Subscribe to the Rosenblog!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Iran? Marianne?

I use Wikipedia all the time. It's handy. Now, I'm not an expert on anything, so relying on an open-source encyclopedia has its dangers. This fact became clear to me when trying to confirm the date of Marianne Moore's death using Wikipedia. I didn't get that far in the Moore entry, though because of this sentence, "Marianne Moore was born in Tehran, Iran, outside of the Shah's palace..."

I've gleaned a bit a about Moore's life while working with her papers at the Rosenbach, but nothing I'd call expertise. Still, I was pretty sure she wasn't born in Iran. For the record, (quoted from Charles Molesworth's Marianne Moore: A Literary Life), "Marianne Moore was born on November 15, 1887, in the manse of her maternal granfather, John Riddle Warner... in Kirkwood, Missouri." That seems pretty far from the Shah's palace, in a lot of ways, really. Here's the house where she was born:



That's Moore and her brother John on the tricycle.

By the way, here's Naser o-Din Shah, ruler of Iran at the time of Moore's birth:


I suspect Moore may well have respected his efforts to maintain Iranian independence in the face of British and Russian encroachment referred to here.

The occasion for my looking up the date of Miss Moore's death was a sad one. In going through some uncataloged material from her papers, I came across a calendar for the year 1972. It was a promotional calendar for Crane & Co., the paper makers who supply the paper for U.S. currency, with a tear-away page for each month. The only page torn away was that for January. Moore died on February 5, 1972.

NB: One of the virtues of Wikipedia is that it can learn. So I've taken it upon myself to correct the information about the place of Moore's birth. You won't find the sentence about her being born in Tehran now.