Born on December 9, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York, Léonie Adams graduated from Barnard College in 1922.
An educator, consultant, editor, and poet, she was best known for her meticulously crafted lyric poetry, which fused Romantic and Metaphysical elements. In the 1920s, she served in editorial capacities for both Wilson Publishing and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She then went on to teach English and lecture at various colleges and universities, including New Jersey College for Women (now, Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University), from which she received an honorary doctoral degree in 1950. Adams also taught at the University of Washington, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Columbia University, New York University, and Sarah Lawrence College.
From 1948 to 1949, Adams was Poetry Consultant for the Library of Congress (now, U.S. Poet Laureate). Her collections of poetry are Poems: A Selection (Funk & Wagnalls, 1954), which received the Bollingen Prize (a joint-winner with Louise Bogan); High Falcon and Other Poems (John Day Company, 1929); and Those Not Elect (Robert M. McBride & Company, 1925).
In 1974, Adams was awarded an Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. Adams’s other awards and honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Shelley Memorial Award.
Léonie Adams died on June 27, 1988, in New Milford, Connecticut.