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Edna Worthley Underwood collection

Call Number: RH MS E213


Edna Worthley Underwood was a Kansan writer and translator who spoke more than 14 languages. This collection, compiled by Florence L. Snow in 1944, contains newspaper clippings, copies of correspondence between Underwood and Snow, and book catalogs mentioning Underwood's various publications.


  • Creation: 1919-1947 (bulk 1924)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Edna Worthley Underwood (1873 - 1961)

Edna Worthley Underwood was born in January 1873 in Maine. The Worthley family moved to Arkansas City, Kansas when Underwood was 11 years old.

Underwood was able to translate 14 modern languages, including Spanish, German, Russian, Portugese, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, Sanskrit, and "Persian" (Farsi), as well as ancient Latin. She attended Garfield University in Wichita, KS, and the University of Michigan.

In August of 1897, Underwood married Earl Underwood of Bedford, Iowa. The Underwoods would eventually move to Kansas City, Missouri and then to New York City, New York.

Underwood was known as one of the first Americans to translate poems and stories from Russian, Spanish, and Portugese poets and writers in South America. Most of her well known works came from these translations, such as Song of Hafiz (1917), Anthology of Mexican Poets (1937), several anthologies from Slavic and Spanish-speaking poets, and Tu Fu, Wanderer and Minstrel Under Moons of Cathay, translated with Chi-Hwang Chu (1937).

Besides translation, Underwood also produced several original works. Her novels comprise The Whirlwind (1918) and The Passion Flower (1924), and her nonfiction works include Songs of the Plains (1917) and The Taste of Honey: The Notebook of a Linguist (1930).

Underwood returned to Arkansas City, Kansas in the Spring of 1952. She died March 14, 1961 in Winfield, Kansas.

[Information gathered from Craine, Carol Ward. Mrs. Underwood: Linguist, Littérateuse. Literature series no.4, Hays: Fort Hays University, 1965; and collection materials.]


1 volume (1 volume + 1 folder) ; Volume measures 35.6 cm tall.

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS E213

Physical Location

RH MS P993

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Florence L. Snow, 1944.

Processing Information

Previously located at FKB H2 Un2.

Guide to the Edna Worthley Underwood Collection
Edna Worthley Underwood collection
Finding aid prepared by mmj. Finding aid encoded by mmj.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
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Preferred citation
Edna Worthley Underwood collection, RH MS E213, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States