Modern Books and Manuscripts

The Collection of Modern Books and Manuscripts covers a wide range of subjects related to the humanities - with a particular strength in literature written in English outside the United States, American children’s literature and a number of focused subject areas, such as the printing arts, LGBTQ writing, human sexuality and gender studies, playing cards, the history of hunting and fishing, and the history of finance. One collection, concentrated on music and literature and named for its donor, Frederick R. Koch, necessitates a separate entry to describe the breadth of the material it contains.


Literature in English Outside the United States

The collections in the Beinecke Library were built largely on existing strengths in the Yale Library, thus, for many decades the focus was on canonical British literature, with an especially strong emphasis on forms of Modernism.

Among the British authors represented in depth are Matthew Arnold, Francis Bacon, J.M. Barrie, William Beckford, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Gordon Lord Byron, Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry Fielding, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, George Meredith, John Ruskin, George Bernard Shaw, Robert Louis Stevenson, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, Rebecca West, and William Wordsworth.

The cornerstone of the library’s nineteenth-century British literary holdings is the collection formed by Chauncey Brewster Tinker, Sterling Professor of English Literature and Yale’s first Keeper of Rare Books. Authors particularly well represented in the Tinker Collection 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 Library 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); Lord Byron (fifteen-odd manuscripts, including fragments from The Corsair and Don Juan, and a virtually complete printed collection); Samuel Taylor Coleridge; George 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; John Ruskin; Sir Walter Scott; Percy Bysshe Shelley; Robert Southey (including an early draft of his poem Madoc); Laurence Sterne; Algernon Charles Swinburne; Alfred Tennyson; Anthony Trollope (including manuscripts of three of the Palliser novels: Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux, and The Duke’s Children); and William Wordsworth (including manuscripts of his poems “Written at Cora Linn” and “Extempore Effusion” and a heavily revised copy of the 1807 Poems).

One of the largest collections housed in the Beinecke Library is the Dickens collection formed and bequeathed to Yale by Richard Gimbel, 1920: 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. The library holds a large collection devoted to George Eliot and her companion George Henry Lewes formed by Gordon S. Haight. Thomas Carlyle is another Victorian well represented in the Beinecke Library, with letters to and from him and his wife Jane, as well as miscellaneous manuscripts, inscribed editions, and books from his library, collected and donated by Frederick Whiley Hilles. The principal founder of the library, James T. Babb, 1925, donated a collection of editions by William Beckford, author of Vathek.

To Frank Altschul, 1908, one of the great benefactors of the Yale University Library, the Beinecke Library owes its George Meredith collection. Beinecke Library also holds a collection of material related to 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 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. Yale’s John Ruskin collection was started by R. B. Adam in the 1930s, when many Ruskin manuscripts were purchased from or given by the Boston dealer Charles E. Goodspeed. 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.

The Robert Louis Stevenson library was a foundational gift from by Edwin J. Beinecke, containing first and early editions, manuscripts, letters, artwork, as well as personal objects. Thomas Hardy is another late Victorian represented in the library, thanks to Richard Little Purdy, 1925, who was a Hardy bibliographer, scholar, and co-editor 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,

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, Frederick Marryat and his daughter Florence, and Stevenson’s friend William Ernest Henley.

Twentieth Century - British Literature

Walter Beinecke, Jr assembled a large and diverse group of books, manuscripts, letters, and personal papers relating to the author J.M. Barrie. The foundation of the library’s outstanding Rudyard Kipling collection is the memorial collection donated to the Yale Elizabethan Club by the father of Ganson Goodyear Depew. It has been supplemented by gifts and a bequest from Mathilda Tyler, 1953 grad, and by gifts from the Kipling collector and bibliographer David Alan Richards, 1967.

The great figures of British literary Modernism represented at the Beinecke Library include Joseph Conrad (material donated by George T. Keating in 1938) of a virtually complete group of first and early editions, important manuscripts, and letters, with a later purchase from Conrad’s French biographer and translator G. Jean-Aubry.

The Beinecke Library holds a major James Joyce collection, which includes manuscripts of DublinersExiles, substantial material relating to Finnegans Wake, many letters, and a large group of books and pamphlets by and about Joyce, formed and donated by Joyce’s bibliographer John Slocum. In 1989, the library acquired of the archive of Eugene and Maria Jolas, who published installments of Work in Progress (the future Finnegans Wake) in their journal Transition.

D. H. Lawrence is represented in the Beinecke Library’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 library include Richard Aldington and Wyndham Lewis.

The Beinecke Library 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.

Thanks to Norman Holmes Pearson, 1932, the library is the home of the archive of Bryher, which documents her literary career, friendships, cinematographic ventures, and collecting interests. Also preserved in the Beinecke Library are many books from Bryher’s library as well as the collection of 19th century boys’ books (known as “Dusty Diamonds”), which she gathered in partnership with Pearson

An important recent addition to the collections of twentieth-century Modernist women writers is the papers of the novelist and short story writer Mary Butts, acquired from her daughter Camilla Bagg. 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.

Other women writers of the first half of the twentieth century in the 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 Library’s twentieth-century British collections with the papers of Christopher Sykes, William Reese presented 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.

The Beinecke Library collections 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). Fritz Liebert is responsible for the remarkable collection, both printed and manuscript, relating to Norman Douglas, author of South Wind and Old Calabria.

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 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 library in their complete archives: Alan Pryce-Jones, essayist, novelist, librettist, and Times Literary Supplement editor between 1949 and 1958; and James Lees-Milne.

More recent writers represented by substantial manuscript holdings include poets David Gascoyne, Donald Davie, and James Kirkup, and the Indian-born essayist and autobiographer Ved Mehta, and the novelist and short story writer Ralph Bates. The latter half of the Twentieth century is represented by the archives of the novelist, essayist, and biographer Peter Ackroyd, the Caribbean novelist Caryl Phillips, the poet Jeremy Reed, and the archive of the prominent Modernist poetry journal Agenda. Recent additions include papers of Alan Hollinghurst, novelist and winner of the Man Booker Prize, the garden journals of Vita Sackville-West, papers of Lesley Blanche, author of The Wilder Shores of Love, novelist and playwright Wolf Mankowitz, biographer Meryle Secrest, gallerist Eardley Knollys, the writer, Stephen Tennant, and publisher Peter Burton.

Children’s Literature

A new era also began for the Beinecke Library 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. Books from the colonial period, reading and learning manuals, etiquette books, children’s literature classics, 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 add to the existing printed collections of 19th century chapbooks in the Beinecke Library’s collection, with a strong representation of New Haven and New England-area printers.

An area of recent growth with has been the papers of writers and illustrators for children and young adults – with the acquisition of the papers of Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, Lillian and Russell Hoban, Miriam Schlein, Harvey Weiss, Karla Kuskin, Mo Willems, Judy Blume, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, The International Syndicate, Leonard Marcus, and William R. Scott, Inc. Most of these papers were accompanied by significant print collections.

LGBTQ writing and Human Sexuality and Gender Studies

As an extension of the American Literature collection, beginning in the early 1990s, efforts were made to acquire the papers of gay and lesbian writers. The foundational collections were those of gay men who gathered in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s, as a group, sometimes referred to as the Violet Quill. The papers of Edmund White, Felice Picano, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Christopher Cox, and George Whitmore are now in the library’s collections. The focus has expanded to include papers of or collections related to Lisbet Tellefsen, Silvia Dobson, Monique Wittig, Vita Sackville-West, Violet Trefusis, the photographer Robert Giard, J.D. McClatchy, the Harlem Renaissance writer Bruce Nugent, Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy, Ethan Mordden, James McCourt and Vincent Virga, David Leavitt, Marilyn Hacker, David Rakoff, David Sedaris, Samuel R. Delany, Samuel Steward, filmmaker Barbara Hammer, Eardley Knollys, Jim Fouratt, Jared French, and Alan Pryce-Jones.

The Laura Bailey Collection of Gender and Transgender Materials brought the library a wide range of items documenting the definition and performance of gender – with books, magazines, photographs, manuscripts, recordings, scrapbooks, and artwork spanning the 17th to 21st centuries. The Richard LaBonte collection gathers over 300 titles by LGBTQ published in the latter half of the 20th century. The RAME collection of serials, dating from 1904-1990, covers a range from the earliest Aesthetic movement publications, through pre-WWII German and French magazines, to runs of the most influential post-Stonewall titles. Included are complete runs of groundbreaking magazines such as “One”, “The Ladder” and “Der Freundschaft”

Other Subject Areas

History of the Theater

Among papers in this area are collections relating to David Garrick, the literary agent Edmond Pauker (whose papers are particularly rich concerning the work of Ferenc Molnar), while director and designer Edward Gordon Craig and theoretician Adolphe Appia are richly represented in collections formed by Donald Oenslager.

Fine Press and Book Arts

The Beinecke Library has strong holdings for a number of important private presses, including: 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 Library also houses its archive. The work of American designer and typographer Bruce Rogers, is documented by more than five hundred books and ephemera he designed, 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.

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 ended at his death in 2000. Early records for the Gehenna Press archive and for Baskin’s artistic and publishing career (up to 1979) are housed in the Beinecke Library. 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. Also worth mention are papers, books, and ephemera relating to the poet, translator, and, especially, engraver William James Linton, who eventually settled in Hamden, Connecticut. The collection is particularly rich on the American part of his career.

Sport, Hunting and Fishing, Animal Husbandry

The Beinecke Library holds extensive collections on aspects of sport: 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 library offers strong resources to historians of sports.

Two seventeenth-century English authors abundantly represented in the 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 Library’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. The 20th century history of fly-fishing is represented in the papers of Lee Wulff.

Popular Music, Popular Culture, American Humor

Papers of important persons who achieved renown through popular culture: music, media, activism, have been added selectively, principally owing to a literary component of the archive. The library has added the papers of Danny Fields, journalist and author, known by many as the manager of The Ramones, Pat and Lance Loud, of the family featured in the first long-form documentary based on real life, Jim Fouratt, activist, promoter, and author, and John Holmstrom, co-publisher of PUNK magazine.

Humor has deep roots in collections and our holdings of joke books, comic books, and humorous essays have been accentuated by the addition of the papers of Tom Davis, David Rakoff, and David Sedaris.

Aeronautics and Aviation

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

Art History

A 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.

History of Finance

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. A major acquisition that set the stage was the DLJ Collection which features American historical financial documents: letters, receipts, checks, currency examples.

Frederick R. Koch Collection

The Frederick R. Koch Collection consists of musical, literary, and historical materials collected by Frederick R. Koch (Yale School of Drama, 1961 MFAD) from 1979-1986. Including individual items, concentrations of related materials, and several extensive archives, the collection is a broad and deep resource for study of the lives and works of a range of composers, authors, and other historical figures.

The majority of materials are music manuscripts, literary manuscripts, drawings, and correspondence of European, English, and American composers, authors, and artists. Also present are historical manuscripts, photographs, albums, and other papers. While the contents of the collection span the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, most date from the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, with particular strengths in French, Italian, German, and British music, French literature, and British art.

Composers represented in the Koch collection include Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet, Luigi Boccherini, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Manual de Falla, Gabriel Faure, Cesar Franck, Charles Gounod, Reynaldo Hahn, George Frederic Handel, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Franz Liszt, Pietro Mascagni, Jules Massenet, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jacques Offenbach, Francis Poulenc, Giacomo Puccini, Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saëns, Erik Satie, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Giuseppi Verdi, Richard Wagner, William Walton, Carl Maria von Weber, Hugo Wolf, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, among many others.

The Frederick R. Koch Collection 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 George Gordon Lord Byron, Vistor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Walter Pater, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, and Oscar 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 Archibald 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 Robert Southey, James Hogg, William Wordsworth, Washington Irving, Thomas Carlyle, William Makepeace Thackeray, Leigh Hunt, Jane Porter, Charles 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 of his play Les bonnes (differing from any of the published texts), 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, George Bernard Shaw, Edith Sitwell, 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).