This was the home of John Malcolm Brinnin, Dylan’s agent in America and the director of the 92Y. Dylan used the house as a base, asking family and friends to send post there. It has been suggested that Dylan wrote part of Under Milk Woodthere.
Chicago was one of Dylan’s favourite American cities and he drank in the south side bars with novelist Nelson Algren. He also stayed at the Quadrangle Club, the headquarters of the dons at the University of Chicago.
During the second reading tour of America in 1952, Dylan and Caitlin stayed with the painter and poet Max Ernst.
Caitlin and I are buried in the Tuzigoot stone tepee on the other side of this card. We were killed in action, Manhattan Island, spring, 1952, in a gallant battle against American generosity an American called Double Rye shot Caitlin to death. I was scalped by a Bourbon. (Extract of a postcard to Daniel Jones, sent while staying with Max Ernst, March 21st 1952)
During his first tour of America, Dylan met Shelley Winters and Charlie Chaplin, spending an evening at the latter’s home. He asked Chaplin to send his wife Caitlin a telegram.
I am glad Charlie Chaplin wired to you. He said he wanted to send his greetings. He’s a very fine man. I was only two days in Hollywood, staying with Christopher Isherwood who took me along to Chaplin’s for dinner. Chaplin danced and clowned all the time. I met also Ivan Moffat. (Letter to Caitlin May 7th 1950)
This was one of Dylan’s favourite places in America. He stayed with his friend Ruth Witt Diament at 1520 Willard St, during his first tour in 1950. She ran the San Francisco State College Poetry Center and organised Dylan’s readings. Caitlin and Dylan visited there again in 1952.
I said San Francisco was the best city on earth. It is incredibly beautiful, all hills and bridges and blinding blue sky and boats and the Pacific Ocean. (Letter to Caitlin Thomas, April 5th 1950)
But oh, San Francisco! It is and has everything…The wonderful sunlight there, the hills, the great bridges, the Pacific at your shoes. Beautiful Chinatown. Every race in the world. The sardine fleets sailing out. The little cable-cars whizzing down the city hills. The lobsters, clams & crabs. (Letter to Caitlin Thomas, April 7th 1950)
Dylan journeyed to Big Sur to meet the writer Henry Miller.
Last week I went to Big Sur, a mountainous region by the sea, and stayed the night with Henry Miller… He lives about 6,000 feet up in the hills, over the blinding blue Pacific, in a hut of his own making (Letter to Caitlin Thomas, 7th April 1950)
On Sunday May 3rd 1953, Dylan gave a first solo reading of his still unfinished Under Milk Wood at the Fogg Museum’s Norton Lecture Hall. The reading received an ecstatic response from the audience; a local reviewer noted that Dylan “read in a voice sonorous as the surf breaking on the shingle”, and Dylan’s agent John Malcolm Brinnin noting that “the play proceeded in an atmosphere of crackling excitement”.
An important collection of Dylan Thomas material comprising manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, drawings, financial records, photographs, page proofs and broadcast scripts. The archive is open for research purposes.
Dylan travelled to America in February 1950 until May 1950 for a gruelling three-month reading tour where he travelled the country and gave readings in universities, theatres and museums. He travelled to America for a second time in January 1952 and was joined by his wife Caitlin and then a third and forth time in spring and autumn of 1953. By this time, the tours were taking their toll on him and he was exhausted, unwell, depressed, grieving the loss of his father, who had died in December 1952, and his marriage to Caitlin was also under strain. He did manage to complete his play-for-voices, Under Milk Wood and performed to a packed audience on May 14th 1953. It was a huge success. Sadly, he died at the end of his fourth trip to America on November 9th 1953, just a few weeks after his thirty-ninth birthday.
Scroll down to see the number of performances, and the distances Dylan travelled, during his four trips to North America.
1st reading tour
“I never seem to sleep in a bed any more, only on planes and trains. I’m hardly living; I’m just a voice on wheels.” (Letter to his wife Caitlin on the 15th March 1950)
“At last my tour is at an end. I have visited over forty universities, schools and colleges, from Vancouver, in British Columbia, to Southern Florida. I have travelled right through the Middle West, the North West, and on to the Western Coast of California.” (Letter to his parents on May 22nd 1950)
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Thursday 23rd February 1950.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Saturday 25th February 1950.
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut – Tuesday 28th February 1950.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts – Wednesday 1st March 1950.
Tuesday 2nd March 1950 – Dylan recorded his poetry for the Sweeney Collection in the Lamont Library, Harvard University.
Mount Holyoake College, South Hadley, Mass – Thursday 2nd March 1950.
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts – Friday 3rd March 1950.
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania – Tuesday 7th March 1950.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington DC – Wednesday 8th March 1950.
Library of Congress, Washington DC – Thursday 9th March 1950 – Dylan recorded his work at the Library of Congress.
Columbia University, Broadway and West 116th street – Monday 13th March 1950.
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y – Tuesday 14th March 1950.
Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio – Wednesday 15th March 1950.
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois- Thursday 16th March 1950.
Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, Indiana – Friday 17th March 1950.
University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois – Monday 20th March 1950.
State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa – Tuesday 21st March 1950.
University of California, Berkeley, California – Tuesday 4th April 1950.
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington State – Friday 7th April 1950.
University of California, Los Angeles, California – Monday 10th April 1950.
Pomona College, Claremont, California – Tuesday 11th April 1950.
Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara, California – Thursday 13th April 1950.
Santa Barbara College, Santa Barbara, California – Thursday 13th April 1950.
Mills College, Oakland, California – Monday 17th April 1950.
San Francisco State College, San Francisco, California – Thursday 18th April 1950.
Cooper Union, Fourth Avenue and 8th Street, New York – Monday 24th April 1950.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York – Monday 24th April 1950.
Hobart College, Geneva, New York – Wednesday 26th April 1950.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida – Thursday 27th April 1950.
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts – Monday 1st May 1950.
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts – Tuesday 2nd May 1950.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Wednesday 3rd May 1950.
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan – Thursday 4th May 1950.
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana – Friday 5th May 1950.
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York – Tuesday 9th May 1950.
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey – Wednesday 10th May 1950.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Monday 15th May 1950.
Barnard College, Broadway and West 116th Street, New York – Thursday 18th May 1950.
2nd reading tour
SEE YOU PIER 90 SUNDAY BRING CARPET LOVE DYLAN CAITLIN. (Telegram to John Malcolm Brinnin from the SS Queen Mary.)
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Thursday 31st January 1952 and Saturday 2nd February 1952.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York – Tuesday 5th February 1952.
Institute of contemporary Arts, Washington DC – Friday 8th February 1952.
New School for Social Research, 66 West, New York – Wednesday 13th February 1952.
New York University, Washington Square – Thursday 14th February 1952.
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont – Friday 15th February 1952.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York – Monday 18th February 1952.
Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street – Sunday 24th February 1952.
Bennett Junior College, Millbrook, New York – Tuesday 26th February 1952.
Socialist Party in New York City, 303 Fourth Avenue – Friday 29th February 1952.
John’s Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland – Tuesday 4th March 1952.
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey – Wednesday 5th March 1952.
De-Cordoca Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts – Friday 7th March 1952.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts – Friday 7th March 1952.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts – Monday 10th March 1952.
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts – Tuesday 11th March 1952.
New School for Social Research, 66 West, New York – Wednesday 12th March 1952.
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York – Thursday 13th March 1952.
Circle-in-the-Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway and 138 or 139th Street – Sunday 16th March 1952.
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania – Monday 17th March 1952.
New York University, Washington Square – Thursday 31st March 1952.
San Francisco State College, San Francisco, California – Thursday 3rd April 1952.
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington State – Thursday 10th April 1952.
University of California, Berkeley, California – Tuesday 15h April 1952.
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California – Wednesday 16th April 1952.
University of Utah, Utah, Salt Lake City – Friday 18th April 1952.
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri – Monday 21st April 1952.
Poetry Magazine, Chicago, Illinois – Wednesday 23rd April 1952.
North-Western University, Evanston, Illinois – Thursday 24th April 1952.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Friday 25th April 1952.
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana – Monday 28th April 1952. (This reading was the only one that Dylan ever cancelled)
Master Institute of United Arts, 310 Riverside Drive, New York – Wednesday 30th April 1952.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington DC – Monday 5th May 1952.
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut – Wednesday 7th May 1952.
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York – Thursday 8th May 1952.
Ethical Culture Society Auditorium, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Saturday 9th May 1952.
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York – Monday 12th May 1952.
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire – Tuesday 13th May 1952.
Duncan Phillips Gallery, Washington – Wednesday 14th May 1952.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Thursday 15th May 1952.
3rd and 4th reading tours
“Two weeks here, in this hot hell and I know nothing except that I’m waiting for you and you never come. Darling Cat my wife, my beautiful Cat. And in two weeks I’ve travelled all over the stinking place, even into the deep South: in 14 days I’ve given 14 readings, and am spending as little as possible so I can bring some home and so that we can go into the sun.” (Letter to Caitlin May 7th 1953.)
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts – Saturday 25th April 1953.
Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont – Monday 27th April 1953.
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York – Tuesday 28th April 1953.
Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts – Wednesday 29th April 1953.
Harvard University (Fogg Museum), Cambridge, Massachusetts – Friday 1st May 1953.
Harvard University (Fogg Museum), Cambridge, Massachusetts – Sunday 3rd May 1953 –A solo performance, of the unfinished Under Milk Wood.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington DC – Monday 4th May 1953.
Smith Memorial Auditorium, Randolph-Macon Women’s College Lynchburg, Virginia -Tuesday 5th May 1953.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Friday 8th May 1953.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts – Monday 11th May 1953.
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina – Tuesday 12th May 1953.
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut – Wednesday 13th May 1953.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Thursday 14th May 1953 – the première of Under Milk wood recorded by Caedmon Records.
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts – Wednesday 20th May 1953.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Sunday 24th May 1953.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Thursday 28th May 1953 – the second performance of Under Milk Wood.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Saturday 24th October 1953 – the third performance of Under Milk Wood.
Kauffman Auditorium, 92 Y, New York – Sunday 25th October 1953 – Dylan’s last performance of Under Milk Wood.
City College of New York, Convent Avenue – Thursday 29th October 1953 – This was Dylan’s last public reading.