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
William Butler Yeats, Irish poet, dramatist, essayist, and a driving force of the Irish literary revival, was the son of the famous portrait painter John Butler Yeats. Yeats developed an interest in mysticism and visionary traditions as well as in Irish folklore, and both interests became the sources of poetic imagery for him. In London he was a founder of the Rhymers' Club and friend of Ernest Rhys, Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson, William Morris, W. E. Henley, and Arthur Symons. In Ireland, he was associated with J. M. Synge, "AE" (George W. Russell), Douglas Hyde, George Moore, and Lady Gregory. He helped establish the Irish Literary Theatre in 1899 (later the Abbey Theatre) and was its director till the end of his life. He was a member of the Irish Senate from 1922 to 1928 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. His brother, Jack Butler Yeats, was also an artist, and his sisters, Susan (Lily) and Elizabeth (Lolly), assisted in the establishment of the Dun Emer (later Cuala) Press.
The collection consists of selected material by and about William Butler Yeats, including correspondence, a poetry manuscript, photographs, and family items. Correspondents include Arthur Henry Bullen, Ghita Corri, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory, Mrs. Frances Franklin Grigson, Althea Gyler, "Mr. Jackson," Elkin Matthews, a Mr. or Mrs. Ray, Johnston Forbes-Robinson, A. J. A. Symons, Katherine Tynan, and Yeats's sister Elizabeth (Lolly) Yeats. The subjects of the correspondence includes the Abbey Theatre, books, publishing, and The Cuala Press. There is a fragment of a letter from Lady Gregory to John Butler Yeats inviting him to attend a reading by his son of the poem "The Shadowy Waters." Included is a signed typescript copy of the poem "The Three Hermits" with several holograph corrections, bearing the stamp of THE SMART SET, a literary magazine, on the first page. Also included are miscellaneous family items, including two letters by Elizabeth C. Yeats, dated 10 November 1927 and 7 January 1937, to the publisher "Mr. Bailey"; photographs of W. B. Yeats and his sister Susan, his son Michael Butler Yeats, his daughter Anne, and his sister Elizabeth; and Cuala Press ephemera.
Folders are arranged by accession number.
The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.
"The Three Hermits" poem was purchased in February 1945.
Letter to "Lolly", letter to K. Tynan, and letter of Forbes-Roertson were purchased in November 1952.
Letter to Mrs. Grigson was purchased on May 6, 1958.
Letters to Mr. or Mrs. Ray and letter to Mr. Brophy were purchased in April 1959.
Letter to Mr. Jackson was a gift of Cyril I. Nelson on August 8, 1968.
Letter of Lady Gregory, with a note by Yeats dated 7 April 1914, was a gift of Leonard L. Milberg, Princeton Class of 1953, for the Milberg Irish Playwrights Collection on February 12, 2002.
17 Letters from Yeats to "Mr. Bullen" purchased from the antiquarian book trade in the 1970s but not accessioned until 2007 (AM 2007-121).
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Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.
No appraisal information is available.
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