Flora Pousette-Dart Papers

About Flora Pousette-Dart

Flora Louise Pousette-Dart (December 5, 1887–March 24, 1971), mother of Richard Pousette-Dart, was a poet, writer and musician with an active interest in feminist issues. She was born in South Dakota to Anson Lewis Dart, a restaurateur, and Josephine Louise (Whittaker) Dart, and as a child moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota. In 1905, she completed a course in English at the Saint Paul High School (Humboldt High) followed by studies at the St. Paul School of Arts, where she met Nathaniel Jermund (“Tony”) Pousette, a painter, writer and director of the School. After a 7-year courtship, they were married on April 16, 1913 in a ceremony in which they combined their last names as a gesture of “mutual esteem”. This “act of feminism” was recorded in newspapers across the country and in Canada.  During this period, Flora frequently published poems and essays in local newspapers that address socialism, ethics, gender inequality and art discourse. 

In 1918, the Pousette-Dart family moved to Valhalla, New York where Flora and Nathaniel raised three children (Dora, Richard and Helen), nurturing in them an interest in art, music and philosophy.

In c.1935 she published her first collection of poems, Poems, and in 1947, her second, I Saw Time Open, which received positive reviews. Flora frequently participated in salons with poets, writers and musicians who lived and worked in and around Philadelphia. By 1955, Nathaniel and Flora Pousette-Dart began to summer in Nantucket where their daughter Helen (renamed Maggie Meredith) lived with her family. She moved to Nantucket shortly after Nathaniel’s death in 1965, where she resided until her death in 1971.

Archival collection overview

The Flora Pousette-Dart papers measure 10.3 linear feet and are dated 1817-1975, and include biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, personal business records, printed materials and artwork that document her life and career.

Biographical materials document Flora Pousette-Dart’s education from Jefferson Kindergarten through to St. Paul School of Fine Arts; her marriage to Nathaniel Pousette; papers pertaining to the settlement of her estate; her family crest; name cards and additional biographical and miscellaneous material. In addition, the papers include documents that belonged to/or pertain to family members and friends. These include letters from her ancestors dating to 1817, documents pertaining to the marriage of her parents, correspondence that belonged to her aunt, Bertha Moellering [Whittaker], and correspondence, writings and notes and printed material that belonged to her close friend, Edith Bly.

Correspondence is primarily personal with a small scattering of professional letters from publishers and authors. The bulk of the correspondence is with her mother, father, husband, three children and a handful of friends, notably: Dora Lawton, Lillian and Al Lingberg and Bill and Velma Gordon.

Writings and notes are by Flora Pousette-Dart, with a handful of writings by other authors, and consist of journals and notebooks, bound collections of poems, loose transcriptions of poems and prose, notes, miscellaneous lists, speeches and writings by others. The bulk of her writings are consolidated in notebooks for 2 books, Poems, c. 1935 and I Saw Time Open, 1947.

Printed material consists of newspaper and magazine clippings, announcements, books, postcards, catalogues, programs, posters and miscellaneous items written by Flora Pousette-Dart and others. Newspaper clippings are scattered throughout the collection.

Artwork consists of original drawings, sketchbooks and ephemera by Flora Pousette-Dart and others, and the original drawing and for the book insert “Ex Libris Flora Pousette-Dart” by Alice E. Hügy.

Flora Louise Pousette-Dart – The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation

Flora Louise Pousette-Dart

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