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David W. McAleavey papers

Identifier: MS2051-UA

Collection Scope and Content

This collection consist of administrative files, correspondence, newsletters, manuscripts, videotape cassettes, and audiotape cassettes. The material is dated from 1976-93. This collection focuses primarily on writers who lived in the Metropolitan area during this period. The "Carousel" publications trace the development of the Writer's Center community for almost 18 years. The materials related to the publication of the Jenny McKean Moore Workshop anthology, "Evidence of Community," record many of the activities of the free community workshops, which were supported by a fund left in trust after the death of the GW student playwright to make college level creative writing courses available to writers in the Washington area who would not otherwise be able to attend them.

The collection includes videotaped recordings of two literary events in which McAleavey was involved. The first is the Larry Neal Writer's Conference, an annual meeting named for Larry Neal (1937-1981), a major figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's. McAleavey served on the steering committee of the conference held on May 10, 1985, which was themed "Writers: A Sense of Place." This conference included local and national writers, including prominent Native American writer Louise Erdrich. The second event recorded on videotape was the "Washington and Washington Writing" conference held at George Washington April 18-19, 1986. McAleavey edited an issue of the G.W. Washington Studies series, Washington and Washington Writing, that anthologizes the papers presented by numerous members of the Washington literary community at this conference. Also in the collection are audiotape recordings of a writing workshop, which include Washington D.C. writers Ann Darr, Jonetta Barras, Gregory Orfalea, and Dan Johnson.

This collection is part of the Washington Writers Archives at Gelman Special Collections, which includes original manuscripts and records from writers's organizations in the Washington D.C. area.


  • Creation: 1977-1993


Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

David McAleavey has played an active role in the Washington D.C. literary community, not only as a professor of literature at George Washington University, but also as a poet, a Jenny McKean Moore writing workshop leader, project director, and editor. He served from 1977 to 1980 on the Board of Directors of the Writer's Center, and helped produce the center's newsletter Carousel.

McAleavey taught at Cornell University from 1970-1973, and has been a member of the English Department at the George Washington University since 1974. He gained tenure in 1980, and became a full professor in 1989. He teaches courses in creative writing, American literature, English literature, and composition. McAleavey was Associate Dean for Student Services, Columbian College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at GWU from 1986 to 1994.

McAleavey has been a poetry writing instructor in the adult education workshops at the Writer's Center, Glen Echo and Bethesda, Maryland, 1977-1983. In addition, in 1992 he was the facilitator for "Poets in Person" poetry lecture/discussion groups using NEH-supported audiotapes produced by the Modern Poetry Association.

McAleavey's publications include poems in magazines, three books of poetry, and two anthologies that he edited. He has written several scholarly articles and bibliographies on the works of George Oppen and the mid-century American Objectivist poets.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection consists of administrative files, correspondence, newsletters, manuscripts, videotape cassettes and audiotape cassettes dating from 1976-93 focusing primarily on writers who lived in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area during this period. The "Carousel" publications trace the development of the Writer's Center community for almost 18 years.

Collection Organization

Organized into five series: Jenny McKean Moore workshops, The Writer's Center, Writer's conferences, Videotape cassettes, and Audiotape cassettes.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by David McAleavey to Gelman Library in 1986; McAleavey donated additional copies of the Carousel newsletter in 1993.

Reparative Description Projects

This finding aid was revised in 2022 to address harmful descriptive language. During that revision staff edited the description in the Scope and Content Note. To see the description prior to revisions, please view the previous version of the David W. McAleavey papers finding aid.

Guide to the David W. McAleavey papers, 1977-1993
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America