Overview of the Collection
Special Collections & Archives
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
P.O. Box 4004
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54702 – 4004
Reference Code: USGZE UHC 304
Accession Number: 08-17
Collection Number: University Historical Collection 304
Creators: Leigh, Violet, b. circa 1869.
Title: Violet Leigh Poems.
Quantity: 0.2 linear feet (1 archives box)
Location of Collection: A10/3d
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
Summary: Violet Leigh was a regional poet residing in Eau Claire in the early twentieth century. The collection consists of 81 poems written in her hand.
Biographical / Historical Note
Violet Leigh was the pseudonym of Maud Phillips. Maud was born circa 1869 to Katheline Safford and grew up in Clark County, Wisconsin. On October 18, 1890 Maud married Wilbur Phillips, a music teacher, in Natick, Massachusetts. Over the next decade (1890 to 1905) Wilbur and Maud had five children. The children’s names (in order of birth) are: Ruth, Violet, Wilbur, Wesley and Joy. Maud Phillips was most notable in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for her poems that were published in the Eau Claire Leader under the name Violet Leigh. In August of 1917 Maud, Wilbur, Katheline (Maud’s mother) and children moved to an abandoned cave along the south bank of the Eau Claire River. The cave was seen as unfit for a home during the winter which led local authorities to ask Maud to leave the cave in early December 1917. She refused to leave the cave or consent to the request made by local authorities to commit to the state mental hospital in late December 1917. The refusal to commit allowed the local authorities to bring her before the Eau Claire County Court on February 1, 1918. The Eau Claire County Court under Judge George Blum and six jurors declared Maud to be insane on February 2, 1918. She was taken by Eau Claire County Sheriff George Garman on February 3, 1918 to the Wisconsin State Hospital for Insane at Mendota located near Madison, Wisconsin. Maud was paroled from the state mental hospital in December 1918. She continued to live in Madison with her husband Wilbur. The last known trace of Maud Phillips was a poem published under the name of Violet Leigh in the Eau Claire Leader on May, 24 1928 which stated she lived in Madison.
The collection consists of a 21 page notebook of handwritten poems. The notebook appears to be her handwritten work from about the beginning of the twentieth century in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The poems appear to have been copied at one time with no drafts and little evidence of editing.
Acquisition Information: Donated to the University Archives and Special Collections, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire prior to March 2006 by L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.
Access Restrictions: Collection is open to the public.
Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
Preferred Citation: Violet Leigh Poems, undated. UHC 304. Special Collections & Archives. McIntyre Library. University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Eau Claire, WI.
Processing Note: Processed by Allen Ramsey in July 2007.
Arrangement: Single Item.
Personal Names: Leigh, Violet, b. ca 1869
Subject Terms: Women poets, American – Wisconsin – Eau Claire Poetry – Women authors