Who was Edith Granger?


With poetry month coming to a close, we thought we’d post about one of the crown jewels on the Columbia University Press poetry list, namely The Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in Anthologies:. First published in 1904 and now in its thirteenth edition and available online, Granger’s has become the standard reference volume for locating poems.

But who exactly is Granger? And how did she come up with the idea of indexing the title and first lines of poems and turn it into a must-have for poetry lovers and libraries? This question was recently answered by Mike Chasar on his excellent blog “Poetry and Popular Culture,” who found out more about Edith Granger, the woman behind the index.

In a piece entitled Finding Edith Granger, Chasar did some research and found that after attending Smith College, Edith Granger went to work at A. C. McClurg a Chicago publisher, came up with the idea of the book and lent her name to it. However, after that monumental contribution, Granger left the poetry world behind, moving to California where she ran a prune farm and was later postmistress of Fulton County.

In addition to his historical detective work, Chasar also interviewed Tessa Kale, the editor of Granger’s.

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