Karen V. Kukil

Karen KukilKaren V. Kukil is Associate Curator of Special Collections at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. For the past twenty years, Ms. Kukil has supervised the scholarly use of the Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf collections in the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College, where she has made the rare book and manuscript collections accessible to undergraduates through lectures and exhibitions. A popular interterm course taught by Ms. Kukil requires students to examine and edit variant drafts of Plath’s Ariel poems, which are also part of the college’s extensive Sylvia Plath Collection.

Since 2004 Ms. Kukil has also served as Associate Curator of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History Archives (SSC). Coordinating the teaching program and providing reference services for the SSC are her primary responsibilities. In 2006 she curated an exhibition for the opening of the Jane Harman Congressional Papers. In 2007 she co-organized the Power of Women’s Voices, a 65th anniversary symposium, featuring feminist activist Gloria Steinem, and curated the accompanying exhibition. Ms Kukil is also on the faculty of the Archives Concentration Program.

[Image Right] Karen V. Kukil in Montreal
Associate Curator of Special Collections
Photo by Bo Kukil

Tristine Skyler, Karen Kukil, Aubrey Menard, and Julia Stiles

Sylvia Plath Symposium organizers Karen Kukil and Aubrey Menard '08 flanked by
conference delegates Tristine Skyler (left) and Julia Stiles (right), April 26, 2008.

book cover The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath edited by Karen V. KukilMs. Kukil co-hosted a Sylvia Plath Symposium at Smith College, April 25-26, 2008 and was a featured speaker at the 75th Anniversary Sylvia Plath Symposium at Oxford in the United Kingdom, Oct. 25-29, 2007. She also edited The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962, published by Faber and Faber in London and Anchor Books in New York in 2000. The text of this unabridged edition of the journals is an exact transcription of the original manuscripts located in the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College and gives readers greater access to the private thoughts of one of America’s most important twentieth-century poets.

Search the Five College Library Catalog for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, Edited by Karen V. Kukil.

Search the Five College Library Catalog for the Sylvia Plath Collection, 1940-1981, located in the Mortimer Rare Book Room.


Ted Hughes and Sylvia PlathThe creative marriage of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes was the focus of a collaborative exhibition co-curated by Karen Kukil and Stephen Enniss at the Grolier Club in 2005. The accompanying catalog, "No Other Appetite”: Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and the Blood Jet of Poetry, won the 2007 Division One Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Award, sponsored by the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

[Image Right] Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

Book Cover: Woolf in the Real World, Selected PapersIn 2003 Karen Kukil co-hosted the Thirteenth International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Smith College, which was attended by over 350 international scholars. Woolf in the Real World, a selection of the 200 papers and plenary sessions at the conference, was edited by Ms. Kukil for Clemson University Digital Press in 2005.

[Image Left] Book Cover: Woolf in the Real World, Selected Papers
[click to enlarge]

Search the Five College Library Catalog for Woolf in the Real World, Edited by Karen V. Kukil.

Virginia WoolfIn addition, Ms. Kukil’s featured exhibitions Woolf in the World: A Pen and a Press of Her Own and Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album were digitized for the Smith College library website.


[Image Right] Virginia Stephen,
George Beresford, 1902.
[click to enlarge]
View the online exhibition.

Martin Antonetti and Karen KukilMs. Kukil attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she received a B.A. in English. There, she studied, among others, the works Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath with Dianne Hunter, a distinguished member of the English faculty. She then went on to earn a Master of Library Sciences degree at Southern Connecticut State University.

Karen’s professional background includes experience in publishing and advertising, in addition to her staff appointments at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Lewis Walpole Library, where she worked closely with renowned collector and editor Wilmarth S. Lewis.

See curriculum vitae for more detailed information.

[Image Left] Martin Antonetti and Karen Kukil look over
Leslie Stephen's photograph album.

Hyacinths, water color by Karen KukilKaren Kukil is currently a member of the Modern Language Association, American Library Association, New England Archivists, and the International Virginia Woolf Society. She also writes scholarly articles and poetry and has recently begun to exhibit her watercolor paintings.


[Image Right] Hyacinths, watercolor, by Karen Kukil

Karen Kukil teaching[Image Left] Karen shows Sylvia Plath manuscripts to students in the Mortimer Rare Book Room.


Karen Kukil playing rugby 1976Born in 1953 on a farm on Colorado’s western slope, Karen moved with her family to New England at the age of three and spent most of her childhood in Farmington, Connecticut. During her college years, she played with the Hartford Wild Rose Women’s Rugby Football Club. These days, Karen shares a bungalow in western Massachusetts with her husband, where they raise organic vegetables and cats.

Two watercolors by Karen V. Kukil

water color by Karen Kukil

Dusk on the River
[Click to enlarge]

water color by Karen Kukil

Burnt Head, Monhegan, Maine
[Click to enlarge]


Karen KukilContact Information

Karen Kukil
(413) 585-2908


[Image Right] Karen Kukil, Photo by Bo Kukil