H.D., (1886 - 1961)

Index to poems

Born September 10, 1886, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Hilda Doolittle wrote poetry, plays, fiction, and speculative prose, and experimented in film. She was educated at the Moravian Girls' Seminary and the Friends' Central School, where she was a keen classicist and basketball player in her youth, being tall (5 feet, 11 inches). She entered Bryn Mawr in 1905, which was successful for its friendships with Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound (with whom she was engaged briefly), but less so for her academic work, and she left after a year. She took ship for Europe in 1911, not to return to America, except for visits. In London Ezra Pound, after reading drafts of her early poems, suggested a literary identity for her, "H.D.," and inducted her into the Imagist movement, its early queen. In London she knew D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, and many other poets. She published her first imagist poems in Poetry in 1913 and produced a strikingly original first book, Sea Garden, in 1916. She and Richard Aldington married at Kensington on October 18, 1913, but she bore Cecil Gray's daughter, Perdita, on March 31, 1919. (Aldington and she were divorced in 1938 so that he could marry again.) Abandoned by the three most important men in her life, Pound, Aldington, and Lawrence, H.D. was rescued by Annie Winnifred Ellerman, known as Bryher, who became Perdita's adoptive mother and was devoted to caring for her mother all her life. H.D. experimented with prose fiction and even played the role of Astrid in the film Borderline (1930). She entered psychoanalysis under Sigmund Freud in Vienna during the thirties and wrote autobiographical studies, Bid Me to Live (1960) and End to Torment (1979). Her other books of poetry are:

  • Choruses from Iphigenia in Aulis (London: Egoist Press, 1916). end pam D664 Z5E87 Fisher Rare Book Library
  • The Tribute and Circe, Two Poems (Cleveland: Clerk's Private Press, 1917)
  • Choruses from Iphigenia in Aulis and the Hippolytus of Euripides (London: Egoist, 1919).
  • Hymen (London: Egoist, 1921)
  • Heliodora and Other Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924). PS 3507 O726H4 Robarts Library
  • Collected Poems of H.D. (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1925)
  • Red Roses for Bronze (London: Chatto and Windus, 1931). PS 3507 O726R4 Robarts Library
  • Euripides' Ion (London: Chatto and Windus, 1937). PA 3975 I6D6 Robarts Library
  • The Walls Do Not Fall (London: Oxford University Press, 1944). PS 3507 O726W3 Robarts Library
  • Tribute to the Angels (London: Oxford University Press, 1945)
  • The Flowering of the Rod (London: Oxford University Press, 1946)
  • Trilogy (London: Oxford University Press, 1973). PS 3507 O726T694 Robarts Library

Awards and honours include the Harriet Monroe Prize (1956) and the Gold Medal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1960). She died September 27, 1961, in Zurich and is buried at Nisky Hill in Bethlehem. See also

  • Between History & Poetry: The Letters of H.D. & Norman Holmes Pearson, ed. Donna Krolik Hollenberg (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1997). PS 3507 O726 Z494 Robarts Library
  • Boughn, Michael. H.D.: A Bibliography, 1905-1990 (Charlottesville: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia, 1993). PS 3507 O726Z54 1993 Robarts Library
  • A great admiration: H.D./Robert Duncan correspondence, 1950-1961, ed. Robert J. Bertholf (Venice: Lapis Press, 1992). PS 3507 O726Z485 Robarts Library
  • Guest, Barbara. Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and her World (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984). PS 3507 O726Z68 1984 Robarts Library
  • H. D., Bid me to live / H.D., introduction by Helen McNeil and afterword by Perdita Schaffner (London: Virago, 1984). PS 3507 O726B5 Robarts Library
  • --, Collected Poems: 1912-1944, ed. Louis L. Martz (New York: New Directions, 1983). PS 3507 O726 A6 Robarts Library
  • --, End to torment: a memoir of Ezra Pound / by H. D.; with the poems from "Hilda's book" by Ezra Pound, ed. Norman Holmes Pearson and Michael King (New York: New Directions, 1979). PS 3531 O82Z595 Robarts Library
  • Richard Aldington & H. D.: The Early Years in Letters, ed. Caroline Zilboorg (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995). PR 6001 L4Z547 Robarts Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
September 10, 1886
Death Date
September 27, 1961
  • Moravian Girls' Seminary

  • Friends' Central School

  • Bryn Mawr

Literary Period
Literary Movement