a bound copy of correspondence from colleagues that Stephens received upon retirement. There are four items in the awards and certificates subseries: a Phi Beta Kappa certificate of recognition and a copy of a resolution presented after Ralph Stephens' death in 1994, a Cobbham Casuals Series signed flyer, and a Dixie Council award plaque.

The personal material includes Stephens birth certificate, official Army, honorable discharge certificate, Army dog tags, a Medal of Good Conduct, Field and Camp Notebook, master's thesis, obituaries, memorial given by son, and burial flag. The photographs document Stephens' life from childhood through adulthood. Also included are family photos, press related photos, a dismantled scrapbook that includes correspondence, and a White House presentation to President Jimmy Carter. The largest subseries is poetry journals, which includes both collected and original poems. Ralph Stephens used these journals for promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry through poetry recitals given at high schools, colleges, writers workshops, and clubs. The last Audiovisual material, houses the audio tape recordings of Ralph Stephens' poetry recitation. Included are love poems, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Byron Herbert Reece poems, and A Panorama of American Poetry: 1835-1935.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into two groups: professional and personal.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Though the collection is open for research, the audiovisual recordings do not have reference copies; however, reference copies are available upon request. Audiovisual research requests are dependent upon the format and condition of the recordings.

Preferred Citation

Ralph H. Stephens collection, UA01-023, University Archives, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

General Notes

RG1-10 (University of Georgia Press)

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Phi Beta Kappa
Publishers and publishing -- Biography.
Stevens family -- Photographs
University of Georgia. Press -- Records and correspondence

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


1. Professional papers

1.1 UGA Press

11University of Georgia Press office files and newspaper articles on the UGA press, 1968-1988
12Resume and biographical sketch of Ralph Stephens with two newspaper articles featuring Stephens, 1959-1977
13 Who's Who in Publishing , 1971
14Bound correspondence from friends and collegues to Ralph Stephens upon his retirement, 1978
Testimonial Dinner, 1978 June 1
15Georgia Press Institute/Georgia Press Association 50th Anniversary paperweight, 1978
16Testimonial Dinner, 1978 June 1

1.2 Awards and Certificates

21Two Phi Beta Kappa certificates of recognition and signed handbill from the Cobbham Casuals subseries, 1991 - 1994
22Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists award plaque, 1976

2. Personal papers

2.1 Vital records

31Medal of Good Conduct, 2 military dog tags, birth certificate, and Army discharge certificate., 1942-1945
32Copy of memorial given by Ralph Stephens' son, four newspaper obituaries., 1994
33One copy of the "Field and Camp Notebook" from South Georgia Teachers College
34One copy of Ralph Stephens' Masters Thesis: "The Development of Blank Verse in the English Drama from Gorboduc Through Edward II", 1939
41Ralph Stephens burial flag (American flag)
55Ralph Stephens obituary, 1994

2.2 Photographs

51Eight portrait photographs of Ralph Stephens, 1910-1981
52Disassembled scrapbook with both photographs and correspondence, 1913-1992
53White House/Jimmy Carter presentation photographs and correspondence, 1978
54Photographs, 1953-1994

2.3 Poetry journals

61Unbound journal of collected poetry
62Unbound journal of collected poetry
82Two audiotapes entitled: "Love Poems, Readings and Commentary" by Ralph Stephens
63Unbound journal of collected poetry
64Unbound journal of collected poetry and selected poetry for readings/recitation
65Unbound journal of collected poetry
66Unbound journal of Frost and Sandburg collected poetry
67Unbound journal of collected poetry
68Bound journal with personal poetry and self-made code of ethics
71Bound journal of collected poetry

2.4 Audiovisual material

81Six audiotapes entitled: "A Panorama of American Poetry: 1835-1935," Read by Ralph Stephens
83One audiotape entitled: "Panorama of American Poets (1835-1935), Read by Ralph Stephens"
84One audiotape entitled: "Robert Frost Poems, Read by Ralph Stephens"
86One audiotape entitled: "Poetry of Byron Herbert Reece, Readings and Commentary by Ralph Stephens"