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Nicholas Joost Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS74

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Nicholas T. Joost Papers contain voluminous correspondence received by this editor, author, and educator, from many well-known writers and scholars. As editor of several literary journals such as Poetry magazine and Papers on Language and Literature, Dr. Joost corresponded with such authors as John Deedy, Babette Deutsch, George Dillon, Wallace Fowlie, Isabella Gardner, Alyse Gregory, Mary Hemingway, Laura Riding Jackson, Russell Kirk, John Logan, Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore, Henry Rago, Gilbert Seldes, and Karl Shapiro.

Of particular interest is the correspondence from those associated with the Dial, the avant-garde literary journal of the 1920s, about which Dr. Joost wrote several books. Correspondents include Alyse Gregory (managing editor, 1924-1925); Marianne Moore (acting editor, 1925-1927, and editor after 1927); Gilbert Seldes (managing editor, 1920-1923); Scofield Thayer (founder and editor); and James Sibley Watson (co-founder and publisher). Other correspondents associated with the Dial include Ellen Thayer, Scofield's cousin and assistant editor when she replaced Sophie Wittenburg, in March 1925; and Marjorie Thayer Clary, former wife of Ernest Thayer, Scofield Thayer's uncle.

In addition to correspondence, the collection includes photocopies and typescript copies of correspondence from Scofield Thayer to his mother Florence Thayer; from Thayer to T.S. Eliot; from Marianne Moore to Eliot; and from Ernest Hemingway to Alyse Gregory.

This collection contains substantial information on the Dial magazine accumulated by Dr. Joost during the research and writing of his books on the magazine, including news clippings and copies of articles about the Dial, as well as his own notes and manuscripts. Original typescripts for many of Dr. Joost's articles on the Dial are available in this collection. Typescripts for books include “Ernest Hemingway and the Little Magazines: the Paris Years” (Barre Publishers, 1968); and “Years of Transition: the Dial, 1912-1920” (Barre Publishers, 1967). A sizable part of the Manuscripts Series consists of material used by Dr. Joost and his co-editor, Alvin Sullivan, to compile the bibliographical work on the Dial entitled: “The Dial: Two Author indexes.” Included are six catalog card boxes of alphabetically arranged index cards containing authors and publication information.


  • 1920 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical Note

Nicholas Teynac Joost, Jr., was born May 28, 1916, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the son of Nicholas Teynac Joost, a businessman, and of Margaret Wrigley. Dr. Joost received his early education at the Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville. He then earned a B.S.S. from Georgetown University in 1938, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1939 and 1947, respectively. During World War II, Dr. Joost served in the U.S. Army Air Forces (1942-1945).

Dr. Joost began his academic teaching career as an instructor in English literature at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (1947-1949). From 1949 to 1954, he was assistant professor at Loyola University, Chicago; from 1954 to 1958, he was associate professor at Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts; and from 1958 until his death in 1980. From 1960 to 1963, Dr. Joost was professor of English at the Southern Illinois University (SIU), Edwardsville, where he also headed the Humanities Division, which he had established.

In addition to his formal academic responsibilities, Dr. Joost acted for numerous other academic and literary associations. He was an editorial consultant to the Bollingen Foundation (1954), and Fulbright lecturer at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands (1963-1964). Dr.Joost was also the judge for the quarterly poetry contest of the hospitalized Veterans Writing Project (from 1954 until some time in the1960s); member of the board of commissioners of the Hayner District library, Alton, Illinois (1969-1980); and a member of the board of directors for the Lewis and Clark Library, Edwardsville, Illinois (1971), becoming president in 1973.

Dr. Joost was also a member of the following organizations, for which he maintained files of information and correspondence available in this collection: the Modern Language Association of America; American Studies Association, of which he was president for the mid-continent branch (1965-1966); the Catholic Renascence Society; the William Clark Society; St. Louis Westerners; and Delta Epsilon Sigma, the bulletin of the National Catholic Honor Society, for which Dr.Joost served as national president (1957-1958).

In 1956 Dr. Joost was asked by Francis Henry Taylor to write a book about the Dial magazine, to coincide with a major exhibition of artwork originally published by the Dial. Known as the Dial Collection, this artwork was housed at the Worcester Museum in Massachusetts. Taylor had just retired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and returned to direct the Worcester Museum. Preparations were halted in 1957 with Taylor's death; however, the exhibition was opened under the new director, Daniel Catton Rich, in 1959. The book, “The Dial in the Twenties,” by Dr. Joost, was eventually published by the Southern Illinois University Press (1963). Its focus was on the period 1920 to 1929 when the magazine was edited by Scofield Thayer and James Sibley Watson, and was considered the most prominent avant-garde journal of the time. Subsequent books by Dr. Joost on the Dial include: “Scofiled Thayer and the Dial” (Southern Illinois University Press, 1964); “Years of Transition: The Dial 1912-1920” (Barre Publishers, 1967); “Ernest Hemingway and the Little Magazines: the Paris Years” (Barre, 1968); “D.H. Lawrence and The Dial” (Southern Illinois University Press, 1970); and “The Dial: Two Author Indexes,” compiled with Alvin Sullivan (Southern Illinois University Press, 1971).

Dr. Joost was also a member of the editorial staff for several prestigious literary journals including Poetry magazine (acting editor, 1953-1954); Papers on English Language and Literature, later called Papers on Language and Literature (editor, 1965-1973). The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Dr. Joost has been presented with grants from the Bollingen Foundation (1958-1958) and the Chapelbrook Foundation (1970-1971); faculty awards from Southern Illinois University (1960 and1972); service award from Delta Epsilon Sigma (1963); and the Chicago Book Clinic Award 1964, for “Scofield Thayer and the Dial.”

Dr. Joost died in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, on March 23, 1980. He was survived by his wife, Laura A. Reed and children, Anna, Mary Eliza, and Nicholas.

Source: Contemporary Authors: Cumulative Index, volumes 1-128 (Gale research Inc., 1990).


8 Cubic Feet (8 record storage boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Laura Joost, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 2007. Additional materials donated by Mary Elizabeth Joost Lanigan, 2018.

Processing Information

The collection has been rehoused in acid-free boxes and folders.

Lisette C. Matano
circa 1990-1996
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024-05: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057