Emily Hale Letters from T. S. Eliot
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. 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
T.S. Eliot, the noted modern poet, dramatist, and literary critic, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned a master's degree from Harvard University, which is when he met Emily Hale in 1913. The two formed a close bond, and when Eliot moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 to begin his PhD studies (eventually becoming a British subject in 1927) they remained in contact, establishing a robust correspondence that would continue intermittenly for years. In addition to his writing, Eliot worked as a schoolteacher and a bank accounts manager before joining the publishing firm of Faber and Gwyer (later Faber and Faber) in 1925, where he worked for the remainder of his career. Best known for such poems as The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, and Four Quartets, Eliot was the recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature.Hale, Emily, 1891-1969
Emily Hale was born on October 27, 1891. She was an actress and stage director, and taught drama and voice instruction at Simmons College, Milwaukee-Downer College in Wisconsin, Scripps College, and Abbott Academy. She met the poet T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) while he was at pursuing a graduate degree at Harvard, and maintained a lifelong and close friendship with the poet, corresponding with him and routinely visiting him over several decades. Out of his reminiscing of their former relationship, Eliot composed "Burnt Norton" published as the last poem in his Collected Poems 1909-1935 (1936). Hale died in 1969.
The collection consists primarily of letters by poet, dramatist, and literary critic T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale (1891-1969), a teacher, actress, and lifelong friend of Eliot's. Also included are a small portion of correspondence between Hale and others, as well as some photographs, ephemera, clippings, copies of typescript material by Eliot, and a brief narrative of the relationship between the two penned by Hale.
Emily Hale and T.S. Eliot first met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while Eliot was working towards a graduate degree in philosophy. They struck up a friendship, and Eliot expressed a romantic interest in Hale soon after. Though Hale did not initially share that interest, they remained friends and stayed in close contact after Eliot moved abroad, corresponding frequently for decades. The bulk of the letters were written during the 1930s and provide a detailed account of their intimate friendship, as well as Eliot's work and personal life.
Eliot often enclosed other materials in his letters to Hale, such as photographs and letters he had received from friends and contemporaries (including literary peers such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound). In a letter from December 29, 1930, Eliot addressed this practice, writing "I shall from time to time slip in a note or letter to me from my acquaintances, as these do I think to help make one's life seem more real to another person." A number of the letters also include handwritten annotations and corrections.
Emily Hale's friendship with former Princeton professor and literary critic Willard Thorp and his wife Margaret is also evident from letters between the three included with the correspondence. It was partially at the urging of Professor Thorp that Hale wrote a short explaination her relationship with Eliot to be included with the collection when it came to Princeton. It was also because of Emily Hale's relationship with the Thorps and their connection to Princeton that she chose to donate the letters to the University. T.S. Eliot was not initially pleased with this decision, and his opinions regarding this are discussed in letters to Hale between 1956 and 1957.
Collection is arranged chronologically by type.
Letter, 1930 December 29. Emily Hale Letters from T. S. Eliot; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
Gift of Emily Hale in 1956 (AM 15768). The letters were sealed until January 2, 2020, by agreement with Hale.
A handful of additional letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale concerning the donation of the collection to Princeton were given to the library in 1957.
This collection was processed by Chloe Pfendler in November 2019 with additional help from the rest of the processing team and Alia Wood '20. Finding aid written by Chloe Pfendler in November 2019.
Some arrangement imposed on the collection prior to 2019 processing by former library staff.
No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Chloe Pfendler
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Open for research.
Researchers may be asked to use digital surrogates of material if more than one patron requests to use a box at the same time.
- Use Restrictions
All material written by T.S. Eliot remains under copyright with the T.S. Eliot Estate but will enter the public domain January 1, 2036. Single copies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The library has no other information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
The bulk of the correspondence is from T.S. Eliot, and many letters are interfiled with enclosures that were sent with them. Also included is correspondence between Emily Hale and others, particularly her friends Margaret and Willard Thorp. The Thorps were also associates of Eliot, and they were aware of the close relationship between he and Hale.Physical Description
Arranged chronologically.Physical Description
Includes enclosures from Virginia Woolf, Stephen Spender, William Rothenstein, and John Middleton Murry.Physical Description
Includes enclosure from Allen Tate and James Joyce.Physical Description
Includes enclosure from John Middleton Murry.Physical Description
Includes enclosures from Virginia Woolf and John Middleton Murry.Physical Description
Includes enclosures from Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.Physical Description
Some letters from January 1932 incorrectly dated 1931.Physical Description
Includes enclosure from Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.Physical Description
Includes enclosures from Ezra Pound and Allen Tate.Physical Description
There is one letter, circa 1933 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
There are two letters, circa 1934 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
Contains letters circa 1935 with no months indicated.Physical Description
Includes enclosure from Dorothy L. Sayers.Physical Description
Includes enclosure from Virginia Woolf. There is one letter, circa 1939 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
Letter received April 26 and noted to be from 1945 included in folder.
A copy of Emily Hale's response to a letter dated 13 March 1945 from Eliot is included in the folder.Physical Description
There is one envelope with enclosures, circa 1948 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
There is one letter, circa 1955 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
There is one letter, circa 1956 with no month indicated, at the end.Physical Description
Arranged by correspondent.Physical Description
Contains letters between Emily Hale, Princeton professor Willard Thorp, and his wife Margaret, who were also friends of Eliot's.Physical Description
Includes single letters from Janet H. Clark, Millie (Mrs. George Abbot) Morison, Edith Perkins (Hale's aunt), Ada E. Sheffield (T.S. Eliot's sister), John Carroll Perkins (Hale's uncle), William A. Neilson, Mary Lee Ware, Evelyn A. McCourtee, and others. The 1895 letter is from Edward Hale to Edith Perkins.Physical Description
Includes several drafts of an account of the relationship between T.S. Eliot and Emily Hale, written by Emily Hale. Also included are letters from Hale to former University Librarian William S. Dix concerning corrections made to the drafts.Physical Description
Contains two original typescripts of works by T.S. Eliot.Physical Description
Includes photographs of T.S. Eliot, as well as related clippings and ephemera.Physical Description
Bulletin to members of the Books Across the Sea literary movement.Physical Description