Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), poet
Millay at the pool in the sunken gardens, c. 1940
Photographs courtesy of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.
Steepletop, a two-story white clapboard house, was the country home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay for 25 years and in many ways forms a striking memorial to her life.
Millay's writing career began in childhood and attracted public attention in 1911 with the publication of "Renascence," a work which drew wide admiration and critical praise. She graduated from Vassar, became active in
women's rights issues and incorporated activist themes into several of her poems and plays. Millay was awarded the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, the work which best represents her romantic and dramatic emotional style. In 1925, Millay and her husband, Eugene Boissevain, purchased a berry farm in upstate New York, which they renamed "Steepletop" after the wildflowers that grew in nearby fields.
Steepletop sheltered Millay from the outside world, and she composed many works there, including the libretto for the opera, The King's Henchman, which became the most popular American opera up to its time. Later works, such as Wine From These Grapes and Fatal Interview, reflected a more mature style which many attribute to the personal growth and happiness she experienced at Steepletop.
Millay continued to write at Steepletop until her death in 1950. Her love of the land at Steepletop is symbolized by her burial there.
Steepletop, a National Historic Landmark, is located southeast of Albany, NY. The property is privately owned by the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society. Steepletop is now open to the public, although the house itself is not ready for tours. The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society maintains an active gallery, provides various walking tours, and hosts open garden tours as well as private group tours. Contact the director at 518-392-EDNA (3362) for information or reservations.
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