Warwick Allerton - Chicago, 701 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Eunice Tietjens (July 29, 1884 – September 6, 1944) was an American poet, novelist, journalist, children's author, lecturer, and editor.
Eunice Strong Hammond was born in Chicago on July 29, 1884. She was raised in Evanston, Illinois, until she was thirteen, when her father died and she and her siblings traveled with their mother to Europe. They spent considerable time in Germany, Switzerland, and France; Eunice Hammond received much of her education in these countries, studying at the Collège de France and the Sorbonne, the University of Geneva, and the Froebel Kindergarten Institute in Dresden. Though she never earned a college degree, through travel and informal and formal schooling Tietjens received an extraordinary education in the arts and literature, and she developed near-native command of several European languages. Her siblings, too, benefited from their unique educational experiences and, like her, made significant contributions to the arts and to their communities. One of her sisters was a concert cellist and another was a Christian missionary in the Far East; her brother, Laurens Hammond, was the inventor of the Hammond organ.
Her first husband was Paul Tietjens (1877-1943), whom she married in Paris in 1904. An American composer, Tietjens was well known for his collaboration with novelist L. Frank Baum on a musical version of Baum’s popular novel, The Wizard of Oz. Shortly after they were married, the couple had two children, Idea and Janet; they returned to the United States and settled in NewYork.Tietjens devoted herself to raising her two daughters and occasionally wrote essays for local and community publications. After their oldest daughter died at theage of four, in 1914, the couple separated. Tietjens returned to her childhood home in Evanston, where she found a job teaching kindergarten classes. She soon discovered that she was unsatisfied by that work; she began to look for alternative careers that she might find challenging and fulfilling. Encouraged by her friend, the writer Floyd Dell, she decided to pursue writing professionally.
As a young woman, Sara Teasdale began to travel, first with her mother and later on her own, visiting Chicago, New York, Africa, and Europe. During her trips, she often met other writers and soon developed an extended community of friends, especially in Chicago’s vibrant literary scene. Chief among thesewere the poets Vachel Lindsay and Eunice Tietjens and editors John Hall Wheelock and Harriet Monroe. Tietjens and Teasdale shared a close friendship and often spenthours together talking about poetry. Of one conversation that took place at dusk on a summer evening, Tietjens wrote, “I could scarcely see Sara then, but her voice came from the shadow, warm and clear,speaking with a depth of human understanding and a beautiful spiritual honesty that lifted me toanother world.”
Teasdale was in love with John Hall Wheelock, but the two enjoyed only a close friendship and never a romance; Vachel Lindsay, on the other hand, hoped to marry Teasdale. Though she considered his proposal, at the same time she was also entertaining a proposal from Ernst Filsinger, a businessman she met throughTietjens. Teasdale finally decided to marry Filsinger, though she maintained a close friendship with Lindsay.
Her poems had already begun to be published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, the noted poetry magazine, around 1913. She later became publisher Harriet Monroe’s associate editor there for more than twenty-five years. The two women developed a close personal friendship and an effective editorial collaboration that lasted for many years. An extremely generous editor, Tietjens had a style that contrasted with that of Monroe, an editor who was not likely to treat would-be contributors with kid gloves. Tietjens eventually became an associate editor with the magazine and she continued to work there on and off for the rest of her life.
Tietjens traveled extensively throughout her life. Among her many lengthy trips was a six-month journeyto the Far East, where she stayed with her sister, a missionary in China, and toured extensively in Chinaand Japan. During this trip, Tietjens developed an abiding love of Chinese culture and of eastern religious traditions. These topics were the subject of her first collection of poems, Profiles from China, published in 1917. The same year, Tietjens,who regularly contributed articles to the Chicago Daily News, requested a position as an overseas correspondent for the newspaper. She was granted the position, and was sentto France as a war correspondent.
The editors of Poetry, Harriet Monroe and Alice Corbin Henderson included in their 1917 selection for The New Poetry: An Anthology poems by Eunice Tietjens. According to Adrienne Munich and Melissa Bradshaw, authors of Amy Lowell, American Modern, what connects these poets is their appartenance to the queer sisterhood.
After gaining some experience with Poetry, Tietjens had an opportunity to get involved with the beginnings of another Chicago magazine, Margaret Anderson’s Little Review. Tietjens was moved by Margaret Anderson’s idealism, enthusiasm, and her commitment to the art and literature she believed in. In the magazine’s first years, when Anderson struggled mightily to keep her project going in spite of her lackof financial backing, Tietjens was one of several friends who came to Anderson’s rescue; she pawned the engagement ring her husband had given her and gave the money to Anderson. “Eunice Tietjens came out, bringing a diamond ring,” Anderson wrote. “I don’t want this anymore. Sell it and bring out an issue.”
Anderson’s charm and passion were legendary; “Margaret herself was the adventure,” Tietjens wrote. “She was so unbelievably beautiful, so vital, and so absurd!” Once, when the two friends went for a swim in Lake Michigan before sunrise, Tietjens remembered that Anderson looked like “some antique goddess of dawn.” When their swimming woke a neighbor who shouted at them to be quiet, Tietjens observed,“that is the trouble with goddesses in a workaday world. They are seldom appreciated.”
Tietjens remarried in 1920 to Cloyd Head (1886-1969), playwright and theatrical director, by whom she had a son, Marshall Head.
She died in 1944 in her hometown of Chicago, aged 60 from cancer.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE/strong>