University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Florence Burrill Jacobs papers, 1904-1976

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection includes extensive files of Jacobs’ manuscripts, both published and unpublished, as well as correspondence from publishers dating from the 1920s through the 1970s. Also in the collection is biographical information, including autobiographical notes, student essays about Jacobs, photographs and school-related notebooks and memorabilia. Material relating to literary organizations and poetry awards is found in folders 121-124. The collection also includes clippings and scrapbooks of Jacobs’ published work, and many of the complete issues of these journals are housed in the MWWC Periodical Collection.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in 1898 to George and Ria Morrison Burrill, Florence Elizabeth Burrill was the fifth generation of her family to reside in the family home in East Madison, Maine. She began writing verse at the age of six, but never considered herself an intellectual. Jacobs graduated East Madison High School in 1916, and then was a schoolteacher for several years. She took courses at Shaw’s Business College in Portland, as well as at other schools, and worked for a time in the Farm Bureau Office in Skowhegan and in her father’s store. In 1928 she married George Jacobs, a high school industrial arts teacher, and the two continued to live in Madison.

Jacobs began submitting her poetry for publication as a teenager and began making a career of writing in the 1930s. Her verse was published in many diverse publications ranging from Farm Journal to the Saturday Evening Post, and appeared in numerous Hallmark greeting cards and gift books. Jacobs published two volumes of her poetry, Stones and Other Poems (1932) and Neighbors (1938), a book of witty sonnets about typical rural Maine characters. In addition to poetry, for which she won many local and national awards, Jacobs wrote short stories and articles on agriculture, education, romance, and other topics. Jacobs belonged to a number of literary organizations, including the Poetry Society of America and the National League of American Pen Women Pine Tree Branch. She died in 1978, and was survived by her husband.