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William S. Trout Manuscript Collection

Identifier: 003-MS 478

Scope and Content

Correspondence, research materials, and other ephemera from poet and former Millersville professor William S. Trout. The manuscripts in this collection included a variety of records from William Trout, both personal writings in the forms of his unpublished poetry, correspondence, research materials, and teaching materials, as well as those gathered by Trout over the course of his life including his personal library, book reviews, poetry, and newspaper articles. The collection was donated by Terry Zeller, a former student and friend of Trout's, including a series dedicated to the research material collected by Terry Zeller over the course of writing his biography of Trout, titled "Living to One's-Self: The Life and Poetry of William S. Trout."


  • Majority of material found within The materials gathered by or from William S. Trout, including his correspondence and book collections. The majority of the records are between 1941 and 1977, but some date much earlier.
  • Majority of material found within The materials gathered by Terry Zeller on William Trout. Most materials gathered by Zeller are dated between 2005 and 2011, although the full scope lays between 1879 and 2020.

Conditions Governing Access

Archives and Special Collections of Ganser Library will reproduce Special Collections material to the extent that physical condition and copyright or other legal restrictions permit. Reproduction is available in the form of photocopies and digital images. All reproduction requests must be approved by a member of the professional staff. Decisions will take into account the type and condition of the binding, the brittleness of the paper, the size and the general size and fragility of the item. Archives and Special Collections adheres to the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act and amendments and follows the minimum standards of educational fair use established under Section 107. In applying these standards, Archives and Special Collections will copy up to 10% of a copyrighted work if the copy is to be used for the purpose of private study, scholarship or research. The department will not copy for the purpose of public performance. Physical condition permitting, the department will copy more than 10% of a copyrighted work only with the written permission of the copyright holder. Multiple copies are not permitted under fair use. For authored works created since 1978, copyright lasts from the creation of the work until 70 years after the author's death. The expiration term for corporate, anonymous, or pseudonymous works is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever occurs first. For works published before 1978, with a copyright notice, the maximum duration of copyright protection is 75 years. Works published before 1978 without a copyright notice are assumed to be in the public domain. Since March 1, 1989, a copyright notice is no longer necessary. Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

William S. Trout was born on July 17, 1909 to Charles Edgar Trout and Alice Gray Trout (formerly Livingston), the fourth child for the family. Early in his life, his family dealt with two significant losses; first with the death of Trout's older sister Susanna a few months before her seventh birthday, followed by the death of his father before Trout was even ten. Both had a significant impact on his later poetry. Trout was a Lancaster native, having been born in Salisbury Township, and continued to give back to his community for most of his life, particularly through his time teaching. After graduating from Coatesville High School in 1928 as valedictorian, he followed in the footsteps of others in his family and attended Millersville State Normal School (which was renamed a year later to Millersville State Teachers College). By 1931 he had received his two-year teaching certificate, and continued towards his Bachelor's degree for secondary education, focusing on English and Social Studies. However, he did not receive his degree until 1947, as he spent the regular school year teaching in order to support himself and his mother. He began teaching in the small, one-room Mt. Airy School, but moved on to teach at Gap Centralized School in the 1936-37 school year. By April 1939, he was principal of the school in addition to his teaching duties, although he resigned in 1942 after having failed to receive a requested salary increase to further support his retiring mother. Throughout the Second World War, Trout worked at the Lukens Steel Mill in Coatesville, which, although he was rejected from military service himself, exposed him to the harsh realities of the war that continued with him onwards. After the war, he began teaching junior and senior high in the Christiana School, which was eventually consolidated into the Octorara School District. In 1958, despite only having his Bachelor's degree, Trout was recruited into the Millersville State Teacher's College English department, where he taught until a combination of internal tensions within the department and his mother's death led him to retire in 1968. After his retirement, Trout focused on his poetry and other interests until his death on May 1st, 1980.


20 boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Series 1. William S. Trout Records

Series 2. Terry Zeller’s Personal Notes and Research

Series 3. William S. Trout Personal Library

Series 4. William S. Trout Poetry

Technical Access Requirements

The processing fee for photocopying or scanning requests is $10.00/request. There is no charge for Millersville University students, faculty, or staff.

Separate Housing

The following portions of the Trout Collection are located in housing separate from the main portion of the collection: Series I-C-c-iii; Annotated Map of Paris Series I-C-c-iii; Map of France Series I-C-d-viii; "Mother of Poets," Elizabeth Breuer Series I-F-d; Music Series II-A-a; Interview Tapes Series III; The William S. Trout Personal Library Series IV-C; Time and Memory

Custodial History

The majority of this collection originally belonged to William S. Trout and eventually was gathered by Terry Zeller. It should be noted that many of William Trout's books were likely originally owned by his mother, Alice Trout. There is also a large collection of materials gathered by Terry Zeller that was not originally owned by William Trout.

Source of Acquisition

Terry Zeller

Method of Acquisition


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Millersville University Special Collections Repository

9 North George Street
McNairy Library, PO Box 1002
Millersville University
Millersville 17551-302 US