University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Audrey White Beyer papers, 1935-1985

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection includes typescripts of Beyer’s early poetry and prize-winning articles, as well as of her four young adult novels, published from 1959-1968. Page proofs, dummies, advertisements, reviews, and correspondence with publishers and readers are included. A small amount of biographical material is included, as well as several photographs of Beyer and a pencil portrait.

Biographical/Historical Note

Audrey White Beyer was born on November 12, 1916 in Portland, Maine and was raised in Cape Elizabeth. She attended Westbrook Junior College, graduating in 1937. She received her B.A. in 1939 from the University of Maine. While at Westbrook College, Beyer was an Associate Literary Editor of The Tower, the College’s magazine. She also contributed several pieces of poetry and short essays to The Tower. Beyer was an English teacher at several academies in New England, including Westbrook Junior College (1939-43), Milton Academy Girls’ School (1956), Waynflete Summer School (1957-59), Northeastern University (1968-73), and Milton Academy Boy’s School (1973-74).

In 1940 she was married to Walter A. Beyer, and eventually had two children, Bill and Ned. Child Life Magazine published her story, “Under Pirate Fire,” in 1956. She is best known for her historical fiction for young adults. Beyer studied with Adelaide Field in an Adult Education Course and also studied under May Sarton in a Radcliffe Seminar at Harvard University. Her first novel, Dark Venture, was published in 1958, won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Capture at Sea (1959), which tells the story of two Yankee boys in the British naval service during the War of 1812, won the Jack and Jill Award in 1959, for which she was awarded $1000. In 1961, Beyer was one of the first Westbrook College alumnae to win the Tower Award for Alumnae Achievement. Her other novels include The Sapphire Pendant (1961) and Katharine Leslie (1963). She died in 1985 at age 69.