Weldon Kees' fame seemed to have began in his senior year at the University of Nebraska in 1934. The newspapers in Beatrice, his hometown, touted that his story, "Saturday Rain," was to be featured in the December issue of The Prairie Schooner. Weldon , at this time, had been writing for several years.

Weldon wrote poetry, plays and stories with astounding success for someone so youthful. That same year, 1934, he had other publications as well, including "This is Home," in the Windsor Quarterly; "Matinee for Men," in The New Tide; and "Journey Uptown," in Anvil.

The Prairie Schooner was a Nebraska Publication which had garnered international recognition for it's literary excellence. In fact, Edward J. O'Brien, an author, poet, editor and anthologist noted for reviewing and evaluating short stories by various U.S. authors and compiling them into an annual collection, "The Best American Short Stories," had once said that the "writers of tomorrow will come from three magazines, The Midland, The Frontier and The Prairie Schooner."

The Prairie Schooner's many poems, short stories and articles had been reprinted in many outstanding American anthologies, newspapers and magazines. O'Brien had ranked it number one in distinctive short stories published and The Prairie Schooner was subscribed to by such excellent universities such as Yale, Harvard, Leland Stanford, Princeton and Columbia. It seemed Weldon had the world in his hands, a gifted, talented, intelligent young man who would surely live a very long lifetime of success, but sometimes even the best of stories have a sad ending.

Harry Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1914 to Mr. and Mrs. John A. Kees. He attended public schools there until 1932. He then departed his hometown to attend Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. He thereafter attended the University of Nebraska and the University of Missouri. Kees had also attended graduate school in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1936, Kees was a part of a large staff of writers hired federally to work on the Federal Writers Project. An encyclopedia of each state of the U.S was being made and Weldon Kees was on the editing staff for this project.This project was introduced July 27, 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the time of the Great Depression. It compiled historical information, oral histories, folklore, local stories, prominent individual biographies and other important subject matter depicting these communities as they really were and really had been in the past. This
was a very important project for American history. Weldon Kees must have been very honored to be part of this. The federal Funding for this project ended in 1939, but the project continued to record new data until 1943, using up it's funds.


That same year, 1936, Weldon was chosen by Midwest magazine, which had been published by the Midwest Federation of Arts and Professions, as Associate Magazine Editor. In 1937, Kees moved to Denver, Colorado, where he served as the Director of the Bibliographical Center of Research for the Rocky Mountain Region. In 1941, Edward J. O'Brien dedicated his final anthology to Kees. O'Brien died in England in February 1941 shortly after releasing "The Best Short Stories of 1941," his final publication.

In Denver, Weldon married Ann Swan. In May of 1943, he was chosen to stay at Yaddo House in Saratoga, Springs, NY. Certain artists, painters,poets, writers or musicians or anyone in any sort of artistic prominence were chosen each year from requests or nominations to spend a period of time at the large country estate. It was sort of a commune for artists, donated for this purpose by the estate owners, Spencer and Katrina Trask and partially funded by philanthropist George Foster Peabody.

Kees enjoyed being on the eastern half of the United States. He enjoyed the company of the many, many artists in the state of New York and the very different way of life there. Weldon kees also wrote for Time Magazine while living in New York. His poems appeared on a regular basis in various New York journals such as the Partisan Review. Weldon Kees and his wife, Ann swan, moved to San Francisco, California in 1951 after spending the previous few summers in Provincetown and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Kees also collaborated with Dr. Jurgen Ruesch, a University of California psychiatrist, on the book "Nonverbal Communication." published in 1956, after Kees possible departure from this world. This book had illustrations and photos rendered by Weldon Kees. This book and another publication by Ruesch, "Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry," written in 1951 with Gregory Bateson, were Ruesch' two most important accomplishments academically.

Weldon continued to paint and to write poems. His jobs included writing film reviews for radio, writing for a theater review entitled "Poets Follies", and working on various screenplays.

In the mid 1950s, Kees became increasingly depressed. He divorced his wife in 1952. His final book, Poems 1947-1954, was published in 1954. On July 18, 1955, his car was found abandoned on the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. He had told a friend that he wanted, like Hart Crane, to start a new life in Mexico. He had also suggested that he might kill himself.

When his friends went to search his apartment, all they found were his cat, Lonesome, and a pair of red socks in the sink. His sleeping bag and savings account book were missing, although not one penny in his account was spent after the day of his disappearance. He left no suicide note.

Obituary (1943):

Boris is dead. The fatalist parrot
No longer screams warnings to Avenue A.
He died last week on a rainy day.
He is sadly missed. His spirit was rare.

The cage is empty. The unhooked chain,
His pitiful droppings, the sunflower seeds,
The brass sign, "Boris," are all that remain.
His irritable body is under the weeds.

Like Eliot's world, he went out with a whimper;
Silent for days, with his appetite gone,
He watched the traffic flow by, unheeding,
His universe crumbling, his heart a stone.

No longer will Boris cry, "Out, brief candle!"
Or "Down with tyranny, hate and war!"
To astonished churchgoers and businessmen.
Boris is dead. The porch is a tomb.
And a black wreath decorates the door.

Weldon Kees