Skip to main content

Federal Poets

Identifier: 200

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes issues of the publication “The Federal Poet” from 1968-1993”, flyers advertising the group’s activities, a program of one of their events, correspondence, and clips of the group’s history within the district.


  • Creation: Unknown


Some materials in the collection may be copyrighted.

Historical Note

The Federal Poets is the oldest active poet society in Washington DC. They gather once a month for the purpose of providing constructive criticism to its member’s original poetry in order to improve the work and increase the chance of publication. The Federal Poets achieved nonprofit status in 1944 and is open to any individual regardless of race, gender, religion, or ethnicity. The group published quarterly then semi-annually “The Federal Poet”, a pamphlet consisting of the best of its member’s works. When started in 1944 by Oliver C. Short the group was originally named “Bookfellows”, and their publication was “The Bookfellows”. However, after World War II ended there was an extreme change in membership due to the exodus of Washington DC at the time. The group therefore was renamed “The Federal Poets” and their publication became “The Federal Poet” being published bi-monthly. While originally meeting every two weeks, in the 1950s economic concerns forced the group to decrease the number of meetings to two a month and publish quarterly. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. the group felt there were security concerns and stopped all evening meetings only meeting once a month. The Federal Poets continue to meet in order to discuss and publish poetry to this day.


0.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The Federal Poets of Washington D.C. records were donated to the Library by Freeman Walker who was the archivist for the Federal Poets on March 5, 1993

Related Collection

The Federal Poets records, MS2322, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University

Processing Procedure

Collection was partially processed previously. General processing continued following regular procedures.

Federal Poets Collection
A Guide to the Federal Poets Collection
Prepared by Hallie Oines
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001