Edward Doro was born in Dickinson, North Dakota on February 3, 1908. He received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English from the University of Southern California in 1929. After receiving his Masters’ degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he published his first book of poetry, Alms for Oblivion, in 1932.His poetry was published in The Saturday Review of Literature and The Commonweal, and was given favorable reviews in The Saturday Review and Poetry magazine. In 1933 he published his second work, The Boar and Shibboleth, which won awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and was excerpted in Bartlett’s Quotations.
In 1937, he published his third work, Shiloh, under a Guggenheim Fellowship. A poetic retelling of the Passion Week and Crucifixion, Shiloh received much critical acclaim. This was followed by Mr. Zenith in 1942. In 1958 he became a Senior Academic Assistant at Yale, before accepting the position of Curator of Rare Books at Northwestern University the next year. While at Northwestern, Doro wrote and published Parisian Interlude and met Ellis Schuman, a music teacher in the Chicago Public School system, who went on to compose a score for Doro’s Shiloh. Shiloh had its premiere performance at Lutkin Hall at Northwestern in 1962. Doro remained at his position at Northwestern until 1962.
The year before, Doro and Schuman had embarked on a much more ambitious project: a complete opera. Doro would provide the libretto (the text), while Schuman would compose the score. Late in 1961, they applied for a grant from the Chicago Lyric Opera. They submitted a plan for study and a synopsis for their opera, which they titled The Prophet of Izmir. Schuman submitted a score for the prologue, one scene, and the epilogue. Sometime between then and 1963, Doro had a complete version of the libretto, which he revised in 1963, but no additional progress was made on the score. In 1962, Doro accepted a position at the New School for Social Research in New York City, and in 1964 he moved to Houston where he was a librarian and lecturer at the Museum of Fine Arts.
The Prophet of Izmir was shelved by Doro and Schuman due to the expense that would be involved. Doro retained the right to use his libretto, which he cut down into a cantata and added to his book The Furtherance, published in 1966. At that time, Doro was working as a teacher of creative writing at Franconia College in New Hampshire.
In 1969 Doro accepted a position with the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, where he lived for the rest of his life. He retired in 1973, moving into the historic Nepenthe House in Monterey. Around 1974 Doro resumed work on his opera, now using the title Sabbatai: The Prophet from Izmir. In collaboration with composer Philip van Lidth de Jeude, Doro created a new libretto, using the same characters and plot as the original but with modified text. Van Lidth de Jeude composed a partial score, but the project was abandoned sometime after 1976.
Around 1975 Doro began his last project, The Spanish Locket. This project never came to fruition either, although three copies of the complete manuscript survive.
Doro’s last work was a poem, titled “Hail and Farewell,” written in 1984 for the funeral of his longtime friend, Gordon Curtis. Doro died on January 18, 1987, in Monterey.
Found in 1 Collection or Record:
Edward Doro (1908-1987) Papers
This collection contains primary and secondary sources relating to Edward Doro, an American poet and the Curator of Rare Books at Northwestern from 1958-1962. It includes newspaper clippings, correspondence, press releases, books of poetry, and unbound scripts. It also contains photographs, negatives, posters, sheet music, a pencil sketch of Doro, and his diploma from Sussex College of Technology.