T. S. Eliot Collection
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), a poet, critic, editor, and playwright, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a B. A. in 1909 and an M. A. in 1910 from Harvard, where he also pursued a doctoral degree in philosophy. In 1915, he married Vivienne (Vivien) Haigh-Wood. He was literary editor of the avant-garde magazine The Egoist. In the Spring 1917, he published his first book of poetry, Prufrock and Other Observations. In 1922, Eliot published "The Waste Land" and became editor of The Criterion. 1927 was a momentous year for Eliot. In June, he was baptized into the Church of England, and, in November, became a British citizen. His religion then became a central component of his life and his poetry reflected this religious conversion. In 1948, Eliot received both the Order of Merit and the Nobel Prize for Literature. The collection includes correspondence; manuscripts and proofs of published Eliot literary works such as "Lines to a Persian Cat," "In silent corridors of death," and "The Love-Song of J. Arthur Prufrock;" galley proofs for plays and collections of poetry; manuscripts of Vivienne (Haigh-Wood) Eliot; serial publications with contributions by Eliot; newspaper clippings; a proof of a literary review of Eliot; manuscripts written by other individuals; programs and playbills.
Important Information for Users of the Collection
This collection is open for research.
T. S. Eliot Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
This collection is PROCESSED.
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), a poet, critic, editor, and playwright, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the seventh child of Henry Ware Eliot and Charlotte Champe Stearns. He attended Smith Academy, founded by his grandfather William Greenleaf Eliot, a Unitarian minister, until he was sixteen. In 1905, he left St. Louis to study for a year at Milton Academy outside Boston and then entered Harvard University in 1906. At Harvard, he received a B. A. in 1909 and an M. A. in 1910. In the autumn of 1910, he went to the Sorbonne in Paris for a year of postgraduate study.
Eliot returned to Harvard to pursue a doctoral degree in philosophy. He studied Eastern and Western philosophies and learned Sanskrit in order to read the original texts. In 1913, he read Bradley's Appearance and Reality, which became the basis for his dissertation entitled "The Nature of Objects, with reference to the philosophy of F. H. Bradley" (later published as Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley in 1964). 1914 saw his return to England, on a travelling fellowship. The following year he married Vivienne (Vivien) Haigh-Wood, whom he met through a mutual friend. He completed his dissertation in 1916 while living in England and submitted it to Harvard. Unfortunately, World War I had begun, and it became too dangerous to sail back to America, so he was not able to defend his dissertation for the Ph. D. degree.
In an effort to support himself and his new wife, Eliot took on a variety of positions including teaching at schools in High Wycombe and Highgate, London; writing book reviews; and through the University of London extension board, lecturing at evening extension courses. In addition, he became literary editor of the avant-garde magazine The Egoist. In the spring of 1917, he finally found steady employment; his language abilities qualified him for a job in the Colonial and Foreign Department of Lloyds Bank, in the City of London, where he worked on foreign accounts. The security of this position allowed him to return to his poetry, and later that year he published his first book of poetry Prufrock and Other Observations.
It was to be private pain that brought about his most famous poem "The Waste Land." January 1919 brought news of the death of his father, Henry Ware Eliot. Eliot's hasty marriage and settlement in England had created a rift between Eliot and his parents, and this news destroyed any hope of a full reconciliation. At the same time, Vivien's own physical and mental health were deteriorating and causing great financial and emotional strain on Eliot.
The success Eliot gained from "The Waste Land" provided him with the opportunity to edit his own literary journal, The Criterion. Lady Rothermere, wife of Viscount Rothermere, publisher of the Daily Mail, funded the venture.
The first issue of The Criterion appeared in October, 1922. Vivien was to contribute sketches, reviews, and poems to The Criterion under various pseudonyms.
Eliot's combined talent for literary endeavors and business sense brought him to the attention of Geoffrey Faber who, in 1925, recruited him as literary editor and board of directors' member of his new publishing firm, Faber and Gwyer; four years later it became Faber and Faber. Eliot left Lloyds and began a relationship with Faber and Faber that continued until the end of his career.
1927 was to be a personally momentous year for Eliot. In June, he was baptized into the Church of England and, in November, became a British citizen. His religion then became a central component of his life.
Eliot's poetry now reflected his religious conversion and includes his Ariel poems: "Journey of the Magi" (1927), "A Song for Simeon" (1928), "Animula" (1929), "Marina" (1930), and the longer poem "Ash Wednesday" (1930).
In June 1935 the church drama Murder in the Cathedral was performed in the chapter house of Canterbury Cathedral for the Canterbury Festival. It had been commissioned by the Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.
Three years later Vivien's brother, Maurice, had Vivien committed to Northumberland House, a mental hospital north of London. Eliot's Anglicanism would not allow for a divorce, but he never saw Vivien again. She died in 1947.
The start of World War saw the demise of The Criterion. During this time he wrote the play The Family Reunion (1939) and the three final poems that make up the Four Quartets (1943). "Burnt Norton" (1934) had been previously published in Collected Poems 1909-1935. "East Coker" (1940) was named after the Somerset village from which Eliot's ancestor Andrew Eliot had departed for America, circa 1669. "The Dry Salvages" (1941) recounted Eliot's experience as a boy sailing on the Mississippi River and on the coast of Massachusetts. "Little Gidding" (1942) is a village in Cambridgeshire visited by Eliot in 1936. Little Gidding was home to a religious community from 1625 to 1998.
After World War II, Eliot wrote no more major poetry. Instead he wrote cultural criticisms suchs Notes toward a Definition of Culture (1948); the plays The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1953) and The Elder Statesman (1958); and literary essays. In 1948, Eliot received both the Order of Merit and the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In January 1957, he married his secretary (Esmé) Valerie Fletcher, with whom he lived until his death on January 4, 1965, at his home in London.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The contents of the T. S. Eliot Collection date from 1914 to 1973 and include materials that Eliot created during his lifetime (1888-1965), materials about his life and his writings, and the creative output of others that was Eliot inspired. The materials include correspondence; manuscripts and proofs of published Eliot literary works; manuscripts of Vivienne (Haigh-Wood) Eliot; serial publications with contributions by Eliot; newspaper clippings; a proof of a literary review of Eliot; manuscripts written by other individuals; and programs and playbills.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
This collection was assembled from materials purchased by the University of Maryland Libraries in the early 1970s. It also includes the Eliot materials of Robert L. Beare, who served as Assistant Director of Libraries at the University of Maryland Libraries from 1968 to 1977.
Processed by Lara D'Agaro, February 2009.
Paper clips, staples, and rubber bands were removed from items in the collection. When necessary, folded paper was flattened. Fragile documents were placed in Mylar sleeves to prevent damage from handling. Items in this collection were acquired individually or in groups over the course of three years (1972-1974). The collection was assembled from separate accessions. If an order had been imposed upon them before acquisition, it could not be determined. The final arrangement of the collection was created during processing.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Lara D'Agaro, February 2009.
Arrangement of Collection
These materials have been divided into the following four series:
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Correspondence and Personal Material, 1915-1961 and undated (0.25 linear feet)
This series contains letters written and received by T. S. Eliot. Correspondents include Robert L. Beare, John Black, Sally and Richard Cobden-Sanderson, H. P. Collins, Henry Ware Eliot, Wrey Gardiner, Edgar Jepson, and Jane Quinby. There is also correspondence relating to him written by Robert L. Beare, Conrad Aiken, Peter du Sautoy, Theresa Eliot, Valerie Fletcher, Donald Gallup, Catherine McCarthy, Angela Niles, Norman Holmes Pearson, Eugene Waith, Fredson Bowers, and John Hayward.
All letters written by Eliot are original with the exception of the letters to Edgar Jepson, which are transcriptions. The two largest groupings of correspondence include those exchanged between Eliot and Robert L. Beare (about Beare's research on variants in published Eliot works) and Eliot's letters to H. P. Collins, in which he discusses publishing Collins's literary reviews in The Criterion. The personal material is a 1927 certified copy of Eliot's marriage certificate to Vivienne Haigh-Wood in 1915.
The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author and then by recient's name; the personal material follows the correspondence. There is an appendix of the individual letters.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Correspondence -- Aiken, Conrad -- Robert L. Beare, 1955||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Correspondence -- Beare, Robert L., to/from -- Fredson Bowers, 1955-1956 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|Correspondence -- Beare, Robert L. -- Capt. And Mrs. Cohn, 1953||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|Correspondence -- Beare, Robert L., to/from -- John Hayward, 1956-1957||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|Correspondence -- du Sautoy, Peter -- Robert L. Beare, 1955||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, Theresa [Mrs. Henry Ware Eliot Jr.] -- Robert L. Beare, 1955||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S., to/from -- Robert L. Beare, 1953-1956, 1958||series 1||box 1||folder 7|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- John Black, 1948||series 1||box 1||folder 8|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Christmas Card, 1954||series 1||box 1||folder 9|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Sally and Richard Cobden-Sanderson, 1934, 1948, 1954||series 1||box 1||folder 10|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- H.P. Collins, 1924-1929, 1946||series 1||box 1||folder 11|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Henry Ware Eliot, 1915||series 1||box 1||folder 12|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Wrey Gardiner, 1943-1944||series 1||box 1||folder 13|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Edgar Jepson, 1919||series 1||box 1||folder 14|
|Correspondence -- Eliot, T. S. -- Jane Quinby, 1948||series 1||box 1||folder 15|
|Correspondence -- Fletcher, Valerie, to/from -- Robert L. Beare, 1955-1956 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 16|
|Correspondence -- Gallup, Donald -- Robert L. Beare, 1953-1955||series 1||box 1||folder 17|
|Correspondence -- McCarthy, Catherine, to/from -- Robert L. Beare, 1955||series 1||box 1||folder 18|
|Correspondence -- Niles, Angela -- Robert L. Beare, 1961||series 1||box 1||folder 19|
|Correspondence -- Pearson, Norman Holmes -- Robert L. Beare, 1955 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 20|
|Correspondence -- Waith, Eugene -- Robert L. Beare, 1955||series 1||box 1||folder 21|
|Personal Material -- Marriage certificate of Vivienne Haigh Haigh-Wood and Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1927||series 1||box 1||folder 22|
Series 2: Writings by the T. S. Eliot and Vivienne (Haigh-Wood) Eliot, 1914-1962 and undated (0.25 linear feet)
This series contains typed and hand-written manuscripts and page proofs for Eliot works and manuscripts by Vivien Eliot, under the aliases F. M. and Feiron Morris. There are manuscripts of the Eliots' published and unpublished stories, poems, and fragments. This series also includes four serials that contain articles and stories written by Eliot. Eliot contributed an essay to the monograph Tribute to Walter de la Mare on his Seventy-fifth Birthday, a proof of which can be found in Series III.
This series is arranged alphabetically by author/pseudonym and then by title or, if untitled, by the first line of the poem or prose.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Galley Proof -- Eliot, T. S. -- Collected Plays by T. S. Eliot -- Uncorrected proof copy, 1962||series 2||box 1||folder 23|
|Galley Proof -- Eliot, T. S. -- Complete Poems and Plays -- Advance uncorrected proof, 1952||series 2||box 1||folder 24|
|Galley Proof -- Eliot, T. S. -- The Confidential Clerk -- Advance uncorrected proof, 1954||series 2||box 1||folder 25|
|Galley Proof -- Eliot, T. S. -- The Confidential Clerk -- Proof copy, 1954||series 2||box 1||folder 26|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- Conversation with Bertrand Russell -- AMs -- 1 page, undated||series 2||box 1||folder 27|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Description of W Sussex" -- AMs -- 1 page, undated||series 2||box 1||folder 28|
|Serials -- Eliot, T. S. -- "East Coker" -- The New English Weekly, 1940||series 2||box 1||folder 29|
|Serials -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Education in a Christian Society" -- The Christian News-Letter, 1940||series 2||box 1||folder 30|
|Galley Proof -- Eliot, T. S. -- The Elder Statesman -- Proof copy, 1959||series 2||box 2||folder 1|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S./Eliot, Vivien -- Untitled, "Fanny lying in bed late on a hot Sunday" -- AMs -- 8 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 2|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "In silent corridors of death" -- AMs -- 1 page, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 3|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- The Lion and the Fox, by Wyndham Lewis, review of -- TMsS -- 5 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 4|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Lines to a Persian Cat" -- TMs edited -- 3 pages, 1932||series 2||box 2||folder 5|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Lines to a Yorkshire Terrier" -- TMs edited -- 1 page, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 6|
|Serials -- Eliot, T. S. -- "London Library" -- The Times -- reprint, 1959||series 2||box 2||folder 7|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" -- TMsS -- 4 pages, circa 1913||series 2||box 2||folder 8|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- Murder in the Cathedral -- TMs edited, 1934||series 2||box 2||folder 9|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Oh Little Voices of the Throats of Men" and "The Love Song of St. Sebastian" -- TMs edited -- 2 pages, circa 1914-1915||series 2||box 2||folder 10|
|Serials -- Eliot, T. S. -- "The Panegyric" -- St. Stephen's Magazine, 1959||series 2||box 2||folder 11|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "'Poetry' in 30 Seconds" -- TMs edited -- 5 pages, circa 1950||series 2||box 2||folder 12|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Principles of Growth: How to Avoid It" -- AMs -- 2 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 13|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- Untitled, "There was once a young girl who was very" -- AMs -- 3 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 14|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- "Triumphal March" -- TMs edited -- 2 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 15|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, T. S. -- Untitled, "Wool" -- AMs -- 1 page, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 16|
|Manuscript -- Eliot, Vivien -- Untitled, "You say that you are" -- AMs -- 3 pages, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 17|
|Manuscript -- F. M. [Vivien Eliot] -- Letters of the Moment II -- AMs, notebook -- 10 pages , ||series 2||box 2||folder 18|
|Manuscript -- F. M. [Vivien Eliot] -- Letters of the Moment II -- photocopy of Criterion article -- 4 pages, ||series 2||box 2||folder 19|
|Manuscript -- Morris, Feiron [Vivien Eliot] -- Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown by Virginia Woolf, review of -- AMs -- 4 pages, January 1925||series 2||box 2||folder 20|
Series 3: Writings by Others, 1948-1973 (0.25 linear feet)
This series consists of a manuscript and three uncorrected page proofs by authors other than T. S. Eliot. The manuscript and one of the galley proofs are of Robert L. Beare's article, "Notes on the text of T. S. Eliot: Variants from Russell Square," (working title was "Trivia from Russell Square") on the variants in published Eliot works. The second galley proof is a critical work about Eliot's plays and poems by David Ward, T. S. Eliot Between Two Worlds, and the third galley proof is of the monograph Tribute to Walter de la Mare on his Seventy-fifth Birthday that contains a contribution by Eliot.
This series is arranged alphabetically by the author's last name or, in the absence of a known author, by title.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Galley proof -- Beare, Robert L. -- "Notes on the text of T. S. Eliot:Variants from Russell Square" -- galley proof, ||series 3||box 2||folder 22|
|Manuscript -- Beare, Robert L. -- "Trivia from Russell Square" (crossed through-published as "Notes on the text of T. S. Eliot:Variants from Russell Square") -- TMs edited, ||series 3||box 2||folder 23|
|Galley proof -- Tribute to Walter de la Mare on his seventy-fifth birthday -- proof copy, 1948||series 3||box 2||folder 24|
|Galley proof -- Ward, David -- T. S. Eliot Between Two Worlds -- uncorrected proof copy, 1973||series 3||box 2||folder 25|
Series 4: Printed Matter, 1936-1965 (0.25 linear feet)
This series consists of printed material, including a broadside; clippings; an illustration; a musical score; playbills; a press release; and programs, all of which relate to Eliot or his work.
The items are arranged in eight subgroups in the following order: Broadside; Clippings; Illustration; Musical Score; Playbills; Press Release; and Programs.
The Broadside is a limited edition of "Cat Morgan's Apology."
The Clippings include four clippings whose subject is Eliot's marriage to Valerie Fletcher and one article on the production of his play The Elder Statesman.
The Illustration depicts Eliot and is from the serial Punch.
The Musical Score is Eliot's Anthem (The Dove Descending Breaks the Air) with music by Igor Stravinsky.
The Playbills are from productions of Eliot's plays performed mainly in the 1950s and in various theaters in Great Britain and the United States.
The Press Release is for Eliot's Religious Drama: Mediaeval and Modern.
There are six Programs. Two of the programs are for memorial services on the death of Eliot, three are for literary events, and one for the awarding of the Hanseatic Goethe-Prize in 1954 to Eliot.
Within these categories, the items are arranged alphabetically by title.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Broadside -- "Cat Morgan's Apology", 1953||series 4||box 2||folder 26|
|Clippings -- About T. S. Eliot, 1957-1958||series 4||box 2||folder 27|
|Illustration -- Punch, 1956||series 4||box 2||folder 28|
|Musical Score -- Anthem (The Dove Descending Breaks the Air), 1962||series 4||box 2||folder 29|
|Playbill -- The Cocktail Party, 1950||series 4||box 2||folder 30|
|Playbill -- The Confidential Clerk, 1954||series 4||box 2||folder 31|
|Playbill -- The Elder Statesman, 1958||series 4||box 2||folder 32|
|Playbill -- The Family Reunion, 1956||series 4||box 2||folder 33|
|Playbill -- Murder in the Cathedral, 1936||series 4||box 2||folder 34|
|Playbill -- Murder in the Cathedral, 1953||series 4||box 2||folder 35|
|Press Release -- Religious Drama: Mediaeval and Modern, 1954||series 4||box 2||folder 36|
|Program -- The English Institute, 1955||series 4||box 2||folder 37|
|Program -- Hansischen Goethe-Preises 1954, 1954||series 4||box 2||folder 38|
|Program -- Memorial Service for Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1965||series 4||box 2||folder 39|
|Program -- Order of Service in Memory of Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1965||series 4||box 2||folder 40|
|Program -- A Poetry Reading by T. S. Eliot, 1958||series 4||box 2||folder 41|
|Program -- The Sound Broadcasting Society, 1957||series 4||box 2||folder 42|
Related materials can be found at King's College, Cambridge; Harvard University in Boston, MA.; the University of Texas, Austin; and in the Djuna Barnes Papers and the Hope Mirrlees Papers in the University of Maryland Libraries.
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Authors -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
- Beare, Robert L. -- Correspondence.
- Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965 -- Correspondence.
- Eliot, Vivienne, 1888-1947.
- Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Archives.