Hilda Doolittle

image for Hilda Doolittle
Exhibition Label
Hilda Doolittle met Ezra Pound as a young woman and became one of his first great protégées. He was the one who named her, signing her work “H. D. Imagiste” when her poems were sent to the publisher. Pound played a crucial role, as he did with T. S. Eliot, in editing and cutting Doolittle’s verse, paring it down to the bare essentials of word and meaning, rather like his reduction of her name to two letters. Pound’s editing came with a cost, however; Doolittle bridled against male control, whatever its literary benefits.
Doolittle had an exotically tempestuous and dramatic private life that gave her no peace, and she underwent treatment from Sigmund Freud. Worshipped by many, she became poetry’s acolyte as a way out of making meaning out of life’s vicissitudes. Doolittle hoped for the escape offered by the forest nymph Oread, whom H. D. urges in her poem to “hurl your green over us, cover us with your pools of fir.”
Hilda Doolittle: Female
Hilda Doolittle: Literature\Writer\Poet
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
© 2012 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society, NY / ADAGP, Paris
Man Ray, 27 Aug 1890 - 18 Nov 1976
Hilda Doolittle, 1886 - 1961
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. John Schaffner
Gelatin silver print
Image: 24.4 x 18.7cm (9 5/8 x 7 3/8")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
c. 1925 (printed 1975)
Object number