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John Masefield collection


Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The poet John Masefield was born on 1 June 1878 in Ledbury, Herefordshire, England. Masefield was best known for his sea poems, including "Sea Fever" and "Cargoes," and for his long, narrative poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy." He also wrote adventure novels, short stories, and works for children, as well as two autobiographical works, In the Mill (1941), which describes his time working in a carpet factory in the United States, and So Long to Learn (1952). Masefield worked on a windjammer that sailed around Cape Horn, lived for some time in the United States, and then returned to England where he worked as a journalist for the Manchester Guardian. In 1930, he was appointed poet laureate of England, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1935. Masefield died near Abingdon, Berkshire on 12 May 1967.

The John Masefield collection houses the correspondence and other personal papers of the poet John Masefield, who was best known for his poetry about the sea. The collection ranges from 1894 to 1944.

The collection is divided into four series: "Series I: Correspondence," "Series II: Writing," "Series III: Photographs and prints," and "Series IV: Other Material."

"Series I: Correspondence" is divided into correspondence "From John Masefield" and correspondence "From Third Parties." The collection contains a number of letters by John Masefield, most regarding his work, from 1906 to 1944. "Series II: Writing" is divided into two subseries, "Writings by John Masefield" and 'Writings by others." "Writings by others" includes a small group of material about the December 1920 edition of The Chapbook (published by The Poetry Bookshop) which contained a musical composition by Malcolm Davidson based on Masefield's poem, "A Christmas Carol." This material includes the handwritten score and letters to and from The Poetry Bookshop about the publication. "Series III: Photographs and prints" contains two prints and three photographs of Masefield, all from the 1920s, four of them signed by him. There are also two landscape photographs, with a note by Masefield. "Series IV: Other Material" contains the earliest item in the collection, a nautical certificate dated 1894, which was presented to Masefield from the ship "Conway."

Masefield was best known for his poetry about the sea. Although small, this collection provides a useful, well-rounded look at his personal and professional life. It would be a valuable resource for anyone interested in Masefield's poetry and correspondence.

Acquired by purchase and gift from various sources.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Miriam B. Spectre, Melissa Torquato
Finding Aid Date
2000 July
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The John Masefield Collection is the physical property of Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Collection Inventory

Cazenove, Mr.
Box 1 Folder 1
Clench, Mr. TLS, Burcote Brook, Abingdon.
Box 1 Folder 1
Milkman, Mr. TLS, Hill Crest, Boar's Hill, Oxford.
Box 1 Folder 2
Mills, Wilson W. TLS, Burcote Brook, Abingdon (See also: Box 1, folder 12).
Box 1 Folder 2
O'Shea, Monica Barry.
Box 1 Folder 2
ALS, 13 Well Walk, Hampstead .
Box 1 Folder 3
ALS, Boar's Hill, Oxford .
Box 1 Folder 3
The Poetry Bookshop.ALS, Hill Crest, Boar's Hill, Oxford.
Box 1 Folder 3
Richards, [Mr.?]. ALS, 30 Maida Hill West, W.
Box 1 Folder 3
Theis, Mrs. Seven ALS, one TLS, one AL.
Box 1 Folder 4
TL, Boar's Hill, Oxford.
Box 1 Folder 4
ALS, signed "P.H.".
Box 1 Folder 4
[Galatti?], Stephen to Oliver H. Perry. ALS, American Ambulance Field Service, 21 rue raynouard, Paris.
Box 1 Folder 5
Gurney, Ivor to The Poetry Bookshop. Three ALS.
Box 1 Folder 5
Ord, Bernhard to The Poetry Bookshop.
Box 1 Folder 5
ALS, Athelnet, All Saints Road, Clifton, Bristol.
Box 1 Folder 5
ALS, 9 Camden Place, Preston.
Box 1 Folder 5

"Emily the Fair" (See: "Minnie Maylow's Story," Legal Oversize, box 1, folder 25).
"Jim Davis," story, holograph, corrected. With preface by F. J. Harvey Darton.
Box 1 Folder 6-9
"The Long, Long Indian Days," poem, printed as broadside by Elkin Mathews. Printed with "Pixy-Led" by Alice E. Gillington. Signed by Gillington. With hand colored pictures. Stored in: General Oversize, box 1, folder 3 .
"Minnie Maylow's Story," poem. Typescript carbon, in volume. Stored in: Legal Oversize, box 1, folder 25 .
Proofs, corrected, in volume. With title "Emily the Fair." Stored in: Legal Oversize, box 1, folder 25.
"The Port of Holy Peter," poem, holograph, corrected. Includes pencil sketch of a boat. Written on stationery of The National Telephone Company, Limited.
Box 1 Folder 10
"The Racer," poem, printed, signed by John Masefield.
Box 1 Folder 10
"Reynard the Fox," poem, typescript, corrected.
Box 1 Folder 12
"Son of Adam," poem.Typescript, corrected, in volume. Stored in: Legal Oversize, box 1, folder 26 .
Proofs, corrected, in volume. Includes proofs of illustrations. Stored in: Legal Oversize, box 1, folder 26.
Unidentified work. One page fragment, holograph.
Box 1 Folder 15
The Chapbook, No. 18 (London: The Poetry Bookshop) Contains "A Christmas Carol," music by Malcolm Davidson, words by John Masefield; "Full Moon," music by Scott Goddard, words by Walter de la Mare; "Desire in Spring," music by Ivor Gurney, words by Francis Ledwidge.
Box 1 Folder 14
Davidson, Malcolm. Musical composition, holograph, of John Masefield's poem, "A Christmas Carol". Stored in: General Oversize, box 1, folder 3.
Goddard, Scott. Musical composition, holograph, of Walter de la Mare's poem, "Full moon". Stored in: General Oversize, box 1, folder 3.
Gurney, Ivor. Musical composition, holograph, of Francis Ledwidge's poem, "Desire in Spring". Stored in: General Oversize, box 1, folder 3.

Masefield, John. Head and shoulders, print by William Strang. Signed by Masefield.
Box 1 Folder 15
Masefield, John. Print. Signed and dated by Masefield, 1921.
Box 1 Folder 15
Masefield, John. Photograph. Signed and dated by Masefield, 1922 Jan 19.
Box 1 Folder 16
Masefield, John. Photograph. On back are two printed biographical paragraphs, signed by Maser.
Box 1 Folder 16
Masefield, John. Sitting at a table with a book, photograph. Signed and dated by Masefield, 1922 Jan 19.
Box 1 Folder 17
Landscape scenes. Two photographs. With note by Masefield: "The original of the Jell Brook...".
Box 1 Folder 17

Mercantile Marine Service Association, Liverpool, School Ship "Conway.". Certificate presented to Masefield "on leaving this ship".
Box 1 Folder 18

Print, Suggest