Information about our holdings

Modern Books and Manuscripts

The General Collection of Modern Books and Papers is particularly strong in English literature and history from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, continental European literature and history, books related to travel and exploration, and newspapers, especially British serials of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There are also large collections relating to Jonathan Edwards, Ezra Stiles, Benjamin Franklin, and American children's literature. Among the British authors represented in depth are Matthew Arnold, Bacon, J.M. Barrie, Beckford, Boswell, the Brownings, Byron, Carlyle, Coleridge, Conrad, Defoe, Dickens, George Eliot, Fielding, Gissing, Hardy, Johnson, Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Meredith, Milton, Pope, Ruskin, G.B. Shaw, Stevenson, Swift, Swinburne, Tennyson, Trollope, Rebecca West, and Wordsworth. In the field of continental literature and history, the library has outstanding holdings related to Tocqueville, Cassirer, Marinetti and Futurism, and the Dada and Surrealist movements, as well as large Slavic collections.

SectionsThe 1742 Library
 Seventeenth Century
 Eighteenth Century
 Nineteenth Century - British Authors
 Twentieth Century - British Literature
 Frederick R. Koch Collection
 French Literature
 Modern Italian Collections
 History of the Theater
 European Modernism
 Arts of the Book
 Slavic and Eastern European Collections
 Other Holdings


The 1742 Library

“A Library for Its Time”: thus the early Yale Library was described in the exhibition held in the Beinecke Library in the fall of 2001 to commemorate the tercentenary of the founding of Yale College. The origins of what is now the “modern” part (currently defined as post-1600) of the Beinecke collections can be traced back to the settlement of New Haven in 1637 by the English puritan minister John Davenport. His ambition to create a college to train young clergymen for the new colony had to wait decades to be fulfilled. Toward this goal, Davenport had received a gift of books from his friend Theophilus Eaton, the first governor of the New Haven Colony. The books were subsequently purchased by James Pierpont, one of Davenport's successors in the pulpit and one of the ten founders of Yale College in 1701. By then, more books had been presented with a view to establishing the collegiate library. The facts were later embellished by Thomas Clap, Yale's fifth rector and first president, in his Annals... of Yale-College (1766), where those early donations are dramatized into a single, symbolic event set in the house of the Reverend Samuel Russel in Branford--an event still commemorated in the stone and stained glasswork in the nave of the Sterling Memorial Library, which show the founding ministers piling up books on a table.  

If the history of the Yale Library thus predates by several decades the actual founding of the college, it was only after 1701 that its growth was made possible by a succession of major gifts. The three that stand out are the books sent from England in 1714 by Jeremiah Dummer, the agent for the colony of Connecticut (more than 800 titles presented by Dummer himself and many others, among whom Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, Richard Steele, and Elihu Yale); hundreds of additional titles presented in 1718 by Yale himself (altogether the largest benefactor of the college in the eighteenth century, an ample justification for its naming); and the gift made in 1733 (jointly to Yale and Harvard) by the philosopher and Anglican bishop George Berkeley.

The first printed catalogue of the Yale Library as it stood in 1742 was compiled by President Clap and published in New London the following year, with an “advertisement” by Clap (“To the Students of Yale-College”). New, augmented editions appeared in 1755 (arranged in the same order, and also preceded by Clap's introduction) and 1791; these three catalogues are available in a facsimile edition by James E. Mooney, published by the Beinecke in 2001.

In 1742, the Yale Library was the largest library in New England (it is now the second largest). Of the 2600 volumes listed by Clap (a number that had grown only by a hundred by 1791), about 70 percent survive. Patiently identified and pulled from the general stacks in the 1930s--some still occasionally turn up--they are now permanently shelved on the south and west sides of the glass tower, under the general heading “1742 Library” and with the same shelf marks as they were originally assigned.  

Seventeenth Century

There are to be found the roots of the Beinecke's exceptionally rich collections of seventeenth-century and early eighteenth-century books. President Clap organized his catalogue in twenty-seven sections: Languages (English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldee, Various Languages, Critical Dissertations on Languages); Logic; Rhetoric; Oratory; Poetry (a section that includes, besides the predictable Isaac Watts, the names of Butler, Chaucer, Cowley, Dryden, Du Bartas, Gay, Milton, Pope, Prior, and Waller); Mathematics (this section includes subsections on Optics and Astronomy as well as “A Mixture of all Sorts of Mathematics,” which contains treatises on fortifications and cartography); Natural Philosophy; Botany “or Plants & Agriculture”; Zoology or Animals (two titles only); Antient Philosophy Natural & Moral; Anatomy, Physick and Chyrurgery; Pneumatology; Metaphysicks; Geography; History (General Histories, Historical Dictionaries, Of Europe, Of England, Scotland and Ireland, Of Asia, Of America, Ecclesiastical Histories, Jewish Histories, Roman Histories, Other Antient Histories); Antiquities; Voyages & Travels; Lives of Famous Men; Chronology; Ethics, or Essays on Morality; Divinity (by far the largest section, comprising fourteen subsections); Law Books (significantly or not, the heading for this and all subsequent sections in Clap's 1742 catalogue are no longer printed in capitals); Works on Various Kinds of Subjects (in this short section are found Addison, Bacon, Erasmus, Lipsius, Locke, and Machiavelli); Treatises on Various Subjects (this section includes the Koran); Miscellaneous Essays (including The Spectator, The Tatler, and “Pope and Swift's Miscellanies”); Political Essays (including Sir William Temple as well as the Peerage and Baronetage of England); and, finally, Plays and Books of Diversion (Addison's Cato, Cervantes, Fontenelle, Ben Jonson, Otway, Pope's Dunciad, Rowe, Shakespeare, Spenser, Steele, and Wycherley).

With the exception of medicine and related fields, which are the province of the Historical Medical Library, the Beinecke has continued to enrich Yale's seventeenth-century collections in all the fields enumerated above. Those collections are particularly strong in books printed in English or in the British Isles in the 1640–1700 period, known to librarians and scholars as the “Wing period,” after the bibliographer Donald G. Wing, 1926, the compiler of the short-title catalogue that, to this day, remains the basic record of book production in the English-speaking world during those six decades. English literature (a surprisingly strong component in the 1742 Yale Library, if not identified as a specific category) is represented in depth with virtually complete holdings for every author of the period, beginning with the four Shakespeare Folios and ending with particularly rich collections in the field of Restoration Theater and the anti-theatrical controversy it triggered at the end of the century, recently the subject of the Yale tercentennial exhibition “Theater and Anti-Theater in the 18th Century.”

Religious and political controversies in seventeenth-century England generated an enormous amount of pamphlet literature, a very large part of which is at Yale in original copies, while the Beinecke actively continues to enrich its holdings. One of the best recent opportunities to do so on a large scale was provided a few years ago at the dispersal of the famous collection of tracts relating to the British Civil War formed in the early twentieth century by Albert, twelfth Baron Fairfax, a direct descendant of the victor of Naseby who returned to England from the Virginia county named after the family--and its seat since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Some of those pamphlets are not recorded in Wing; most are in very few copies. More than five hundred titles from that great collection have now found a permanent home at Yale. More recently, the Beinecke acquired nearly 320 poetry broadsides printed between 1660 and 1700, all illustrated with crude, picturesque woodcuts. They were collected at the time by Robert Michell of Horsham, Sussex, whose daughter married into the Jolliffe family, later Barons Hylton, in whose possession it has been since. The themes range from the traditional and popular (such as Robin Hood) to love, satire, and contemporary subjects.

Two seventeenth-century English authors abundantly represented in the Beinecke's collections, thanks to a gift from the children of Samuel W. Lambert, 1880, are Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, and the poet Charles Cotton, who contributed an additional part on fly-fishing to the fifth edition of Walton's book. This original donation is the nucleus of the Beinecke's outstanding (and still growing) collections of early angling books, rivaled in this country only by those of Princeton University. As most seventeenth- or eighteenth-century fishing books in English are already at Yale, recent additions have been principally French, German, or Italian- a notable one being five of the beautiful suites of salt- and freshwater fishes designed by the seventeenth-century Parisian painter and engraver Albert Flamen.

French books, hardly present in the original Yale Library, have become a large part of its seventeenth-century holdings. An area of particular strength is classical French theater, thanks above all to the recent gift of the Molière collection of Walter L. Pforzheimer, 1935, the finest such collection on this side of the Atlantic, formed over many decades and comprising hundreds of first, early, and eighteenth-century editions of Molière and Molièriana. Other areas that have been expanded in the past two decades are Jansenism and its major intellectual offshoot, the abbey of Port-Royal, whose contributions to literature, linguistics, philosophy, and science, among other fields, transcended the ideological boundaries of the movement.

Italian books--even more under-represented than French books in the early Yale library--also now form a large part of its seventeenth-century holdings, and some of our most spectacular recent acquisitions are in this domain. They deal, in particular, with various aspects of the theater in seventeenth-century Italy, from court events surrounding the birth of opera to more popular forms, such as the canzoni popolari of Paolo Britti, known as “the blind man of Venice” (sixty-six early printings in the Beinecke collection, many unique and previously unrecorded); or from literary academies such as the Sbigottiti in Siena and the Immobili in Florence, to the performance of sacred dramas in schools and colleges.

Another genre in which the Beinecke has expanded its collections is festival books--books commemorating festivities of various kinds (royal or princely visits, funeral pomps, religious or military celebrations)--that were produced from the late sixteenth century until the early nineteenth century. The most lavish are profusely illustrated, often with large folding engraved plates.

Exploration and travel, as well as the history of navigation, are well represented in the Beinecke's seventeenth-century holdings, beginning with the collection formed by Henry C. Taylor, 1917, and supplemented to this day with regular acquisitions in this field, on a range as wide as the subject implies: missionary accounts of Far-East Asia, early guide books to Rome and other Italian cities, travel literature, atlases, and navigation manuals in printed or manuscript form.

The Taylor Collection is particularly strong in early Americana and includes, along with valuable manuscripts, some of the classics in the field: Des sauvages, ou voyage de Samuel Champlain en la France nouvelle (1603), Les voyages de la Nouvelle France (1632), also by Champlain, The Relation or Journall of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth in New England, known as “Mount's Relation” from the name found at the end of the preface (1622), and John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624).

The great pioneer of Americana collectors was George Brinley, whose books were sold in the course of several sales between 1879 and 1893. Yale purchased many titles with the $10,000 that Brinley himself left to the University for this purpose. Today, the number of Americana from the Brinley Collection in the Beinecke exceeds 1,750. Many were acquired subsequently, such as the ones that came from another famous collection of early Americana, formed in the early twentieth century by the second Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1894 M.A. Hon. It was bequeathed to Yale in the 1960s by his daughter Gladys, Countess Laszlo Széchényi. It includes the Brinley copy of Thomas Shepard's The Clear Sun-shine of the Gospel Breaking Forth upon the Indians in New-England (1648) and nine others of the Eliot Tracts, named after John Eliot, “Apostle to the Indians.”

From the Brinley and Vanderbilt Collections had also come one of the Beinecke's trophies, the Bay Psalm Book printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640, the first book to be produced in what is now the United States. Its much publicized acquisition by Yale in 1947 for $151,000 (now a low figure, but then the highest price fetched by a printed book at auction) is well documented in Edwin Wolf's 1960 biography of the bookdealer A. S. W. Rosenbach. Twenty-seven donors (among them E. J. Beinecke, 1907, Paul Mellon, 1929, Arthur Houghton, Jr., Donald and Mary Hyde, Louis M. Rabinowitz, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Thomas W. Streeter, Henry C. Taylor, and John Hay Whitney, 1926) contributed funds toward it.

Eighteenth Century

Few libraries in the world, even in the British Isles, can match Yale's eighteenth-century English collections. Of those, the Beinecke has the lion's share, while invaluable resources are also to be found at the Yale Center for British Art and at the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut. All major--and most minor--British authors are represented in depth and in context, as the collections extend far beyond literature proper to document British political, cultural, and economic history in the broadest sense. The extensive Daniel Defoe collection, originally formed and given by Henry C. Hutchins, 1913 Grad., is the largest in existence, comprising more than three hundred editions of Robinson Crusoe as well as hundreds of titles by or attributed to Defoe. The Beinecke's Alexander Pope holdings were richly supplemented by a gift from the great Pope scholar Maynard Mack, 1933. Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, and Laurence Sterne are all represented by distinguished holdings, while the Henry Fielding collection, most of which came as a gift from Frederick S. Dixon, 1871S, is also reportedly the largest there is. Samuel Johnson is also very well served, with many first and early editions collected by Herman W. Liebert, 1933, Beinecke's first Librarian, considerably enriching what was already a first-rate Johnson collection.

The name of Yale has been inseparably linked with that of James Boswell, Johnson's biographer, since the spectacular purchase (made possible by Paul Mellon's Old Dominion Foundation) of Boswell's personal papers in 1949 from Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph H. Isham of the Class of 1914, who himself had acquired them from Boswell's last descendants. The collection contains Boswell's journals (including the notorious “London Journal” of 1762–63), the manuscripts of the Tour to the Hebrides and of the Life of Johnson (save for a hundred or so pages sold by Isham in the 1930s, which are now at the Houghton Library at Harvard), his legal papers and records, and about three thousand items of correspondence received by him; this last group is complemented by about one thousand letters by Boswell acquired by Yale over the years from various sources (most recently thirty letters to Andrew Gibb, the manager of his estate, the gift of Halstead B. VanderPoel, 1935S). Following the highly successful publication of Boswell's journals by the McGraw-Hill Company between 1950 and 1989, a research edition of the papers is currently underway, published jointly by Edinburgh University Press and Yale University Press.

The Beinecke's Boswell collection, however, is not limited to James Boswell: Yale also acquired the Boswell family archive, beginning with the fifteenth-century Boswells of Fife and ending more or less with the death of Sir James Boswell, the biographer's grandson, in 1857. Thus are recorded five centuries of Scottish social, legal, agricultural, and economic history. The most recent additions to the archive are estates records relating to Auchinleck and papers previously in the possession of a branch of the family that emigrated to Australia.

Another major resource for historians of eighteenth-century Britain is the Beinecke's exceptional collection of early British newspapers, beginning with the early seventeenth century. Many of those are unique copies. Noteworthy acquisitions lately include the bulk of the recently dispersed early newspaper collection of the London Press Club and substantial early runs of the Worcester Post-Man, the Glasgow Mercury, the Northampton Mercury, and the Leicester and Nottingham Journal.

Complementing Yale's unparalleled collection of eighteenth-century English satirical prints, both at the British Art Center and at Farmington, the Beinecke received nearly two thousand prints by Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray in the late 1970s as a bequest from Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, 1920. The collection also includes four original watercolor drawings by Rowlandson and a profile drawing of him by his friend John Bannister.

Americana represent a large and exceptionally rich part of the Beinecke's eighteenth-century printed and manuscript collections. One of its chief treasures is the papers of Jonathan Edwards, 1720, considered by some the greatest philosophical mind of colonial America: diaries, notebooks, essays, and over 1,200 manuscript sermons, the bulk of which came to Yale in 1920 as a gift from Edwards's heirs. Publication of the papers of Jonathan Edwards was undertaken by Yale University Press and twenty-one volumes have appeared to date. The Beinecke also includes a large collection of books by or relating to the Edwards family, as well as manuscript sermons by his son Jonathan Edwards, Jr., and his son-in-law Calvin Chapin, 1788.

No less rich is the archive of Ezra Stiles, a member of the Class of 1746, who succeeded Naphtali Daggett, 1748, as president of Yale in 1777 and remained in office until his death in 1795. The exceptional intellectual breadth of the man described by his biographer Edmund S. Morgan, 1955 Hon., as “the gentle Puritan” is abundantly documented in his archive, which comprises the fifteen volumes of his Literary Diary (1769–95), six of his Itineraries (1760–94), a Thermometrical Register, also in six volumes, and dozens of sermons that he preached. His notebooks cover subjects ranging from the daily affairs of Yale College to his interest in Hebrew and Arabic, silk culture, comets, surveying, the Stamp Act, New England ecclesiastical history, and the city of New Haven, among many other topics. Hundreds of letters to Stiles are also preserved in the Beinecke, as well as copies of many of his replies.

The Beinecke houses an extensive collection of books, pamphlets, prints, and manuscripts by and about Benjamin Franklin, 1753 Hon., his contemporaries, and his times. This collection, formed originally by William Smith Mason, 1888S, came to Yale in 1935. It consists of more than eleven thousand books, eight hundred and fifty pamphlets, four hundred broadsides, and numerous manuscripts, all of which--as well as material printed before 1765--resides in the Beinecke; the rest is housed in the Franklin Collection rooms in the Sterling Memorial Library until the completion of the forty-seven-volume Yale Edition of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, of which thirty-five have already appeared.

Among the Beinecke's greatest treasures are many printed and manuscript documents relating to the American Revolution. The most prestigious is the papers of General Rochambeau, who headed the expeditionary corps sent in 1780 by Louis XVI to assist the American insurgents, and whose military expertise was largely responsible for the victory of Yorktown, the decisive event in October 1781, leading to the recognition of American independence two years later. The archive, donated in 1992 by Paul Mellon, includes letters to Rochambeau from Washington, Lafayette, Admiral de Grasse, and many other major actors of the Yorktown campaign and its immediate aftermath. The collection also includes the maps and atlases used by Rochambeau during the campaign as well as hundreds of European maps collected by three generations of the Rochambeau family. Rochambeau's son was military commander in the French West Indies, and the papers relating to this part of his career are also in the Beinecke, the gift of Hans P. Kraus.

Hans P. Kraus is also to be thanked for the presence in the Beinecke of a major French eighteenth-century archive. The reappearance in 1965 at Sotheby's, London, of the private papers of Françoise de Graffigny, until then chiefly remembered as the author of the Lettres péruviennes (1747), one of the best-sellers of her time, suddenly opened a fascinating view of the daily life and occupations of a well-connected woman of letters in the middle of the eighteenth century. The bulk of the papers was acquired at the time of the sale by Hans P. Kraus, who presented them to the Beinecke three years later. The publication of the collection is currently underway under the auspices of the Voltaire Foundation. The Beinecke also has a good collection of early editions of Graffigny's novel and plays, thanks especially to a gift from English Showalter, 1957, one of the editors of her papers.

The eighteenth century in continental Europe is well represented in the Beinecke collections. Particular highlights are first and early editions of the works of the Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico; more than six hundred first and early editions of Voltaire; and a fine collection of works by Condorcet, whose international fame, both as a scientist and as a political philosopher, earned him an honorary citizenship of New Haven in 1785.


Many priceless seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Americana are to be found in the collection formed at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth by the Reverend William H. Holman together with Virginia Marquand Monroe and Catherine Hull Wakeman and subsequently donated to the Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut. Deposited at Yale in 1952, the Monroe, Wakeman, and Holman Collection contains many books (beginning with the “Columbus Letter” of 1493) and manuscripts dealing with the discovery and early history of America. The collection also contains manuscript material by and relating to the Connecticut-born diplomat and poet Joel Barlow, 1778. A catalogue of the collection was published in 1960.

The Beinecke's distinguished Americana Collection was spectacularly enriched in 2000 with a bequest of Paul Mellon. One of the largest and greatest in the field, the Mellon Collection was divided after his death between four institutions that were already much indebted to his generosity: the University of Virginia, the Virginia Historical Society, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Beinecke Library. A large selection from the Mellon bequest was exhibited at the Beinecke in the spring of 2002, a display accompanied by an abundantly illustrated catalogue by George A. Miles and William S. Reese, 1977. Among the highlights of the collection are an atlas including some of the early surveys of Captain Cook, the rarest being two maps of Newfoundland and the first edition of “A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England” (1755); an extra-illustrated copy of Anthony St. John Baker's Mémoires d'un voyageur qui se repose (London, 1850); the first American colorplate book, William Russell Birch's The City of Philadelphia... as It Appeared in the Year 1800 (Springland, 1800); a manuscript from 1701–12 by William Blathwayt, secretary of the Council on Plantations; Giovanni Botero's Relationi universali (1622–23), with the additional woodcuts showing monsters of the world; twenty-four manuscript journals kept by Louis-Antoine de Bougainville during his expedition around the world (1778–82); a 1627 Paris edition of Samuel de Champlain's Voyages et descouvertes faites en la Nouvelle France; Cadwallader Colden's Papers Relating to an Act of the Assembly of the Province of New-York, for Encouragement of the Indian Trade, &c (New York, 1724); the autograph journal kept by Henri Crublier d'Opterre on the march of the French army from Newport, R.I., to Yorktown, Virginia in 1781, together with manuscript maps; Thomas Gage's Nieuwe ende seer naeuwreurige reyse door de Spaensche West-Indien (Utrecht, 1682), the first Dutch edition; eleven early editions of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, including the 1786 Paris edition in French; August Kollner's Views of the Most Interesting Objects and Scenery in the United States (New York, 1848–51), containing fifty-four color plates; a manuscript record of the Spanish reconquest of Florida under Admiral Solano in 1780–83, attributed to Francisco Mendieta; Pieter Mortier's Views of America (Amsterdam, about 1700), comprising twelve plates, one of them a view of New York; a manuscript map of Manhattan Island drawn in 1782–83 by a British engineer; Newes from New England: of a Most Strange and Prodigious Birth (London, 1642), one of the three copies recorded; the Binney-Streeter copy of Thomas Say's American Conchology (New Harmony, Indiana, 1830–40); 208 items of early American sheet music; Joshua Shaw's Picturesque Views of American Scenery (Philadelphia, 1820), otherwise known as “The landscape album”; Abraham Swan's The British Architect (Philadelphia, 1775); a fine collection of early American children's books, including books and early American games issued by the firm McLoughlin Bros, in New York in the second half of the nineteenth century.

A specially built exhibition case on the Beinecke mezzanine is devoted to a permanent display of the two Yale copies (one set for each) of John James Audubon's Birds of America. One came in 1934 as a bequest from Henry Farnam, 1871 Hon., the other, deposited by the Yale University Art Gallery, was given by Francis Patrick Garvan, 1897. The great naturalist is also represented in the Beinecke by a collection of family papers donated by Morris Tyler, 1924, whose family was related to Audubon. The archive contains a dozen letters by Audubon as well as hundreds by his wife Lucy and his sons Victor and John Woodhouse. Other correspondents include William Lizars and Robert Havell, Jr., who engraved the plates of Birds of America after Audubon's drawings (now one of the glories of the New-York Historical Society), Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Washington Irving, Thomas Sully, and Daniel Webster, together with financial papers and writings by Audubon. More Audubon-related material has been subsequently acquired by the Library.

The Beinecke's Tocqueville collection, the most distinguished in existence, comprises both a large printed component (much of it presented to the Beinecke by the eminent Yale Tocquevillian George Wilson Pierson, 1926), manuscripts (most importantly the working manuscript for De la démocratie en Amérique, acquired in 1954 through the generosity of Louis M. Rabinowitz), and a large and continuously growing collection of letters. Most recently acquired is a group of fifty-five letters written to Tocqueville between 1832 and 1859 (the year of his death) by prominent American politicians, historians, and friends, including U.S. President John Quincy Adams, Edward Everett, Jared Sparks, John C. Spencer, N. W. Beckwith, William H. Prescott, George Bancroft, Edward Childe, Charles Sumner, George Sumner, Isaiah Townsend, and Robert Walsh. The Beinecke also houses papers of Gustave de Beaumont, Tocqueville's friend and traveling companion during the 1831–32 American trip, purchased from and donated by his descendants between 1955 and 1974. They include letters from Tocqueville to Beaumont, and manuscripts for Beaumont's study of Ireland and his abolitionist novel Marie, ou l'esclavage.

The Beinecke continues to add actively to its Americana holdings, with a view to gathering as complete a collection as possible of the pre-1900 titles listed in Wright Howes's 1963 bibliography of U.S.iana. Connecticut imprints, early American newspapers, and Confederate imprints are three specific areas of focus, among many others. More recent American history is represented by material relating to the 1886 Haymarket Affair and the subsequent trial of the Chicago anarchists. This gift from Hans P. Kraus consists of the files kept by Julius S. Grinnell, the state prosecutor (including a fragment of the bomb). Books and pamphlets relating to American labor history were recently received from Frank and Marcia Carner, while the archive of John McDonald and his wife the painter Dorothy Eisner, donated by their daughters Christie McDonald, 1969 Grad., and Joan McDonald Miller, document their political activism and McDonald's work on labor practices at General Motors--as well as his other interests, such as fishing and game theory.

A new era also began for the Beinecke Americana in 1987 when Betsy Beinecke Shirley, daughter of Walter Beinecke, 1910, started transferring to the Library portions of her incomparable American children's literature collection. Formed over the course of more than three decades, it is one of the largest and most diverse in scope. The 1991 exhibition “Read Me a Story, Show Me a Book”--highlights selected and arranged by Betsy Shirley--gave a sense of its diversity. Books from the colonial period, reading and learning manuals, etiquette books, children's literature classics (Peter Parley to Penrod, as per Jacob Blanck's classic 1938 bibliography), fairy tales, poetry (including Mother Goose rhymes), American editions of British or European classics, books about American history or great American figures, letters and manuscripts by writers of children's literature, or written by young people or to them, chapbooks, juvenile journalism, games, original artwork by American illustrators: these categories do not begin to do justice to the collection's diversity and depth.

Nineteenth Century - British Authors

The cornerstone of the Beinecke's unparalleled nineteenth-century British literary holdings is the collection formed, and presented to Yale over many years, by Chauncey Brewster Tinker. A member of the Yale Class of 1899, Tinker received his Ph.D. from Yale three years later, and most of his teaching career, apart from a one-year stint at Bryn Mawr, took place at Yale, where he was Sterling Professor of English Literature until his retirement in 1945. In 1931, he was appointed Yale's first Keeper of Rare Books. His role in the founding of the Yale Library Associates would have been enough to make him one of the most important figures in the history of the Yale University Library. But he was also one of the major collectors of his time and, by making Yale the beneficiary of his generosity, set for the Associates an example nearly impossible to match. His gifts, most of them permanently housed in the Beinecke, far exceed in scope and size the 2368 numbers of The Tinker Library, the catalogue compiled in 1959 by Robert Metzdorf. Authors particularly well represented include Matthew Arnold (notebooks, diaries, manuscripts, letters, first and early editions, Arnoldiana); Max Beerbohm; William Blake (copy P of the 1789 Songs of Innocence, copy E of The Book of Thel--of which the Beinecke also holds copy K, while the Yale Center for British Art houses two more--copy K of America, and copy M of the 1794 Songs of Innocence and Experience); James Boswell (Tinker, a Boswell scholar, was the first to set sight on the papers preserved at Malahide Castle until Ralph Isham, in his words, “stole his mistress”); the Brontës; the Brownings; Byron (fifteen-odd manuscripts, including fragments from The Corsair and Don Juan, and a virtually complete printed collection); Coleridge; Crabbe; George Eliot (including the “ Felix Holt Notebook” and an important correspondence to A. L. F. d'Albert-Durade); Oliver Goldsmith; Samuel Johnson; Charles Kingsley; Walter Savage Landor; William Morris; Samuel Richardson; the Rossettis; Ruskin; Sir Walter Scott; Shelley; Southey (including an early draft of his poem Madoc); Sterne; Swinburne; Tennyson; Trollope (including manuscripts of three of the Palliser novels: Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux, and The Duke's Children); and Wordsworth (including manuscripts of his poems “Written at Cora Linn” and “Extempore Effusion” and a heavily revised copy of the 1807 Poems).

Tinker inspired several generations of Yale collectors, many of them his students, who followed his example--if seldom on such an astonishingly broad scale--building large collections devoted to a single author, or several such collections, which they eventually gave to Yale. Although Tinker did not live to see the opening of the Beinecke Library, it is only fair to consider him one of its founding fathers.

One such of Tinker's disciples, and the principal founder of the Beinecke, was James T. Babb, 1925, who became Assistant Yale University Librarian in 1937, and in 1943 Librarian, a position he kept until 1965. About him it has been famously said that above all he collected collectors, but he actually was a first-rate collector himself. One of the main subjects of his collecting was one of the great originals of the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth century, the writer, aesthete, and collector William Beckford, author of Vathek, and represented in the Beinecke by distinguished holdings: ninety-four editions of his novel as well as his other writings, many letters, and more than five hundred books (several are added every year) from his legendary library, many of them with his annotations. In addition to gifts from James T. Babb, the Beinecke Beckford collection also comes from Ray Livingston Murphy, 1948, who died prematurely, and a third collector who chose to remain anonymous.

Possibly the largest collection housed in the Beinecke is the Dickens collection formed and bequeathed to Yale by Richard Gimbel, 1920. An Air Force colonel who became a professor of Air Science and Tactics as well as curator of aeronautical literature at Yale, Gimbel put together, especially in the 1920s and 1930s, the largest accumulation of first and early editions of Dickens (in parts, bound, and in sets), supplemented by manuscripts, letters, clippings, original drawings by Dickens's illustrators, and Dickensiana. John Podeschi's printed catalogue of the collection occupies 570 dense pages, while the collection currently occupies a substantial part of the fifth floor of the Beinecke glass tower.

As in the case of Dickens, the Beinecke boasts the largest collection in existence devoted to George Eliot and her life companion George Henry Lewes. Formed over several decades under the tutelage of the Eliot scholar (and sometime Master of Pierson College) Gordon S. Haight, 1923, it comprises first and early editions, association volumes, manuscripts, correspondences, photographs, and clippings. Although it includes none of the manuscripts of her novels, it contains Eliot's first attempt at writing fiction, manuscripts of short stories and poems, her translation of Spinoza's Ethics, all her extant journals and diaries (except for the year 1879) as well as those of Lewes (save for 1878), more than a thousand letters from her and three hundred from him, and hundreds of related letters by others, the whole forming the most comprehensive picture anywhere of the great novelist and her intellectual circle.

Thomas Carlyle is another Victorian well represented in the Beinecke, with letters to and from him and his wife Jane, as well as miscellaneous manuscripts, inscribed editions, and books from his library. Most of the Beinecke's Carlyle holdings were collected and donated by Frederick Whiley Hilles, 1922, who, like Gordon Haight, taught in the Yale English Department for many years. His collection of English eighteenth-century books, on practically all subjects, is also preserved in the Beinecke.

A major addition to the Matthew Arnold collection was made in 2002, comprising letters to his daughter Lucy Arnold Whitridge, his wife, his mother, and correspondence to him, including letters from T. H. Huxley, Cardinal Newman, Lord Lytton, George du Maurier, François Guizot, Lord Salisbury, J. D. Coleridge, J. A. Froude, and George Macdonald, among others, and manuscript lectures notes and poetical drafts by Arnold. This came to Beinecke thanks to a gift from Frederick W. Whitridge, 1945, Arnold's great-grandson.

To Frank Altschul, 1908, one of the great benefactors of the Yale University Library, the Beinecke owes its superb George Meredith collection. Begun when Altschul was still an undergraduate (and Meredith still alive), it is also the largest known, and comprises more than three hundred printed titles, numerous periodicals with contributions by Meredith, many letters, and important manuscripts, including Celt and Saxon, the final draft of One of Our Conquerors, and Modern Love. The manuscript of The Egoist was subsequently presented to Yale by Arthur Houghton, Jr.

Apart from its copy of the “suppressed” 1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Beinecke does not number among the major Lewis Carroll collections. On the other hand, it owns a rich archive relating to Dodgson's friend George Macdonald, containing about nine hundred letters from Macdonald to his family and more than twenty-five hundred letters from relatives and friends, and fifty-odd photographs, some by Lewis Carroll.

From Tinker's own sister, Catherine Tinker Patterson, Yale received the gift of more than two hundred books by or illustrated by Walter Crane, together with proofs, original drawings, letters, and manuscripts.

The Yale Ruskin collection was started by R. B. Adam in the 1930s, when many Ruskin manuscripts became available and were purchased from or given by the Boston dealer Charles E. Goodspeed. It was enriched over the years by purchase and by gift, notably one from the Ruskin scholar and collector Helen Viljoen. The collection is particularly rich in Ruskin's juvenilia, notebooks, and letters--a group of more than three thousand, including his correspondence with his father. New Ruskin letters are constantly added to it. As for printed items by or relating to Ruskin, they number more than six hundred.

An even more impressive gathering is the Robert Louis Stevenson library formed by Edwin J. Beinecke, one of the Library's donors, who discovered the Scottish writer when he was an undergraduate at Yale. In the late 1920s and the next two decades, he collected first and early editions, manuscripts, letters, artwork, photographs, and objects. The collection thus includes Stevenson's pocket knife and traveling chess set, locks of his hair taken at different moments in his life, a sketch by Sargent toward the portrait he painted of Stevenson at Bournemouth in 1887, and a plaster model by Augustus Saint Gaudens for the monument to Stevenson at Saint Giles in Edinburgh, as well as manuscripts for The Amateur Emigrant, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Catriona (the sequel to Kidnapped, published in the U.S. as David Balfour), The Wrong Box, Records of a Family of Engineers, and Weir of Hermiston, among many others, as well as many letters by and to Stevenson or about him. The large tapacloth that hangs in the lobby of the Beinecke Library was presented to Stevenson by Samoan natives on the occasion of the opening of Vailima, the house he built on the island of Uppolu; it was displayed in a room at Vailima until Stevenson presented it to a sea captain in gratitude for some favor. It eventually came to Yale through the intercession of E. J. Beinecke's brother Fritz, 1909S.

Thomas Hardy (neither he nor Stevenson “Tinker” authors, incidentally) is another late Victorian splendidly represented in the Beinecke, thanks to Richard Little Purdy, 1925, who started collecting him as an undergraduate, and later became a Hardy bibliographer, scholar, and co-editor (with Michael Millgate) of his correspondence. His collection includes manuscripts of poems, letters from Hardy or about him, as well as the only currently known notebook in his hand, papers relating to Sir Sydney Cockerell, Hardy's literary executor, and memorabilia, as well as first and early editions and many books from Hardy's library (including an Aeschylus in which he wrote down the phrase “president of the immortals”). The collection was one of the two great Hardy collections held privately. The other one, recently dispersed at auction, was that of Frederick B. Adams, Jr., 1932, former director of the Pierpont Morgan Library. From that collection, the Beinecke has been able to acquire manuscript material relating to The Spectre of the Real, Hardy's only genuinely collaborative work (with Florence Henniker, a model for Sue Bridehead in Jude the Obscure). In 1987, the Beinecke acquired the manuscript of Far from the Madding Crowd as a gift from Edwin Thorne, 1935, and his family, in memory of Helen Grand Thorne.

Other nineteenth-century British writers well represented in the Beinecke collections are Jane Austen (a collection enriched by a bequest from Charles Beecher Hogan, 1928), Scott, James Hogg, Tennyson, Swinburne (many manuscripts of his poems from the collection of Philip Neufeld), the Brownings (including a collection of papers of Browning's French friend, Amédée de Ripert-Monclar, dedicatee of Sordello), Frederick Marryat and his daughter Florence, and Stevenson's friend William Ernest Henley. In addition to the three Tinker Trollope manuscripts, the Beinecke holds manuscripts for eight more of his novels: Can You Forgive Her? (the opening novel of the Palliser cycle), The Last Chronicle of Barset, Ayala's Angel, Dr. Wortle's School, Cousin Henry, Harry Heathcote of Gangoil, The Landleaguers, and Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite.

Twentieth Century - British Literature

Replicating his uncle E. J. Beinecke's astonishing achievement as a Stevenson collector, Walter Beinecke, Jr., began collecting J. M. Barrie in the early 1940s and succeeded in assembling the world's largest and most diverse group of books, manuscripts, letters, and personal papers relating to the author of Peter Pan, which he began to donate to Yale in the 1950s, while continuing to collect them. Original artwork includes Peter Scott's painting of Barrie in his late years, drawings by William Nicholson for the first production of Peter Pan, and several watercolor drawings by Arthur Rackham for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, while among the collections of photographs is the only surviving copy of The Boy Castaways, the record of imaginary adventures starring the Llewelyn Davies boys, who inspired Peter Pan. If the collection lacks the first Peter Pan manuscript (this had been acquired long before by J. K. Lilly, Jr., and is now part of his collections at the University of Indiana), it contains the 1928 pre-publication manuscript, as well as manuscripts for The Little Minister, Margaret OgilvyThe Little White BirdDear Brutus, and The Boy David. The vast collection of letters includes correspondences with Scribner's and the Llewelyn Davies family. A recent, Barrie-related acquisition is the surviving papers of Gilbert Cannan, the novelist and playwright whose affair with Barrie's wife precipitated the couple's sensational divorce.

The foundation of the Beinecke's outstanding Rudyard Kipling collection is the memorial collection donated to the Yale Elizabethan Club by the father of Ganson Goodyear Depew, a member of the Class of 1919 who, like Kipling's own son, was killed in action during the First World War. More recently, it has been supplemented by gifts and a bequest from Mathilda Tyler, 1953 Grad. (notably Kipling's correspondence with his publishers Thacker, Spink & Co.), and, as of 2002, by gifts from the Kipling collector and bibliographer David Alan Richards, 1967. This last donation, which began with the Jerome Kern–H. Bradley Martin copy of Kipling's first book, Schoolboy Lyrics, will make Yale a worthy rival of the great Kipling collections at Harvard and the University of Texas, while the Stewart Collection at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia remains the world's largest.

The great figures of British literary Modernism are splendidly represented at the Beinecke. Its Joseph Conrad collection is one of the finest, going back to the donation by George T. Keating in 1938 of a virtually complete group of first and early editions, important manuscripts, and letters. This major gift was supplemented two decades later by the acquisition of the literary archive of Conrad's French biographer and translator G. Jean-Aubry. Important Conrad manuscripts in the Beinecke include Heart of Darkness and Under Western Eyes (originally entitled Razumov).

The Beinecke is also the home of a major James Joyce collection, which includes the only manuscript (if not absolutely complete) of Dubliners, that of Exiles, as well as substantial material relating to Finnegans Wake, many letters, and a large group of books and pamphlets by and about Joyce. This collection was mostly formed and donated by Joyce's bibliographer John Slocum and was subsequently added to by gift and by purchase. The most substantial such addition was the acquisition in 1989 of the archive of Eugene and Maria Jolas, who beginning in 1926 published installments of Work in Progress (the future Finnegans Wake) in their influential Parisian literary journal Transition. The archive documents their close contacts with Joyce and his family, as well as Eugene Jolas's own work as a journalist and poet, and contains many drafts of his recently published autobiography, Man from Babel. It also documents Maria Jolas's career as educator and translator (notably of Nathalie Sarraute) and her many friendships (including Samuel Beckett and René Char) in the Anglo-French literary and scholarly world until her death in 1987. The archive was acquired by purchase and as a gift from Betsy and Tina Jolas.

D. H. Lawrence is represented in the Beinecke's collections with first editions, manuscripts, letters, and notebooks, gathered and given to the Library by H. Bacon Collamore and by additional titles received from Linda and Cole Porter, 1913. Other British Modernist writers with strong holdings at the Beinecke include Richard Aldington and Wyndham Lewis.

The Beinecke is particularly strong on British women writers of the first half of the twentieth century. Its Dorothy Richardson collection was established in 1958 as a gift of Richardson's sister-in-law, Rose Odle, and contains correspondence, manuscripts, subject files, and photographs relating to the author of Pilgrimage. Subsequent gifts were made by Bryher, John Cowper Powys, and Bernice Elliott, among others.

Bryher was the pseudonym chosen (after one of the Scilly islands) by the British shipping heiress Winifred Ellerman. Thanks to her wartime friendship with Norman Holmes Pearson, 1932, the Beinecke is the home of her very large archive, which documents her literary career, friendships, cinematographic ventures, and collecting interests. In addition to a substantial run of correspondence from H. D., Bryher's companion, the correspondence includes letters from Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, Norman Douglas, Havelock Ellis, Dorothy Richardson, and Edith Sitwell and her brothers. The archive came to Yale as a gift from H. D.'s daughter (also adopted by Bryher) Perdita Schaffner. Also preserved in the Beinecke are many books from Bryher's library as well as the collection of boys' books (known as “Dusty Diamonds”), which she gathered in partnership with Pearson. Comprising books by such authors as Henty, R. M. Ballantyne, William Gordon Stables, and Mayne Reid, this collection came as a bequest from Norman Holmes Pearson and is now housed on the highest level of the Beinecke glass tower. It is regularly enriched by the acquisition of related material, such as the recently acquired correspondence from Ballantyne to his wife.

An important recent addition to the Beinecke's collections of twentieth-century Modernist women writers is the papers of the novelist and short story writer Mary Butts, acquired from her daughter Camilla Baggs. They include all her extant manuscripts as well as correspondence from Jean Cocteau, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Joyce, Ezra Pound, and May Sinclair.

Rebecca West had a close friend at Yale in the scientist G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1944 Hon. It was thanks to him that she started transferring her personal and literary papers to the University in the late 1940s and continued to do so until her death. The extensive correspondence includes letters from her longtime lover H. G. Wells and their son, Anthony West. There is manuscript material relating to The Fountain Overflows, Harriet Hume, The Meaning of Treason, Strange Necessity, The Thinking Reed, and Letter to a Grandfather. This archive was supplemented over the years by gifts of books and letters from Professor Hutchinson and by the acquisition of other correspondences.

Other women writers of the first half of the twentieth century in the Beinecke's collections are Edith Sitwell (notably her long correspondence with the Russian-born painter Pawel Tchelitchew), Charlotte Mew (a group of manuscripts and letters formerly in the collection of Frederick B. Adams, Jr.), and C. A. Dawson Scott, founder of the British P.E.N., who published under the pseudonym Sappho, while material by and relating to Nancy Cunard can be found in the archives of the British firm Lawrence & Wishart.

Having previously enriched the Beinecke's twentieth-century British collections with the papers of Christopher Sykes, William Reese recently presented to the Beinecke as his twenty-fifth reunion gift his outstanding Robert Graves Collection, comprising manuscripts of poems, first and early editions, often with remarkable association value (such as the ones inscribed to Graves's friend Siegfried Sassoon), correspondence, and photographs. The papers of Ralph Hodgson, fellow soldier-poet of the First World War and Sassoon friend, include letters from Edmund Blunden, T. S. Eliot, and Sassoon. They also document the fourteen years he spent teaching at the University of Sendai in Japan, before eventually settling in Ohio.

The Beinecke collections are not limited to Modernist trends in twentieth-century British literature. They include first editions, manuscripts, and letters by John Masefield, most of them gathered and donated by the eminent medieval architectural historian Sumner McKnight Crosby, 1932; a virtually complete Austin Dobson collection, the gift of Herman W. Liebert; and similarly rich holdings for Sir William Watson and William McFee (a large collection formed and donated by James Babb).

A great admirer of Norman Douglas, Fritz Liebert is also responsible for the Beinecke's remarkable collection, both printed and manuscript, relating to the Austrian-born author of South Wind and Old Calabria. It comprises thousands of letters, annotated copies of Douglas's books, manuscripts and corrected proofs, notebooks, and forty-four volumes of his daily diaries from 1907 to 1951, and early diaries, chiefly ornithological in content. The bulk of the collection came in 1972 as a bequest from Douglas's executor Kenneth Macpherson, who was also Bryher's second husband.

For the postwar period, John Betjeman is particularly well served, thanks to the collection formed by Duncan Andrews, and regularly enriched since its acquisition: all editions of his works are present (including a unique copy of his first book, Mount Zion), as well as manuscript drafts of poems, notebooks, and correspondence, comprising all his surviving letters to his wife Penelope. Two of Betjeman's Oxford contemporaries and friends are present in the Beinecke in their complete archives: Alan Pryce-Jones, essayist, novelist, librettist, and Times Literary Supplement editor between 1949 and 1958; and James Lees-Milne, whose highly esteemed work as a biographer of Harold Nicholson and Lord Esher is rivaled by his fame as a diarist: in a recent article in the New York Review of Books, Larry McMurtry described Lees-Milne as the finest diarist in twentieth-century Britain, along with Virginia Woolf.

More recent writers represented by substantial manuscript holdings in the Beinecke include poets David Gascoyne, Donald Davie, and James Kirkup (part of whose career, like Hogdson's, was spent in Japan), and the Indian-born essayist and autobiographer Ved Mehta. They were joined in 2002 by the papers of the novelist and short story writer Ralph Bates, who enlisted in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side, best known his novel The Olive Field (1936). The younger generation is represented by the archives of the novelist, essayist, and biographer Peter Ackroyd, the Caribbean novelist Caryl Phillips, and the poet Jeremy Reed. Another collection is the archive of the prominent Modernist poetry journal Agenda.

As for the nineteenth century, all major twentieth-century British authors are represented by virtually complete collections of their printed output, often thanks to the generosity of donors: the Beinecke thus owes its Graham Greene, Lawrence Durrell, and Thom Gunn collections to Donald Gallup, 1934, the bulk of its Harold Pinter collection to Charles L. Miller, 1945W, and its entire Iris Murdoch collection to Louis Martz, 1939 Grad. Contemporary Irish poetry is represented by good holdings of the work of Seamus Heaney, John Montague, and Thomas Kinsella, among others.

Frederick R. Koch Collection

The musical riches of the Frederick R. Koch Collection, which arrived at Yale in 1996, have been described in another chapter. It also contains many literary treasures: for the nineteenth century, a long run of letters from William Beckford to his bookdealer George Clarke, manuscript sermons by Charles Kingsley, the manuscript drafts of Alphonse Daudet's masterpiece for the stage, L'Arlésienne, one of the extra-illustrated copies of Auguste Vacquerie's Profils et grimaces, containing a large number of photographs of Victor Hugo and his entourage in exile on Jersey, letters by Byron, Hugo, Flaubert, Baudelaire, the Brownings, Pater, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Wilde. Nineteenth-century British arts are represented by a large collection of drawings by Edward Lear for The Book of Nonsense, early drawings by Edward Burne-Jones (for Maclaren's The Fairy Family) and letters by him (a large group to his friend Cormell Price). An album compiled by Sir James Emerson Tennant contains original watercolor drawings and letters by George Cruikshank and Richard Doyle in addition to manuscripts and letters by Southey, Hogg, Wordsworth, Irving, Carlyle, Thackeray, Leigh Hunt, Jane Porter, Dickens, and Wilkie Collins. Besides Edward Lear, children's literature is illustrated in the collection by manuscripts, original artwork, letters, and first editions by Frank Beeching, Palmer Cox, Kate Greenaway, Jessie King, A. A. Milne, and Beatrix Potter.

The two twentieth-century French authors most splendidly represented in the Koch Collection are Marcel Proust and Jean Cocteau. The former with drafts and corrected proofs for A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs and galleys for Le côté de Guermantes and a large collection of letters to some of his notable correspondents, such as his mother (with letters from her as well), Robert de Montesquiou (a model for the Baron de Charlus in A la recherche du temps perdu), and Reynaldo Hahn. As for Cocteau, his long career is richly illustrated by numerous theatrical and poetical and prose manuscripts, original drawings, and correspondence. There is also material relating to Cocteau's protégé Raymond Radiguet: corrected proofs of his poems Les joues en feu and a typescript of his masterpiece, the novel Le bal du comte d'Orgel. A later Cocteau protégé, Jean Genet, is represented by a Cocteau pencil portrait, a typescript version, differing from any of the published texts, of his play Les bonnes, and various manuscripts.

Twentieth-century British literary manuscripts in the Koch Collection include an early W. H. Auden correspondence and papers of Robin Maugham relating to his uncle W. Somerset Maugham, as well as letters and manuscripts by Baron Corvo, Lord Alfred Douglas, A. E. Housman, Siegfried Sassoon, G. B. Shaw, the Sitwells, and Arthur Symons. Rex Whistler's original drawings for the 1926 Cresset Press edition of Gulliver's Travels are present, as are letters from him to Stephen Tennant. There are even some American literary manuscripts: letters from Henry James (some, in French, to Mrs Alphonse Daudet) and James Merrill, and the original typescript of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.

Besides its literary treasures, the Koch Collection includes many historical documents, most of them relating to European reigning families: Austria (Archduke Rudolf), Bavaria (Ludwig I and Ludwig II), Belgium (Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg, then King Leopold I, and his two wives, Princess Charlotte and Louise d'Orléans), England (Edward VII as Prince of Wales), France (Napoleon III, Empress Eugénie, and the Prince impérial), Germany (William II), Mexico (Maximilian and Empress Charlotte), and Prussia (Frederick the Great).

French Literature

With its emphasis on nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature and music, the Koch Collection splendidly dovetails with the Beinecke's previous strengths. Those include distinguished holdings for the first French romantic generation, especially Alfred de Vigny (manuscripts, letters, and first editions from the collection of Arnold Whitridge, 1913), Hugo (juvenilia with a good collection of letters), and a large group of first and early editions of Alexandre Dumas from the library of Tsar Alexander II at Tsarskoe-Selo, dispersed in the 1930s and acquired by Frank Altschul, who subsequently presented it to Yale. Complementing Daudet's L'Arlésienne are letters and manuscripts, while several recently acquired notebooks document his career both as novelist (L'Évangéliste) and as theater critic.

Several twentieth-century French authors present in the Koch Collection are also well represented in the Beinecke's general collection. Its Jean-Paul Sartre collection began with the acquisition, decades ago, of the manuscript of his novel Le sursis, second in the trilogy published under the general title Les chemins de la liberté. It now includes the manuscript of the third novel, La mort dans l'âme, as well as drafts for a fourth, unfinished one, “La derniére chance” (called in earlier drafts “Drôle d'amitié”); those two manuscripts were long in the possession of the Sartre scholar George Bauer of California. The Beinecke also owns manuscript material relating to several Sartre plays (Huis clos, Les séquestrés d'Altona, Nekrassov), fragments from the never completed project of a study of Tintoretto, a large gathering of notes on ethics towards a course at Cornell that never took place, and hundreds of hours of interviews with Sartre and members of his entourage, conducted in the early 1970s by Sartre's American godson and biographer John Gerassi.

The Beinecke houses a distinguished collection of manuscripts by another prominent figure in twentieth-century French theater, Jean Anouilh, including juvenilia and manuscripts for several of his plays, among them L'invitation au château (produced in this country as Ring Round the Moon).

Among other French writers for whom the Beinecke has significant manuscript holdings are Paul Morand, Roland Dorgelés, Henry de Montherlant, Roger Martin du Gard, and Jacques Chardonne. Jean Giono, one of the great names in the mid twentieth-century French novel, is represented by a large correspondence with his lover Blanche Meyer as well as several manuscripts associated with her: Le voyage en caléche and Pour saluer Melville. Other correspondences have joined the collection, which is regularly enriched through purchases and gifts.

The Frank Altschul Collection of French illustrated books, which spans several centuries, contains, in particular, priceless examples of the work of the great nineteenth-century French illustrators, especially Daumier, Doré, and Gavarni. Their contemporary J. J. Grandville, admired both for the satirical verve and fantastic, pre-Surrealist quality of his inspiration, is splendidly represented in the Beinecke by the collection formed by Peter Wick, 1943, comprising a complete collection of books Grandville illustrated, all in different states, as well as original drawings and individual prints.

Modern Italian Collections

The outstanding twentieth-century Italian holdings in the Beinecke are the archive and library of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder of Futurism. The papers, acquired from his daughters in 1978, comprise his literary manuscripts, many of the early ones in French, the language in which he was brought up in Alexandria, Egypt: such is the case of the Futurist Manifesto, published in the Parisian daily Le Figaro in 1909. The vast correspondence includes letters to his wife, Benedetta Cappa, and letters (and occasionally manuscripts) by Guillaume Apollinaire, Francesco Cangiullo, Fortunato Depero, Giovanni Papini, Enrico Prampolini, and Gino Severini, among many others. There are photographs, a complete collection of Futurist manifestoes, and many books inscribed to Marinetti by avant-garde writers from many countries (Iliazd, Edmond Jabés, and Pierre Jean Jouve, to name but a few). The Beinecke continues to enrich its collections with material pertaining to the history of Futurism and its influence beyond the world of literature and art, as documented in a recently acquired collection on Italian architecture and design from 1920 to 1960. It also maintains a database with close to twenty thousand clippings gathered by Marinetti in scrapbooks (libroni) on the various manifestations of Futurism throughout the world between 1909 and 1944.

In addition to Marinetti, twentieth-century Italian literature is represented with good printed collections of the work of Gabriele d'Annunzio, Luigi Pirandello, Eugenio Montale, and Salvadore Quasimodo. The Beinecke houses the papers of the writer and antifascist journalist Nicola Chiaromonte, including correspondence from Albert Camus, Mary McCarthy, and Slavomir Mrozek, and private diaries.

Modern Italian poetry is a field the Beinecke has started developing, thanks to a collection established by Paolo Valesio of the Yale Italian Department, donated in honor of his daughter Sara Valesio. The Library has received the papers of the Italian poet Alfredo de Palchi, a longtime resident of New York City, and regularly hosts Italian poetry readings.

History of the Theater

If, unlike Harvard, the Beinecke has no “theater collection” specifically identified as such, its holdings are particularly rich, in all its collections, on various aspects of theatrical history around the world. To the aforementioned names of Molière, Barrie, Anouilh, Sartre and those to be discussed below, of Sholem Asch and Gombrowicz, one can add those of David Garrick, the literary agent Edmond Pauker (whose papers are particularly rich concerning the works and career of Ferenc Molnar), while director and designer Edward Gordon Craig and theoretician Adolphe Appia are richly represented in collections formed by Donald Oenslager.

European Modernism

A recent area for collection development has been modern Portuguese literature, from Eça de Queiros to the avant-garde movements of the first half of the twentieth century. With the assistance of bookdealer Richard C. Ramer, the library now has a good collection on authors such as Fernando Pessoa, Miguel Torga, and António Botto, among others, together with runs of several important journals.

Capitalizing on its strengths in the field of Italian Futurism, the Beinecke has developed its collections to embrace other manifestations of the avant-garde in Europe. It now has a distinguished collection relating to the Czech avant-garde, documenting the work of such authors as writers Vitezslav Nezval and Jaroslav Seifert (winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize for literature), poet and designer Karl Teige, and artists Jindrich Styrsky and Toyen; some outstanding examples of the work of the Russian Futurists in the brief flowering of their movement between 1909 and 1914; and a large collection on the Rumanian avant-garde, featuring works by writers Ilarie Voronca, Benjamin Fondane, and Tristan Tzara, and the painter Victor Brauner, a large ensemble recently complemented by the acquisition of a large part of Fondane's literary archive, documenting the Rumanian part of his career, before he settled in Paris in 1924; arrested by the Vichy police in 1944, he died at Auschwitz the following year.

The Dada movement was international from its birth in Switzerland during the war, after which it flourished in Paris, Holland, Germany, the United States, and even Japan. Those various manifestations are documented by the Jederman Collection, acquired by purchase, and through a gift from Frank and Patti Kolodny, and comprising books, manuscripts, periodicals, and ephemera. Surrealism, which succeeded Dada--if not totally supplanting it--is splendidly represented in the Beinecke throughout the Max Ernst Library, given by his wife and fellow painter Dorothea Tanning. The 350-odd books include copies of nearly all his works, books illustrated by Tanning, and books written or illustrated by their friends and contemporaries Aragon, Arp, Artaud, Breton, Caillois, Char, Crevel, Desnos, Duchamp, Éluard, Hausmann, Lam, Lebel, Leiris, Matta, Michaux, Mir—, Péret, Picabia, Ribemont-Dessaignes, Tanguy, and Tzara. A remarkable feature of this collection is that nearly two hundred books were bound for Ernst between 1969 and 1971 by Georges Leroux, one of the finest representatives of theReliure originale movement. More Leroux bindings--and some by his contemporaries Rose Adler, Paul Bonet, and Pierre-Lucien Martin--are to be found in the collection of French illustrated books donated by John Hay Whitney, which feature the work of Braque, Bonnard, Degas, Dufy, Magritte, Matisse, Picasso, Rouault, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Villon.

Those extraordinary collections add to the Beinecke's strengths in French illustrated books, pioneered by Frank Altschul, and whose growth has been ensured by a fund endowed in his name. The Beinecke has thus become one of America's preeminent repositories for the tradition of the illustrated book, launched in France by Ambroise Vollard and Kahnweiler, continued in their individual creative ways by Tériade, Iliazd, Lecuire, and Pierre-André Benoît. A comparable achievement on this side of the Atlantic has been the work of the Gehenna Press, whose history began in 1942 when Leonard Baskin was a student at the Yale School of Art and was interrupted only by his death in 2000. The Gehenna Press archive, housed in the Beinecke, documents Baskin's work both as artist and as artist of the book.

The history of art is also represented by the collection of manuscripts by and relating to Piet Mondrian formed by his American disciple and exegete Harry Holzman, whose own archive is also preserved in the Beinecke. Another collection relating to twentieth-century art history is the papers of James Lord, biographer of Giacometti. His archive also contains material concerning the other figures evoked in his four-volume autobiography, published in the 1990s: Cocteau, Picasso, Dora Maar, and Marie-Laure de Noailles, among many others.

Arts of the Book

Even though there is at present no separate Graphic Arts department within the Beinecke collections (as opposed to the Arts of the Book Collection housed in the Haas Family Arts Library), the Beinecke has remarkable holdings in this field, from writing and calligraphy manuals of the seventeenth century, to books documenting the history of printing and typography in eighteenth-century Europe, as well as numerous exemplars of the great private presses of the four centuries considered in this chapter. The Beinecke thus has outstanding collections for the following presses: Ashendene, Baskerville, Cuala, Doves, Dun Emer, Golden Cockerel, Hogarth, Kelmscott, Nonesuch, Rampant Lion, and Shakespeare Head in England; Guy Lévis Mano in France; Bremer Presse, Cranach Presse, Klingspor, Rudolf Koch, Officina Serpentis, and Trajanus-Presse in Germany; Bodoni, Mardersteig, Officina Bodoni, and Stamperia Valdonega in Italy; De Roos, Enschedé, Heuvel, Tuinwijkpers, and Zilverdistel in the Netherlands; and Allen, Gehenna, Grabhorn, and Overbrook in the United States. The last named was founded and operated by Frank Altschul, and in addition to a complete record of its printed output, the Beinecke also houses its archive. The work of Bruce Rogers, one of the great figures in American typography and book design, is documented by more than five hundred books and ephemera he designed, as well as some correspondences, all collected and donated by H. M. Marvin.

The related field of the history of the book is illustrated with calligraphy manuals, books on the history of printing and typography, binding specimens, and shorthand books--the last category recently enriched by Helen Joyce, who presented the collection formed by her husband Timothy Joyce. The library of Walter Pforzheimer contains splendid examples of bindings executed in France between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, including armorial bindings for the king or members of the royal or princely families, as well as examples of the art of Derôme, Dubuisson, Padeloup, and other eighteenth-century binders. Acquired in 2001, the Leonard and Lisa Unger Baskin Collection of decorated bindings contains about eight hundred examples of bindings realized between 1850 and 1914: a large selection was displayed in the Beinecke in the summer of 2002 by guest curator Sue Allen in the show entitled “Gleaming Gold, Shining Silver.”

Also worth a special mention are papers, books, and ephemera relating to the poet, translator, and, especially, engraver William James Linton, one of Blake's “youthful ancients” (to borrow the title of Leonard Baskin's book), who eventually settled in Hamden, Connecticut. The collection is particularly rich on the American part of his career.

Slavic and Eastern European Collections

A highlight of the exhibition held at the Beinecke in the fall of 2003 to mark the third centenary of the founding of Saint Petersburg was the six albums of photographs of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, their children, and members of the Russian imperial family. These two thousand to three thousand informal pictures, taken between 1906 and 1914, belonged to the Tsarina's friend and confidante Anna Vyrubova, who was fortunate in being able to escape to the West. In 1937 she sold them to the young Robert D. Brewster, 1939, who presented them to the University in 1951, together with a collection of letters from the Romanovs to Vyrubova during the period of their imprisonment by the Provisional Government and then the Bolsheviks before their assassination in 1918.

The Saint Petersburg exhibition gave the opportunity to display a number of books from the collection formed by Valerian and Laura K. Lada-Mocarski on Russia, and, especially, the discovery of Russia by Western travelers, beginning with the diplomatic mission of Siegmund von Herberstein in the sixteenth century. The Beinecke's Russian holdings also include a collection of more than 160 titles by or relating to Lenin.

Russian literature, the subject of a full-building exhibition in the Beinecke in the spring 2000 in slightly delayed observance of the bicentenary of Alexander Pushkin and the centenary of Vladimir Nabokov, is splendidly represented on the Beinecke's shelves, from the eighteenth century to twentieth century avant-garde and émigré writers. Substantial printed holdings for the great writers of the Golden Age, beginning with the first and second editions of Pushkin's first book, Ruslan i Ludmila, both acquired in that year, are supplemented by excellent collections for the succeeding generation, known as the Silver Age. The first wave of émigré writers is represented with excellent collections of papers, collected in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s by Aleksis Rannit, the Estonian-born poet and curator of Slavic and East European Collections in the Sterling Memorial Library from 1961 to 1981 (his own literary archive is housed in the Beinecke). The writers he collected include poets Georgii Adamovich, Lidiia Alekseeva, Konstantin Bal'mont, Georgii Ivanov, George Ivask, Lev Lunts, Irina Odoevtseva, and Gennadii Panin, literary journalists Roman Gul', Leonid Rzhevsky, and Andrei Sedykh, the short story and children's literature writer IUrii Ofrosimov (a.k.a. G. Rosimov), and critics Boris Filippov, Fedor Stepun, and IUrii Terapiano. The richest archive is that of Nina Berberova, longest living member of that generation and its foremost literary representative along with Nabokov and Bunin. Berberova taught in the Yale Slavic Department from 1957 until 1962 and began to donate her papers at that time, including manuscripts and correspondences from her companion V. F. Khodasevich.

The Beinecke's Slavic collections also include the papers of the Czech writer and journalist Zdenek Nemecek and the archive of Victor Serge, the Belgian-born writer and political activist, whose Mémoires d'un révolutionnaire is one of the most eloquent denunciations of Stalin's dictatorship. Another writer of Russian birth but of French expression whose archive is preserved in the Beinecke is Marie Scheikevitch, best remembered as a friend of Proust.

A landmark in Beinecke's recent history was the acquisition, in 1987, of the papers of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for literature. Since then, the Beinecke--whose exceptional Conrad collection has already been described--has become the largest repository of contemporary émigré Polish literature. Its holdings include the archives of Milosz's fellow poet Aleksander Wat (whose famous autobiography My Century was compiled from recorded conversations with Milosz); of the novelist, playwright, and diarist Witold Gombrowicz; of the essayist, critic, and translator Konstanty Jelenski; and of manuscript material by and about Jerzy Kosinski collected by his widow, Katherina von Fraunhofer Kosinski. The collections comprise material relating to other key literary and artistic figures of the Polish emigration: Joseph Czapski, Zbigniew Herbert, and Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski. They have been enriched by purchases and by gifts, notably from Olga Scherer and Renata Gorczynski.


Though there is no separate Judaica department at the Beinecke, the Library houses a particularly fine collection of books and manuscripts relating to Judaism and the Jews throughout the centuries. The collection originates in two important donations at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Salah Merrill Collection of Josephus, gathered by an American consul in Jerusalem and comprising about fourteen hundred items, and the Alexander Kohut Memorial Collection, named after the Hungarian rabbi and scholar who became a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. Among the major Judaica collections that subsequently came to Yale are the Philo collection formed by Howard Lehman Goodhart, 1905, and the Sholem Asch collection, purchased for Yale from the celebrated Yiddish novelist by Louis Rabinowitz. The Beinecke thus houses a substantial part of Asch's papers, comprising the manuscripts of several of his works, notably Dray Shtet (Three Cities), Der Man fun Notseres (The Nazarene), and Der Telihim Yid (Salvation), as well as correspondence from Max Brod, Albert Einstein, Alma Mahler Werfel, Thomas Mann, and Stefan Zweig.

A particular focus of the Beinecke's Judaica Collection is Hebrew linguistics and the study and teaching of Hebrew in the West. Another is early printings of liturgical and religious texts in the Jewish communities of Europe.

In 2000, the Beinecke acquired its first major archive in Hebrew with the papers of the prominent Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, who died in the same year. It contains all his extant manuscripts, correspondence, and personal papers and photographs.

Other Holdings

Some of Yale's most valuable holdings concerning early Scandinavian history and culture come from the collection of Comte Riant, most of which was bought en bloc by Harvard and Yale at the end of the nineteenth century and is divided between the two institutions. The Beinecke also holds a fine collection of early Icelandic sagas, many of them assembled by the Bach scholar Walter Emery, some from the library of William Morris.

Latin America is represented with a large collection of pamphlets collected by Henry Wagner, early travel accounts, and printed material and drawings relating to nineteenth-century Mexico.

One of the most important of the Beinecke's non-Western manuscript holdings is a collection of about three hundred and fifty items presented to the University in 1934 by the Yale Association of Japan. Gathered by Professor Kuroita of the Imperial University of Tokyo with a view to promoting better awareness of Japanese culture in the United States, it comprises portraits of historical figures, Buddhist documents (going back to the eleventh century), early atlases and geographical documents, calligraphed manuscripts, manuscripts of poetry and fiction, religious documents, early textbooks, and printing specimens. Miscellaneous topics

The Beinecke holds extensive collections, which it continuously enriches, on practically all aspects of sports, especially but not exclusively traditional British sports. Among the collections that stand out in this category are the Garvan Collection of books on natural history, exploration, hunting, and sports in general, donated by Francis Garvan; the Wagstaff Collection, the gift of David and Isabelle Wagstaff, particularly rich in books on hunting and fishing; the Robert Sterling Clark Collection of books on horses and military history, presented by H. P. Kraus; the collection of books on boxing formed by Herbert Z. Lazarus, 1927, also a gift from H. P. Kraus; the collection of fishing books formed and presented by Lindley Eberstadt, with additional gifts from Ralph Keeler. In all the above areas, and others (baseball, golf, cycling, and many more), the Beinecke offers one of the world's best resources to historians of sports.

Books and early periodicals on aeronautics--beginning with hot-air balloons--have recently enriched the Beinecke collections thanks to gifts from Nancy Martin Graham in memory of her husband John Winston Graham, 1940.

History of science has always been an important part of the Yale Library and is, for instance, well represented in the 1742 Library as well as in the Ezra Stiles papers, while the Yale Historical Medical Library is one of the world's finest collections of its kind. Highlights from the Beinecke's scientific collections include first and early editions of Galileo (including a copy of Il saggiatore with a correction in his hand, the gift of Adrian Van Sinderen, 1910), nearly complete collections for the great English scientists and mathematicians of the seventeenth century, from Oughtred to Newton (shared, in some cases, with the Medical Library), the library of the Swiss geologist and physicist André De Luc, the gift of John Fulton, 1929 Hon., the collection formed by Alfred W. Van Sinderen, 1945, on Charles Babbage, whose analytic machine is considered the direct ancestor of the modern computer, the papers of the Yale physicist Josiah Willard Gibbs, 1809, possibly the greatest figure in American science. The Beinecke's large ornithological collection mostly came as a gift from William Robertson Coe, 1949 Hon., while more recent landmark scientific publications have been donated by Laura K. Lada-Mocarski.

Philosophy is another discipline for which the Beinecke collections trace their origins to the first years of the Yale Library. Its principal gem is the archive of the great German philosopher, Ernst Cassirer, who, several years after being forced by the Nazis to resign his Hamburg chair, taught at Yale from 1941 until 1944. His papers comprise all his extant philosophical manuscripts as well as correspondence from some of his most distinguished contemporaries, including Albert Enstein, Thomas Mann, and Erwin Panovsky. The bulk of the collection came in 1964 as a gift from the estate of his widow, Toni Cassirer, supplemented by several purchases since 1987. Another philosopher whose archive is preserved in the Beinecke is the Viennese-born phenomenologist Alfred Schutz, who from 1943 on taught at the New School for Social Research.

The Walter Pforzheimer Collection on the literature of intelligence service contains books- and manuscript material- illustrating all kinds of aspects of intelligence work, from a letter from George Washington to Elias Dayton with instructions on intelligence and secrecy to World War II and Cold War memorabilia.

This panorama of the modern collections of the Beinecke is necessarily partial and has left out a number of fields, old and new, that the library collects. Readers of the “Selected Recent Acquisitions Briefly Noted” section of the Yale University Library Gazette know that the library continues to add to its collections of books on the history of gardening and agriculture, on numismatics, architectural history, while economic history and financial history--in conjunction with the International Center for Finance at the School of Management--are the subjects of a more recent focus. In keeping with its mission, the Beinecke constantly expands the scope of its collecting to cover all areas of interest to academic research. It thus remains both a library for the ages as well as a library for its time.

Written by Vincent Giroud


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